A question of faith
The blogosophere is rife with religious debate. People fiercely defending their beliefs (or disbeliefs) and the groups they choose to affiliate themselves with. Headlines today focus on the execution of the abortion killer and the controversy over a monument of the Ten Commandments in an Alabama Judicial Building. Here's my two cents on religion.
I giggle with glee when I'm told I will burn in hell for not practicing a religion. Often, the accuser knows little or nothing about me or my beliefs. But all that doesn't matter, because - in my case - I don't go to church so I'm burnin'. They assume I don't believe in a God or a higher power, that I'm an atheist or agnostic (I'm always surprised by how many people don't know the difference between the two), and therefore THEY are morally superior to l'il ol' ME.
This tendency is prevalent with some Catholics I'm acquainted with. The answer to everything is "confess your sins" and "go to church". Never mind that they've never read the Bible and couldn't tell you whether Noah filled his Ark in the old or new testament. Or that they aren't familiar with Canon Law - the rules they're supposed to be following as believers of the Roman Catholic religion. They'll space out through scripture and sleepwalk through ritual - but hey, they went to church. I don't think so.
Then there is Andrew. Andrew goes to Temple on holidays and has dated Christian women for as long as I've known him (about a decade). Now that he's 30 and has decided to "settle down", he'll only date Jewish women. Can someone please explain this to me? And he's not the only one - he's one example of many. I understand that he wants to meet a woman who shares his cultural traditions, but religion has never played a significant role in his life. Who knows - maybe he turned 30 and saw the light.
Countless wars are fought over differences in religious beliefs. An interest in the Crusades led me to study religion. People live and die by convictions they often share with their enemies.
Organized religions are based on the belief in a higher power - in a spirit or God. All religions prescribe that the individual treat others as they want to be treated - no one religion boasts a monopoly on the Golden Rule. Many stories are shared by religions across the board - the great flood comes immediately to mind (every religion has one).
What gives one person the right to say that their religion is the "correct" one to follow? How did we get to the point where fathers sue the government to remove the words "under God" from the pledge of allegiance? What makes one person's rights or beliefs (separation of church and state) more relevant than anothers (Belief in a God)?
Fanatics kill doctors to prove that killing babies is against a moral code of law? Paul Hill's God, the one who will "reward him in heaven," is not my God. How do these people determine which life is more valuable? (for the record, I'm pro-choice, but don't believe in abortion or the death penalty)
People often try to justify their actions through their religious beliefs. It's probably what turned me away from organized religion.... seeing how many people preach at the drop of a dime, but don't walk the talk.
I live my life by what I was taught about right and wrong, just and fair, and keep my faith to myself. I wish others would leave me in peace and quit pushing their malformed beliefs on me.