We attempt to find God in the world around us. Ultimately it can only be found within.
|Please feel free to visit the website to view the essay and the images. We welcome insightful and respectful comments as well as full critiques. We don't need to argue, but we do need to talk, to discuss. We all need to think about it.
Religion is tragically delicious. It is totally outrageous! This has to be one of, if not the most, curiously crazy concepts that man has ever come up with. Don't get me wrong. You will not find someone who is more completely passionate, and intensely serious, when it comes to religion, and more specifically, spirituality. The search for spirituality, through the use of religion, is all about finding answers. Answers about self and answers about the world around us. About life. I am totally obsessed with the pursuit of those answers. There is nothing in life that is more interesting or intimate than the discovery of ‘ self ‘ and the revelation that comes from uncovering the answers to the questions that intrigue us all. I have a lot at stake with this quest. It is no less than my destiny. And if possible, I would like to get it right. I am working on it, as we speak, every day of my life. It is the essence of our ‘path‘. It is the reason for the journey.
the more I study science,
the more I believe in God
~ albert einstein ~
Religion, for many people, is a structured way to find some direction for that path, while looking for those answers. The primary problem that I see is that we have almost as many religions as we have cultures, and probably more. They cannot all be right, can they? Then again, maybe they are, and we are not being perceptive enough to understand the 'big picture‘. Is it possible that none of them are right either? It has to be a possibility, doesn’t it? If any one of these is not the true religion, then which one is it? And if there are hundreds, or thousands, which is the one true religion? And we hear a resounding shout of ‘ Mine, Mine, Mine Is! ‘, to which we respond, ‘Of course it is, how could we have been so ignorant not to know that ‘. I am so glad we were able to resolve that age-old dilemma.
it does me no injury for my neighbor to say
that there are twenty gods
or there are no gods
~ thomas Jefferson ~
So now that we have determined that your religion is the one, and only, true path to heaven, can I ask a simple question? How in the world can you possibly know that? Have you experienced revelation? Has there been an epiphany in your past? Did someone like your mommy or your daddy let you in on the big secret? I guess humility is not a part of your dogma. We must question everything in life, and religion is right there at the top of the list. Above politics. So when did you first realize that you were one of the ‘ chosen ‘? You do understand that there are thousands of other people who do not see it from your viewpoint? There are actually BILLIONS of others who feel that you are mistaken, or misguided. And many of these people have been following a religion that has existed for a long, long time, millennia in some cases, and feel that you may not be giving their beliefs the proper attention and consideration that it deserves. Have you ever seriously looked around at the competition, like you would for your last pair of shoes? In any case, if you don’t believe what they believe, and if you don’t agree with them, it may well be, ‘OFF WITH THEIR HEADS !‘.
If your religion requires you to hate
Then you need another religion
So why is it that a man is willing to kill those that do not follow his own private belief system? Is he so insecure in his own values that he requires blind and unanimous support for his viewpoints? Isn’t belief enough, if given the freedom to follow your own heart, and your own mind, and your own soul, in the direction you have chosen for yourself? That is a sad individual. And an extremely dangerous one. As we have unfortunately seen, time and again. What is it that drives people so crazy that if others do not share their beliefs, that they would actually kill them to prove their point? And what point is that exactly? I thought the point was love. Isn’t it always supposed to be about love? The killing of another, unprovoked with nothing but words, or a position of belief, seems to be an extreme reaction to a disagreement, or even worse, a simple misunderstanding, or even just a matter of ignorance. Does it not negate whatever validity that religion may hold for its followers? It actually proves the exact opposite of what you profess, that your way is the one true path, the way to the light, and to truth. It is incomprehensible that someone could act in such a way, and yet history is littered with the bodies of those that have gotten intimately involved with such a value system. It is so sad that this could happen even once, much less on the scale that reality has shown us during the existence of mankind.
And once again I am compelled to say that religion is tragically delicious. I do not wish to make light of the terrible things that have been enacted in the name of religion, but is it not ironic, that the disagreement between all these cultures and belief systems is intrinsically and fundamentally over what? All of the major religions are based on the same principles, in many cases word for word. Where does all the hatred and killing come from, when they all profess pretty much the same behavior? For example, the ‘Golden Rule‘. We all learned it, no matter what religion we were brought up in. Pretty basic. Pretty simple. And absolutely, fundamentally necessary, to ever hope to live with other people in peace and freedom.
~ GOLDEN RULES ~
Buddhism: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself
Christianity: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Hinduism: Treat others as you would yourself be treated
Islam: Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you
Judaism: What you yourself hate, do to no man
Native American: Live in harmony, for we are all related
Sacred Earth: Do as you will, as long as you harm no one
And that my friends, constitutes almost 80% of all the religions that exist on this great big marble. I DO NOT get it. I fail to comprehend where the hatred comes from. It is not the religion. It is the individual that warps and perverts the message, and manipulates and attempts to control the individuals with propaganda and coercion. The danger is when the leaders are the warped individuals. They dangle eternal rewards or perpetual punishments at the end of their sticks, and the simple, and the ignorant, the needy and the lost, follow those paths in droves, like the proverbial ‘sheep‘, to their own demise and damnation. Such a waste. Nothing gained. Tragic. Sad. How can you not cry for the lost lives? The lost souls. The lost opportunities to show that man can actually live together for common goals and shared interests. And where is god in all of this? He is waiting. Always waiting. For what? I have some thoughts on that, but we will save those for another day.
So I have come to the conclusion that religion is not the ‘ godsend ‘ that people want it to be. There is never an easy way, and there is never a ‘free lunch‘. While the intention to find salvation through the structure of religion is admirable and sounds reasonable, the fact is that there is only one way to find your answers. Unfortunately, it will be much harder trying to follow the direction of others to find a positive resolution. You need to work this out for yourself. You cannot follow anyone blindly in life. Religion or politics, it makes no difference. When you follow, by definition it means that you are led. Those that are led tend to do what they are told to do, and that is often not in the best interests of anyone involved, except maybe the one doing the leading. If you wish to use the structure of religion to help you find direction and meaning in life, there is no harm or problem with that. But whatever your choice, you still need to find your own way, and in the end, make your own decisions, for yourself, alone. And that, of course, brings us to the subject of philosophy, once again, as it always does. As it always will. You will never be able to say something is ‘ good ‘ or ‘ right ‘ unless you understand it completely, and make rational and thoughtful decisions. If a concept does not become a fundamental and intrinsic aspect of your philosophy and your soul, then how can you ever expect to have the strength of character and integrity to incorporate those concepts into the actions you undertake, every day, in your own life. It is not possible. Talk to yourself. Have that conversation with self. Reflect on your options. Contemplate the ramifications of your actions, as well as the absence of those same actions, when not taken. And when comprehension and understanding finally find its way to you, you will be able to resolve any issue that you face, and, in the end, you will find true religion. And that religion will reside inside of you. Your religion will be You! And god will look down and smile. At least for you, he is done waiting. You finally found the right one!