Faith, it seems these days, is a four letter word. With media as it is, only the crackpots get any attention and they are the extreme ends of the faith spectrum. These people are so deluded into their own self-righteousnous that they have taught themselves that their lies/propoganda are true. This isn’t targetting just Chistianity or Islam, this is the whole shebang.
First, a primer. Religion came about naturally as small communities needed rallying points to stay unified and have a common vision. It provided tenents and structure in such a way that no single person had total control, so people thought everyone was equal. It was also based on providing reasons for events that science had yet to explain (sun around the earth, stars, floods, earthquakes, et al.) It might seem silly now but people still perform sacrificial rituals to their gods to apease them or ask for favors. When you pray for your team to win and say you’ll stop swearing, that’s pretty much in line with the thought process.
Onto the next part, the commercialization of religion, ie churches. Of particular focus is the church I am most familiar with, Cathoic. I’m going to cause a ruckus here but the simple fact is that the old testament is plagarized from summerian/egyptian texts and not a single person who wrote the new testament was alive when Jesus walked the Earth. It was written nearly 300 years after his death, had hundreds of books that the church edited to fit in to their view. The church knows this and if you ask them they will admit it, they won’t preach it however. What is often said is simply, those facts don’t matter, only the message does. In those days, only a few people could write, so everything was pretty much orally communicated. 300 years of hearsay essentially, so now you have a good idea why the book says what it does how it does. The core values the church communicates are common across all religions. The ones explicit to the bible are nearly solely explicit to the religion and in nearly all cases are contradicted multiple times.
The point, simply, is that you can’t pick and choose what you want out of the book. Keep it as a story book, no more, no less.
Now onto my faith. For a long time, I had tremendous anger towards God. I spent years trying to disprove everything I could find, trying to show myself that what I had been taught was false. Then it dawned on me. Everything I was taught was false. Hundreds of years of hearsay, politics, wars, lies committed by men in power to stay in power. I realized that no person or book can tell me how to be a good person. The only person who judges me is myself. I don’t need to go to church to communicate with my god. I don’t need a 60 year old virgin to tell me how to keep a marriage happy and to have kids until my eyes come out.
That’s when I realized that the church made me angry. That what I was taught as being God made me angry. The truth to me is that there is no God, not like everyone is taught. God, to me, is a symbol. It’s a symbol of hope, of unity for humanity, of growth. It’s that little voice that comforts you when your sad, that reminds you to appreciate your loved ones. It’s humanity’s consciousness and compass.
All that to say that I understand and respect people’s need for religon and churches. They have so many problems, they don’t have the time or energy to sit and think about it. If you had 9 kids, no food and no job, lived in a dirt patch, I’m pretty sure you’d believe in anything that promised better in the next live for sacrifice today. That doesn’t make me right or them wrong, it just means that I found my truth.
And really, isn’t that what it’s all about. Finding our own truth?