I look around, especially these days, and I have to ask… How is religion helping us?
Yes… I know that there are just as many ideas about the Historic, Geopolitical and ideological notions about religion as there are people that follow the many different flavors that are out there. But the question stands… How is it helping us?
Personally I see religion as a powerful tool. It has the power to shape nations, control people and cultures, destroy civilizations, shape law, destroy law, and a host of other negative things. Religion, as a whole, is responsible for more death and destruction throughout the course of human evolution that any other human creation.
Now that you are probably thinking that I am a anti-religious freak… Let me continue.
Religion also has the power of great good. It has the ability to guide people from nothing to greatness, to lift the sad and lonely to happiness and prosperity. Again, I could go on and on.
But is it REALLY about the religion itself, or just that the potentials of a person whom otherwise would have no direction can be shown clarity through a belief such as a religion. That a person can use their faith, no matter what that faith may be, as a lens to focus their good intentions on others? Could it be that anyone that TRULY practices, with all their heart, can use religion as their catalyst to carry out their desires?
Religion is truly an enigma, in my minds eye. While I am not a very religious person, I see the good and the bad that it can do, and I respect both immensely. Likewise I respect those that do follow with all their heart and use that for the good. Likewise, I also respect those that use their religious presence for the bad. By respect, I mean in the same way that people respected Hitler’s ability to do evil and Norman Mailers ability to blow his ego out of proportion.
With everything that is going on in the world today, I have to think back on a line from a movie… I cannot recall the name of the movie right now, but I remember the line. “We are capable of such great beauty and such incredible destruction… ” We have an escalation in fighting in the mid-east that we have not seen in many years. We are very close to seeing a war between Korea and Japan, add to that that there are several nuclear missiles from the former Soviet Union that are not accounted for. To quote a line from one of my favorite plays: “No one can deny that these are very difficult and dangerous times.”
Do I think that theses are the ever-so-prophecized “End of Times”. Yes… but only if we let it. Unfortunately, as with most religiously based wars, there may not be an easy end to it. Would the destruction of Jerusalem end these wars, since that is the focal point of many prophecies? What about the fall of Israel? Maybe the start of an all out nuclear exchange? Who can say… Maybe none of them are right, maybe they all are… but I think that truth be told, there is no one that seems to be truly willing to find out… and let’s hope it stays that way.
Then again… Would we be better off if there was no religion at all… nothing to act as just another way to divide us into separate groups. Maybe John Lennon was onto something with his song “Imagine”. Then again… who knows. I am merely a passenger on this boat… just like the rest of us. As such, we really should watch how hard we rock the boat… there is nowhere to swim to if we fall off.
How is religion helping us? It has the potential of helping all of us or none of us. It is what we want it to be and what we make of it. I think, once again, of a fitting quote by the great philosopher George Carlin: “Religion is like a shoe that fits you just right. Your shoe might not fit me,l so do not force me to wear it and I will not push mine on you.” I will as one thing to that. Will people please stop beating each other with their shoes!!!