Question/Discuss: Your views on religion?
Religion can be a double edge sword in terms of its ability to do good or damage in its name.
Many, if not all, organized religions promote some kind of message of love for one’s fellow neighbor so to speak. In fact most religions promote the same fundamental values but present them in different guises depending on culture and, in some cases, geography. These days geography matters less for practicing a religion but it still bears some influence. The messages are typically similar but some focus on certain aspects of those messages over others.
My opinion is that ALL organized religions are simply expressions of the same thing but “dressed up” differently based on culture and location. I believe the world religions are but different “paths” to take that get you to the same destination in the “end”. One religion may refer to the destination as Heaven and another as reincarnation or whatever but none of us know exactly where we will end up when we die. Atheists are certain we are but physical bodies and when we die that is it, nothing else happens to us. But even if we renounce belief in the metaphysical there will still be “something” that happens to us. Perhaps the Atheists are correct and we simply go back to the earth once decomposed. Still, many of us believe in some type of continuation of consciousness, soul or spirit after death. We may argue over “where” the consciousness, soul/spirit goes but we at least agree there is consciousness, a soul or spirit to continue after our body dies.
As to whether or not I believe there should or should not be religion I don’t know. Religion gives a moral framework for people who look outside themselves for guidance; as well as comfort to those looking for “tidy” explanations as to why certain things happen. I see nothing intrinsically “wrong” with organized religion per se. It is what the believer makes it. One can be dogmatic or flexible within the same religion. You can find fundamentalists in every religion in one form or another. Personality and culture tends to dictate which particular religion we gravitate toward if we choose one. I think corruption can happen in anything that holds power and has a hierarchical system in place.
Personally I find it difficult to label myself as anything. I once called myself Buddhist but it
became a problem because it is a conceptual division. Each label we attach to ourselves creates division between “us” and “them”, those not like us or with different beliefs. I also have trouble defining my beliefs because I believe things I have realized on my own in quiet contemplation rather than through texts. Contemplative philosophies appeal to me more so than anything. My difficulty is I don’t “buy into” the complete religion or philosophy of Buddhism but I identify the closest with its tenets over any other, aside from Taoism and Confucianism. Even those I can’t say I follow 100%.
All of my beliefs I arrived at through my own contemplations so the labels I give myself are ad hoc since they are chosen by reading about the various religions and philosophies once I have had my own realizations. Apropos that admission my identification with any one religion is fluid, changing as I become aware of something I hadn’t been before. On occasion I read about something and resonate with it so incorporate it into my system of beliefs. Some days I think about just telling people I’m a Secular Humanist to simplify things even if not totally accurate! lol
©Anya of Finding Health After Illness for Natalya, 2013.