As I sit here typing away on this piece, I do so with full knowledge that I risk offending anyone who doesn't believe in a supreme being. I am sure that some atheist will bash this article and me for even mentioning the possibility of a God. I also risk offending the people who believe in God. So just for grins, let's not even debate that question. We have no business getting in the middle of each other's faith, beliefs, or lack thereof.
And besides, I don't want to discuss God. I want to discuss faith and religion, which will surely keep me out of hot water because no one ever gets wound up when the topic of religion comes up.
Whether you believe in God, humanity invented religion, and it involves a great deal of faith. For many centuries, religion has ever been changing its appearance. When discussing religion, the questions who, what, when, where, and how have more answers than can be counted. In general, religion has been a moving target. Groups who worshipped the same God sometimes couldn't even agree how that should be done. Through the years, people who supposedly believed in the same things couldn't even find it in their hearts to honor their God in the same buildings. Even the books and writings at the center of some religions have various versions and different as well as conflicting interpretations.
I understand that faith means sometimes having to accept what is difficult to understand. Faith can also mean believing in something that cannot be proved with empirical data. I can understand and accept those ideas. However, several questions about religion have been bothering me for a long time.
1. How can people kill in the name of their religion, their faith, or their God? I have never been able to get a grip on the term religious war. Killing in the name of religion has forever been a part of world history. People who thought their God wanted them to kill Americans have attacked our country. I am really not cool with that idea.
2. How can a religion-based theme park include dinosaurs on an ark? I struggle with any leaders or followers of those leaders who refuse to recognize the existence of the scientific evidence that the dinosaurs were gone before we got here. I hate to tell them that Fred Flintstone never worked in a quarry for Mr. Slate riding a saddled brontosaurus to mine granite.
3. If a fetus has rights, but gay people don't, is it alright to kill a gay fetus? Let's face the facts; we are all a bit messed up. Most of our "houses" really aren't in that great shape. If we focused on our challenges and helping people in need, we wouldn't have time to tear others apart.
4. Does the God that some people worship have no problem if they intentionally inflict suffering on their fellow humans? I will not dignify the church by mentioning its name, but picketing funerals is not a way to move the world forward. It is only a way to spread hate.
Sometimes, good people take bad turns. The challenge I pose today is for all of us to take that extra step when reaching out and lifting someone up. Sometimes, we all need help. Sometimes, we also have to work overtime to straighten out some crazy acts performed in the name of religion.