You Can’t Hold God in Houses of Stone

Being brought up in an atheist household, I look at religion a bit more skeptically than most. Although I respect the moral code that most religion imparts in its followers, I also find much fault in the acts and laws of organized religions. I would love to have had faith in a higher power as part of my life, but it seems as though most religions are muddled down in rules and regulations designed to separate and divide one group from the next.

Whereas most religions in their purest element teach that one should love their brother, most organized religions teach that one should only love their brother if they are of the same faith. For example, Moses, Abraham, and Jesus are all considered prophets in the religion of Islam, and although true Muslims are taught to respect these men, the fundamentalist Muslim movement preaches hate towards all that are not converted to Islam.

In the Bible Jesus teaches us to love our enemies more than our friends, for the truly holy man has nothing but love and kindness in his heart. Compare these teachings with the crusades, the slave trade, and our current war against the Middle- East (all done in the name of or explained through Christian goodness), and you find a distressing gap in beliefs and actions.

Jewish people have been some of the most oppressed people in the history of the world, from the Egyptians to the Holocaust, and yet the Israeli government is penning thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children into ethnic ghettos and concentration camps. These actions are perpetrated by people who consider themselves holy and acting with the blessings of God (read: the organized religious structure). True spirituality, however, in whatever form it is found, is peaceful, with the focus on bettering the world around us by making ourselves better, not by perpetrating crimes in the name of holy vengeance.

It seems ridiculous to me that the legacy of a humble carpenter, who devoted his life to poverty and helping the poor, can be co-opted into a money making venture, with televangelists selling “holy cloths” on TV, or huge stone churches being erected within which to house God, and collect his rent payments. With such widespread corruption and vileness being perpetrated in the name of God, no wonder more people are turning away from organized religion, and finding their spirituality at home, learning and not submitting oneself to the will of another human being.

Can anyone actually make the argument that Jesus, or Mohammed, or Moses, would ever agree that the incredible bureaucracy that is fundamentalist religion, be it Catholic, Jewish or Islamic, is a holy and good thing? All of these men taught us that we should love one another, and love God, and put those things above all else. Instead of dipping my hands into some stagnant water, or eating crackers out of the hand of some fellow in a silly suit, reading a holy book, or merely taking a walk in the park seems a much more pure and true spirituality.