Here's a household argument that's been going on far too long in my particular household: the good of religion argument. In an effort to lay it low once and for all, I'm making public my take on the whole thing, and why I, indeed, love going to churches, temples, or even to a funky storefront with a handful of people in praise of something higher than all of us combined.
So... you know how it feels when you get together with a group of friends to celebrate, or if you are in a musical group how amazing it is to sing or make melodies together? It raises the energy. Two is always higher than one and three higher than two. That to me is what religion is about, people coming together to create a higher energy for good. People with common connections either by blood, local, or interests, coming together to raise the energy in places they give a name to, Temple Isaiah, St. Simon's Church, The Buddhist Shrine by the Sea, it doesn't matter what it's called.
First one came, then a few more, and then the place was packed with people so they needed someone to organize, keep the place clean, raise money to buy the building because so many were coming. So people were given jobs. Organizing, cleaning, raising the funds to buy the building...counting those funds. Ah Ha... ego, power, money became entwined. Greed. There you have it the rest is history.
And a pretty disgusting history at that. Each and every bad thing in the name of the church can be traced back to someone who wanted more. More land, more food, more water, more power to control the land, food and water. Some just wanted more of what rightfully belonged to all of us that someone else had claimed as theirs.
Greed; "a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed." (Webster's)
The major religions all have the same basic theories said in several different ways. They all come down to learn to love thy neighbor as thy self and be kind. Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammad, The Koran, and The Torah, all have the same message: learn to get along, share, take care of yourself and others, be truthful to yourself and others. Play nice. Be Thankful. Appreciate. Give back to whoever represents God to you, be it the earth, a white haired old man with sparkling eyes and a full beard, or an Indian Princess with five arms. Whoever you think floats your particular boat; say thank you to. When bad things happens that you don't understand, be very, very still, go as deep as you can, and within that depth and silence you may connect with the calmness to deal with the bad and insight into what can be learned from said bad things. Simple, simple, simple until man steps in with his puffed up self and says gimme, gimme, gimme.
So the dude who represents group A, the A religion, thinks he's better than the dude from group, religion, B. And both A and B want group C's meeting place so C's gotta watch it's back. Oh yeah and then there's this group L that's run by a woman and the men who
run the other groups are not happy about that because they believe women were born to suck and serve, not lead. Since man first drew on cave walls we have been trying to communicate, tell our stories, and make a rhyme and reason of why we are here. The story that touches you in a place that stirs you could indeed be your story. The one to go with.
Each one of us is unique in the way we see and perceive everything. From a hummingbird to the big dipper, each one of us sees, feels, and hears everything in our own physical and vibratory way. This is fact. And this is faith; "firm belief in something for which there is no proof."( Webster's) Faith is trusting what you know in your heart to be true for you. Many times one can't articulate what is in their heart, the words are not there. "Look into your heart" is the best one can say other than "have faith."
Over the years many men and women have died for the right to express what they felt in their hearts and believed in. Over the years many men and women have studied, read, and written for long and tedious hours in order to understand and then live the ideals that made sense to their hearts. Over the years many men and women of advanced intelligence have analyzed and interpreted the myths and stories written from other hearts. One doesn't have to agree or believe anything by or about any of these men or women but mocking them is unkind.
Putting them down is arrogant and arrogance in itself is not kind. Disrespectful is what it is. Disrespecting of another's being-ness and belief. One can disagree without being smug, Bill Maher. It's actually very unbecoming in an otherwise smart, attractive guy with good politics and probably even better pot, but that smug, aren't- they-all -fools attitude; not so evolved. Bill, you could re-think that. But this isn't about Mr. Maher whom many of us are indeed grateful for, it's about all of us having the freedom to believe in and pray to a concept of something higher than ourselves, and raise energy around that concept.
So when the resident atheists in my family start in I figured this is what I'm going to say; do you believe in kindness? Good. Then believe in kindness, call kindness your God, and praise and pray to and for kindness. If you have some friends who also believe in kindness and want to talk about it, contemplate it, stir things up around it, invite them over. If our house gets too small and you need to find a bigger place to discuss kindness, you may want to rent a bigger place or even buy a place to meet. Ah ha...again, let me say, the rest will be history and the history will depend on the heart, and yes, the greed, of man. Not on kindness itself .
"There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe."
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin , Jesuit pries t, thinker and philosopher.
"The purpose of all major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts."
-Tenzin Gyatson, 14th Dalai Lama