Wednesday, November 26, 2008

fear versus love

This is how I see it.  Indulge me while I set the stage.  

Pretend you are at a really nice art museum.  There is a very rare vase displayed in it's own room.  The vase sits upon a pedestal in the center of the room.  You enter the room in one direction and ponder the vase and it's beauty.  Do you just leave the room, assuming that the vase is the same whichever way you look at it?  If I really want to study that vase and understand it's properties, I need to walk around the room and examine it from every angle.  There are 360˚ around the vase, so therefore 360 possible points of view to observe the vase from.  A dogmatic view of the world says that there is only one correct way to view this vase.  Instead of savoring the entire expanse of the room and really understanding the vase, dogma tells people that degree number 26, lets say, is the only real way to see the vase.  How do we know that degree number 26 is the only way to view the vase?  An ancient text says that god tells us it is that way.  Or we have been viewing it in this way for generations.  Or it's the only view I've ever known.  Or perhaps this view is comfortable.  In fact, the dogma we serve, whether in the form of a god, holy book, tradition, etc., insists that we don't even recognize that there are other possible angles.  People who observe the vase from across the room, at angle 147 lets say, are delusional and immoral.  God, or our holy book, or our tradition tells us that we should avoid things that would try to influence us to look at the other angles.  So religion has a built-in defense mechanism.  Only read approved books, only listen to approved music, be friends with those that think the same as you, etc.  Doesn't anyone ever wonder why?  Maybe it is because once you get even a glimpse that there are other angles and viewpoints, you realize that the whole 'god' thing is just another form of control.  Those in charge want to control and limit you, so they say that god says that there is only angle 26.  Now pretend that the vase in the center of the room is symbolic for any kind of knowledge and truth someone might be searching for.  Let's say it is knowledge about the human body and medicine.  Which doctor would you prefer to treat and operate on you?  The one who only sees one angle of medicine or the one who walked around the room and understands medicine from a variety of viewpoints.  I would feel much more secure knowing that my doctor has a well rounded understanding of the human body and is not myopic in their practice.  A doctor understanding only angle 26 of the human body would be equivalent to only knowing how to trim toenails.  That knowledge is very limited and narrow.  Personally, I think the only kind of knowledge that is valuable and useful, is the comprehensive kind.  How can a person make an educated choice about something when the religion or tradition they follow purposefully hides huge chunks of information from them?  The short answer is they can't.  It is even more disturbing when god or his followers kill people who decide to view something outside of angle 26 (using the same example I used earlier).  Personally, I have no problem with all 360 viewpoints being equal.  Are they not just one more bit of information that can help you understand the world you live in?  They are all equally valid and correct.  Religion on the other hand, says that there is one correct view, angle 26, and there are 359 angles that are incorrect.  Why?  Because god said so.  Which seems more illogical, especially when we live in a world full of people who are different?  Which way to view people and their opinions is prone to war and fighting, and which one is prone to acceptance and peace?  I will say it again.  Killing people because they do not line up with angle 26 is not just.  It is murder.  What still baffles me is why christians assume that the morality they receive from the bible is superior to others especially when god and his followers kill people who don't agree with them.  Yes, that sounds very moral to me.  (Check out this journal article: Journal of Religion & Society).  It is also interesting to note the history of those morals found in the bible and where they are from.  A deep analysis of any non-biased source exposes the bible for what it really is; a cheap copy of previous pagan literature.  (See POCM for lots of information). 

Unfortunately the sad truth is that the majority of people in the world assume that their angle is superior to everyone else's.  Will it ever end?  Peace will only come to this world when people accept it all.  Peace will not occur when everyone is converted and thinks the same as you, so don't hold your breath.  Peace will come when people recognize the differences in others and realize that they don't really matter in the long run.  Peace will come when you accept others fellow human beings as competent thinkers that can decide their own truth for themselves.  Peace will come when people stop being fearful of those that are different than themselves.  If you say you want peace, then be the change you seek in the world.  It all begins with a choice between fear and love.

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