- Religion and Philosophy
Why And How Organized Religions Like Christianity Have Failed.
Why Organized Religions Bug Me. Having To Scratch That Nasty Itch Again.
I must say I feel like I got bit again and the rash I'm looking down at looks nasty and raw. But scratch it I must so here goes nothing. There is always something in the news that makes me question the religious integrity of groups of worshippers and their committment to the true tenents and teachings of their professed religions. Just yesterday a church group threatened a mass protest at a funeral. For God's sake what were they thinking? Seems a young serviceman who served our country and was tragically killed couldn't be buried in peace. This so called church had a miscellaneous gripe and sees fit to make their point at the expense of this young man and his bereaved family. Luckly the community showed up to form a human chain to protect the family from such an unholy outrage and the church didn't show up to protest as promised. But sadly this so called church is gaining a reputation for such antics. What's going on? Recently a so called pastor in the U.S. called for the persecution and extermination of people he didn't even know, by the U.S. government no less. He wants the U.S. government to do his dirty work for him. What a swell guy. What nerve. Question is why does he think this sick kind of rhetoric will find a welcoming audience in our great nation founded on personal liberty? Ok plain and simple it's about gay people. You know what, I'm not really all that comfortable about the gay thing myself. But I believe the difference how I think about the issues regarding sexual prefrences is due to my understanding about biology and the teachings of great wise men like Buddha and Jesus. Just because you feel uncomfortable about something doesn't mean you have the right to try and destroy it or spread untruths about it or make unfair comparisons about it. Some people see the world in black and white even though we live in a world full of colors. Truth is the world is a bit more complex then they like and they have trouble dealing with this fact.
I must admit I'm not one who values organized religions all that much although I have spent my life fascinated by them and their effects on history, societies and individuals. I can understand the human need for spirtuality and the hope it can afford those in need especially in times of crisis. This fascination has led me as an artist to study comparative religions to find out as best I could where and how they fail. I do however consider myself a very spirtual person and have even experienced what some would call a religious revelation when I was young. It almost felt like I was being called to service humanity and the world because of this revelation of insight. At that moment everything seemed so clear to me and I felt I was given this gift of insight for a reason. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
As all this was spinning in my head a little character on my shoulder told me not to get too carried away by these visions and told me to remain true to myself. I knew if I went down the religious path my life would change and I wasnt sure I wanted that change. After all even then I basically rejected the notions of organized religion and with good reason. I decided to shape my life by this revelation but not come out of the revelation closet. I wasn't a priest or holyman. One of the things that started becoming apparent to me due to the insight of this so called revelation was that there were many so called followers and leaders of religions that dressed in the cloaks of their religions but in fact had lost their way or were just plain devious. They were nit picking verses left and right to justify their unholy behavior. It became clear to me why religions must have new reformers every so often. The original message was being lost in time. To give you an example, they pull out verses that refer to the death of deaths and say, see they should die. It says death. But my feelings are they can't possibly understand the verse because of all the corrupted translations over time and cultures. Good chance the words death of deaths they grasp on is a total misunderstanding. I think it just as well might mean death not of the physical body but a spiritual death. You remain alive but you lose something vital inside. Religious people shouldn't make the mistake of throwing the baby out with the bath water just because the baby doesn't want to get out of the tub. This is probably one of the reasons early religions are prevailent in human societies in the first place, to deal with such disturbing facets of society and provide a rule of law. But religion one must not forget, is also about power and the abuse of that power. The truth is often buried in half truths or non truths created as propaganda to bring more power and influence to the religion. The truth is sacrificed for power plain and simple. The Catholic Church stonewalling for years to protect priests who were sexually abusing children in their trust and the Taliban murdering and whipping women like they are wild dogs are perfect examples of religion run amok these days. These dark examples are what we have to fear from the very worst actors in organized religions.
Religious messages are lost in translation
I feel there are far too many religious people these days who call themselves "Christians" or "Buddhists" or "Muslims" or whatever who are in fact not at all what they claim. Religious teachings are about proper disciplined behavior and not about reinforcing what maybe considered cultural norms. It's a challenge to be truly faithful to a religion. It's demanding. Religions are really created to help reform cultures to achieve a higher refinement rather then act as excuses for cultures to remain backwards and caught up in the past. This little point is hard for many "true believers" to follow. They believe religion is just the opposite, that it's there for them to justify their lifestyles and this is where the scary part comes in. Sadly all too often religious endoctrination takes the form of brainwashing the youth at an early age. Critical thinking becomes terribly compromised and the "smartest" of all creatures becomes incapable of true analytical thought. A good example of this for me was when I wrote a piece on a website where so called Buddhists frequent. I mentioned that Buddha didn't gain his enlightenment in a Wat or Temple but sitting under a tree. I thought this was a rather harmless observation as it was historcally true. What happened next astounded me. Some of the "Buddhists" on the site tried to get me banned from the site. Never mind asking me what I meant so as to explain myself, they went straight for my banishment. So much for enlightenment I thought to myself. I truely respect Buddha as a great teacher and knew right away that these so called "Buddhists" had a long way to go before they understood his teachings. They simply didn't have a clue. They totally missed my whole point and didn't care to find out what it was. Buddha loved trees and so do I. Their reaction was an overly defensive knee jerk kick rather then reasoned contemplation of my thoughts. This type of thinking is far too common in the long history of humanity. I knew where they were coming from but it sure didn't have anything to do with the Buddha's teachings. They were endoctrinated from an early age to respect Buddha and thought there was no way I could enlighten them on anything about Buddha, after all their country is full of Buddha's and I'm a westerner, what nerve, let's get him banned from our site.. Boy did they prove me right. Truth is Buddha didn't want images of himself floating around. He was very serious about enlightenment and wanted his laws and teachings revered not his person. But after 500 years or so that fact was lost in the sauce and Buddhamania took over as his representative form as his teachings spread out from India to the rest of Asia. Sadly this sort of thing happens to all religions. Carefully worded messages by great reformers of human society are corrupted by time, language and outright fantasy. Think it's so easy to know the truth of Jesus Mr. Mel Gibson? Better think again my DWI friend. History isn't so easy to follow at all if the truth is what your looking for. Brainwashing material is way easier to come by because it's manufactured for that very type of consumption. If the historical Jesus did exist he was a Jew not a Christian. Mary was a Jewish mother. I read somewhere that an estimated 80% of Jesus's blood relatives were killed over the years, many at the hands of good old Christian's doing the Lords work. When the crusaders had trouble finding Muslims to kill they turned on Jesus's own flesh and blood. If Jew's didn't convert to Christianity under fear of death they faced a terrible fate during the middle ages. There were progroms all over Europe. So much for the chosen people of the bible. Want to know who really did kill Jesus Mr. Mel Gibson. It was the so called "Christians" themselves and they killed him not once but over and over until his good name was saturated in Jewish blood and other Christians blood as well. During the crusades Roman Catholic armies slaughtered Greek orthodox Christians in wholesale fashion, yeah that will get them into heaven alright. They turned Jesus a great man of peace into a pagan warrior God. If that didn't kill him what did. As for the Issue most misunderstood by Christians throughout history and it seems by Mr. Mel Gibson which has led to many innocents being killed by an ignorant hate it is this. The Jewish religion much like Christianity never was one group but made up of competing groups in disagreement with one another. One major point often not mentioned is that The Jewish High Priest Caiaphas who is associated with Jesus's death was a Roman appointee! This in inself was against Jewish law. This man was under the thumb of Rome. To say the Jews killed Jesus is a terrible simplification of history and is wrong. The Jews of today and the Jews of the middle ages and before are beholding to a form of Jewish faith that can be traced back to a Rabbi Hillel who died in 10 CE. This form of Judism was in total conflict with the Pharisees who are said to have had a hand in Jesus's death. The Pharisee Shammaites who were in control of the Sanhedrin up until the destruction of the second temple in 70 AD. were rejected and marginalized, even killed by other Jews of that time and do not represent the living rabbinical Jewish faith of most Jews. This has to be the greatest case of guilt by association. This nasty propaganda was perpetuated on purpose by people who supposedly loved Jesus but knew and understood him not. Sadly this is the very real danger of making a peace loving wiseman into God. To imply Mr. Mel Gibson that the Jews killed Jesus is to grossly misrepresent the truth and to condemn not only the Jews but truth and the wisdom of Jesus and even Jesus himself.
When I visited Old Jerusalem later in my life I looked Down at my Right Palm and There was Blood.
I kid you not. (The bold type is unintended but I don't have time to deal with hubpages misbehaving unresponsive type) Maybe a higher power is now taking control and wants this paragraph in bold type who knows? Being a non Christian and not all that religious I thought to myself how weird is that. I have traveled all over the world and nothing like this had ever happened to me. A closer look revealed that I had picked up a shard of glass that became embedded in my palm when I ran my hand over the bed after checking in. Very weird coincidence no? Almost strange beyond belief I thought to myself, so much for cheap rooms and their cleaning service. As I toured Old jerusalem and it's outskirts I found phoney historic sites all over the place. Apparently people in Israel like to give places historic sounding names like king David's room or the tower of David. Funny thing is both these sites are dated from the middle ages not from the times of the Old Jewish kingdom. Gives you an idea what may have happened to many sites Jesus was known to have visited. When it comes to things religious dont think for a second people didn't skewer the truth for their own religious gain. Religions need good stories and Christianity is full of such creations to help the young religion along. I told a christian about my bloody hand and sure enough he was trying to convince me it was no coincidence. I could imagine where he would like to go with me on this one. I feel compelled to write about the failure of religion throughout history. Maybe Jesus is trying to speak through me now. Maybe he wants me to set the record straight. Well maybe not, but as a human being I should try to bring peace to the world as best I can. That's what all good people should do regardless of religion. Whenever I go to a beautiful place like a stream in the woods I feel the need to pick up the rubbish others before me have left behind. This piece here is just an extension of my human rubbish removal.
How would history be different If Christians were really following Jesus
A missionary from the U.S. once approched me. At first he told me how proud he was of himself for cutting the long customs line into Costa Rica. He told me he accomplished this by going up to the guards at the crossing and explaining to them that he was a missionary and that they should let him cut the line, after all he had important work to do. They did. He then starts his little well rehearsed conversion speech on me. He asks me if I'm afraid of death. I told him you have the wrong guy buddy. I'm not scared of dying for one thing. He went on explaining to me how the U.S is based on the Christian faith. That it is in fact the corner stone of our great nation. I pointed out that all our courthouses and government building were in the Greek revival style of architecture and told him the Greeks should be given as much or more credit for the soul of America's democracy and rule of law as much as any religion. Well Ok maybe I should include republican Rome as well. Actually the founding fathers created the idea of separation of church and state probably to avoid the U.S. from having a bloody religious history like Europe had suffered through. And it works! Our founding fathers were very wise indeed. America wasn't founded on Christian principles so much as the idea of saving people from religious persecution, but Christians in the U.S. are still selling this notion of Christian domination and supremacy. Many Christians are all too willing to forget about their religions very bloody past. I let him know he couldn't have picked a worse guy to try and convert and ended the conversation in a friendly manner. I often wonder how might America and the world been different if more Christians actually followed Jesus's teaching rather then acting on the mistranslated misguided verses to justify their greed run wild. I think of the trail of tears and the agony of the Cherokee Nation. Here were a good native American people who saw the writing on the wall and chose the path of peace not war. They took up the good book and taught themselves to read and write. They took up the Christian way of life believing what the white man was telling them. In return for becoming good Christians they got nothing but trouble. Rather then fight they took their case to the Supreme court and won their legal argument. But being good Christians and winning in the highest court in our land, a so called God fearing Christian land helped them not. The native Americans got it right when they said that the white men, the Christians spoke with forked tongues. Sadly too many Christians are still speaking with forked tongues. If the U.S through it's history was truly a God fearing Christian nation there would be a lot more Cherokees in Georgia today minus alot of the hate rhetoric that unfortunately still exists to this day. I just would like to end by saying that I do respect the real Christians, Buddhists ect. because they show true compassion and tend to be loving in their ways while being able to respect the differences among people without acting like their way of faith is the only true way.
Gay people have made enormous positive contributions to society throughout human history. Just Say NO to religious brainwashing. The human mind and heart are a terrible thing to waste.