Are you Religious?
What part does religion play in our lives?
Spending time in different parts of the world I have seen that religion plays a part in peoples lives more in some parts of the world than in others.
i.e. Growing up in the uk I was exposed to many different cultures and religions although there is a very strong sense of scepticism when it comes to religious beliefs, in turn there are many atheists living in the United Kingdom despite Christianity being the main religion.
In Brazil, a country with a poor economy and high levels of poverty, Christianity has a very large following and quite a hold on the country. Which, in my eye's has its positives and negatives (read some examples of my view on positive and negative effects of Religion in Brazil)
Realistically religion puts us into boxes, with that I include Atheism. We are grouped into what we believe based on religious followings that say what we do and don't believe. Part of me doubts very much that every Christian in the world believes the exact same things, actually I know for a fact that is not true.
religion & religion = war
What is wrong with being grouped into categories?
Lets talk for a minute about war. The war on terrorism and the war in Iraq are probably some of the first things that come to mind. These days there is alot of bad press about muslims, even if it is not directly negative towards muslims in general. While isis are fighting for Islam and acts against said religion, while I'm not saying about what they or anyone fighting in Iraq are doing let's turn it round. Think about where you live, imagine another country comes in and are ultimately trying to take your resources, oil, coal, gold, something along these lines. The country that you live in is poor the war is worsening the situation you want to look out for your family and loved ones. To add to that the media coverage will be very different from that in their country. What would you do, fight? for what? Your family, their future, your future? In that situation to react like that would be quite likely.
A big division. In the UK and USA Christianity is the main religion, soldiers who go to the likes of Iraq carry crosses and bibles turn that round its probably the other way round soldiers carry the Quran, its what they grew up with. There are two sides in this war, Christians against Muslims. One side is brought up one way and fed media stories against the other side. A different religion is an easy way to separate yourself from the opposition, especially when it comes to cutting yourself off and avoiding sympathy. This separation of religion is huge when it comes to empathy, it groups the other side as the enemy. But it is based on what? Beliefs you were spoon fed from birth?
Take a minute to think of a random person who shares the same religious beliefs you have (even if you consider yourself non religious or an atheist)being badly injured, and hospitalised. Now think of the same situation but someone you don't know who has religious beliefs that you have no interest or possible shared beliefs with.
It feels different doesn't it?
So what is the fundamental problem with 'religion' ?
What does religion do to us?
Personally having physically suffered brain damage myself I do feel that the use of the worlds brain damage is a bit strong. Given that when brain tissue is damaged it will never be used again. However I think that the point that he is trying to make is about the neurological pathways that religious thinking will create that can work against the likes of analytical thinking and logic. Especially when young children are exposed to this while the brain is in early stages of development. Which can make it very hard in adulthood to relearn or retrain these almost pre-programmed neurological pathways.
I can say from personal experience that learning or relearning things to try and change or alter your brain's neurological pathways that are built in is certainly no easy task. I can't imagine what it would be like being surrounded by the affirmations that you need to live your life under the rules and regulations of a supreme being who is constantly watching you.
Does religion cause problems in society?
What sort of impact does religion have on social problems?
Is it time to accept?
Religion singles others out as being 'wrong'
Here in Brazil there is plenty of literature and pictures or meme's that go round the internet on, for example, social media against homosexuality. In my eyes this is nothing but damaging for society. As a heterosexual man who is married I have no personal reason to be so offended by this other than the fact that I believe in something called science. Science has proven that sexuality is something that people are born with, for example an astute person can see a child as young as being in single digits showing signs that they will prove to be homosexual in later life. While all of this on anti-gay material that goes around on the internet is not necessarily come from a religious background, much of the Brazilian side of this comes from groups about 'god' and even from churches.
Christianity follows the bible, arguably the most famous book in the world.
Leviticus 20:13 'If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves.'
Romans 1:26,27 'God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.'
Corinthians 6:9,10 'Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.'
These are 3 examples from the bible against homosexuality the first from the old testament the other two from the new testament. I took these examples from a website bible.org which has a page 'homosexuality - the biblical christians view' take a look for yourself (READ HERE) where the summary for the old testament and new testament view on homosexuality alike conclude the view that it is a sin and immoral.
A few years ago I spent time going to an evangelical church, where I did not experience much against homosexuality other than a campaign to stop gay marriage. Focus seemed to be more on the idea of basing everything on what was in the bible which they described as 'the word of god'
Lets take a logical look at that. This book, the bible, is a compilation of different pieces of literature written 2000 years ago, or more, by numerous different people. Written in a time when homosexuality among other things was seriously frowned upon to say the least. So looking at these examples from the bible that I have given you is it at least possible to say that they have been written not by god but possibly by someone who was living there life in a certain time where they documented things that they felt passionate about. Much like I am doing right now.
To further that, I don't understand why there has been no other word of god published since the bible. In a forever rapidly changing world it seems that it would be necessary.
I want to know if god is so against homosexuality why does this all powerful deity let people enter his world with built in attraction to the same sex? Is it a test? Is it something to push our abilities to adapt to change, while many with an open mind thrive with the aspects of change others, who see things black and white, find problem with it.
So back to the idea of being grouped into categories, I sometimes automatically think that all christians are against homosexuality. Something that I know for a fact is not true. But it is something that leaves me confused because from my understanding and personal experience of going to church is that the faith comes mainly from the scripture that is the bible and widely considered 'the word of god' yet that proclaims the words that homosexuality is a sin and punishable by death. So if you follow that then you must be against homosexuality? I don't see too many christians standing up for gay rights but the other side of the argument seem to be much more vocal.
It is normal!
Love your life and live for today, our future and our children
I used the christian religion as an example because I have personal experience with christianity. Through where I live and through my upbringing which included sunday school on a sunday morning at church.
I feel that in life it is important to keep an open mind, I truly believe that the day I stop learning will be the day I die. This is our world, let's not group ourselves to end up fighting against each other but lets help each other and fight for what we believe in and more importantly what is right. This world is ours, it is forever changing, lets keep up with it and not live in the past!