Friday, May 29, 2015

Life is too Short, Religion as an Excuse for Bias is Absurd

I look outside and see a beautiful world. I do not see the churned up anxiety and jagged edged fears of my friends and neighbors yet those internal emotions and perceptions shape their worlds. If you are looking for me to ridicule religions, I am not. I could but why? The idea is to open minds NOT close them. Religions were created with the intent of bringing people together and keeping society from chaos and abhorrent behaviors. I respect that. Believe what you will, none should be looked down on for their choice. Every religion has embarrassing subgroups from ISIS to Evangelical Baptists; it is important not to generalize, stereotype or belittle someone because they align with a specific belief system.

A beautiful day goes by as we struggle to relate to each other and deal with interpersonal issues, most caused by miscommunication, misunderstanding, perspective differences, or old trauma to vast and marring to permanently escape from. The birds sing, the wind carries tree branches in a merry dance and the stars shine on. We could be a foot away from someone struggling with depression, anxiety or other medical issues. We could be staring at the daisies, marveling at the beauty in this world while they only feel like they have consumed nightshade and are struggling to survive. We worry more about religious fanatics than we do our friends and neighbor's mental and emotional health. Priorities people. ONLY when every choice we make is beyond reproach and respectful of human and world could we start making that judgment call- but someone at that level would never choose to stoop that low unless it was to pick up trash from a beach.

It is hard to bear the burdens some carry in their minds. There is no clear stop to put the baggage down. While we make fun of primitive cultures, they had a better understanding of us as we are. They understood we need rituals, we need symbols, we thrive on coincidence and associations that seem personal to us. Those associations such as with certain animals or seasons give us comfort and encourage us to grow. Without them we become just another number trying to stand out through standardized generic social media, clothing, and haircuts. Look unique just like everyone else…
Yet no one complains that daisies look the same, most smile to see their lovely petals; rarely does someone say "ugh, another plain daisy." Rituals allow us to symbolically let go and grow, they turn scars into symbols of courage. Religions know this and use rituals.

Perhaps instead of telling each other what to believe we should choose to create a "Church" THAT SPECIFIES believing in anything or nothing and respecting the right of everyone to believe and worship as they choose so long as no one is harmed or killed…

Wait, the major religions are constantly arguing as if they were spandex wearing wrestlers.  IT should not be about right or wrong, all religions were created by people just as human as we are. It should be about being connected, finding and keeping peace and health. It shouldn't be about good or bad as they are arbitrary constructs.

Spiritual beliefs are personal, they should be respected regardless of whether one is following Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Cthulu, or the Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky. Any tithing should go to charities of your choice from the homeless on the corner to saving abused animals, to environmental clean up to doing a potluck with your neighbors. There should be no church buildings, as one should deal with the world and each other in accordance with their beliefs regardless. There is no hypocritical forgiveness card to punch on sunday so you can do something wrong again monday. Instead you are connected and respectful, helping where you can-when you have excess and the need is out there for something you can offer. Perhaps it is picking up litter or helping a lost child find their parent, perhaps it is helping a neighbor with a bill or giving nutritious food to those without.

Instead of approaching from what you can't do and assuming you are flawed perhaps we start as neutral and allow our choices and outcomes to determine where we are at. We choose. Positive and negative repercussions come from our choices, Karma and social law. Teach children values without bias based on another's beliefs, culture, color, gender, or income. No war should be considered holy. No murder or manipulation is justified by religion. No religion should be justified by murder or manipulation.

If you find peace following the tenets of being a Jedi, then do it just don't bang on the neighbor's door and suggest there is something deficient in them because they don't. It comes down to respect. The world was not created for us to trash like giant toddlers. It is. It was. It will be. It is up to us to choose our own paths, to live and appreciate what we have. We have the hours, minutes, seconds between screaming and squalling as we are born until the moment our last breath slips free.

In life we have the choice to get out of our own heads, to fight past our dark inner demons and fallacies to become something more. The ancient alchemists never sought gold. They were considered heretics by all Churches. They wanted to find a way to take what we are as humans, and make it into something more.

Red Rock Lake, Colorado
Perhaps we started as something more and through all the perceived emotional and physical trauma we carry, we end up being something less. Perhaps the key is letting go, accepting, and choosing to heal. Negative tends to be overwhelming, it isn't easy to learn to step out of it. Emotions are strong and painful, like trying to learn algebra while an elephant crushes your foot. Sometimes you have to heal as best you can afterwards and choose to plan to try to avoid or accept painful situations will come and that the most you can do is prepare and perhaps live to tell the tale.

So, today is a beautiful day and I wonder what you are choosing to do with it? You could be guiding someone out of a dangerous place in their own head. You could be resting in a natural hot spring or splashing in a pool or rescuing a lost pet. Each day is time slipping past you that you will never get back. What shapes the landscape in your mind, what monsters do you allow to maim your growth and relations? Why?

ValleyView Hot Springs, Colorado