Let me begin by saying I am a secular humanist, a conclusion I came to after several unsettling and contradictory events as a young Catholic, the most notable being my discovery that my mother, as a divorce, was doomed to hell. The 911 attack cemented my belief.
As a secular humanist, I don’t believe in intelligent design or in some all powerful deity. I do believe in the collective intelligence, compassion and caring of the human species and it is for this reason that I say God and Religion don’t mix.
I am not at all against the belief in God, by anyone of any faith. If your God helps comfort you in times of sorrow, helps explain the inexplicable, helps you suffer the insufferable and fuels your compassion toward all people and all things, then I admire you and your God.
It’s when you place your God at the epicenter of a religion that I see a disconnect. I believe God is spiritualistic and as such is capable of existing in the minds of humans in any and many forms. And however he (or she) exists in your mind it is your individual faith in his (or her) existence that should drive your behavior toward your fellow human beings.
Religion, on the other hand, is ritualistic and it’s when the rituals transcend the belief in what God is, wants and demands, that the two become oil and water. Religion places undue structure and strain on the belief in God. In some cases it requires the complete suspension of logic and reason, as in transubstantiation. In other cases religion – not God – empowers human slaughter.
I believe Religion drives humanity further from, rather than nearer the state of existence I would imagine my God, if I believed in one, would want. One fact in the debate about God or no God and which religion has the true and only God is undeniable: the common denominator in all religions and God-belief systems is humanity.
It is the only entity in the debate that is there for all to see, for all to love or hate, for all to cherish or kill. When I think about the notion of a God, I am struck by another undeniable fact: humanity created religion. I can’t imagine any God creating competition among his creations to see who could design the best religion, or favoring one over another.
I believe humanity is the only “God” that matters in this world. I believe humanity needs to believe this about itself and needs to practice the principles of human decency toward all. It is humanity’s collective actions that will determine our fate, not some religion professing to be the only true faith.
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