Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ben's view on religion

Religion –it’s confusing. Not to mention being the abounding controversial subject that has plagued the world for centuries.

What if you’re not satisfied with your current religion? Maybe you don’t have a religion or maybe you’re looking for a new faith? How do you decide? There are so many to choose from. It’s reminiscent of shopping for a house. You have a general idea of what you want, you know the side of town you favor, and you know how many bedrooms you would like, but which one? God forbid (no pun intended) you make the biggest financial mistake of your life. In this instance it could be the biggest mistake for your afterlife. The realtor is also an important factor. Did he/she perform their sales pitch well –are you sold? In the case of religion, the realtor is played by our parents, pastor, priest, or maybe it's the kid on a bike wearing a suit reciting his well rehearsed religious sales pitch at your front door; all the while you’re standing there shirtless in your boxers hung-over from the night before with a confused stare on your face. (Don’t offer the bicycle preachers a beer, they decline every time). Are any of these ambassadors to the self proclaimed one true religion persuading your beliefs? They all claim to be the “right” religion, but we know that’s not possible, someone has to be wrong. This is a big investment, I think I’ll shop around.

Let’s narrow our search; we have a lot of choices! There are so many religions and aggregates of religions it’s impossible to put a numerical figure on the amount of religions in existence. Theoretically, you could say that each person has their own unique interpretation of religion therefore the number of religions is equal to the current population of earth. The majority of us are 1 of the top 3. The most populous religion is Christianity, coming in a close 2nd is Islam, and the 3rd largest religion is no religion. The 3rd is not an atheist group, in fact only a small percentage of this group are made up of atheist. This group is more of a “claim no religious preference” group. Established religions have fueled some of the greatest atrocities on mankind the world has ever witnessed. I’m not referencing any religion in particular either. They all have had their fair share of bloodshed. I don’t want to be associated with this and I also don’t want to be expected to comply with all the nonsense rules. I think I’ll choose option 3, the no religious preference group, and I’ll explain why.

I was raised in a Catholic family. Sunday church was a requirement and Catholicism was the tune we danced to. I also attended a Catholic elementary school. From an early age I have been a skeptic. In school I would leave my science class and go directly to Bible study class. The contrast of these 2 classes is where I had my first, and most profound revelation. The science teacher was explaining the laws of gravity and how our earth is round, he also mentioned it was only a few hundred years ago the earth being round became common knowledge. The belief was, anyone who sailed too far on our flat earth would inevitably fall off the edge into an unknown oblivion. I found this interesting, and it remained in my head during Bible study class. In Bible study class, the teacher was lecturing us of the days of Jesus, a man who walked the earth nearly 2000 years ago. She describes Jesus as an all-mighty super being who is capable of miracles, loves all, and knows all. I quickly raised my hand to ask a question. The teacher calls on me and I ask “If Jesus knows all, why didn’t he let everyone know the earth is not flat?” The teacher side stepped that question better than any politician could have. From that point on I was uncertain about the views of this religion that were bestowed upon me. I continued to express my doubts, but was always told “you must have faith!” Is faith synonymous with having a good imagination? Logic always gets the best of me, I hope this doesn't make me a bad person.

I’m not suggesting that Catholicism is wrong or that any other religion is wrong. All I’m saying is there is no possible way of proving that it is right i.e. true with any certainty. The common goal of most religions is to be a good person. In that aspect I concur and try my best to be in compliance. In my opinion, practicing Karma is the most logical way to live our lives and the easiest way to be a good person without effort. I don’t steal as I don’t want people to steal from me, I treat others with respect as I want to be respected by others, I go out of my way to make people laugh and smile as I want others to make me laugh and smile. If there indeed is a judgment day, we should be judged on the way we lived our life, not on what religion we practiced. After all, isn't good people what this world needs? You can never go wrong with the good person religion, and that’s what I strive to be –a good person. That’s how I roll!

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