The Religion Thing

Posted: 02/10/2012 in Ramblings

Don’t be fooled by the title. Despite my personal beliefs, no matter how based in fact they are, I’m not going to attack religion. Even though that goes against my base nature, I will refrain. Instead, this rant will be directed at religion as a whole. Not one particular religion and how ridiculous it is (Not the one you think) and certainly not the idiots that practice it. This will be a plea to what was once called common sense. It seems that it has become a rare commodity. Sort of like how critical thinking has gone the way of the Dodo.

Now, in light of recent events both domestically and abroad, I thought it would be appropriate to at least share my thoughts. Now, we know what has been going on with the Muslim community. We all know what is going on with the Christian community, and I hope we all know what is going on with Tibetan Buddhists. In case you’re wondering, the trend with the Tibetan Buddhists is self-immolation. Yea. But that is a whole political thing and isn’t relevant to the topic at hand. Or is it?

Isn’t the one thing (okay, more than one, but to stay on topic) these three religions have in common their increased political influence. Or at least their desire for it? I’d say the only one that has a just cause is the Buddhists. I may be a bit biased, though. Now, in America, we have the dwindling influence of the church in our politics, in Islamic countries we have the (perceived) almost iron-fisted influence of the Muslim religion. With Tibet, we have a country that just wants to be left alone. Now, things are a bit more complicated than what I’ve said, but for the purpose of the this entry, I will be as minimalistic as needed so as I don’t come off preachy. Too late, eh?

So, if your religion promotes a set of morally “righteous” rules that, on paper at least, are designed to bring out the best in people and promote understanding and peace, why do you cause so much trouble in its name? Christianity and Islam both have a set of guidelines that their faithful should follow, or at least try to in order to be closer to their god. In the case of each’s holy books, you have a set of guidelines that specifically talk about not murdering, lying, and being an all-around asshole while telling you that you should emulate the best qualities of man. These include being kind to your neighbor, tolerance, understanding, peace, love, respect, etc.

Now, the $64,000 question is how these two religions can cause their more extreme followers to commit atrocities in the name of these sets of beliefs. To keep the obvious things like torture and holy wars and murder out of the discussion, I can think of a few ways these extremists change the world around them(or attempt to at least). To bring up the basics, you can click this link.

For those of you too lazy, it gives a run down on the similarities between the two religions, but also the basic belief structures. The point isn’t to point out just how similar these two religions are, but their core beliefs that generally attract people to worship at their alters in the first place. These include, but are not limited to, living a good life, respecting others, doing good for the community as a whole and praising their god by living as close to their teachings as possible.

Now, how did this translate into what we have seen throughout history, and what we continue to see today?  Let’s look at what I’m talking about, shall we? Now, before I begin, I am not saying that all of the people who practice these religions think the things I point out. I am generalizing and I know that there are exceptions. I am merely pointing out what is seen the most. And why is it a stereotype? Because it is crazy enough to garner attention. Stay with me.

First, you have to look at contemporary Christianity. Despite what the book states (and like any belief structure, it is interpreted a thousand different ways to suit the needs of a particular person), you have a religion full of believers that are trying to enforce their beliefs on people regardless of what facts are presented to the contrary. Whether it is homosexuality, abortion, or something as open and shut as evolution, these people will dismiss facts in favor of die-hard beliefs. They will quote scripture as if it is proven fact. The funniest thing? The things they support have little to no base in reality. In most cases? They don’t stand up to basic science. Abortion? Regardless of how you feel about that hot-button topic, life starts at birth and the stage of development where it is legal to perform an abortion consists of little more than a bundle of cells. It is essentially a parasite with no significant development. No different than cutting out a tumor. They’re technically the same thing (rapid, uncontrolled cellular growth). Homosexuality? Where is it mentioned in your book? Oh! You mean that section that you are interpreting what you think is implied? It’s funny how you ignore the other things the have been stated. Things like a woman not being allowed to talk in church, or men being allowed to shave their faces/cut their hair. Simple things that are just as damnable as what you think is homosexuality. Why do these people feel compelled to force others to live according to a book that they themselves so loosely live by? It’s kind of strange right? It seems to go against that whole peace, love and respect thing, huh?

And don’t think I’m just picking on Christianity. Obviously Muslims are having a bit of a brain-fart as well right now. Not just with the fiasco with protesting any depiction of Muhammad either. I’m talking about the persecution of anyone thought of being a heretic (blasphemer) which goes right in tune with the Quran, right? Wait, you mean it doesn’t? It is just a bunch of people getting bent out of shape because someone dared to question/criticize their holy book? What about the second class citizen treatment of women and people of different faiths? Neither of these things is taught. It is interpreted. The extremely orthodox beliefs that cause intolerance, terror, and the complete opposite of what the religion represents. If you think that this is what the religion represents, you should look a little deeper than the crazy that you see on the news. In certain areas, there are bother Muslims as well as Christians that not only live in peace, but more-often-than-not rely on each other for support in their right to practice their differing beliefs. Such is the case with this particular group of people. That doesn’t really grab headlines, though, does it?

Now, with both of these things pointed out, you seem to have the complete opposite of what these people are supposedly full of -love. Instead of promoting peace, love, understanding, and living a “good” life, you have people trying to impose their beliefs on everyone. How is this “good?” How can your religion state one thing that you claim to believe, yet endorse (for the most part) the complete opposite in practice? How can they claim their holy books are the word of God (or directly inspired by the word of God), yet they are able to justify picking and choosing what they want to follow? You can’t claim superiority, religious right, or complete adherence when you you’re breaking the “word of God” while trying to enforce it. That is just common sense. It seems that people like to use religion to justify their particular brand of crazy and mob mentality. It’s sad that you have these two religions causing so much trouble for the supposed “greater good,” while you have a belief structure like Buddhism that has teenagers burning themselves alive for the right to live their lives according to their beliefs.

The other two I mentioned? They have no problems burning other people alive while claiming that those people were hindering their ability to worship. Strange, right? It seems to be everyone else’s fault that they aren’t able to live in a perfect bubble that allows them to live in ignorance without the real world hindering that with pesky logic. In the case of Christianity, you have people that think that they should be able to control how others live their lives (even if they aren’t Christian). With Islam you have people that live a text so literal that they have no room for the existence of any conflicting views. So much so, that they are willing to do what ever it take to change what they believe is offensive to them, while claiming protection for the offensive things they do.

Both polarizations seem to be completely oblivious that nowhere in their religion does it state that everyone should follow their rules, regardless of their own personal religion. Muslims, in particular, are supposed to be tolerant of other religions and one’s freedom to practice. Christianity, on the other hand, has a belief that anyone who hasn’t heard of Jesus to be exempt from the judgement of God. So much so that their Hell (which wasn’t really how we know it now until the “dark ages”) has a separate space set aside for all the people who lived before the religion was created where they can live in essentially a paradise for those ignorant of God’s grace. No torture, no judgement, just a nice little loophole being filled in after the fact.

You’re probably wondering why I mentioned Buddhism in this post. It is simple. I saw the news articles talking about this and then mentally compared it to the articles we, as a world, have been reading about the other two religions. How different these three sem to be in the eyes of a planet. You have two that seem to be spreading fear, hate and control. While a third just wants to be able to practice in peace and really doesn’t care about anyone else’s beliefs. It isn’t really a religion as much as it is a spiritual movement that just encourages leaving the world a better place than how you found it. Truly living a good life and respecting the life of everything around you to such an extent that you become enlightened from it. Contemplating your place in the universe while not judging and realizing how little control you actually have is a wonderful counter to the hate we see in the media where the other two religions are concerned. The thing that stuck out the most is that you don’t really see Christians or Muslims punishing themselves in protest. They go after other people and beliefs. Such a strange and refreshing (and deeply depressing) change of pace. By the by, anyone who stumbles upon this should Google the struggles Tibet has been dealing with over the past 50 years. It should really be on your radar. Sure, the Middle East and Africa have problems, but those are largely created by international intervention. Tibet has problems due to international ignorance.

It is nice to see how the organization of these religions that were created to make man better through a set of moral guidelines have been twisted and corrupted to such an extent that you now have these mockeries of what they were meant to be. You have people trying their best to control the lives of strangers, protesting even the most mundane of things, and trying to abolish certain lifestyles while ignoring any scripture that may prevent them from doing what they want. The funny thing about what I just said is that I can’t tell which of the two I was just describing in this conclusion. From the link I provided, you can see that there are people who know the difference between belief and fanaticism. Respecting others and their freedoms is a sure fire way to make yours more tolerable. It’s just a shame that we only see the bad, the crazy and the destitute in the news as opposed to the normal people that can worship with common sense instead of a freakish dedication that borders on a mental disorder. Now, my thoughts on these religions is a completely separate blog entry. One that I have already posted. Look for it.

Now, what I have said is a generalization. I’m not trying to offend anyone, you’d know it if I were. I’m merely pointing out what I find grotesquely hilarious. If anything the way the two religions have warped both themselves and those around them offends me. If you didn’t start hating me because of my humorous look at them (while attempting to inject a bit of information), you’re cool in my book. If you have a problem with anything I have said and can conduct yourself like a rational human being, please feel free to discuss it with me in the comments. If you want to fly off the handle and regurgitate wildly inaccurate hearsay like a child, write a letter and then burn it. I’ll try to post a new entry next week around the same time. Have a good week.

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