Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

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Religion As A Weapon?

May 23, 2011

I am all for religious tolerance and rights to one’s beliefs, believe me. And I’m not just a “nay-sayer” to any strict religion, for the fact that I was born and raised within one. Not to mention that I was once an Ordained Minster, once upon a time, and in order to get there I was required to study the whole Bible and know it backwards and forwards. I was never kicked out of the religion or broke any rules within it, but I simply lost my faith within it and walked away from that path. I now make it a habit to not just stick with the knowledge of my current religion (for the past eight years) of Paganism, because of my religious past. Since I do know A LOT of the Christian religion, I do my best to expand my knowledge into other religions as well. Why? Just so I can be aware of other’s beliefs, to be the most respectful, and to not become as ignorant or bias as some do about beliefs that don’t match their own. I fear that I may become closed minded and judgmental of someone’s beliefs, out of pure ignorance and not bothering to learn about my fellow human beings and their dogmas. And ignorance begets fear, which begets hate. :-/

That said… I am a lot disturbed when I witness people using their beliefs as weapons towards another simply because they have no real knowledge about it. I do respect people who are devoted and connected to their spiritual beliefs. But the one thing I can’t accept nor respect are religious zealots, bigots, and extremists. It was religious extremists who decided to crash planes into US landmarks, after all…

Some weeks ago, I had read this very off-colored article online that was suppose to read like a joke. It was titled: “How To Tell If Your Daughter Is A Lesbian” or something like that. I didn’t get through most of the article, because it was written in the view of extreme Christian bias, and even though it was suppose to be funny it was just creepy and disturbing. Especially it’s claims that everything and everyone that supported the rights of the LGBT community was a creation the Christian demon-god named Satan and the overuse of the word “homo-gay”. Which is a highly offensive slur, like any other one out there, like for instance calling a Christian a “X-tian”.  It was suppose to be a joke, shared on a Christian site, but it was in poor taste in my opinion. I shrug my shoulders and scrolled down to the comments of the article, maybe hoping to see someone suggest that the article wasn’t that funny as it was dark… And I probably shouldn’t have done that. :-o

The comments were riddled with readers in debate, both Christian and non-Christians, arguing about fellow human beings. A guy claiming to be a Reverend commented that being gay is a mental disease, which sparked an argument from those who are gay, both Christian and non. And a few straight, but highly devoted to their religion, argued against the Reverend’s  idea too. Yet this Reverend had back up from others, agreeing that a person who is gay is wrong and seriously ill. And one person, in sheer hurt and anger posted, “So, if a person doesn’t agree with your beliefs, then you will deem that person as evil or mentally ill?” And to this the Reverend replied, “It’s not a disagreement against me or my words, but it’s against God and His words.” At that point, I walked away from that site, sickened. :-/

We all have our own religious beliefs, that’s true. But to say to a crowd, “You were born wrong and are an abomination to the human race”, which is what a person is really saying to anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. when you claim that it’s evil or a mental disease, is entirely another thing. But everyone has the right to be a jerk! However, to not stand up for your own prejudice and bias, instead blaming it on a Deity just seems so cowardly to me. I happen to know, a heathen as I am, that the Bible has the rule of “Love thy neighbor” and “Judge not lest ye be judged”. And also the many teaching of how it’s the job of God to pass judgement only, not the job of men. Also, the Bible holds many examples of Jesus Christ who loved EVERYBODY, in spite of their sins. But of course, religious fanatics do overlook this part of the Bible, conviently. And they would be prone to shout out that I am the she-devil who mixes truth with lies. Scary! This is why I avoid religious extremists, as much as I try to avoid the criminally insane. :-p

But, the silver lining is that I know too many real and devoted Christians who aren’t fanatics. And I do have a deep respect for the religion, even if I don’t agree with the dogma one hundred percent. My best friend is a devout Christian, yet we are of different faiths and backgrounds, and we are as close as brother and sister.  So that’s proof that a person doesn’t have to be prejudiced and extreme in order to follow their religion. ;-)

The real evil here is when a person uses their religion as a weapon against anyone that doesn’t fit in with their views or feelings. And quite frankly, I don’t understand how it wouldn’t be considered blasphemy towards any Deity for a person to blame their personal feelings and opinions on their God. Every bit of my blog and opinions expressed here are MINE and mine alone… no God or Goddess has told me to think or feel this way. If I offend some with this article… well, tough! Just stop reading this blog and never return! :-p

But, more to the point, if I do offend it’s by my own doing and not from the words of my religion or Deities. It’s how I feel, in my own words, and not a case of, “That’s what my God said, not me. I agree with it and I will push my agreement with aggression and lack of care or empathy towards anyone else who doesn’t agree with what I agree with… But, if you began to gripe about my attitude, it’s not me… it was Him, the God I serve! You’ll have to take it up with Him!” And for that kind of behavior, I have a very disappointed response of, “Not cool, dude… Not cool.” :-/

I think  Friedrich Nietzsche had a good point, when he quoted, “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.” There is so much real evil in the world, that effort can be better spent on fighting against, than to waste time becoming monsters against each other. Just a thought. ;-)

-D

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For Peace Sake!

August 16, 2010

I really had something else in mind for this Monday morning. But, I logged onto FaceBook and saw a very disturbing post from a generally nice woman on there. The post said (I’m paraphrasing, because the woman took it down):

If you find that building a mosque just yards away from Ground Zero is insulting and hurtful to the memory of those who’ve died on 9/11, and for their families…  And if you find that politicians are not doing enough to stop this, repost this!

It was a little disturbing to see that on her page, this morning. Granted she didn’t write it, only copy and pasted it from those who did write it. And three people on her list gave it an thumbs up! But one person commented, explaining that a lot of people in their family are Muslim. And that their relatives didn’t agree with what happened on 9-11 and felt sick that it had happened at all. The simple truth is that no real Muslim would agree with 9-11, as that type of violence and destruction is against the teachings of the Qur’an, the holy book of the Muslim faith. The terrorists of 9-11 are NOT real Muslims nor speak for that religion, whatsoever. Those monsters were religious fanatics. It’s the same as in, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple is not the representative of all Christianity. And it’s up to all of us to be smart enough to learn and know the difference between fanatics and actual religion.

I do understand the pain, the fear, and the anger of those who’ve lost someone in 9-11. Maybe not personally, because I haven’t lost anyone that day, only my sense of safety and peace within this country. Yes -before you argue it- myself, siblings, parents, and grandparents were all born in the US and proud to be an American. But after 9-11, the fear of terrorists on planes, trains, and buses continue. And I do believe that we Americans do fear another 9-11 attack. However, if my family was killed that day, I know that I would not be alright today. My family is EVERYTHING to me. So, I can understand the fear and anger against anything associated with that horrible day. The terrorists claimed to be Muslim, and even though it’s NOT TRUE, sometimes it’s hard to separate anger from the lies and see the truth. :-(

Though, I feel sad for both parties involved in this, those who’ve lost people on that day and for the real Muslims. I do remember watching a man that day, wondering the streets of NY on a live news report, crying and angry because he couldn’t find his wife. He thought she may be still in the burning towers, at the time. And then the towers collapsed, forcing him to flee with others to a ferry. Once there, he got a call from his wife, she was okay! But, the painful stories of those who weren’t so lucky, it still resonate with me.

And I also cry for those Muslim who have to fear being hurt or physically attacked (if not only verbally), forced to be the scape-goats for what an outside group of monsters did that day. I believe that blame and prosecution should only lie on the offenders only, not on the doorsteps of those who love this country and was not a part of the fanatics group.

As for building a Mosque near Ground Zero, I believe it’s a good idea, personally. The terrorist sought out to cause fear and chaos, also to cause us all to draw lines in the sand against each other. So far, their plan is seeming to work, as there are many heated protest against this Mosque and some are starting to spread hate across FaceBook. And nice people, who generally wouldn’t think this way (or so I would hope) are getting swept up into the frenzy of it all. If people aren’t able to overcome their hurt and fear of 9-11, protesting a Mosque and against the religion itself (with ignorance of the truth), then this will be a bright and beaming sign to all the terrorists in the world that we -as a nation- have been defeated. That we’re still crippled by that day, to the point we can’t see up from down anymore, and are turning on each other over what the terrorists have done to all of  us. And it’s all sad, to me, to think that we’re showing the world that we’re still afraid and ignorant in our own fears. :-(

However, if the Mosque is allowed to be built and Muslim are allowed to worship (in peace!), it is a sign that America is healing. And that we’re getting stronger and not allowing the vile acts of terrorists to tear us apart, to separate Americans from Americans, like the terrorists had sought out to do!

In all of this, I keep thinking of that song I loved to sing as a little girl:

If I had a hammer
I’d hammer in the morning
I’d hammer in the evening
All over this land
I’d hammer out danger
I’d hammer out a warning
I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

It may be a bit hippy and childish to many… but I hope to never lose the kindness, the inner peace, and the innocence of a child. I do hope and wish for understanding for all people of all races, for every creed, and for all religions! I know that such a wonderful thing may not ever come into being, in my lifetime. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t wish and dream it. :-)

-D

(By the way – I live in Pennsylvania. So I assure you, I’m not some girl in California, many miles away, speaking on something that didn’t come too close to where I live. Just thought to add that in. :-p)

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Religion vs Spirituality

June 29, 2010

First of all, I am Pagan, more so into the Wicca part of Paganism. I wasn’t born or raised Pagan, but I was raised Christian. I became an Ordained Christian Minister at one point, in my past. But, it simply wasn’t the religion for me and I found Wicca at age twenty-two. I’ve never looked back since and enjoy my newfound spirituality. :-)

Though, many seem to believe that Pagans are anti-religious, against anything that doesn’t fit under the Paganism umbrella tree. But that’s a huge myth! Actually, Pagans respect other religions more than anyone else. The reason why is, we have a view that no religion is the one TRUE religion, not even our own. We ALL could be wrong, in any and all religions, OR we ALL could be right. But the main idea is, if a religion isn’t harmful to others or have an doctrine of causing harm to others, then each to his or her own. And almost all religions have the doctrine of love, peace, kindness, and helping thy neighbor. No Pagan would take issue with that. :-)

However, religious doctrine is one thing and extremists are another. And anyone, who is wise enough, can separate the two. I tolerate and respect most religions… but I don’t tolerate or respect fanatics! The attacks in New York,  9-11, was done by religious fanatics. Not Muslims. The Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, does not teach murder or harm to others. So many of us are smart enough to realize that terrorists are terrorist, not a real religion. One doesn’t have anything to do with another. If a crazy man claimed to be the son of God, murdered a lot of people, we wouldn’t then say that all Christians were bad and that Jesus is evil. That wouldn’t make any sense! :-/

When it comes to religion, any of them, there is always some oddball who will mix up the teachings and run something good into the extreme opposite. But this is what sociopaths do and it’s best for people to realize that one (or a small group of) bad apples doesn’t speak for millions.

There are also many who don’t claim themselves to belong to any particular religious group. They claim themselves as “Spiritual, but not religious”. Which I can understand completely. Some view that these people are anti-religious too, but I know better! It’s not always the case that Spiritual people do not like religion itself or have an issue with organized religion. Sometimes a person is just happy with their spiritual state and have no need to attach it to a religion.

Spirituality means to experience the ultimate reality or path in ones life. And that can easily be achieved, without any aid of religion, as spiritually is the “body” and religion is the “house”. We are born with a body, of course, but a house is always optional. :-p

The difference between the two are, Spirituality is natural. We all have it inside of our souls, it’s the passion and drive, the essence of our values and core beliefs. Religion is a written guide, that tells a person what to have passion about, what to believe in, and what to follow. Some of us need the direction and clues of religion… while others are capable on their own, with just Spirituality alone. :-)

Either way, it’s all good, to me. ;-)

-D