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Religion And Society:

Can The Two Coexist?







[It would be easy to think of the world as a world with only a single religion, and a single homogeneous society that lived in conformance with that religion. But reality is something quite different! That God, that is today causing so much trouble in this world, is a problem, because everybody tends to see Him a little bit differently; and, because people take their view of God so seriously that they band together and form groups that want to force others to see Him the same way! Since religions form such an important part of any society, how can a unified livable world come about, when they are becoming so disruptive of society, because of all the rules and regulations they promote? The answer lies in getting at the core of what religion is, and filtering out the true purpose of religion, from the disruptive organizations that are making them untenable for all.

This essay has two parts: the first will examine the “sickness” that religion is becoming; the second will examine the rivalry between religious groups and government, and how that interferes with society and the government, society created to make society livable and a representative of the ALL society is. Democratic societies are created by many groups, all living and working together, in order to keep society viable; can modern democratic societies cope with the social divisions that religions are creating? Can the chaos that the religions in the Middle East are creating be curtailed from happening here? Can we make this a united, livable world, without letting God get in the way?]




Part I: The Sickness Of Religion



Recently, I read a couple of news articles 1 , that indicate just how much religion is forcing its way into our government and its justice system. Couple that with the fact that candidates for the presidency of the United States in 2016 are openly being tied to religious organizations, and religious money 2 , and suddenly, we tend to get the sense that what is happening in the Middle East is also happening right here in the United States; oh, perhaps, not as violently, or with the same religious 'club' involvement 3 ; but, just the same, it is making its way here too. Suddenly, we see that all religions have that same bent, I mentioned in another essay 4 , a bent that distinctly stinks of a disease process, similar to a type of plague – a plague of contagious insanity 5 .

This country, that opened its doors to all religions and even the absence of religion 6 , is suddenly, covertly closing its doors by tying religion to its political structure. But the real power behind this is not God, but money. Religions, which actually are excluded from government, by not paying their fair share of taxes, are now becoming “under cover” businesses. And as such, through these businesses, which have proliferated throughout the country in the name of charity 7 , are trying to push their own religious prejudices 8 on everyone else. They have broken that separation between Church and State, which is the hallmark of this country and its unbiased freedom. They have become, instead of the unbiased missionaries of love, the most bigoted and hateful protagonists of division and prejudice – which can only be described as an outright disease process.

This starts with the idea that religion is a government headed by God. In promoting this idea, religions conveniently forget that many religions today actually believe that God is a part of the human organism itself. Christianity and even Judaism, see their God incorporated into the human heart, through the New Covenant that the Bible mentions. 9 This then brings to the fore the question that I asked in another essay: “Why is there a need for a clergy?” 10 The only answer is: there isn't! If God is in the mind and heart of the human being, then there is no need for another human to intervene as God's interpreter! But there is a need for them (the clergy), as far as they, themselves, becoming the voice of God! Here is where the sickness enters religion – a sickness within the human, not God. A sickness brought about through the human needs to follow and to lead. God has nothing to do with it.

I mentioned before that the religious club is an excuse for bigotry. 11 Here I emphasize the disconnect with reality that religion introduces.

Rene Descartes said: “I think therefore I am”, he highlighted what distinguishes the human organism from all other creatures: the mind, and its reasoning process. Unfortunately, beliefs live outside of reason; they are the equivalent of what a logician or mathematician would call a premise, or postulate. A postulate is a fact upon which all other reasoning depends, because it comes first, and all the reasoning that follows depends on it. Again, unfortunately, postulates must be inferred; by this I mean they are discovered through a preponderance of evidence (as in science), or they may be just plain beliefs, as they are in religion. God is the primary postulate that religion has created. It is not based on evidence, but what people believe – a thing called faith. Faith has done much more than merely move mountains; it has created wars, destruction and sorrow and misery like nothing else has; history confirms this in the many atrocities it heralds, like the crusades, the inquisition, the reformation, the burning of witches in America, and on and on. And, again unfortunately, right up to the present day, in the slaughters in the Middle East, by all the major religions there.

The postulates for our realities were learned by us, when we were children. Again, unfortunately, religions have intervened in this process, by interjecting their own interpretations of God into the lives of the children in their schools, or the minds of the parents, who raise them. Thus, religion has its origin through the family, at an early age. We might call this, a type of disease infestation, because it becomes a part of the mindset of its adherents before reason can reject it. By the time the reasoning process is learned, the religious prejudices are firmly embedded in the mind as beliefs, outside the reasoning process. Thus, these prejudices are a type of disease infestation that sets up a set of rules through which reality itself is interpreted.



[Here I must clarify my standing, so that the reader does not misinterpret these lines to mean that people should not believe in God. Belief in God is not the problem with religions today; the problem with religions is that this belief in a God, instead of bringing people together, is instead dividing people. How can this be, if God does its work through love? Further, religions today (as they have always been) are grounded in rules and regulations, just exactly as governments are. This creates God, the partisan ruler, instead of God, the creator and harmonizer of ALL.

The idea of God was not supposed to be a ruler or a tyrant, steeped in prejudice and bigotry; but a universal first cause, through which love and harmony radiates to all its creations. God lives in the ideal or perfect, which is love and harmony, not prejudice, division, judgment and, yes, even hate!



What has changed religion into the “club”, has also changed God, into a tyrant ruler, who sides with some, and destroys all others.

This is not a God, who:
Does not judge: “judge not, lest ye be judged”;
Does not hate: “God is love”.

But this is a God, who is a bigot – a God who selects some of its creations, and discards others. This is a God, who, unimaginable as this seems, hates! Yes, hates these poor creations, who must live in a world that divides itself into those God picks, and those God discards!

All of this is the product of the religious club, and the government it is, whose ruler is supposed to be a God of love!

As I have said many times, God is love! This God of love is interpreted, not through rules and regulations, but through the love for all others, it generates in the human heart. It is not tied to any group, or their group prejudices, but to all of humanity equally, whether they believe in it or not. The rules come from human beings, not God; and these rules are the most pernicious part of the sickness, religions present to the world, for they become the prejudices that exclude others.]




A disconnect from reality, by a human mind, is a medical disease called a psychosis. Those, that suffer a psychosis, cannot see where, in their minds, this disconnection occurs; in other words, it is not observed by them, except in the disruptions in their reality it causes, which makes them unable to live harmoniously in the world outside their own mind. Likewise, the early introduction of religious dogmatic rules can cause a disconnect from reality in a religious host; making that host take refuge only within the world of that particular religious group, that host follows. So we see here an analogy to a mental disease process. If the group is big enough, they can begin to spread their ideas through the society through trying to influence that society's government. And that is what I have shown is starting to happen in the United States, because of the influence the larger religions are having through their advantages as tax exempt groups that influence government elections, and immigration of more of their kind into the country as voters. Thus the contagion of their ideas are spread, and their bigotry is spread through society.

The sickness of radical Islam is easily perceived, because of the violence and destruction it has caused in the Middle East; but the prejudice that various Christian religions of the West are introducing into our Western societies and their governments, through the very process of Democracy itself, is going unnoticed. What I have tried to show is that they are essentially the same thing: a mental disease process, whereby society is divided and destroyed through the introduction of prejudices and hatreds that make God a ruler bent on destroying all those who do not accept the rules of His religion.

God is ultimately a concept of the individual mind; not a set of prejudicial rules enacted through a group of followers, to rule over human minds. God must always unite; never divide. Love is alone the medium through which God works; a medium of harmony and understanding to unite all the human creatures of the world. Religions have changed this into a disease, which makes the human a robot under its control, which can never see others, outside his group as anything but enemies. God lives in every heart, and has no rules, but the love of every heart, through which God works!

Christianity, Judaism, Protestantism, Hinduism and Islam are but examples of names that create division and discord among the human inhabitants of this planet. They are the group interpretations of a God that created and loves all human beings in the same manner – yet, they see Him as only theirs. The God of humanity is a nameless God, who lives in every human being, His only indication is the harmony He creates, and the fellowship He lives in. God has no name; and there is only one group that follows Him without rules of any kind; that group is all of humanity, without exception.

The Christ said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God That which is God's”. There is no better description of the essence of God, than these words carry: a God with prejudice toward none – a God that unites and never divides its human creations! A God whose essence is love, but whose domain is the human heart and mind, not the prejudicial mortal world where mortality rules. God rules our hearts and minds, and leaves us to do the rest, for we have free will. Free will is ours to deal with – so, in God we trust – that individual God, not that group God; not the partisan God of religion, but the God who is love; the God that even atheists acknowledge!



Part II: "The Group" Versus "The Groups"



Let's begin simply, there is only one "group" that makes up society: that society itself! As I said in a previous essay, on “Allegiance”, this indisputable fact is getting more and more murky in today's multicultural societies; but now, religions are making it still more murky. Religions, and, there seems to be more of them popping up everyday, are further clouding an issue that should be crystal clear. These “groups” are getting more and more involved in the mechanism of societies too, by trying to get involved in government issues, pertaining to society.

Further, these religious groups are using the very fact that this country makes a separation between Church and State, as the pretext to attack that very same thing, and break it down 12 .

Because we have political parties that already divide this society, the religions are also trying to gain control of these divisional tools to further there own ends, and the particular prejudices that define them from any other religious groups. And yet, all these groups use the word “love” as an excuse for all of this! The “furtherance of love” is the battle cry of all these groups, yet the results are just about the furthest thing imaginable from that. Let's get another thing straight here: love and prejudice are at the opposite ends of the spectrum; just like “division” is not "unity". But then, once again, we see how just about anything can become something else, when minds closed off to rationality are brought into the mix, as the first part of this essay tried to demonstrate.

In the first part of this essay, we emphasized how religion was becoming a disease similar to a psychosis, since it lived outside of reason and the rationality that allows the normal citizen to live with all other citizens in a society. Crazy people are crazy, because they cannot connect with the rest of the people who live among them. Yet this very fact is forgotten, when it comes to religious beliefs, even though religious people are the most inflexible of individuals, as far as their beliefs go. When it comes to society, the exact reverse is the case: everyone must bend to a certain extent, in order to allow society to function at all. Democracies go even one step further, by making government the reflection of its people, so that ALL the people have a voice in the matters that society must face. What we immediately see is the diametrically opposite position of religions and society; religion lives in the group, while society lives in the ALL of which it consists.

If these facts are correct, then it seems that there can never be a suitable compromise. But we must not forget that thing that most Western religions conceived as a part of all of them: love.

If all the Judeo-Christian religions have, at their core, the concept of love, then they should be flexible enough to meet the standards that modern democratic societies demand of them. Yet we must also remember that Islam is also a Judeo-Christian offshoot, yet it is causing innumerable problems to the formation of any kind of society at all in the Middle East. Of course, there, we are not dealing with Western style societies, but mainly tribal societies 13 . This fact aside, why are these love based religions also tending to be just as inflexible as radical Islam? And, why are they also trying to gain control of a government, whose purpose is to represent all the people of society, not just any one segment?

But love offers a way out of all of this. Love entails flexibility, because love's main rule is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”; and this is also society's main rule that allows a society to exist. So why is there a problem? The problem is, once again, the organization. When religion crystallized into a group entailing an organization, it became bound down in its own rules and regulations, which pertained only to the group. Also it created a hierarchical structure that created a bureaucracy – the most inflexible part of an organization. Also, economics raised its ugly head, for this “leadership” structure needed money to make it go. And thus the business of charity was born; a business that made politics and lobbying a necessity.

So lets state what the real problem is:
Today, religions have created groups, whose structures imitate governments; they create rules which apply to the specific group, yet they also want those outside the group to respect these rules, and ignore any blatant discrimination this might set up outside the group. In simple language: they are creating prejudice, and then saying they have the right to do it, because they have the freedom to practice their religion any way they want – because of the separation of Church and State.

So, lets take this somewhat further, to show how blatantly absurd this is:
Suppose the old religion of the Thugees was reconstituted in America as a legitimate religion of the Hindu Goddess Kali. Say, this stranglers cult said it was their religious practice to strangle anyone they choose; does this give them the right to do this under the separation of Church and State? Crazy, right; but to discriminate against gays and lesbians, or tell women that they cannot have an abortion, because of the right for life God demands is OK? 14

The biggest problem that religions present to the world today is the prejudice and bigotry they promote against anyone outside their own group. Sure, religions can do what they want in their religious practices to a point, but they must also respect the law, and the society that they live in. They cannot force others to believe or condone what they believe or condone. In the final analysis it is exactly what the Christ told the High Priests of Israel: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God That which is God's”. Caesar's world is the mortal world of society, government and the world at large. God's world is the world of the mind, and love.

Sounds easy, doesn't it! But the implementation will always be the problem. The true believer can never see that prejudice that has drowned him. He lives in a world where he must be surrounded by his own kind. So, perhaps, it is our own natures, that will always keep us alienated from each other? Still we must remember that ALL that society is; religion is not the government of ALL, but the government of the self. If we keep it that way, God, that God of the love inside of us, will, in turn, favor ALL!




FOOTNOTES

To return to note's origin click the footnote number at left



1 One article was an article from Reuters, "Indiana governor: 'Absolutely not' a mistake to sign religious freedom bill", Sunday, March 29, 2015; another article, from the Sun Herald, Thursday, March 26, 2015, “Judge says youths found with alcohol willing to read Revelation”, by Robin Fitzgerald; a third from PRI “Purvi Patel faces 20 years in prison for feticide and child neglect”, Monday, March 30, 2015, by Amy Gastelum.



2 For instance, Ted Cruz's recent bid for president in 2016: "He did not announce his campaign on his home ground of Texas, but at Liberty University, the evangelical Christian campus in Virginia whose students represent the GOP force that he would have to command to have a chance at the nomination.", from the Los Angeles Times Story, Saturday, March 28, 2015, by Cathleen Decker.



3 Here (in the USA), it is forms of Christianity; there (in the Middle East), forms of Islam.



4 See my essay: "And Man Created God In His Image, To Subjugate... To Alienate... To Rule... To Enslave!”, and the pertinent section:
“Showing the same thing that all religions have shown throughout history: radicalization and splintering into belief systems which disagree with the doctrines of the parent groups. The same thing that all organizations based on beliefs show, whether religious, legal or political. Belief systems immediately provoke discontent, as true believers split over the so called “fine print” of their beliefs; history has consistently upheld this, and the resultant wars and atrocities these disagreements have brought about, especially in the religious segment.”



5 Pope Francis was quoted as saying: 'He has said that the international community would be justified in using military force as a last resort to stop "unjust aggression" but that it should not be up to a single nation to decide how to intervene in the conflict' quoted from a Reuters article, "Pope, on Palm Sunday, pays tribute to 'today's martyrs", by Philip Pullella, Friday, March 27, 2015, (Italics mine).



6 Yes, atheists are citizens of the United States, even if they do not trust in that God, that all Americans are supposed to trust in. It's really amazing that the government of the United States would endorse such a motto, when they know it discriminates against people who do not believe in a God (as portrayed by the major religions)! See my essay: '“In God We Trust”; Which God?'



7 The reader should remember, charity has become a big business today!



8 The term “religious prejudice” seems to be an oxymoron, in that belief in a God should create no prejudice whatsoever, since God belongs to all equally and in a non-partisan way. The real paradox this reveals is that religion is a contradiction, in that it accomplishes the opposite of what it was supposed to accomplish – prejudice instead of harmony and division instead of unity!



9 The New Covenant is mentioned in: Jeremiah 31:33, The Holy Bible, King James Version:
“…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts” (Italics are mine).



10 See the essay: "The Clergy – The Enigma Of Religion!".



11 See the essay: "Religion: Is It Just Another Name For Bigotry?"



12 This brings up the point of legislation such as the Religious Freedom Restoration acts. "The Religious Freedom Restoration Act holds the federal government responsible for accepting additional obligations to protect religious exercise." This is a quote from the Wikipedia article on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The problem is, do these obligations infringe on the rights of other citizens? Religion wants its right to practice its rituals even if they are the outright bigotry that has become a part of its very existence today. For instance, if a religion finds homosexuality to be a sin, is it proper for them to shun homosexuals in their business dealings with others? If government rules they can practice in this way, it vindicates their right to practice their religion freely, but it also deprives the person shunned to be able to live in a free country, with his inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness intact. Is this separation between Church and State, or is this saying the Church lives outside the State, and can do whatever it wants in the practice of its ways, even if they deprive others of their rights?



13 Tribal societies have one essential weakness: they need a strong leadership structure. They tend to be small, and disconnected, and depend on the direction of strong individual leaders. In the case of the Middle East, this is usually tied to religion, since the whole tribe and its society is built around the central religion, in this case, Islam. In many ways, the problems that have emerged there are a result of the West's intervention in the recent wars that destroyed or irreparably weakened the various strong men, who kept order there. The Afghan and Iraqi wars led only to a vacuum, which was filled by radical Islamic groups, like ISIS. But the attributes of these groups should also warn us to be vigilant about all religions, and recognize that religion, if left to bask in its own power structure will inevitably end in the same process. The History of Christianity makes this clear, for it showed that if the leadership was not vigilantly controlled, the hierarchy could bring about a bureaucracy that could get out of control. See the following link, as an example of how Catholicism even came out against democracy itself.



14 Recently there was an article about Ultra Orthodox Jewish men not wanting to sit next to a female passanger on an airplane. They would not sit down, and held up flights till someone moved; or they traded seats with someone. Do you really think God cares about such things? Here is a YouTube Video highlighting this: "Orthodox Jews Refuse To Sit With Women On Plane". The speaker uses a lot of profanity, be advised; but he makes the same point I make: a good one. If you believe in God, then let's remember that that God gave us a brain; why would He do that, if He didn't want us to use it ? Things like this, clearly show most of the congregations of religions today are not using those brains!







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Originally Published:

March 30, 2015

Revised:

April 18, 2015