1. When it makes us feel bad about ourselves versus lifting us up
Some religions hold us to rules which we can never achieve. Sometimes these rules even counter the very nature of the human spirit. Religion is a beautiful thing which should lift us up and help us become better people, not destroy our spirit in the process. This point is especially about those of us who feel bad about ourselves because of what religion tells us.
I’m not saying that religion should not hold us to what is moral, ethical or right. I am however saying that if religion destroys us in the process we will never attain the growth which religion can often time offer.
2. When we use it to keep us from having to take responsibility for our actions
I know a lot of people who use religion to place blame for their actions on others. The one notable example in my mind deals with reincarnation. If a person had a bad past life then it is their fault in this life that they have suffered human right violations versus the person who committed them.
This idea happens a lot in terms of domestic abuse. It’s always the person who got hit that is at fault. This is a ridiculous idea. It is even more scary when someone uses religion to make this point..
3. When it is used to gain votes by those running for political office
I’m not saying this about countries who have theocracy. I’m saying it for countries who don’t. This is true in the United States. There is supposed to be separation of religion and state. While some arguments are a matter of the cultural and historical importance of religion in this country, when it is used as a focal point of political process we are making a huge mistake.
Religion is the make up of a great many people. We do vote based on the values of individuals. Taking into account a persons religion while making a choice may be as important as any other issue. However in terms of campaign process, religion should not be a focal point. Religion may govern certain ideas and issues but ultimately it should be the issues standing alone for which someone retains a vote.
4. When it is used to convince people they should blow up or kill others
This happens a lot in Islamic Fundamentalism (to my knowledge). People think it’s horrible that someone would be a suicide bomber. They wonder why anyone would do it. It may not be completely a religious idea. Growing up in a war zone has got to be pretty depressing. I’m guessing that the chance to give up life would be a blessing in disguise and religion is just the push they need to do it.
With that said. I think it’s horrible that anyone would convince or be convinced by religion to blow up themselves or others. This does not seam very honorable nor a great warrior notion to me. You want to fight your enemy? Fine, fight in a way that honors you, your people and humanity. Many people don’t find honor in violence of any kind but blowing yourself or others up because of religion seams a horrible idea.
5. When it is used to create or maintain war
I don’t think religion should be an element of war. It doesn’t make much sense to me. War doesn’t make much sense to me either. Religion has meant the beauties in life to me, not the atrocities. I just don’t understand this aspect of religion.
6. When it makes us feel like we deserve more than others because we are the chosen
This is a very ridiculous idea to me. We are all humans with varying lifestyles, cultures, religions and paths. We all struggle to make our life better than it is now. We all try to influence the world around us so that we can be better off.
We should not use a system to delude ourselves in believing we are better than other people. We all enter into experience of life or for some of us who are lucky choose a path. Still we are biological functioning animals. We are more alike and less special than any of us might think.
7. When we use it as our sword and our shield but not as our back bone
This is of course a metaphorical idea. When we use religion as a way to get what we want in the world or to adapt people to our viewpoints yet we don’t use religion to influence our lives in as far as religion may speak, teach or hold true.
8. When it is used as an excuse to carry out genocide.
Killing lots of people because they are one way or another is stupid. I’ll go so far as saying killing people is stupid. There is no purpose for killing other than to make our lives better. Treat others with dignity and respect. Don’t kill someone for being who they are, that’s just stupid.
9. When it is used as a tool to make us feel better about ourselves versus a measure by which we might be called good, ethical, holy, kind or generous.
This is mostly like number seven. Don’t just use religion to make you feel better about yourself. Let it hold you to those values which are positive to others around you.
10. When it is used to control the masses, the individual or the soul from an external rather than a personal source.
I don’t like any system that controls the masses. People are meant to live in small numbers. We can’t manage interactions with more than a couple hundred people. If we do we may become overwhelmed. We are all different in who we are and how we act. I think the best thing we can do is find a way to interact with other groups in the most positive possible way.
In the United States we are supposed to have the freedom to live our lives the way we wish so long as we do not interfere in the rights of others to do the same. I don’t think that our spiritual journey should be controlled from external processes. I believe that Religion should be a guide to God and a guide to life. I don’t believe it should be a method by which government can control massive groups of people.