Wednesday, October 9, 2013

And Then There Were Nuns

There's really nothing more highly debated in the world than religion. People live by it and die by it. They use it to make a shit ton of money and devote all of their possessions to it. They remain chaste for it or chase ass for it. What does the word "Religion" even mean?

Oh wait. Internets. Hold that thought. Here we go:
Religion: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
Ok, that definition kind of blows. It tries to say too much without actually saying anything. Aren't dictionaries supposed to help you understand a word, not be politically correct? Let's just move on and see what Merriam-Webster has to say on the subject.
: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
That one I can almost get behind. I think a big problem is that top definition implies that one requires religion to have belief in God, which I believe is false. I once remember have a discussion with a friend who asked me how it is possible for me to believe in God without assigning myself to a faith? It was honest and genuine question. "Well", I said, as I sipped some of my favorite sweet tea as we sat out on the veranda, "who's to say that God himself is assigned to a faith?

Think about it. Go back and read the Christian Bible, or any other religious texts originating in the Middle East, and think about all of the petty shit their respective wise and powerful deities did to their subjects. Old Testament God, for example, is the greatest troll of all time.
And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him. Leviticus 24:16
Translation: "If anyone talks shit about me, go fucking murder him to death, then go get your friends and throw rocks at the corpse." Did anyone not think that was an extremely petty request for the powerful creator of all that is and ever will be?

"God is totally going to buy me a new car"
While we like to make Christianity (especially Catholicism) the butt of all our jokes, the other belief structures aren't much better. Look what happened to this poor Jewish fellow, halfway through his game of "1, 2 Buckle My Shoe":

15:32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks upon the sabbath day.  15:33 And they  that found him gathering sticks  brought him unto Moses and Aaron,  and unto all the congregation.  15:34 And they put him in ward ,  because it had not been declared what should be done to him.  {S} 15:35 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'The man shall surely be put  to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the  camp.'  15:36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp,  and stoned him with stones, and he died, as the LORD commanded Moses.   
I used to think my weekly Settlers of Catan games got pretty heated, but the Torah takes the cake. It's like everyone back in the bible days just stood around throwing rocks at each other in the name of their lord. I did a quick scan of a (according to a co-worker) poorly translated Qu'ran, and found that apparently there was a lot less stoning going on for Muslims.

A skill that would have proved effective in modern times, sadly.
I find it hard to believe that a being who is capable of forging and melding the world that we live, bind it to specific set of rules and laws, and then routinely breaks them at his leisure, really truly would bother to ask people to kill in its name. It can do that shit himself.
Most of the other faiths don't have a single, whiny deity who craves attention from lesser beings, and they seem to get along ok. Hinduism seems pretty easy going. It guess it helps that the Four Vedas are basically a long love letter to a bunch of magical wish genies as opposed to a handbook on the effectiveness of fixing problems with rocks. I think the problem with Hinduism though is that it leaves too much up for interpretation and can lead to some rather strenuous disagreements.

Shintoism, like everything that ever came out of Japan, is both cool and insane at the same time. At any given minute, there could be a spirit nestled inside your dog or the tree outside your window, waiting to give you sage-like advice or manifest into a physical form and have sexual relations with you.

The baggy hakama allow easy access.
I personally believe that there is a single cosmic powerful being who watches over ALL OF US, and our respective faiths are just our way of interpreting the many messages that he sends to us, and that's nothing worth fighting about. We all believe in the same greater good, just differently. I mean what would the world be like if people fought over their preferred sport team? Wait shit...

Is there any problem in this world not caused by stupid people?

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