Every day, as I read more reports of the divisive and violent nature of religious belief, I am drawn more and more to the conclusion that somehow mankind must rid itself of all religious belief, and return to a simpler, more natural, spirituality. I don’t care what the religion is: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, name one, the more devout religious people claim to be, the more discordant they become, as each group tries to prove that they are the only path to understanding your place in the universe, assuring you, in fact, that if you don’t follow their path, then you are on your way to eternal suffering as a result.
You don’t need any long treatise; Bible, Koran, whatever religious tract you can find amongst moldering books on a shelf, to explain your relationship to the universe from which you sprang, and these books tend to be more outdated political, legal, and moral sermons than anything else, often contradicting themselves to the point that you can make the argument that the truest believers are, in fact, the most confused, often confused to the point that Christians will convince themselves that the “Prince of Peace” would somehow want them to kill in his name. “Onward Christian Soldiers” is probably the most idiotic hymn I have ever heard, because it places the image in my mind of a man who refused to oppose the people trying to kill him, who went placidly to his own death, as exhorting others to kill with his blessing.
Again, nonsense. And I think if I could meet him today, Jesus would agree.
All philosophy, and its strange, muttering cousin, religion, is an attempt to explain our place in the universe, nothing more. Some of the other philosophies I have encountered make the statement that if you try to make a religion of them, they will elude you. They make this statement for a purpose. Religion, at its best, is a veil across your mind’s eye, preventing you from seeing the truth clearly, while, at its worst, it is, and always will be, criminal psychosis, where God is your excuse for killing, as with Osama Bin Laden, or Dylan Roof.
The most insidious effect of religion in our lives is hidden however. Religion is our escape from ultimate responsibility, our excuse to do whatever we want in the world, without regard to consequence, because we can always appeal to a higher authority, one which can never be proved, or denied, and this is why our religious belief today is such a danger to future generations. There is no mythical God who will bail them out someday, when our refusal to accept that our actions in life affect them, and create a world filled with disaster for them, believing all the while that that same mythical God will tell us that it’s okay, when we get to heaven, because he was in charge of everything.
My appeal here is that we, as a species, finally turn away from the gods that we have created in our minds, and turn to a more fundamental view of what the universe is, and who we are within it. We must turn our eyes from the heavens, and toward the earth, before it’s too late for those who come after us. We must turn our eyes from the west, and toward the east, away from trying to prove mythical realms where our gods can exist, and toward the realization that all we see, and all of us, are God, if you choose to call it that. Being God is an awesome responsibility, and we really have to take it more seriously than we do today.