... my stream of consciousness rant brought about by a sermon I heard which started off with, "I know your future. You're all going to die."
Although I come from a decidedly Christian upbringing, I was always allowed to explore all religious and philosophical concepts. In college, I continued this trend and minored in Philosophy. Unfortunately, I constantly found that people just didn't like to hear what I had to say or what I wrote. I find it hypocritical that the people who preach love and openness are often the most mentally closed off individuals. If you challenge them in any intellectual fashion, they fail to engage rationally, and instead, resort to the trappings of emotion.
Just look at all of the world's religions. I am not the first person to state this, but more people have died in the name of 'God' than any other cause. By definition, at least one side of the table is wrong. However, I have an idea: BOTH ARE WRONG. How can a religion which teaches that murder is wrong preach death to non-believers? You are your brother's keeper... unless he's a homosexual - then he's doomed to burn. Judge not lest ye be judged! Yet the religious constantly judge EVERYONE!
And it continues. Most organized religion is nothing more than an organized brainwashing, self-help session. Sin six out of seven, repent on the seventh... good to go for another six. YEAH! Religion is the ultimate video game. Just hit reset. And keep poppin' in those tokens 'cause the church needs the cash! Why does God cost money?
At this point, people may believe, "Nate's evil!" or "He's a Satanist!" or some other absolute bullshit. Anyone with reason and intelligence will notice that I've spoken of 'religion' to this point and not 'spirituality.' My entire life-concept is built around two very easy to understand spiritual concepts or 'laws.'1) Creativity and creative acts/thoughts/ideas/energies are good.
2) Conscious, willfully destructive acts/thoughts/ideas/energies are bad.
Everything in life can be placed into this VERY simple framework. You will note that both laws require consciousness. In this way, we can immediately solve the 'animals commit murder, so why can't humans' BS that some moron will bring up. You show me an animal that is capable of consciously selecting and killing a target for any reason other than food or defense. Anyway, back on track. All of the commandments in religion can be boiled down to these two laws. It explains why murder is wrong.... stealing is wrong.... adultery is wrong... etc. Those are all consciously destructive acts on the part of the person committing them. But notice the most important part - it required the individual to consciously THINK about the action at hand.
This brings up the most important part of my problem with religion. All too often, religion is used as a tool to shirk off responsibility. How often have we heard, "Sorry to hear... but it was part of God's plan." Do you really think God consciously plans to kill people? If so, that sounds pretty damn evil given my Law #2. In reality, people just need to accept the very simple fact: shit happens. "The Lord works in mysterious ways" is just another way of saying, "I have no idea." Just admit it. Is it really that bad to admit that you have no idea?
However, here is the turning point. People tend to react in at least one of several ways:
Some people will pray . Yes, let's request the services of a supposedly already over-worked diety. Ever see Bruce Almighty? People pray for the dumbest shit. On the flip side, directed energy and postive thoughts can affect positive results. Studies have shown that 'loved' plants grow better than 'hated' plants. Regardless, I would rather choose to share my love and healing energy with someone than simply 'pray-in' another work request and pass the buck to God.
2) Do nothing / apathy / fear / self-imprisonment
Seriously... how many people fall into this category? "Oh, it's too big for me. I'm just a ...." Who created most of the problems we currently face? We did! If we caused them, we can solve them. At this point, we witness the true failure of mankind. Our power lies in our ability to create... create solutions, cures, treatments, etc. Every problem is a chance for mankind to rise up in the face of adversity. To take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for our past, present, and future and decide to do something beneficial for ourselves and the rest of humanity. Or you can willfully choose to shackle your creativity and occupy your rotting mind with entertainment and other distractions.
You can do whatever you will as long as your will does not impact upon someone else's will. In many ways, this is a reference to Aleister Crowley
's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."
... and the thoughts pass and the stream shifts...
My point is this: We, and only we, are fully responsible for the world we live in each and every day. If you do not like it, then do something about it. Don't just pray for a fix or donate some cash, and then go about your day. Actually do something. Think about the problem. Put yourself in the position of those less fortunate than you. Think about the issues facing our country and the rest of the world. Think about the injustices committed against those who view themselves as too weak to affect change.
If religion is so good, then why does the Catholic church own more land than any other organization? Why have so many children been sexually abused at the hands of these religious people? Why do starving African people have to become Christian in order to receive our food?
In the end, the great con of religion is that it exists purely to control individuals and saddle them with guilt, doubt, uncertainty, or confusion in order to prevent them from self-realization. Ever notice how the ferocity with which religion is embraced by a group is equivalent to the desperateness of the people involved? Christians tend to be pretty wishy-washy except the Evangelicals who tend to come from the poorer sections of the United States. Indian's caste system is reinforced by a religion that attempts to explain why so many of them end up living in poverty (karma). And in the Middle East, Islamic 'extremists' are willing to kill themselves in order to prove their point. And this is all validated by their religion!
No matter what your situation, you can be sure that religion has a way of explaining why... Some way to pass responsibility to some imaginary force or diety. Unfortunately, the explanation is used to control the people. Imagine India revolting against poverty and the caste system. Imagine the people of the Middle East finally deciding to rid the region of the dictatorships of Saudia Arabia and Israel. Imagine the people of the United States standing up and realizing that the Declaration of Independence has granted us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Our mainstream media has proven quite effectively that fear can be used to guide, shape, and control the masses far more effectively than any other force.
Otherwise, one has to ask, "Is this really all there is?" If you truly believe in God or the concept of a higher power, then how can you possibly believe that whatever you are doing is what you were meant to do with your life. We can do better! It is our responsibility to ourselves and the rest of humanity to engage our creative gifts and strive to do our best.
If interested, please see some of the movies or read some of the books listed to the right of this post. And remember, if you start to feel an emotional pain, ask yourself "Why?" Challenge yourself to understand why you feel and think the way you do. Lao Tzu
in his Tao Te Ching
says "Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing the self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force. Mastering the self requires strength."
Labels: Aleister Crowley, Bill Maher, Evil, Good, Religulous, Taoism, The Secret, Will, Zeitgeist