. . . address the issue of safety, violence, and problems that have stemmed from religion.
I am currently reading a brilliant book by Jack Henry Abbott called, In the Belly of the Beast. Jack Abbott (an inmate) and a writer wrote letters to each other for years. This book was published with only the one side of the corresponsdance: Abbott's letters.
It is a fantastic read, and I recommend it to anyone who likes racy and shocking novels about life as an inmate. The reason why I bring this up is because I want to share a few religion quotes with you. Keep in mind that Abbott is an atheist.
"I find the human element in all religions very beautiful and touching. Religious ideas move me very much, almost as much as the people who hold those beliefs. I am moved by the knowledge that you find consolation in religious existentialism . I wish I could."
Occasionally, I feel that way. It is extremely comforting to believe and have faith, and sometimes I wish I could, but I know that I can't. I really like the way Abbott puts it.
So, it's not a huge problem if I don't believe, but it royally sucks for someone in prison. Even if you are completely irrational in your religious beliefs, I am sure it is very nice to have that kind of consolation and that inkling of happiness. I can't see how that can be bad or do any damage to others.
In cases like that, I understand why people turn to religion. It is in dire situations and circumstances that people turn to the divine. I do not see a problem in that because if you have nothing left and really nothing else to hope for, then why not? It is people who use Jesus Christ and God as an excuse that really bother me. I find it illogical and irrational when one says that they have "God" on their side, especially when it is to do with war and killing. By saying that they have "God" on their side makes them, supposedly, more powerful and more believable. I remember being in North Carolina, and it said God Bless America on a milk jug we bought. My Dad thought it was absolutely ridiculous; we laughed but were somewhat shocked that this was written on a milk jug. Besides, why is it that God blesses America? Why not God bless Lesotho? Why do the Americans get God's approval and the rest of us don't?
I don't like those who preach, those who push religion on others, and those who are extremists.
As much as religion can be a safety to some, it is a danger and problem to others. Weak-minded people or people who have grown up in a religious environment are often inculcated with many religious beliefs. They never question them and accept them as being the truth. They think there is no other right way, rather than their own. They are not open to others ideas and are hopelessly stuck in their ways. Also, we must not forget that there are those who explode after years of "fundamentalist" Christianity and go the complete other way.
Hence, it is not only in religion that extremism occurs; any kind of extremism is a kind of close-mindedness. I mean, it is good to be devoted to your cause, but when you are just so far one way, you're practically blind. Opinions become facts. I think that's also dangerous.
I am quite against for what most of the Catholic church stands for, mainly on account of their basic values being flooded with "being a good Christian" and all the added baggage that goes with it. Like I previously mentioned, I do not like the church telling me how to vote, how to have a good marriage, and basically how to run my life.
Again, on the flip side, I don't find that everyone who is "religious" is bad and irrational.
Don't tell me that you haven't felt safe from something irrational before. People feel safe when they have a night light on. People feel safe when they sing to themselves when they are alone. People feel safe when they ignore potential danger around them. People feel safe when they are ignorant. This is not always a bad thing.
So, what am I trying to say here? I am tempted to say everything in moderation and nothing to the extreme, but that's not quite the point I am making. I think religion has caused much violence and strife over the years, but it has also been the cause of many people's consolation, just to get through life a little easier. Tons of Christians have not done any wrong and live very similarly to many other atheists. If their Christianity cult helps them get through life better without harming others, then I say go for it.
I do not believe in God. Like Abbott says, sometimes I wish I could. It is just something I cannot fathom now. It doesn't make sense to me; it's impossible. At the moment, I believe that we have made up God, just so we can feel a little more secure. People can find coincidences anywhere, if they look hard enough.
So, me, religion-wise, in a nutshell? I am an atheist who is in love with the story, music, and style of the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar.
I have decided not to call this entry "Religion" because I am not at all familiar with religions such as Buddhism, Islam, and so on, so I figure I should just stick with what I know.