Well, it's been a little over a year since I self-published, set up this site, (that’s had over 7 thousand visits - thanks for that, the site will close at the end of this year) and “got involved“ with the whole religion thing. What have I learnt about the faithful & their religions?
"Faith" has nothing to do with intellect, logic, evidence, common sense, academia, reason or fairness to your own species, (regardless of their gender, ethnic background or sexuality).
It has to do with one of, or a combination of, two things; successful indoctrination and/or an emotional choice to believe.
That the big 3 Monotheist religions are far more splintered within each group - than I ever realised.
There is no one consensus of opinion regarding what their god expects of them, let alone what their god did or didn’t do, did or didn’t say, does or doesn‘t expect, of his followers.
That they are just as likely to be at each other's proverbial throats, as they are the throats of those of another faith or no faith.
Your faith says more about you, than it does the faith itself. For instance, some Christians are anti-LGBT, some are LGBT. Some accept evolution, some don't. They both however, say that their views are supported by their god, with back up text from the Bible. Can’t both be right, can they?
It doesn’t matter how badly or abhorrent a religion behaves, the majority of the faithful, will turn a deliberate blind eye to it. Either that, or they’ll counter it with good things that the religion does. It’s the equivalent of saying; “Yes, Hitler tried to destroy all the Jews and own the majority of Europe, but he did bring Germany back from economic ruin and give the German people a sense of self worth and self sufficiency”.
So until the Roman Catholic Church stops shielding child rapists and abusers. Stops the whole, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” when it comes to LGBT. Starts to let people use condoms as it DOES help to prevent the spread of AIDS. Stops corrupt financial & political dealings designed to spread their control - and does what it expects it’s followers to do: Confess it’s wrong doings and make amends, then it has no sway as the moral arbitrators for the planet, supposedly carrying out the wishes of Jesus and his Dad.
Often, what little I know of the Bible and Christianity, it’s contents & history; is still more than some that call themselves Christian, know. This was shocking to me - to sign up your life, to a faith & a religion, whilst knowing so little about it. But then it is an “emotional” choice.
If you take the time to read the contents of the books that were deliberately excluded from the compilation of stories that make up the Bible - you get a very different faith. No leaders as such - you draw lots to lead the congregation, regardless of who you are. No specific church building - a church is just wherever you all get together.
So straight away, gone is the hierarchy, gone is any gender bias, gone is the wealth generated from building & land ownership. And with all that, gone would be the “power”.
Naturally - not all of the faithful are mad, bad and dangerous to know - in fact, it’s the “moderate believers“, that are the ones that need to make their voices heard. If only to stand-up for themselves before the more right-wing, self righteous, fundamental and literal interpreters of the relevant holy texts, ruin…well…everything, given half a chance.
And what have I learnt about me?
I already knew from one specific personal experience - how easily people will believe in something, for which there is no evidence.
And how the choice to believe, is affected by how they are as people, their experiences, their own behaviour and their own belief(s).
And perhaps it’s because of that personal experience - that I take such issue with people that seem to take a “higher” opinion of themselves and their infallible views, because they’re the “faithful”.
Seeing bigotry, people being demonised and people being discriminated against - in a very active and overt way, (as a result of what some of the faithful believe to be true), really gets my back-up.
During the whole issue of “gay marriage”, I had countless internet rows with the faithful, (thank you Huffington Post USA) one in particular, resulting in me, being threatened with the return of Jesus in a very, “wait till your holy father gets home“ kind of way.
You’d think that two people wanting to show their commitment to each other and to celebrate their love, by getting married - wouldn’t cause anyone - any annoyance. But it does.
Essentially, what those people are annoyed about, is two people being in love.
That’s the most ridiculous, oppressive and barbaric reason to get angry.
I know that religion and faith is required by many, many people - and that’s fine, providing:
It doesn’t preach harm or bigotry of any kind.
It does it’s preaching in it’s church, where it belongs.
Shouldn’t expect their choice, to effect others in anyway, whatsoever.