My Religious Beliefs

They may not sit well with you.  Or you over there.  Yeah, you.
Organized religion kills
I do not like organized religion.  This does not mean that I am not a Christian, or that I do not believe in God or that Jesus is my personal savior.  It simply means that I do not like an organization that has perpetuated its existence through war, rape, murder and conquering lesser developed groups of people.  The Crusades, all nine of them, from 1095 to 1272, was mass murder blessed by the Pope and the Vatican.  The Trail of Tears, 1830-1835, was one of the most despicable things done by our own US government.  By 1837, over 46,000 of these “Godless heathens”, who were here first by the way, were forced out of their homes and relocated to present-day Oklahoma.
Those are just two examples of organized religion doing bad things, specifically Christianity.  There are a ton of other examples, but not only from Christianity, but from EVERY religion.  Jesus taught forgiveness.  He also said that God is the only true judge.  How arrogant is any organized religion to believe they are justified to judge above God?
Respect each other’s beliefs
Many of my closest friends don’t truly know my religious beliefs.  Why is that? Because they are mine.  It’s kind of like folks knowing the size and shape of my penis.  It’s mine (ok, and Nancy’s), and it’s none of your business.  I keep my beliefs private, and frankly, I wish more people would as well.  If you have faith, good for you.  If you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or whatever, good for you.  I seriously mean that, and I write it with no sarcasm intended at all.
My mom is a very devout Christian, and while we can debate theology, she is extremely open minded.  She practices tolerance.  I firmly believe that Jesus practiced tolerance as well.  I’m convinced that if Jesus were to come back today, he would condemn so-called Christians that spout that ALL Muslims are terrorists.  Just because someone’s religion doesn’t agree with you, and some bad apples of another religion fly planes into buildings and kill ~3000 people doesn’t mean that EVERY member of said religion is a cold-blooded murderer that hates freedom, puppy dogs, and boobies.
Please be tolerant on Facebook
I have many friends on Facebook that will post content that promotes their religion.  “Keep Christ in Christmas” is currently the big one this time of year.  I know that if I posted a response, showing that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, but that it was the Christian church incorporating Pagan celebrations to help get more followers, I would piss off a lot of folks.
It seems to me, on Facebook, that it’s okay to profess your love of Jesus and/or God, but if I were to post ANYTHING that doesn’t jive with your beliefs, I’m being offensive.  This boils down to the simple cliche of “You can dish it out, but can’t take it”.  If you think it’s okay to post about how great your religion is, you should be tolerant of folks that don’t believe.  We go back to that whole thing about Jesus forgiving folks.
In the same vein, I will NEVER degrade you or your beliefs.  We go back again to respect.  Have respect for others’ beliefs.  The golden rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (or something like that).  I will see some nonsensical shit being spewed on Facebook, but will look at it, realize that the person truly believes it, and let it go.  I respect their views even thought I don’t agree with them.
I think we should all do such a thing.
Bottom line….
Tolerance.  Don’t judge.  It’s not your place.  Acceptance. Accept acceptance.  It will make your life easier to live.
 
 

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12 Comments

  1. When I’m sitting in a group of friends and the debate about faith and religion is raging, what you’ve written is just the kind of thing I’d love to say to them… it grieves me that the God I know in the person of Jesus has been given such a dreadful name by the very people who call themselves his followers. The fact that a religion whose first commandment is “Love one Another” doesn’t seem to, is nothing short of tragic.

  2. In my opinion, the more you pass on this message, the better the world will be. Why not say this “in a group of friends”?

  3. Well said Dan. I have refrained from speaking on this topic, because I could write pages on it. I have very strong opinions on the subject–the strongest being exactly what you say: Be religious, be non religious, but respect all faiths. Every religion has tales of extreme violence (see Mark Juergensmeyer’s “Terror in the Mind of God”) and every religion has beautiful, mystical peaceful movements as well. It’s like guns….guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Religion doesn’t oppress people, people oppress people. I have a rather holistic non-denom (or all-denom? LOL) view of religion, and I get offended that people think god is a petty, homophobic, narrow minded, ethnocentric, fascist bastard.
    I think of the quote from a Woody Allen movie: “If Jesus came back and saw what is being done in his name, he would never stop throwing up.”

  4. i mostly agree with this article, but anyone who knows anything about military history and it’s relationship with religion throughout the ages will tell you that there is no bigger myth than saying wars are fought for “religion”. that’s an over-simplification on an almost insulting level. wars are fought for land grabs and power and money and that’s about it. the vast majority of the time, religion is but a mask to create popular support (which is the #1 most important thing to have when waging war. without it, you cannot fight, much less win). the crusades were not fought to rid the holy land of heathens, it was fought so that the kingdoms of europe could maintain control, taxes, and trade of the overland spice routes from the far east (several of which ended on the eastern shores of the mediterranean sea, conveniently located in the holy land). the trail of tears was a land grab in florida. it literally had nothing to do with religion. i’m not even sure if that was ever even a stated reason. it wouldn’t make sense; “god will look upon you more favorably in oklahoma than he will in florida” just doesn’t add up.
    the spanish conquest of the new world: land grab. the roman catholic church actually didn’t benefit from it any where near as much as people think. the spanish crown, on the other hand, benefited mightily from it.
    the napoleonic wars: land grab for france. nothing more. again, i’m not even sure if religion was ever a stated reason for expanding french imperial dominion.
    the first and second world wars: nope. in fact, if anything, being religious often meant your ass in both of those wars (800,000 armenian christians in WWI, and 6,000,000 european jews in WWII).

  5. Hey Dan… I like your post, and I totally get what you’re trying to say. But, I feel like you might be generalizing a tiny bit too much. I’m a Christian, but I’m also a Democrat with some pretty liberal beliefs. I’m pretty much anti-war, pro gay rights, and I think we need to help the poor, not keep them down. In fact, when I was looking for a church to join, the first thing I told the pastor, was that I had a problem with all the anti-gay stuff that tends to go along with religion. To my surprise, he said, without blinking an eye, “Yeah, so do I.” He then went on to quote John 10:16, where Jesus said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring.” A perfect example of Jesus’ compassion, grace, kindness, mercy, patience, etc, etc, for people who were not exactly like him.
    Now this guy is the pastor of church of a very mainstream denomination, and had absolutely NO problem telling me this… Someone he had just met. So my point is, there are lots of us out there who are open-minded. We’re not all hate-filled bigots who hate gays, love war, and think the poor are just lazy.

    1. Brian – I re-read my post, and yeah, I may have overgeneralized a bit. In no way was I trying to say that religious folks, Christian, Jewish, or whatever, were of a certain type of mentality. That’s why I talked about my mom. She’s the biggest “bible-thumper” (for lack of a better term) that I know that doesn’t hate. I love the message she gives (at least to me) that not all religious folks are assholes. The bigger issue I have, and my main point is that there are some religious folks in mainstream media that ARE perpetuating being an asshole in Christianity’s name. THAT bothers me.

  6. Dan, very well said. It took years for me to finally learn what you have wrote and I agree with you. I use to be one of those bible thumpers but learned has I studied more (I was on my way of getting my degree in Youth Ministries and Youth Crisis Counseling) that organized religion was just a means to control a population rather then actually promoting the fundamentals of faith. Once I started to educate my youth group I was forced out of the church I was affiliated with. These days, I keep my faith to myself and yes sometimes I do post something but I have learned the one thing that everyone forgets that you didn’t forget. We are not the judge, and once everyone learns that I believe life would be much easier. Again, You wrote an excellent blog.

  7. If I remember my Bible correctly, Jesus wasn’t too keen on organized religion either. In fact, he grabbed a whip and started beating heads.

    1. “If I remember my Bible correctly, Jesus wasn’t too keen on organized religion either. In fact, he grabbed a whip and started beating heads.”
      Yeah, but those weren’t religious folks but capitalists.

      1. That is not correct. The sellers/money changers in the Temple were there for expressly religious purposes. The premise was that no one could worship or offer sacrifice without using “approved” animals. The moneychangers were there to make sure that travelers could pay in the “approved” coinage. All in the name of the Lord, so to speak.
        At Passover everyone in the world who was an adult male and wished to worship at the Temple would bring his “offering” or purchase a sacrificial animal at the Temple. Since there was no acceptance of foreign money with any foreign image the money changers would sell “Temple coinage” at a very high rate of exchange and assess a fixed charge for their services. (from http://www.bible-history.com/gentile_court/TEMPLECOURTJesus_and_the_Temple.htm)

  8. “The God of my belief” (which translates to your belief) is really the only thing that anyone needs to be concerend about. Belive it, follow it, be content and respectfully let others do the same. If you don’t belive that’s alright as well, respect others right to choose, and live your own life.

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