Who is God and what does he want?
Posted: 13 April 2005 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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As a survivor of and escapee from a very intolerant religious upbringing, I applaud the courage of Sam Harris in bringing to the world a format for rational discussion about the topic of our charished yet amazingly divided beliefs. Do we not, in a broad general sense, treat each other according to our beliefs about who God is and what we perceive that he expects from us? Does not a father who believes in a stern and humorless God punish his children according to that belief in the misguided assumption that he is doing God's will by raising his children to be acceptable to such a God? Do not the Muslims who have made war on humanity since the birth of thier own paticular and unique view of God, do so specifically because of their belief that they are doing God a favor by killing off all others who refuse to believe the same way? Did not the Catholic church begin its bloody legacy with death and torture and all the other delightful little rituals associated with the Crusades, witch hunts, the Inquisition based upon its own convoluted, male dominated and self invented beliefs about the God that they worshiped? Did the so-called Protestant movement do anything to abate the witch hunts or the inherent bigotry promoted by nearly all religious faiths? Was not the near genocide of the Native Americans a religious war? We need to reexamine what our "religions" have gotten us so far. Are they working for us? If so, in what sense? Are we a planet, now, after over seventeen hundred years of religious bloodletting, living in peace? Has our religion taught us universal and unconditonal love? Has our religion taught us the practice of forgiveness as the means by which we can finally stop being offended with each others color, race, sex and any other false distinctions that we humans are so fond of pointing out in defense of our feelings of separation from one another. A separation promoted by religion in order to promote each church's corporate hold on "the truth". God forbid that we should ever awaken from our theistically induced anesthesia and find out that we are really all one with each other and with God. God forbid that we should ever discover that we are not really Baptists or Jehovah's Witnesses or Catholics or Muslims or Hindus or Buddists or whatever else in our perpetually childish minds we have thought ourselves to be, but that we are really all one people and one race with diverse shapes and colors just like all the other flowers in God's garden. For one race or religion to think that God is for them and against some other race or religion is madness in its purest form and a direct reflection of our abject stupidity in thinking that such a thing could even be possible. God is all that there is, so how in the name of reason could he favor one part of himself over another-that is unless we believe that he is also mad. Jesus said to love one another unconditonally. This was a spiritual concept.  Religion has historically bastardized that pure and simple concept and hase been singularly responsible for creating the perseption of our separateness form one another. Religion has divided us and will continue to do so until we wake up and realize what has been happening to us and who has been responsible. Jesus never told us to go into the world and establish the over twentysix thousand different corporate church distinctions that define Christianity today. let along the rest of the religious world. He just said to love one another and in saying this he revealed the method by which we could learn to recognize that whenever we looked into the face of another human being we were looking into the face of God. Sam Harris has it right I believe. He is not calling for the end of the type of faith that allows us to board an airplane in the "faith," without positive assurance, that we will get to our scheduled destination. He is calling for the end of the type of faith that has justified our behaviours based on our stupid religious beliefs about who God is and what he wants from us. Unless Jesus was a fraud, all he seems to want is that we love one another. We need no church organization of any kind or any heirarchy of self appointed pompus little demigods in order to accomplish this spiritual imparititve. When we can learn to stop identifying ourselves by our race and color and religious indoctrination, maybe we will have a chance to live in the peace and universal brotherhood that religion has not, and can never accomplish for us. As the author of an upcoming book titled "Lost-The Rescue of Spirituality From The Perversions of Organized Religion" I can only thank Sam Harris for being part of a much overdue discussion about the religious causes for our perpetual inability to love unconditionally.

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