The first one to say “Religion is made mankind, used by mankind.” could be me, but the alternative way of living isn’t appreciated by all members of social society. There are taboos. And old-fashioned stubborn people who do not even think about changing their mind, thinking outside their little box or consider life as what it is, not as what it is supposed to be.
Yesterday, Monday 2th, I walked into a friendly old man. I had been playing the piano in church and the man asked politely whether I was the one who played the past half an hour.
“Yes”, I answered.
“It was very nice”, the man said.
I thanked him for the compliment and was about to leave for lunch. But the man seemed to see me as a potential member of his religious group, so he started talking about the essence music and how music could influence the human brains. I nodded. Hm-m. The man asked what I was studying.
“Liberal Arts & Sciences.”
The man replied by telling me he was a mathematician and a physician. All the sudden we (he) were talking about the holistic approach of human kind by jews and christians. The man criticized the way of thinking that humans are not more than a bunch of organs. The sum of the parts of a human body was less than the whole body. Yeah, of course: we have a mind. Although, that is what I think he ment.
But it turned out to be even more difficult. The Tora, one of the holy books of the Jews, contained a few orders and interdictions. If you didn’t live according to those rules, you could be considerd sinful. Scandalous. That’s why some people have HIV or already suffer from AIDS. This disease attacks the immune system of the human body and without the right way of living this illness cannot be cured.
“No”, I answered. “Do you have any idea how HIV works?”
The man did not answer me correctly and he continued his monologue; he didn’t seem to care whether I agreed or not. Next topic was Alzheimer. Whether I knew the Dutch neurologist who had been fired because he diagnosed his patients wrongly and was addicted to medication. Yes, I did. He concluded that this also was an ailment that could be caused by not following the religious laws. Uhm… Did he know Alzheimer was a brainsickness, and that the core of Alzheimer was the formation of plaque in your braincells?
Again the man did not respons to my comment. The storyline switched to the great creator (some people know him as “God”). How God had made the Light and that Light was more than just radiation of the sun, or the flame of a candle. It was a requirement for living, for good living.
“You mean light is symbolic?” I asked.
No, no. It wasn’t symbolic. It was real.
Yeah, I can feel infrared. I can see the light of the visible spectrum. My skin turn brown from the unseen ultraviolet radiation.
I was getting tired of the simple minded way of thinking of this man. But I had to respect his religion, his conviction.
The man continued talking very eagerly about the tight linking of christianity and politics: how some emperor made christianity the governmental religion. And he emphasised that Jesus and his followers were jews, and that they participated in the jewish rituals.
I have some difficulties with religion. Last week a friend of mine said: ‘It’s okay for me that they believe, but it is still pretty dumb.’ You cannot judge a person when he was acting according to his conviction. Can you? Is a man allowed to hit his wife and children, because one stupid book sais so: who am I to contradict this? Do we have to honour some special spirit, who made us, who leads us, who takes our lives away? Do we?
No. Life is precious. It is not getting better in a heaven that doesn’t exist. You only have to believe. But for believing you need a lot more courage than for knowing. Do I have not enough guts for not taking responsibility for my own deeds? Because that’s also an issue I hate very much. A lot of people appeal themselves to the words written by quasi wise men. Their philosophy is very clear to me: don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie. Human beings who lived 2000 or more years ago cannot tell me to praise a man who claimed to be the son of a god. You cannot force me to listen to the interpretation of stories from the Bible or the Tenach, or the Koran…
I can think myself. I use my mind and take nothing for granted. There is no 100% truth. There are only lies, uncertainties and interpretations. My aim is to seperate the lies from the latter ones.
It has often been said that the Bible isn’t a history record. The book is a guide to live well. Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie. And don’t cheat, don’t curse, love others like you love yourself. However, I can’t live a day without telling small lies “Yes, I cleaned my room already”, or hearing about a next murder on the radio. The Bible also claims that being gay is wrong (Leviticus) or that haidens deserve to die (multiple chapters). Isn’t the one who wrote these “laws” a killer himself? Being gay is genetically defined and has something to do with the hormones a child is exposed to during pregnancy. Haidens are just people who don’t believe in the god of christianity. Maybe they think all living things have their own spirit, or they rely on physics and biology… Aren’t we all free to think what we consider the best explanation of the origin of life? I think we are.
So, I don’t want to prohibit religion, because that would make me as bad as the mindless thinkers I disregard. I only want to prevent people of making the same mistakes our ancestors made multiple times: considering my ‘wisdom’ as the one and only truth. One book can’t hold the whole truth. Adding a second book about Jesus written by only four of this 13 followers, including Mary, doesn’t make such a big difference. Claiming that another prophet, Mohammed, could know better than Jesus can be discussed for eternity.
But we, living humans, don’t have so much time.