Eyes High wrote:Now with that said; I also hope that many of you have come to view me as a respectable person who is open minded and respectful of others' beliefs. And as a lady that has at least some measure of intelligence.
Like y'all have said; it is the extremists in any group who tarnishes that groups' perception by the rest of the world.
The so called christians who bomb abortion clinics and murder people, 'because god told them to do it' or protest at people’s funerals 'because god hates homosexuals' are foremost misunderstanding the true teachings of God in my opinion and are just as wrong as the those who, because they don't believe in a god or 'my God', do not think anyone should be able to practice their faith out in public (or even in private for some) and further believe that anyone who believes in such a deity is a complete idiot.
I do not believe religion is the danger. I believe it is the way some people interpret said religion is where the danger lies. The God I know is a God of love. To me it is a person relationship. A relationship that cannot be forced onto others. A relationship that each person must decide for him or herself if they want. To me it is that relationship not the religion that is so important.
Intolerance is wrong. However, lately I see coming from those extremists in the fields of anti-religion the same intolerant behavior that they accuse many religions (especially Christianity) of having.
Reminds me of the old saying: “The pot calling the kettle black.”
EDITED BY ME FOR LENGTH
Thanks for the thoughts Eyes High - let me start by saying that I certainly am not one of the people who thinks you or anyone else is an idiot for believing in a higher power! I have no huge problem with the belief in a creator and I do not believe it stems from lower intelligence, though I do believe that this belief is a negative thing for the human spirit (spirit as in morale, or sense of worth, morals, etc - not soul!), as well as being a vastly more complicated explanation for the universe than is necessary or correct.
I respect everyone's right to their religions, and I would (literally) fight for those rights if it came to an abusive agnostic or atheism regime. That said - I work towards the end of religion. This is one of the key aspects of my life, and has been since I was old enough to understand that some people believed in some very specific (and completely unverifiable) things about gods and the afterlife. I do
believe that religion is the danger. Yes, it is people's interpretations that really make it dangerous, just like a weapon is only actively
dangerous when a person decides to use it for harm, but that doesn't negate the fact that the religion, as with the weapon, is innately
dangerous. There is nothing we can do about this danger other than to lessen it by diluting religions, or remove it entirely by ending religion.
I agree that those atheist extremists are somewhat the pot calling the kettle black, but I do no consider myself an extremist in this. I tell no one
to stop practicing or believing. I have never in my life done this. I DO ask them to learn, and to think. I'm not forcing my beliefs on anyone - I'm telling them to actually learn about their own beliefs.
My main problem with religion right now is that it is propagated by deliberately leaving out information. For example:
I have yet to hear of mainstream preachers reminding their flocks that the oldest and most reliable book of the new testament was written down by someone who never met Jesus, dictated by Peter 50 years after Jesus’ death
. Nor have I heard them point out that this Gospel - which was originally intended to be a complete
account of Jesus and his teachings for future generations (not a chapter in a bigger book) does not
mention the so called virgin birth, nor
does it mention the resurrection, nor
does it blatantly deify Jesus. Either Peter, who knew Jesus inside and out, didn't know about these things
, or didn't think they were important enough to write down
- which of those is more likely? Does this mean Christianity is wrong? No
, I know Christians who know and accept this weakness in the scriptures - but it doesn't seem that the leaders of Christianity like their followers being told about these (and many many other) important issues, like the 2 completely different creation stories, or that the old testament was oral for hundred and hundreds of years and thus has certainly been changed and mistaken from it's original forms and messages. Very few Christians know anything about this, they think the Bible is the word of god.
My problem with religions is that they rely on what people don't
know, not adding something to what they do
know. I want an end to this kind of organized religion. Most Christians I know have so little knowledge of their own religion that I (and I know almost nothing of what there is to know) far outstrip their religious education. I want religious teachers to take responsibility for the weaknesses of their religions instead of sweeping them under the rug.
Having said that, I would be sad on many levels to see religion end. It has amazing
beauty, and does have some positive results. I just want to see people accept that their own beliefs about specific attributes of God, or the afterlife, are in no way shape or form
more valid than those of other religions. That would be a great first step. I want a Pluralist Christianity, and Islam (NOT going to happen...) and so forth. Many religions (and some Christians) are already either inclusivist or pluralist, there is no reason mainstream Christianity can't get with the program and start respecting the other 2/3rds of the world.
(it looks like you've already made it this far with your own beliefs Eyes High, so please don't takke that as aimed at yourself).
I hope that doesn't make me one of the extremists.