Whenever religion is used to suggest that there is a certainty: about the nature of God, if any; the nature of humanity, as if knowable; morality, if unconnected to pertinent circumstances, then religion is dangerous because of instead of generating genuine reflection and a healthy quest for more information and spiritual growth, it postulates that everything is already known and not worthy of our intellect, our compassion, or our investigation.
The world’s great religions are aligned with the journey of discovery, the mystery of spiritual enlightenment, and the challenge of learning ethical conduct for all human beings.
It is not religions that fail, it’s religious people who seize upon an imperfect understanding of faith, and seek to impose it on themselves and all others.
This is as true of fundamentalist atheists as it is of Jihadists of all other descriptions. To assume that one person actually knows the true nature of the universe, including the total certainty that there can be no God or universal consciousness of any kind is as religious as an absolute faith in any other religion and is just as dangerous as fanatically believing in any other cant.
Throughout my life I’ve been through several stages of belief from devout Roman Catholic – that’s how I was brought up and educated – through doubt, release from religion, being agnostic, a tentative atheist, a rabid atheist, Buddhist – ish. Now, I know that I know nothing. I just feel open to possibilities. None of the shifts were sudden they evolved slowly with changing circumstances and new information.
I know that formal religions are useful for many. I see them as railings to hang on to on the way to learning to take full responsibility for yourself. Some can let go, others need to hang on. I wish everyone could know the pleasure of walking free and the responsibilities that it brings.
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