What is religion other than a man made attempt to put God in a box and burden people with rules and ceremonies?
Take Christianity, I read yesterday yet a other hub by a well meaning Christian exhorting 'true' Christians to pay more attention to prayer, reading the bible, being holy, as well as other hoops to jump through or spiritual hurdles to vault over. What is the end goal of all this self sacrificing effort? Get a better heavenly reward or blessing from God; to feel better about oneself, thinking Jesus is smiling at you; to be a shining example to the wicked atheists in the hope that beautiful lifestyles convict the atheist of sin? I spent 25 years going through all this malarkey and in the end I decided it was such a tiresome bore. I wish I'd spent my time enjoying life rather than questioning every life decision or action as to whether it pleased God or not. Of course Christians might variously talk about picking up crosses, putting hands to the plough, or being filled with the power of the holy spirit, but I've been there, seen it, done it, got the t-shirt. Was my life more fulfilled than my contemporaries? No. Are family members still in the evangelical churches better off on any way? No, they are miserable, unfulfilled and penniless. This evening I read another hub warning Christians about the dangers of celebrating Christmas with all sorts of scriptures to back up their argument. What, do they suppose Christmas Christians are going to go to hell or something? "Bugger off and get a life".
I've seen various documentaries on orthodox Jewish communities, and on the face of it they appear to have an enviable sense of community and belonging. But where is the joy in having to wash your hands and a cup 7 times before having a cup of tea? One man said that sometimes it was so much bother going through all the ceremonial palaver before a meal that he chose to go hungry instead. Ask them why they cant open the fridge door on the Sabbath or wear polyester-cotton, and all you'll get is "That's the law".
Islam looks like being a life of miserable pain; all that prostrating prayer 5 times a day, enforced memorising of the quran, and no beer or bacon sandwiches. Is God supposed to be impressed by this self flagellation? All because one man 1600 years ago wrote a book, claimed Gabriel dictated it to him, and nobody is allowed to question it.
Each of these religions and the subfactions within them claim they are the true believers; that by some strange logic their scriptures or interpretations are the only valid ones. We know the Jews rewrote and edited the Old Testament centuries after they used to claim they were originally written. Surely Moses never got the law from God because it's full of institutionalised sexism and racism, and there is not a shred of evidence Exodus took place. Christians wilfully ignore the fact that the bible is riddled with inconsistency and has a dubious canonisation. Muslims are blind to the concept that Mohamed's claims are unsupported. And all of these people choose to submit themselves to rules and regulations written to control civilisations and cultures that died centuries ago without questioning their applicability today.
If God is real I put it that he is above your religions and petty rules, and just wants you to enjoy life without causing harm to others.
I feel do much better now that's off my chest.
"What is religion other than a man made attempt to put God in a box and burden people with rules and ceremonies?"
The defense mechanism of self-aware creatures that guards against the existential angst of not knowing exactly how or why we exist?
Mmm, I cannot dispute your point, though I wish reality was different.
God is love. Men seek god's forgiveness for their petty crimes, but they must not forget that ignorance will not save them. And, yes my friend, god is above all religions and all rules. God has the power to give and the authority to take instead he allows us to move with our free will. If not, then there would not be so many religions and beliefs, but only Love.
Sorry you feel this way Disappearinghead. To me there is a difference in building a relationship and building religion.
But I did all the 'building a relationship' thing. I prayed about stuff, never saw a healing, a miracle, anything out of the ordinary, and what I assumed or was told was God talking in that still small voice was no different from what the atheist calls a hunch or subconscious thought processing. Whether I prayed about a situation or didn't pray, there was no discernible difference. Christians might talk about a relationship with Jesus but what they actually experience is no different from what an unbeliever experiences. I believe I can say that because I've been on both sides of the fence and spent a lot of time with close friends from both camps. Christians go to Church, feel uplifted and have a nice social gathering, others feel uplifted at a concert and have nice social times down the pub over a few beers. I've met Christians at all levels of socio-economic status, and overall, they are no better off than unbelievers, in terns of health, wealth, or fulfilment. If they do feel better or more fulfilled, it is likely that this is the result of the act of belonging to a social club aka church.
Have been on both sides too. Will think about the differences between us.
If there is a God there would be some statistical evidence that would tell us who is right. Who's prayer work? I've seen a lot of people make miraculous claims about prayer and healing, but when we look at the data we find it doesn't move mountains. A walk into any cancer ward will show you that cancer doesn't discriminate along any lines. My cousin lost his 7 year old a few months back despite the desperate prayers of thousands from various religions. Statistics don't lie.
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