I have so much empathy for atheists! They must look on in horrified wonder at the crazies and feel quite outraged at the impact Religion has on the world, their society and their own lives.
To challenge a religion is not blasphemy or high treason and it most certainly does not have to be interpreted as anti-God. It is – mostly – honest, curious and rational. Whose authority is being challenged, anyway? God’s? Naa – S/He can take care of themselves. We have placed far too much faith in authority and organised religion is possibly the most pervasive of them all. Even the orthodox religions are nothing more than cults. They just have the seal of legal/official recognition. At best, Religion provides a focal point for devotion, the safety of tribal allegiance and seeming validation of a belief structure. At its worst Religion spins, covers up its worst misdeeds, blackmails emotion, claims inordinate legislative power, herds the sheep, empowers the opportunist and skews the minds of the vulnerable. Too harsh? It is a Man-made authority, outrageously claiming to speak for God. Well God can speak for itself / themselves.
Regardless of claims to the contrary, it’s never actually “God’s work” being done or “God’s enemies” being vanquished because it’s not about God at all, is it? God, as in the source of sacredness and divinity in ALL Life? Nope. It’s about ego and excuse: a front for hidden purposes such as the acquisition of land and resources and socio-political-economic dominance. It’s a political tool for patriarchal control. It always has been. This is predicated on the daft and impossible notion that ‘God’ is a male and a male only. Given the dual nature, the construct of polarity on which our universe depends, I find that hilarious. And very tragic. After all: what the heck is the point of a divine being who only ‘lives through’ and represents one half of the manifest world? Not much.
What a weapon Religion is that it can manipulate hope and fear through superstition, second-guessing and imposed guilt, all on a platform of imbalanced and irrational messages. I’m not referring to metaphorical source concepts such as Immaculate Conception, transubstantiation, etc. Leave that to the literalists (and the bankstas). I mean contraception, sexuality, women bishops, the burqa, gender segregation, education, circumcision, gay marriage etc: the endless list over which such literalism and metaphor should have no jurisdiction relative to State or individual application. This is not “The Word of God” – these are the edicts of men: pervasive, narrow-minded and stupid men, bent on the reduction of their God to their own levels of pettiness and narrow thinking. Religion is a middleman, masquerading as servant of Higher Purpose and never has ‘Faith’ in such authority been so misplaced, so betrayed. In short, Religion seems to have little to do with God and everything to do with politics.
Children have a right to a non-politicised education. Adults have the right to manage their life choices according to their own consciences. Everyone has the right to observe their own spiritual or philosophical code, be it solo or in congregation, just as everyone also has the right to not believe in God. Everyone has the right to not suffer an infrastructure laced with unproven and unjustified dogma. An individual’s recognition, acceptance, dismissal of a god or the Self is a personal affair: Faith is a private matter.
There are as many paths to the Self as there are people: you don’t need an agent – you have a direct line. The world does not need the organised doctrine of bigots, control freaks, or prescriptive do-gooders influencing legislative power any more than it needs the corporate lobbyists. If the Church doesn’t want to, or cannot be subject to the laws of its land then perhaps it should be cut loose. Separation of Church and State is not just desirable but increasingly essential in a world of complexity, diversity and rapid change. This is because a secular society is the best way to protect and govern with equal and fair effect: the only way to prove that the majority, the minority and all the individuals therein feel and know that their rights are valued equally. Good Secularist or Pluralist governance shouldn’t mean that you have to bury your faith. It should recognise that not everyone has a faith and that no one faith is superior to another. That doesn’t take unswerving blind belief. It just requires a basic humanity.
Meanwhile… In a time long past and a land now lost, Jerusalem was deemed Holy. Jerusalem: the enduring pawn of the Abrahamic Faiths is like a vortex, drawing in and compacting the Light. Now, by the abuse and manipulation of another age, the Divine has apparently vacated for healthier climes – probably to the nineteenth hole. Well – wouldn’t you?