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Friday, 15 December 2017

The positive side of religion


Generally the posts I've written on religion have been negative. I don't 'hate' religion; maybe I once thought I did, but I don't really. I don't think it's 'the root of all evil' or that it 'poisons everything'. Do I think it's done a lot of negative things to the human race? I do, in terms of indoctrination, fear-mongering and telling people to follow 'rules' that go against human nature. However, speaking to religious people and having been to church myself in the past, I've seen the positive elements; peace, spreading love to others, and having a faith which disciplines you in a good way.

For example, someone of the Catholic faith told me that while their family follows the very strict Catholic regime, they don't; they're also gay, which takes that part out. This person put their faith down to two things: love God above all, and treat others as you wish to be treated. It does't matter if you're gay, black, cross-eyed; you treat others with kindness and you worship and love the Lord. I may not personally agree with the 'worship' part as it doesn't interest me, but the overall spiritual elements I think are very nice.

I don't think these elements of religion harm anybody. To me, these aren't so much about 'religion', but more about spirituality. I believe spirituality is about having a strong connection with yourself and the universe, or a 'God' if that's what you wish to call it. It's about treating others well, and not having prejudice over others. All of the harsh rules - premarital sex is evil, masturbating is evil, being gay is evil, Harry Potter is evil, abortion is evil, drinking alcohol is evil, eating pork is evil, smoking is evil, divorce is evil, rock music is evil, singing and dancing in public is evil, dressing 'immodestly' is evil - to me that stuff is all bullshit. If you could take all those silly rules out of religion, as well as the stories about slavery and mistreatment of women, you would be left with the 'core' notions, which are to love others and love the 'Lord' or Mother Nature, the Universe, Humanity etc.

So I guess if I were to say 'I dislike religion', what I really dislike are those stupid rules that tell people 'don't do this or you'll burn in Hell.' Kill the unbelievers, kill the apostates, kill Bill and his mother. I don't think people need books filled with lies and hatred and sin, sin, so much sin to live a 'positive' and 'healthy' life. If you were to take out all of that and leave the love between yourself and your creator (if you believe in one), and the communal elements of going to Church/Mosque/Temple, being kind to one another, teaching each other that you can behave as you wish as long as you don't start killing or raping people - you know, common empathetic sense - then I would view that as a very positive thing, and would view that more as spirituality than religion.

A final note: I think it's wrong to say 'religion is the root of all evil' as is wrong to blame capitalism, communism, feminism, patriarchy, slavery, white people, Nazism, imperialism, and any other 'ism.' (There's a saying: 'ism' stands for 'I, Self, Me'). You know what allllll of these things have in common? Take a lucky guess.

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