You probably need a new religion

Fifty dead, another fifty-three (the latest figures at the time of writing) injured. Another mass shooting, this time in a social club where members of the LBGT community were known to congregate. And, later the same morning, another man was arrested all the way across the country in a car loaded with explosives and weapons. He was on his way to a LGBT parade. Thank God he was stopped before he could carry out his blood-chilling acts of murder and destruction.

And, speaking of God, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our ideas of God, that Higher Authority, Al’lah—whatever you call it. I’m not arguing whether there is or isn’t a Higher Power. What I have been questioning are the dogma and doctrines of some of our current religions. I’m not delving into the past for any of this, either.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, doesn’t view tolerance and acceptance as a fundamental right of all humanity, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, claims to be the only correct manner to achieve paradise, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues only your god is the one true god and insists on killing those who disagree with your god, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, makes the claim that the being who gave life to you by carrying you for nine months within her body and under her heart is never equal to a male, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues that a woman does not have a right to determine what to do with her own body but then turns a blind eye to born children living in poverty, with abuse, and in squalor, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues that humanity has dominion over the earth rather than the caretakers of this planet, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, argues that those who slur the religion’s prophets are to be put to death, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, makes your beliefs the sole arbitrators of morality and decency, you probably need a new religion.

If your religion, and by extension your view of that god within your religion, promises you seventy two virgins, or fields of flowers, or spending eternity in a candy shop if you martyr yourself by slaughtering innocents, you probably need a new religion.

Religion is a good thing. Belief in a god is also a good thing. Religion and the many god and goddesses which have come from religion give comfort in times of sorrow, hope for a life after this life, precepts on living a moral and decent and compassionate life—but when any religion is twisted, bastardized, and corrupted to fit a certain world view, religion becomes the most dangerous weapon known to humanity.

How about, instead, we actually live the command we have been given—in every major world religion—to love one another as we love ourselves. Maybe, we could surprise ourselves with how gentler, more accepting, and tolerant the world might be.

 

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