I personally have nothing against religion, because when you really think about it, it’s something that’s so deeply personal to so many that explaining it or justifying it kind of beats the point, or dispelling it for that matter. Everyone has their own interpretation of their religion. Religion provides comfort and warmth to many: the sick, the poor, the lonely. It’s a one-stop for one’s emotional needs, and with the world we live in today, who can blame anyone for seeking solace in a higher power. A lot of faith-based organizations are active in various programs that endeavour to make the world a better place. Wisdom, even, is to be found in religion. I’m quite fond of Ecclesiastes. It puts things in perspective. This is as far as my dance with The Almighty goes.
My gripes? First, being told to believe unquestioningly. Now, I have no problem being hopeful and optimistic and hanging on to my dreams, but everything should be touched by reason. I’m extremely uncomfortable being told what to think. Better it is one expresses their opinions and let every one else come to their own conclusions. Let people think for themselves. I have looked and listened and I’ve thought for myself. That’s all I’m willing to say about that at this point.
Secondly, the religions I’ve been largely exposed to, the Judaeo-Christian religions Christianity and Islam, have a dangerous underlying theme: you’re not good enough and God is displeased with you, unless you do what He says. As if its not bad enough to go through each day doing our best with what we have, now I’m not worth a damn?! I guess I can see the point: if you want to control someone, tell them (or, better yet, show them) they have a seemingly intractable problem and then provide the solution. Reinforce any feelings of inadequacy, and if there are none, make them. Taking Christianity as an example, the underlying premise of salvation is that we’re somehow tainted and we need to repent and get saved from sin, sin that we were supposedly born (and, extrapolating backwards, created) with. So, just to be clear, I was created with something bad in me and it’s my fault and my responsibility to take care of it by getting saved? Hmmm. Let that last statement sink in.