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The Danger of Religion

The Danger of Religion

by Christian Michael

January 13, 2014

The closest any society has reached in enduring the lessons of the past to the present is through the morality of faith and building a strict society around it. The problem is, give humans enough time, and we will destroy every society put over us out of the same weakness the society was built to forestall -- "the primacy of now over the lessons of yesterday or the consequences of tomorrow."

Faith has been the single most consistent carrier of preventative morality in history, because it has never been permanently tied to any single society. At least most, anyway. What we must be most cautious of in religion is not the presence of a standard of behavior, but when those of that faith gather to create a government to enforce it with the threat of violence, such as the historical Catholic church, the hierarchy of Islam, ancient Buddhism and militant atheism.

Instead of allowing a voluntary competition of ideas and faiths in our societies, we have attempted to gather in democratic majorities and organized minorities to justify the crimes we commit to strip people of their freedoms, based on the most fallacious of arrogancies any human or group of humans may declare over other humans they wish to control, that it's: "For their own good."

No more dangerous thought can be held by anyone attempting to control the behavior of others, than that they are forcing people do to such and such "for their own good."

I know many statists who have divorced the concept that their Godless government is somehow better than others' God-themed governments. The problem isn't the presence or lack of God -- in this sense -- but that it's still the attempt of some to legalize their control over others.

To that end, one must understand that religion and faith are two different things. Faith is a man's relationship with God. Even if we disagree on the standards of that relationship, as defined by the Bible, Quran, etc., we might agree that faith can be held with or without the defined control of a body of other believers who may or may not have a stronger faith than you.

Religion is the systemized governance of faith according to generally a single perspective on the scriptures each different faith adheres itself to. For example, early Christianity held very low governance, and each household was admonished to adhere to scriptures, but it was the body that held sway over the body, not a single leader casting orders about. While Catholics will tell you that Peter the Apostle was the first Pope, even he had nothing close to the authority the Catholic church would one day forge over millions of people, many of whom may or may not even believe in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ.

With the advent of protestantism and the subdivision of denominations, we've distributed religious government to as low level as possible, as seen in nondenominationalism where individual churches govern themselves as a body, much like the first churches planted by Paul.

Religion, being a government, is as dangerous as any other government -- give enough power to those in control to enact violent control for the "good of others," and you get similar results. Even if God calls all men to love one another, men will define that love differently, and to enforce one version over others' is its own dangerous act.

There is value in the consistency religion has offered the masses over thousands of years, but the greatest thing any body of believers can do is to preserve the continuity of their scriptures and let each successive society discover their own interpretation. Preserve yesterday's interpretations for clarity and perspective, but don't force following generations to follow ONLY your interpretation. Make your point, argue the conflict, but when it reaches its conclusion, permit no violent recourse.

God doesn't hold you accountable for how other people ultimately choose to live their lives. He holds you accountable for sharing his light with others and then letting him create changes in their lives. We can encourage, we can guide and teach, we can even rebuke others of our own faith who have joined us to live by the same general perspective, but we ultimately are not responsible for the salvation of anyone, only in the sharing of love and truth.

Neither of which permit violence or the threat of it.

So consider what you believe, test it against the questions and ideas of others, but remember that you cannot control the beliefs or behaviors of other people. Only your interaction with them, so may your interaction represent the very best of what it means to believe what you believe, and trust in your higher power to create the change in others you believe truly brings heaven to Earth.


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