The Kromblog Rant-A-Thon Section 1-Intro/Religion
I have always wanted to write a manifesto.A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Now, my manifesto will probably be a little different from the ones we all hear about on the news for a few reasons. First off, though I am often considered “crazy” or “unbalanced” as many people who undertake these type of writings have been, at least in the public eye, I am different from say, the Unabomber in the sense that my manifesto is less of a declaration of intent and more of a statement of belief. What I intend to do as a result of my belief is not something that I would publish for others to read, especially if it was something that I would say would not be politically correct. I also would not openly declare to harm others in my writings, even if the thought does cross my mind from time to time. No, my only intention with what I have begun to write is to relay an opinion, a perspective, and a general thought pattern to others in the hopes that once read, the views I have can combine with other people’s and produce something meaningful that will benefit us all. Maybe this is a pipe dream, but the thought pattern that rings through my brain needs to be expelled because if it is not, it festers into a problematic chunk of waste in my skull…..
RELIGION-Belief is a powerful thing. Religion is arguably the most influential practice followed in today’s world and because of this you often see belief carry more weight than actual reality, but why does this happen? Human beings seem to have a need or a desire to believe that there is a higher power guiding us. This belief almost seems to fill a subconscious need for purpose in humanity often because human beings feel no specific purpose for their lives beyond our daily activities. Because of this, we see that humanity is so connected, so dependent on our purpose of existence, at least as we see it, that we will often put faith and belief above concrete reality. I think the reason for this is that reality is simple, almost too simple, for human beings to understand. We look at a tree, a wall, a car and we see it for simply what it is, that being an object that serves a specific purpose. Beyond that, it is nothing more than a physical item designed to do this or that. When we perceive our beliefs, there is no limit on what power or purpose can be bestowed upon us. It gives us a feeling of empowerment that provides strength and direction and I suppose in that case, it gives something to us that no physical item ever could. It is almost as if belief and religion fills us with a purposeful energy that only has the limits that we are able to set to it in our minds. As the most intelligent beings, at least on this planet, it is too difficult for our minds to believe that we are simply here as the byproduct of some evolutionary chain, only living to further spread our race and learn the things that the humans before us have learned. We need to be worth more, we need to be built for a higher purpose and because of this, and we are often willing to ignore physical reality if we feel that our belief is more important, even if only on a subconscious level.
This type of reaction to our own existence is also the reason that we see so many people of religion unable to just follow their beliefs without needing others, even people they do not know, to believe the same things they do. The pedestal that we have put our “Gods” on, even if in the subconscious parts of our minds, is so high that to each of us it is almost offensive to see someone try to put a different higher power in the place of the one we believe in. This is a strong feeling in most people, as evidenced by the current struggle happening worldwide between followers of Christianity and Islam. There are those out there who are comfortable enough in their beliefs to ignore other non-believers but there are many more that cannot and will not accept another view as possible. In many cases, each group’s commitment to their belief is so strong that they are willing to harm others and see others die in conflicts just because they follow the “other” belief structure. Furthermore, the commitment by some is so powerful that we have seen an increase of what most of us would consider “radical” followers of various religions. People so connected and committed to their individual belief of choice that they consider it their right and their responsibility to almost wage war on the followers of other ones. While doing this, they have become so blindly committed to the cause, or their interpretation of it, that collateral damage and actions that actually go against their own scripture become acceptable and, in some cases, even encouraged. This is where belief starts to get dangerous because if you consider that people mold reality to fit into their “view” of a belief system you start to realize that a person can do almost anything while still claiming they are simply following a belief, even though they may have corrupted it’s true message.
The conflicts that can be caused by this direction of thinking can have widespread effects and, to be honest, it does not really make a lot of sense. You see, no matter what belief a person follows it still remains a belief and not anything that is proven fact. With that being true, it is hard to understand why one religion should hold sway over another. If we have ten groups of people all following different belief systems, their passion for the system completely based off of faith, then how can one of these groups claim dominion over another when in truth they are all just following what they blindly believe? Sure, one of them may be the right one but according to just about every scripture that is out there, none of us will have that answer in any provable way until we die, and because we cannot openly communicate with the dead, it is highly illogical to claim your belief is better, stronger, or more worth following than another. Now people feeling their belief system is superior, or the correct one, probably would not be a huge deal except for the fact that people seem unable to accept their differences peacefully. Instead, the different views are a point of contention and judgment between groups of believers and this point of contention often leads to discrimination and physical violence in reality based on beliefs that do not exist is any tangible way in the physical, real world. Ideally, you would like to be able to see a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Taoist all living next door to each other in peace but that just is not the case in the real world.
Even worse than the fact that many will not accept any belief other than their own, is the fact that many of these same people think nothing of being passionately committed to a belief but only following the parts of their chosen scripture that they choose to. The scriptures of most religions lay out a pretty clear idea of what is expected of its followers but in many cases human beings pick and choose which parts they will follow and which parts they will not. Now I am not saying that a person cannot disagree with parts of a belief and still be committed to it, but at the same time if a person is doing so then they are undermining the whole point of their existence being attributed to a higher power they owe allegiance to. A perfect example of this is the section of Christian followers who are staunchly and vocally against homosexuality. The individuals in this group will protest gay marriage, equal gay rights and generally any equal treatment of people of the homosexual lifestyle and when they do, it is usually because they have a religious opposition to it. The thing is though, is that the part of the Bible that labels such sexuality as a sin and is regularly quoted by those who discriminate against homosexuality is the same book in the Bible that says it is ok to own a slave. Despite that being true, you would never see any of those who oppose the homosexual lifestyle protesting because they want the right to own a slave. They, as a group, have chosen to be opposed to one “rule” of their religion while ignoring another one in the very same book of their Bible. Now, I cannot stop them from doing so, nor do I believe I should have the right to, but how can a person take someone’s commitment to a belief seriously when that belief is selective to their own personal preference. Another example of this is the regular, hate filled protests of the Westboro Baptist Church. This group regularly rallies outside the funerals of soldiers carrying signs proclaiming that “God Loves Dead Soldiers” and “God Hates Fags”. Again, this is their right as people in the United States with free speech but does this behavior sound like the behavior of a “good Christian”? Of course not, but again this is a group that has decided that they can define the “word of God” and act however they feel while speaking in the name of the being that they supposedly serve, whether “his” scripture justifies it or not.
Now, as mentioned above, these people do have the legal right, at least in the United States, to interpret religion however they wish and I do agree with that right. I just do not understand how people expect each other to be unified in the beliefs if each person sees it in their own way. This is most likely the reason that when this country was founded, there was supposed to be a separation of Church and State, but do we truly have such a thing? Many would say yes but consider the following points before you agree. For starters, the big question is whether we should involve religion in our government at all. Most would say no, and when you look at some of the theocracies that exists in the Middle East and the problems they have as far as personal rights go, it is easy to see why it being involved in government is probably not a good idea. Then again, even though people in the United States are quick to be offended by religious decisions in government that infringe on their personal rights, again they will put up with selective parts of religion being enforced on the population which again shows selective belief. Gay marriage is a perfect example of this. Most of the people in the government and in the populous that are against gay marriage are of that position based on their religious belief. They claim marriage is a religious right and union between men and women but if that is the basis of their argument, and the same people want a separation of Church and State, then how can they expect their government to enforce a gay marriage ban? It makes no sense. Another simple yet telling example of this is the fact that all the money printed in this country has “In God We Trust” printed on it. Again, all of the people in this country do not trust in God so why then are they ok with something that I admit is simplistic, implying that our country and our government should espouse this view? Again, it just seems odd to me.
The previous statement is only one of numerous examples of how religion, which should be an empowering and beautiful part of the human experience, has become corrupted through mankind’s interpretation of it. Another very telling observation one might make is that the vast majority of those who follow each of the religions are either poor or very poor, while the individuals in the official positions of the churches tend to be very wealthy. It struck me as almost funny, in a sad sort of way, when I recently saw a picture of the Pope presiding over a church function that was reported on by many of the mainstream news sources in this country. In the picture of him sitting in front of the crowd, he held in his right hand a cross made of solid gold adorned with what appeared to be various jewels. When I saw this it made me chuckle and think that a gold cross of that size must be worth thousands of dollars, and I wondered aloud why the church that supposedly cares about its followers would care so much about their appearance that they would spend so much on what is basically a prop for appearance instead of using that money to feed and help the poor followers of their religion. The same goes for Vatican City, a small sovereign city that houses a significant number of religious authorities. It is an intricate and somewhat “fancy” area and again you have to wonder if a more simplified version of it could free up millions of dollars to truly help the poorest followers of the Catholic and Christian churches. Additionally, showing the human corruption of everything these days, in 2012 the U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report listed Vatican City for the first time among the nations of concern for money-laundering, placing it in the middle category, which includes countries such as Ireland, but not among the most vulnerable countries, which include the United States itself, Germany, Italy and Russia. This truly shows that the religion and its purpose is somewhat ignored as the city works towards both an image and financial success, both of which should be a lower priority than helping their followers in need.
Speaking of followers in need, I also find it curious that if you look at the world’s religions, it seems that in almost all cases the large majority of the people truly committed to the belief are among the poorest of their lands. I often wonder if this is because these people feel so defeated by their positions of poverty that they have lost faith in humanity and therefore feel the need to look to a higher power for good fortune, knowing that they cannot rely on their fellow-man for either assistance or fair treatment. This does not mean that every poor person is mistreated, in fact the majority of them seem to be born into societies that are poverty-stricken and they are more a victim of where they were physically born than they are of mistreatment, but if the religious leaders all become so wealthy, what does that say about the way they follow scripture? I am far from being a scriptural expert but I know enough to know that the writings preach unity, being humble, and spreading the wealth of the church among the truly needy before it speaks of building a fancy building or making sure the Pope has a stylish gold scepter worth thousands. Remember, Jesus Christ was a man of the poor, of the downtrodden and the only people he ever expressed anger towards was the money changers, often because of their greed amongst people of poverty. If the organized aspect of these religions truly cared for the majority of their followers as opposed to their own levels of wealth and power, we would see the churches focus be less on their images and more on putting all their effort, and faith, into helping those that are the voice of their religions. If the church lost all their followers that were poor, many of them would suddenly have so few followers that they would be more like a small cult than any major religion.
This treatment and behavior brings up another thought that repeats in my mind on a regular basis. You see, “God” for example, is said to be all-knowing and aware of all that happens and exists. That being said, that means that even the facts about people who never come to light are known by the Lord. Well, when you look at the horrible stories every day in this country and this world, you start to realize that it seems there are far more people falling into the bad category than into the good. Does that mean Hell is filling up twice as fast as Heaven? I suppose if there is any true justice out there then the answer would be yes, but if that is the case, I wonder if the followers of these religions should basically expect their destruction in the near future. If they did, I am not saying they should just give up on life but at the same time, if people have come to expect a major fall for the human race, you would think that we would recognize our shortcomings and try to improve ourselves. At least that is what you would expect out of people who were true to their religious beliefs. Well, in a typical circle of logic, this begs the question, are most of the people of religion in the world only giving it lip service as opposed to being committed to the words coming out of their mouths? The real reason I ask this question is that if it turns out a large percentage of followers are just giving lip service then it would be fair to say that religion has become a trend and a phenomenon more than a belief system and with all the conflict caused by belief, that would be a scary, scary situation.
Now all the points I have made about religion are obviously debatable and as someone who will not claim religious expertise, I welcome you to disagree with me but I feel I have made some valid points. Religion in today’s world has become a point of contention not only between people but between governments and on a daily basis, we easily see hundreds of people per day lose their lives over the debate. In a perfect world, you would think that religion and the practice of it, would be sacred as most of the scripture teaches that it should. It is sad really, it could all be so perfect for all of us. Each person could be staying faithful to their beliefs without feeling threatened by those that disagree with them, being able to work in unison for the betterment of all of us. It may seem unrealistic but thinking so is a perfect example of what is wrong with people these days. They accept their intolerance of each other and whenever someone suggests that we all work together; it is looked upon by most as weakness. What is weak about tolerance? What is weak about unity? I truly fear that humanity will only get past this mental block they have put upon themselves through the near destruction of all of us. Only when faced with extinction do I believe that people will look past their religious differences and separate beliefs and that fact is why it will most likely take the almost complete eradication of the human race to truly teach us our lesson. Hopefully I am wrong.