The one part of religions that I wish would go away

So, I think you all know I’ve had a long and complex struggle with the religion of my childhood. I’ve come to accept that for many people it is a good thing, and that there are some amazing people (Martin Luther King Jr. comes to mind) who have had it loaded and gone on to do great things for us all. I am getting closer and closer to a place of no longer being angry at it.

However, it contains a fatal flaw. Actually, a *bunch* of religions contain this flaw, and it’s from where I sit kind of a dangerous one that we really need to get rid of.

The idea is this. “I am the only true religion. All other religions are false. All the adherents to those religions will go to $DYSTOPIA while the adherents to me will continue to $UTOPIA”.

The problems with this are legion.

1) It excuses going to any lengths to attempt to “convert” adherents to other religions. Holy wars become acceptable. So does enforcing your questionable moral code on people who have other moral codes
2) It denies reality. I’ve known people of many religions and found them all to be beautiful, amazing, and worthy of love. Surely no higher power would expect someone to guess amongst the multitude of religions currently out there and punish them for guessing wrong. Beyond that, the variety of life and people and places and whatnot on Earth sure suggests that if someone is running the show, *that someone LIKES variety*.
3) It leads to some very questionable thinking. Looking at the wikipedia entry for adherents to religions, I find that while there is a majority religion, there’s no religion that has more adherents than the sum of all the other religions. So, you’re arguing that God is such a bad systems designer that he built a system where the majority of the users are going to $DYSTOPIA. Really? You can’t really blame the users on this one, much as some of you might like to try.

I guess my plea to the religious is – don’t believe yours is the only way. Think better of God than that. Think better of *yourself* than that. I feel a lot like saying your religion is the only way and $A_SUPERUSER will participate in punishing those who didn’t see the world the way you did is in some ways a lot like shoving the blacks – or the gays, or whatever $MINORITY or $DIFFERENT_PEOPLE you might happen to dislike – to the back of the bus.

Beyond that, I take great comfort from the many times when friends of mine from a wide variety of religions and walks of life have freely acknowledged that we have more in common than we have different, and that theirs probably ISN’T the only way. It’s a happy thing to hear.

Also remember that monolithic systems often fail where systems with variety in them succeed.

Happy to be here, hoping to help the ball club.

One Response to “The one part of religions that I wish would go away”

  1. sheer_panic Says:

    A comical side effect of this particular belief is that – partially because of the limits of the languages we work in on Earth and partially because of certain behaviors of neural networks – those who believe theirs is the “one true way” tend to schism, over and over, and then turn on other religions that are derived from the same base class. This can get downright comical, especially when one looks at the Catholics vs. Protestants. What’s really amusing – and scary – is that these people are seriously creating a ‘us vs. them’ in their heads over minor – sometimes trivial – points of theology. I can’t help but remember the line from Sympathy For The Devil – “I watched with glee while your kings and queens fought for ten decades for the gods they made…”

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