On Religion

Religion…. Religion is an amazing concept. On one hand, it provides you with a framework for life. I can’t think of a single religion that doesn’t provide intricate details on how to live your life, what you can and cannot do, and the eventual results if you fail to follow the rules. On the other hand, religion has caused an unbelievable amount of pain and anguish.

Religion by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I have no real problem with people following a particular faith provided they are not impeding on my rights. Herein lies the problem, however. Religions, typically, want their followers to bring more people into the religion. A few religions, such as Christianity and Mormonism, actively encourage their members to go out into the world and preach to the masses in an attempt to “convert” them. While I believe they have the right to do this, there is a limit. For instance, I have been approached before and expressed my desire to be left alone. Instead, this religious person persisted to the point of frustration. This is going too far.

But some take this even farther. Let’s look at history, shall we? We have the Crusades, Bible Riots, French War of Religion, Taiping Rebellion, Thirty Years War, and more. These were all massive conflicts resulting in a significant loss of life, all because of religion. This “My god is better than your god” crap really needs to stop. If you’re truly honest about it all, there is no way to prove one religion over another. And, funnily enough, the three “major” religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, are all quite closely related. In fact, they all share quite a bit of history and many of their stories are quite similar.

I also find it very interesting that most religions have a “golden rule” they promote, at least until it comes to someone who offends them. For instance, it’s pretty easy to find someone who will state that Islam is a religion of peace. Yet we have terrorists killing and maiming, all in the name of Islam. Simply drawing a cartoon has elicited death threats from some religious leaders. Likewise, we have Christians who say “do unto others as you would have done unto you” and yet they’re threatening to burn Qurans and some go as far as attacking and killing abortion doctors. Why would I want to align myself with a group of hypocrites?

Part of the problem here is that people get wrapped up in their religion and expect that everyone should be following the rules of their religion. But not everyone is part of their religion. And, of course, they get upset that their rules are being broken. I like how Penn Jillette approaches this (from the Penn Radio wikipedia entry):

Penn often made the point that you can break the rules of an organization you do not belong to. Non-freemason members are not allowed to wear the Mason ring according the Masonic rules, but these rules do not apply to non-Masons so they can wear the ring anyway.

Simply put, I’m not in your religion, so I don’t need to follow your rules.

I am convinced that religion is, perhaps, one of the largest problems with the world today. It seems that everything going on right now breaks down, one way or another, to religion. The 9/11 terror attacks? Religion. The current fervor over the planned Islamic center near the WTC memorial site? Religion. The Quran burning? Religion. Afghan and Iraq wars? Religion. The Tea Party? Ultimately, this seems to be breaking down to Religion again.

Again, I have no problem with religion, but leave me out of it. You can believe what you want, but don’t try to push it on me. I don’t beat you over the head with what I believe, do I? Seriously, if we have a conversation and you’re offended by it, or you don’t want to have that conversation, then simply stating so is typically enough to make me stop. And then I won’t bother you with it again… It’s like the whole gay-rights thing.. So what if they’re gay, they’re not forcing you to be gay, are they? No, they’re not. So get over yourself.

Finally, a bit of humor I stumbled upon.. This was apparently a forum posting somewhere, though I’m not aware of where. Still, it’s quite humorous and pretty accurate.

No, Muslims don’t believe that Jesus was the messiah.

This of it like a movie. The Torah is the first one, and the New Testament is the sequel. Then the Qu’ran comes out, and it retcons the last one like it never happened. There’s still Jesus, but he’s not the main character anymore, and the messiah hasn’t shown up yet.

Jews like the first movie but ignored the sequels. Christians thing you need to watch the first two, but the third movie doesn’t count. Muslims think the third was the best. And Mormons liked the second one so much they started writing fan fiction that doesn’t fit with ANY of the series canon.


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