The Religion Problem

24 Sep

I am sure many people will disagree however I think the majority of people who say they have a religion do not really believe that their god is an older gentleman with a flowing white beard sitting upon a cloud demanding their worship. For the vast majority, religion is cultural. Why would a supreme being feel compelled to demand worship anyway?

Albert Einstein, when he reached adulthood did not follow any formal religious belief yet once the Third Reich started to persecute the Jews he felt a kinship to “his people”.[1]

Growing up in the Christian Midwestern U.S. as I did, if someone asked you, “do you believe in God,” you would say, “yes of course.” From there however it would get rather murky if one were to question further. At least in my experience we picked and had chosen the “commandments” that we felt were valid or personally acceptable.

Religion is fine as a refuge for those who find it helpful to have a belief system based only upon faith when the sensate world is troubling or has let them down. It can also be fine as a template for living in a civilized world if one is careful and thoughtful here.

The trouble comes when young, impressionable and disadvantage people are swept into a religion which has in its holy scriptures any mention of “the good fight” a “holy war”, an “eye for an eye” and so forth. This includes any reference to respected or esteemed historical religious figures undertaking violence for any reason at all. This is because if these young people take the scriptures literally they will find themselves condoning and even participating in violence because, “it is in the book”.

The Christian bible talks of keeping slaves and of slaves obeying their masters yet we find that sort of behavior or talk appalling today. When we read in any holy book about past wars between differing groups why do we not find that appalling now as well?

It is time that we understand that:

  • Tit for tat, meeting violence with violence or responding to a perceived offense in kind does not work, Does not create peace and Does not solve any conflict.
  • Revenge while it momentarily feels good and just, does not solve anything either.
  • We are all more alike than different and the concept of war with one’s self is ridiculous.

I know some of you will not want to take my word for it but, you can trust me when I say, that if a god needed you to fight on his behalf, he is not a supreme being. A supreme being would simply, ‘click her fingers’ and all would be right in the world. By the way, a supreme being would not have a gender either since a supreme being would have no need for sexual reproduction. Such is our silly language where we must determine first if the subject has XX or XY chromosomes before we can address IT.

WE need to call on all religions to police their own ranks, educate their masses on peace and tolerance and explain that the world of two thousand years ago was a much different one, that the stories of the holy scriptures were told in a different context and communicated to a much different audience then and that your god does not wish you to kill others in his or her name.

Hopefully someone will read this and add to it or it will spur them to come up with their own plan for sustainable peace. The word must be gotten out that if we continue to do what we have done for the past two thousand years nothing will change except that it may get much worse since we now have the technology for complete destruction of all of our brothers and sisters.

[1] Walter Isaacson in “Einstein His Life and Universe”


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