After reading the above statement, I would understand any assumption on your part leading you to think I’m either atheist or agnostic. Some may see this statement as irreverent, offensive, blasphemous, and out of line. Nor is it lost on me that some may see me as an ignorant, uninformed individual who is entirely out of touch with God and in need of some level of religious intervention. I’m neither an atheist nor agnostic.
Atheism denies a supreme being exists, whereas agnosticism is playing it safe by neither denying nor fully acknowledging the existence of God. My opening statement is definitive of my belief in a supreme being. Though I’ve clarified my acknowledgment of God, my declaration of hating religion requires explanation. But first, let me deal with my statement about why I believe in God.
I’ve always believed there was something superior to us that may have had a hand in our development. Calling it, God works for me, and I’m not prone to get into heated discussions about whether God does or doesn’t exist. I am willing to accept on “faith,” there is a supreme entity that had a hand in our creation and development, along with a vital concern it is not at all happy with how we’ve been behaving toward each other. Taking me to my other statement, in which I said that I hate religion. And I will go a step further, and I am not sure there is any realistic redeeming value to religion.
At this point, I guess I’ve touched your loadstone, meaning you’ve decided that I’m a raving heretic and the spawn of Satan, or I’m just some lost soul that could use a bit of religious assistance from a Priest, Reverend, Rabbi, or Iman. Would it surprise you if I said I would welcome hearing what they have to say?
I would love to hear what it is about their religious beliefs that drive the concepts among their followers that their religion is the only true religion that humankind should follow.
I would also want to hear from them about their religious beliefs and how they teach and educate their followers about what causes them to think skin pigmentation correlates with intellectual abilities.
Also, I would want to understand just how their followers have decided they are obliged to convert others to their form of religious constructs through force, enslavement, or outright brutal elimination in the name of God.
But most of all, I would like to hear from them that if I, a Black male, made in the image of God, why it was okay for those who looked like me to be committed to chattel enslavement and deemed to have no recognizable rights that white men had to honor and that white Christian’s are still inclined to deny structural racism existed in this country?
Yes, I would like to hear what all the religions (Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam) would say about what their religion teaches about man created in God’s image, but how their faith found unique ways to skirt that and be okay with the enslavement of non-white people for profit.
One final thing related to religion, in this instance, Christianity as a whole. Many in this country – who call themselves Christian – are advocating for the US to designate itself as a Christian nation, seemingly disregarding diverse religious beliefs in the US, and that our First Amendment of the Constitution forbids it. And yet this has support from numerous religious organizations. What happened to the concept of church neutrality?
As I said, I would be happy to hear what religious leaders have to say. But what can they say when this happens with the blessing of numerous religious leaders?
Cognito, ergo, sum; I think, therefore I am. Descartes’s words are a contributing factor to my intense dislike of this construct that is called religion.
I recognize the fact many are having difficulty understanding my derision toward religion. I do respect those whose religious beliefs are strong. It’s not my intention to scorn them for what they believe. I understand one’s relationship with religious beliefs and customs they grew up with are important to them and their family. Holding on to the constructs of their religion is often the binding force that keeps one moving forward. I know that is true for my wife with the loss of our son in an auto accident seventeen years ago next month. Her faith tells her she will see him with the coming of Christ, and he performs a mass resurrection so he and others will have the opportunity to accept Jesus. I, too, used to believe in those religious tenants but gave up on them long before his accident. But that is her belief, and I do not question her.
The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a
“system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.”
Geertz’s definition cries out for a more straightforward definition. I came up with the following:
Religion is the creation of those with power and wealth who play on the fears of the uneducated and superstitious, causing them to become subservient to them through their fear of suffering everlasting damnation if they fail to do what their rich and powerful overlords tell them to do. – Tim Wilson
Yes, my definition may seem contrarian towards the subject of religion. But less you forget, I said, in the beginning, I hate religion. Also, you must consider my reference to Descartes’s words, “I think therefore I am!” Those who use religion as a form of control do not want people to be independent thinkers.
By now, you understand I have a fundamental problem with religion. I will be a bit more specific, the Abrahamic religions in particular. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Just so you know, I have friends in each of these faiths, and I’ve had discussions with them expressing my thoughts, and for the most part, they don’t disagree. I never attacked them or said that their belief system was wrong because there is every reason that would be out of bounds for me. It is interesting when we discuss religion. It’s from the viewpoint of sharing ideas and the desire to educate each other.
As I write this, I understand people will be angry with me and question how I’ve arrived at some of my conclusions since I’m not a religious scholar. Well, I’m not writing this from a scholarly point of view. It’s more from a personal point of view. Based on the current events in our country and the straightforward yet subtle role religion plays in our democratic process, not from a positive point from my perspective.
Far too much religious skullduggery has occurred in our politics ever since Obama was elected as the first Black President of the United States. It is on a level that should be very concerning to those who desire to see our form of government stay in place. Not to mention the emerging push for and call for reverting to pre-civil rights days. With these pushes to go back have clear religious overtones. The 330 Creative LLC v Evans case should have never seen the light of day. It was a made-up case, and now others will follow that will be just as baseless as 330 Creative was.
A Republic is you can keep it, was how Franklin responded when asked what form of government we had. What happened with our last election, and what is taking place now toward an upcoming election? We could be on the pathway to losing our democracy, and I contend that religion will be one of the contributing reasons that will bring our Republic down.
I will have more to say about that. In a follow on article, I’m tentatively calling: Fred The Creator of Religion and The Destroyer of Democracy And We Let It Happen.