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To Believe or Not to Believe, That is the Question

Updated on May 15, 2019
Credit: Petr Kratochvil
Credit: Petr Kratochvil

For the most part, everything I've read here at HubPages shows tolerance and respect for alternative opinions. There is one topic, religion, that seems to be the proverbial hornet's nest but even so, what I've seen around here is mostly respect for others' beliefs.

I recently read a very honest hub, Tolerance, Awareness, Christians and Me! by VioletSun, which shows that tolerance starts in oneself, and a couple of days later I read a very elegant hub, Devine Delusions and Depravity, by ColdWarBaby (unfortunately no longer available), which demonstrates that one can strongly feel about an issue and be level-headed about it, no need to spill froth from one's mouth to make a statement.

Eventually, ColdWarBaby's hub inspired me to try my hand at explaining why I am not a believer and why I dislike and distrust organized religions. I'll try to do so with as much composure as these two hubbers managed their own hubs.

I THINK, THEREFORE... I THINK

"I see no possible way to link the rationality of science with the baseless dogma of any organized religion." ColdWarBaby

The one and only reason for me not to believe, not to have faith, is that I can't find any scientific, empiric explanation to the precepts of any religion, first and foremost the existence of a superior entity. A bit of a silly statement, I realize, because that is precisely the foundation of any organized religion on earth: believing without seeing. Faith is a conviction that doesn't require proof. Empirically speaking, here's the score: 

  • In my favor: The existence of god cannot be proved.
  • Against me: The existence of god cannot be disproved.

Seems a pretty straightforward tie, and I think we could all live in peace if we just accepted 1-1 and moved on with our business. That would be the ultimate exercise in tolerance: I cannot be convinced that god exists and a believer cannot be convinced of the opposite. No big deal, or it shouldn't be, because neither of us can affirm with absolute certainty that we are right.

The Rosetta Stone, British Museum
The Rosetta Stone, British Museum

ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY? ABSOLUTELY NOT

"Most people of reason agree that very little, if anything is 'carved in stone'. To those who think critically, absolutes are hard to come by."ColdWarBaby

Because I don't have proof that my lack of faith in the existence of a bigger, superior entity is in any shape or form The Truth, I am prepared to accept the uncertainty and consequently I'm prepared to accept that there are people who believe. Thankfully, that is also the case with many people of faith. They accept that I cannot share their conviction and, more importantly, my lack of conviction doesn't pose a risk to their own, the fact that I question God's existence doesn’t make them question the same thing. Maybe they wonder why I can't believe, as I wonder about their unmovable conviction, but we don't nag each other.

To me, this is the purest form of faith, and one I, as a non believer, am perfectly prepared and willing to coexist with, because these believers wouldn't think of imposing on me what they understand is a personal belief, an act of faith.

However, in my experience, when it comes to organized religions, this ideal 1-1 score that I wish would be the norm, where the only "absolute truth" is the one each person chooses for themselves, is actually the exception. No matter how accepting I am, no matter that I state, firmly and unequivocally, "all right, good for you to believe", that is hardly ever enough to get away unscratched from a face-to-face with organized religions of any denomination.

Each organized religion that I've ever seen first hand or heard in the distance states to hold the truth, in absolute terms. I continue to wonder how that's possible, how can anyone (never mind X different denominations of the same religion) use, consciously, an act of faith, a belief, to try and impose an absolute behavioral system to other human beings.

This would be my primary issue, the necessary absolutism of organized religions –they must be absolutist and exercise absolutism, because they can't allow being questioned (especially from within) –questions allow doubt to creep in, and doubt is the foundation of science, of empiric proof, which is diametrically opposed to "believing without seeing".

Credit: Mark Coldren
Credit: Mark Coldren

I TAKE ISSUE WITH ABSOLUTISM

I would suggest that it would be wise to avoid like the plague anyone who claims with absolute certainty that his or her way is the only one."ColdWarBaby

While I continue to admit that the existence of god cannot be proved nor disproved, I think there is empiric evidence to state that absolutism, be it moral or politic, has had a negative impact in humanity over history. Absolutism, of any kind, implies that there cannot be deviations from the absolute norm and, consequently, it forbids individual minds to prevail and furthermore it seeks "conversion" of any discrepant behaviors.

Absolutism, of any kind, has caused devastating wars, people to be imprisoned for their ideas, people to be burnt at the stake, people to "sacrifice" themselves to kill thousand others that aren't "believers in the same god"... Yes, I think there is empiric proof that absolutism is rather harmful for humankind.

Still, when it comes to religious absolutism, there will be people who justify it and its consequences because it's, well, an undisputable conviction. It cannot be argued with reason, it just is believed.

I find it very distressing, incomprehensible really, that people who believe in a morally absolute system, such as is the existence of god as origin and fundament of everything else, resort to moral relativism when it suits their purpose to justify their acts or, simply, their "reasoning".

So, "thou shall not kill" only applies when suitable, crusades are fine because they are in the name of god. How about "judge not, least ye be judged", or "let him who is without sin cast the first stone". And what of my all time favorite about turning the other cheek? I have yet to stumble upon an organized religion that ever turned its other cheek in the face of my questions, in the face of my doubts, or that didn't judge my lifestyle, or that didn't throw stones to any opposition (and quite literally, too, lapidating adulterous women is still a valid practice in some places) in spite of its own human and, consequently, imperfect nature.

Credit: Robert Kraft
Credit: Robert Kraft

I CAN LIVE WITHOUT PROOF. SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

As I said earlier, if a believer lets me keep my score of 1, I have no problem whatsoever with letting them keep their tie to 1, regardless of how impossible it is for me to subscribe. Neither of us can prove our cases, so we let them rest, we agree to disagree. This peace treaty ends the moment a believer goes to all lengths to win an impossible to win match, it ends when absolutism enters stage left.

Last time I checked, "because I say so" wasn't an acceptable explanation to defend that god doesn't exist. However, organized religions seem to think "because [god, the bible, my church,... ] says so" is a perfectly valid explanation for their beliefs, and not only that, they seem to think it's a valid explanation to criticize any discrepant opinions! What on earth? I can't get away with it, but if it's written in an all-time best seller then it must be True? Now, hang on, I'm sure it's not so easy, because "Harry Potter" has sold billions of copies and people just don't go around saying it's The Truth, much less perpetuate unfairness on its name. And we're back to square one, we either agree to disagree, because neither of us is right nor wrong, or we have a problem.

And I do have a problem with organized religions, the lot of them insist that they are right and I am wrong, and really, I refuse to let an argument as childish and unreasonable as "because I say so" win this battle. I cope very well with a believer telling me "let me explain why God exists to me", or "believing makes me feel whole", or "believing brings me inner peace". In fact, I have no valid arguments against these ideas, nor any desire to dispute them. I don't cope at all when the only explanation I get is "because I say so". To make matters worse, this absolute, brooks no arguments "because I say so" is often followed by condemn and damnation.

And why would that be, I ask myself? The only logic explanation that I can find to the usual threats of hell and burning eternally is that there is no other way to push me to believe, or to act as if I believe. You must believe, or else. Again, absolutism. If I don't believe willfully, then I will be made to believe by fear of consequences (no joke, either, or ask the "witches" in the middle ages, or ask docs that work at abortion clinics about the bomb threats).

A rather obnoxious logic, to my unbelieving mind, because if I can't accept that the bible says so, or god says so, or the next-door neighbor says so, whatever gave anyone the idea that I will believe there are any repercussions to not believing? Regardless, the attempt to subjugate my free will is there, present and accounted for, whether I feel threatened or not is another matter.

FREE WILL AND TOLERANCE

I've explained why I dislike and distrust organized religions. I hope I didn't come across as just another sort of fundamentalist with my opinions. In closing, I will borrow yet another of CWB's gems: 

"You can choose fact or faith. You can be indecisive and choose neither but, in so doing, you have still made a choice. In order to choose anything you must accept the existence of free will; that is what making a choice requires."ColdWarBaby

I choose fact over faith, and I don't make that choice to annoy anyone, or to go against anything, and definitely not to be disrespectful to beliefs of others.  I exercise my free will to choose fact over faith because I can't conceive choosing to ignore fact.  Would organized religions please respect this choice? 

The beginning of the end of any respect I may have had for any rep of any organized religion that stopped by to have a chat is when I see any attempt to curb my free will, my personal choice.  When I get damnation instead of acceptance or dialogue, I cease to listen (oh, call me childish, will you) and I start to mentally fight it, because really, I was just trying to understand and accept that others had these beliefs, but in my core I simply don't believe. So I no longer want to tie this match, I want to win it.  And here you have it, the beginning of my own empiric brand of intolerance.

"Willful ignorance is a state of mind against which, seemingly, no amount of reason can prevail." – ColdWarBaby

© 2008 Elena.

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    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      10 years ago from Madrid

      Thanks, DeBorrah -- Glad that you found it thought provoking. I totally respect your beliefs and your seeking the truth, even though I don't share the belief or the search. But, like I said in this essay, the world is a big enough place for your beliefs and my lack of thereof :-) Peace to you.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      10 years ago

      Elena your article was thought provoking and well written. I am a believer. My Faith and Belief is in God not in the way many practice religion. I also believe that if you are sincerely looking for Truth you will find Him... Blessings

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      10 years ago from Madrid

      Thanks, Jewels! Same here, but I don't have a problem whatsoever with whoever finds comfort and satisfaction with faith, long as they don't try and convert me :-)

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 

      10 years ago from Australia

      Great hub Elena. I agree with it all, how could I not.  For me faith was never going to work. I had to delve into consciousness to get some satisfaction.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      10 years ago from Madrid

      Thank you, maggs. Jesus and his word evoke acceptance and "love thy neighbor" type of thoughts to me, regardless whether I believe or not. But what I usually hear in reference to Jesus and God is so far from those concepts that I can't help but.... sulk :-) and go sit in the other corner. I'm glad you found some "truth" in this article.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 

      10 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I love God I surely do but, as for those people who claim to be His followers who do and say such cruel and hateful things now that is something that I have a hard time understanding.

      I think that Jesus Himself would agree with more of what you have written in this hub than he would find to disagree with. As for organized religion Jesus called or likened people like that to whitewashed tombs an illustration of the contrast between the sanctimonious professions of the Pharisees (organised religion) and their unholy lives. Just like you Jesus couldn’t swallow it either and if you do manage to swallow it like all toxins it will only make you sick. Another excellent hub extremely well written well done.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      10 years ago from Madrid

      Hi, Dolores! Thanks for the comment! If they could all just be nice the world would be a better place, I think. As I said just a moment ago in my other "religion" hub, I don't have a single problem with beliefs, it's the absolutism of organized religions that I can't swallow :-)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      10 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Very thoughtful hub, Elena. I think the problem some people have with organized religion is the heirarchy and the authority and, as you stated, the absolutism. If they could all just be nice.....

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 

      11 years ago from Texas

      Yes, ramming their beliefs down people's throats is part of their belief system! :D

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Good for you, Suzanne :-) I wrote this a while ago, after a week or two of "intense religion discussion" here at HP. I didn't know better then, but soon found out that in this forum religious types behaved pretty much like anywhere else: they just seemed to want to ram their beliefs down everyone else's throats, and I just wanted to state that's not really necessary, since the fact I don't believe is really NO threat to them. Oh well, in future I'm bound to stay away from religion topics :-)

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 

      11 years ago from Texas

      You are brave to tackle this. I will never put my belief system down in black and white because it is my own. I have no qualms nor doubts, and other people can believe whatever they want to. I simply have no will to argue or even discuss the matter! :D

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hi Vladimir – Thanks for your comment!

      I've read a couple papers that sustain there may be a genetic predisposition towards faith (accepting without seeing, so to speak) –in the same way there can be a predisposition to have certain diseases.  I DON'T mean to compare faith to a disease, just to respond to your point that there could be a predisposition.  This, however, needs to be sustained by nurturing –faith is not embedded in any gene, it's not nature but nurture.

      Reasoning is not genetic either –what's genetic is the ability to make the neurons work, to connect the dots, so to speak.  There is evidence to sustain that.

      About what we believe without seeing, the degree to which each of us does that varies depending on the individual. I may believe things I haven't seen with my eyes but for which there is evidence to sustain the belief, which is entirely different to believing 99% of stuff which we don't see. 

      To me, faith is believing something without any evidence to sustains it.  May as well be god of any other thing.  Then, of course, faith and religion aren't the same thing –faith is the foundation of religion :-)

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      11 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Elena. Did you ever consider that the faith is a genetic and we had it before reasoning?

      Secondly, everything what we do not see we believe. For what we see we need only eyes not the faith.  We see only 1%, rest what we don't see is faith - 99%.

      Then faith (in God) and religion are two different things. To my view God is not religious at all.

      :-)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks for seeing it my way! :-) Seriously, though, thanks for your comment, and I'm glad the 1-1 concept resonates with others out there!

    • Jennifer Bhala profile image

      Jennifer Bhala 

      11 years ago from Upstate New York

      I agree. 1-1

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      All right, let's rock! :-) Thank you, Lifebydesign!

      "Level- headed" I'll take as high praise, because I made a serious effort at being just that in this hub.

    • Lifebydesign profile image

      Lifebydesign 

      11 years ago from Australia

      I think that you're willing to keep an open mind is in itself a really good place to be in. And I loved the way you referenced other hubs here, plus it was level-headed and a good read! Rock on.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Elena right on!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Yes, sixtyorso, I understood! Sorry if I came across as not getting it! I just meant, for each of us there are different ways to "smell the roses" or reach nirvana or whatever! I agree with you: It's for each to resolve the mystery, or leave it unresolved! :-)

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Elena I was certainly not trying to convince you to believe in a supreme being but merely stating my viewpoint.

      My comment on taking time to smell the roses was an affirmation that we need to be tolerant and pause to enjoy life ourselves without being forced into any belief. hence keeping your 1-1 score. I very much doubt that I am at risk to be condemned. But that that is the one mystery we each to get to solve uniquely for ourselves once we shuffle off this mortal coil. I certainly can't remember anything before I was born. Unfortunately for the miltant convincers, faith is just that, faith and is a blind acceptance not proof or absolute in any form.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Thanks for commenting, Mike! Yes, the incongruence of assuming to know anything with absolute conviction, is so ludicrous that it'd make me laugh –if it weren't for the fact that the hate it generates is the undoing of this earth's creatures! The thing is, if one is a believer, one ought to be consequent, and not think that they know god's plan, because that would defeat god's omnipotence, wouldn't it?

    • Mike the salesman profile image

      Mike the salesman 

      11 years ago from birmingham alabama/sherwood oregon

      great artcle "dear lord, save me from your followers" religion is a divide... and I feel even God is against religion..how pious the tv preacher with bad hair and dimples, assuming to know exactly the almighty's omni plan!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hi Amanda!  Thanks for the kind words!  I'm with you that in this type of debate neither party is usually successful in changing the other's mind, but I'm still willing to keep a debate open, because, as I just said in my previous comment, I find closed mindedness detestable.

      You make a valid point that the "attempted recruitment" may respond to a self-verification process.  Here's the first big crack in the wall of this brand of absolutist faith, if someone so absolutely believes something, why the need to convince me?

      Like I said, I'll rather live and let live :-)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Thank you, Pam!   Yes, absolutism gets to me, in any shape or form, really -- that anyone may think that there's only one valid explanation or one valid opinion is beyond my comprehension.

      If I aspire to others respecting my opinion, I ought to repay in kind, even if I don't share this or that view, or I become my own little absolutist gremlin :-)  Just like I said in the hub, though, I've had little luck in life with organized religions respecting my opinion and, VERY sadly, I don't think I'm the only one who's been unlucky that way --other believers like you sixtyorso above are also "at risk to be condemned", just because you may be ready to listen to dissenting opinions with an open mind.

      Keeping an open mind is key to coexistence, but it's totally opposed to absolutism, hence my concluding that absolutism is very harmful to humankind.

      I'm very glad that the comments I got to this hub reflect precisely the sentiment I was trying to capture: live and let live.

      Best to you!

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      11 years ago from UK

      Hi Elena,

      This is a very well-written and well-thought out hub. Religion and politics are two topics absolutely guaranteed to ignite debate on HubPages. I don't know that any of us ever change eachothers beliefs in the process of debating, especially as it's mostly the same old crew getting together, but hey, it's good to hear a different viewpoint!

      Like you, I'd love to see greater tolerance in the world, but I suspect that a desire to recruit new disciples is all part of a complex self-verification process.

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 

      11 years ago from Virginia

      Elena, I am in total awe, and I can't believe I missed this gem at least a week ago. You've stated yourself with such dignity, openness, logic, and eloquence that people can't help but except your position and admire your thoughts.

      Religious absolutism is what has always gotten to me as well. It's what keeps me from joining any organized religion at this point in my life even though I believe in God. For example, the God I know is an all loving, all forgiving God. So why would he condemn anyone to eternal damnation as some religions believe?

      I could go on, but what I think really doesn't matter. As you've said, all that really matters is that we simply accept the beliefs of others and practice tolerance.

      Excellent hub! :)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Thank you, sixtyorso!   I totally respect that you believe in a supreme being, for the reasons you mention or, really, for any others.  I just don't need to, in order to smell the roses and admire the magnificence of the Universe :-)

      The reasons for each of us to find joy or peace in what we see or experience or for the way we live our lives, are our own, and my one issue here is when someone tries to "make me see the light" in order to find any joy in the smell of the roses!

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent hub I totally agree on the problem of organized religions trying to force dogma on the non-believers, but unlike you, I do believe there is a supreme being. One only has to look at a beautiful sunset, a storm, lightening, the diversity of the creatures of nature, as well as the wonderful flora in this world, the magnificance and the vast splendour of a desert, or a tropical island. the beautiiful human form, each so different, yet so similiar. The fact is that to the present time and possibly (but neccessarily probably) by sheer accident, we are the only inhabited planet in our universe. But what caused that accident of carbon, oxygen hydrogen and nitrogen to occur?

      One simply has to take the time to smell the roses!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Thanks, Paraglider!  Having read your hub on sin, including the thousand comments AND the postscript, I'd say so, we are on the same page.  Your patience seems far superior to mine, though, I'm not ashamed to admit!

      That hub, plus all your extremely well thought out replies to ALL sorts of comments, make me very glad to have you visiting!  Muchas gracias!

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      11 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Elena - very good hub. I think we are more or less on the same page here.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Really, Ayer! :-) Thanks for the vote of confidence!  You've never seen me lose my cool, because, well, because that usually  happens past your bedtime :-*

      Hi everyone - Ayer knows me in the flesh, but, ahem, not in the biblical sense!  (:-P   Seemed kind of appropriate to point that you in the context of this hub!  Laugh!

    • profile image

      Ayer 

      11 years ago

      Hi Leni! I think you took it off your chest rather diplomatically, considering how strongly you feel about this.Hi everyone! I know Elena in the flesh, it's true she doesn't have a lot of patience for "impositions", particularly of religious nature, but I have never seen her lose her cool, she is a lot more tolerant than she gives herself credit for. By everyone! :-)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Thanks for stopping by, CW!  Yes, I'm closer to agnosticism, although I much favor your own statement to leave nomenclatures aside :-)

      Whatever works for you, nobody should be able to take it away, that's my whole point!

      VioletSun – Thanks for the tip, I'll check Paraglider's hub, the title sounds promising! :-)

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      11 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Elena: There is a hub by Paraglider that may interest you:

      https://hubpages.com/hub/I-am-not-a-Sinner?comment

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 

      11 years ago from Washington, USA

      Elena- On many things in life even I feel the same. I guess you are closer to being called agnostic rather than as a atheist. But enough said about these nomenclature I guess one has to grow up to realize for oneself rather than being brought up in a certain way. As for me I feel it is easier to merge in a social group having a certain faith unlike not subscribing to any belief system. Good hub.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 

      11 years ago

      I can't fault you for that Elena. I've spent literally hours talking to people who rang my doorbell so they could try to sell me their version of salvation. It's a hollow victory when they finally get up and leave because they can't find easy answers to the questions I pose. I know that as soon as they're out the door they either dismiss me completely from their thoughts or spend the next fifteen minutes talking about how damned I am.

      I'm glad to know that you're still striving for a tie.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hi CWB!  It was my pleasure to quote you, and an honor, you really helped frame my thoughts around this very complex topic.  Your praise means the world because I really look up to the masterful way you framed your own opinion!

      I was also a bit saddened to conclude the way I did, I did so in an attempt to be completely honest.  It is still 100% true that I subscribe to live and let live, 1-1, I don't need to work much on that , I think I've got it down par :-) it's just that when it comes to organized religions I'm hardly ever faced with anyone that is willing to let it be a tie, and consequently, I then enter the realm of intolerance myself, it seems my mind keeps refusing to be "becaused I said so"!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hi GT!  Thanks for stopping by!  Your comment made me laugh, heartily! :-) 

      Here in cyber world I tend to get away from close-minded little people trapped in little boxes with their little thoughts, but I have trouble to do the same in real life.  Whoops!  Organized religions really push my buttons out there!  Maybe it's because I can't help seeing what these people trapped in little boxes do the come out on top of any arguments!

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 

      11 years ago

      I’m pleased to say I believe you’ve outdone me Elena. I am also pleased that I was, even in part, able to nudge you just that little bit needed to get this gem written. And very well written it is.

      You return to one theme several times; leave it a tie, 1 to 1, agree to disagree, honor a person’s right to their beliefs as long as they don’t try to shove them down your throat against your will. This is the key. This is the path to peace. Mutual acceptance, tolerance and understanding. To disagree without rancor or hostility is the highest level of agreement that can be reached between individuals. In Buddhism it would probably be considered a step toward nirvana.

      3. Perhaps the most misunderstood term in Buddhism is the one which refers to the overcoming of attachment: nirvana. It literally means "blowing out," but is often thought to refer to either a Buddhist heaven or complete nothingness. Actually, it refers to the letting go of clinging, hatred, and ignorance, and the full acceptance of imperfection, impermanence, and interconnectedness.

      The “divine consciousness” that VioletSun refers to doesn’t bother me at all. I think of it as the unique, completely impartial energy that imbues every living thing in the universe with life. It is a force that is utterly nonjudgmental; no punishment, no reward, only being. As I’ve said, life is the only thing I am willing to consider sacred. Sacred and divine are pretty much the same thing.

      The one thing that saddens me a bit is your closing. Are you sure you don’t want to continue working for that 1 to 1 tie? Personally, I still welcome it whenever I can find it. It’s the first step toward peace. If enough of us can reach that place we will have progressed that much closer to ending all conflict and oppression and moved that much closer to being the family that humanity is meant to be.

      A really excellent essay Elena. Beautifully constructed and very eloquent. I am honored to be quoted here. Thank you.

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 

      11 years ago from Free and running....

      Elena, I am fairly new to hubpages but I can see these hot button topics are the religious ones and I enjoyed your article even though I don't exactly believe what you believe. Sometimes, I can't handle some of the higher than thou attitude of some hubbers, but then I think about it and laugh and thank God I am me and not someone trapped in a liitle box filled with small thoughts.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Thanks for commenting, VioletSun!  I guess we're of a mind, then :-)  As I tried to explain here, I willingly coexist with anyone that doesn't try and impose their view of the world on me.  It's called respect, as you said. My usual reaction to an imposition, however, tends to be rejection. I especially have a hard time when impositions are in the area of beliefs, because who's to say that mine aren't as valid as anyone else's?  My "issue" with organized religions is that they have proved, once and again, that one either subscribes or one is in trouble.  For all the preaching about "love thy neighbor", I see a lot more hate than love if one is not likeminded.

      Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      11 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Elena: I personally don't belong to any religion, but I do believe in the existence of a divine consciousness, even though none of us really know what that Consciousness is like. I have found that throughout the years many of my beliefs has changed as I explored, read, and introspected. Sometimes, my beliefs changed because I saw that what I clung to no longer worked.

      Its a little scary for me when folks cling blindly as in absolutism to their perceptions without keeping their minds open to see the world in a different way; it not only stunts their own evolution, but imposes on others.

      I perfectly can co-exist with agnostics, atheists, Christians, Muslims, Pagans, and more (and have interacted with this diverse group) as long as we respect one another.

      Very well thought out article!

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