“What of those who quite impertinently suggested that my soul would remain doomed if I did not convert to their sect? My riposte to such soul gatherers is as follows: ‘When you ascend to the Celestial Abode of the Heavenly Father, you will find yourself shaking hands with Caluthumpians and members of all the other religions.’ Regrettably, some ‘wan¬nabe’ saviours seemed discomfited by such a vision; I have watched a few dash down the road with displeasure after receiving my good news! I wonder how the atheists react on entry to this Abode.
Is it not true that institutional religion has pitted followers of one religion against another, and sect against sect within many religions, butchering fellow humans and defiling them in every way in the name of their faith? Under the pap propagated by their spin-doctors, it is carnivore-eat-carnivore, that is, dog-eat-dog! This situation continues.
I found it interesting to read about Judaism recruiting converts from North Africa to counter the growth of Christianity in its foundation years; about early Christianity challenging Judaism regarding the coming of the Messiah; and about the Thiering thesis that Jesus had recovered and had gone on to travel extensively. Since religion purports to help mankind in its travails, I do wonder whether any of the theological wars within and between the ‘desert’ religions had benefited their followers.
A true measure of the quality of a civilisation is the way the least viable of the people are treated. This criterion, in my view, also applies to religions. On this test, the major religions, if not all of them, fail. The life chances, the quality of life, of those at the bottom of the socio-economic pile are generally ignored by their co-religionists in power, in government. It is a great pity that it was the communist nations which provided some uplift to their peasants, lifting them from their squalor. Our only hope is the secular nation, which subordinates saving the soul to filling an empty belly.
Would it not be wonderful if individual humans were able to seek succour from their god or spirits or whatever, without being caught up within an institutional religion with all its divisive binding rules, regulations and practices, as well as its priesthood; that is, without an intermediary?
… … However, how could they accept that their prayers, their entreaties, are in vain; and that they need to work through their personal destinies in each life?
… … Yet, I will make it clear that I am not denigrating the kindness of most of those I refer to as middlemen. I continue to deal with them. They are worthy of respect. They have chosen to help their church-attending flocks as best they can, but within the closed framework of their dogma, and the well-trodden paths of tradition. Any possibly well-meant deviation would seem to be a threat to one’s career. That is the price for working within a bureaucracy, which will always have its own ends in clear perspective.”
(It is a truism that millions of people need hope of some kind that life will be better. When their priests and their rulers fail to alleviate their predicament, will they accept that they may need to work out their destinies by themselves? Can they realistically expect divine intervention? Will their priests do no more than offer ritualistic balm, even if this balm offers some mental peace attached to hope? Is this the best institutional religion can do?
When consideration is given to the probability of wars between civilisations, but carried out by sectarian religious warriors, what hope is there for mankind? Consider the carnage being caused to children, women, and their homes, livelihoods, and menfolk by regime, or national and religious boundary, changers of diverse faiths today. And there are some who claim that humans are a chosen species!)