When I was in elementary school, I received one of the greater life lessons I will probably ever encounter. A teacher told the class, “I’m not telling you what to believe in, but always believe in a higher power.” Of course back then, it meant relatively nothing to me. However, now I truly understand the importance and light in those words. Because now, I realize that my truth is not the absolute truth. No one’s is.
We all own a piece of the truth. Unfortunately, absolute devotion to one religion hinders us from being open to and seeing that is the only thing that is truly true.
To put it more simply – religion sucks. Or maybe religion is the devil. I haven’t quite decided which is more correct.
This may seem overly dramatic or bleeding heart liberalistic or even to some borderline hedonistic, but that is not the case.
However, I must admit that the flaw does not actually exist in religion or in the concept of religion – it is in people. Religion makes people believe that they have a monopoly on truth and reality. Unfortunately, it is foolish and unfounded to actually perceive that only your beliefs can be correct.
With no religion claiming to have more than half of the world’s population as practitioners, it would seem that there would be plenty of room for consideration of the ideals espoused by other faiths. However, followers particularly of Christianity and Islam have a tendency to be extremely dogmatic and uncompromising when it comes to their ideology.
These people seek not to find a common thread among the world’s many religions, but they focus solely on convincing others that they have control over the truth and all paths and ideals that do not line up exactly with their own are incorrect and have a path emblazoned to damnation.
The irony of this push is that even these groups fail to see eye to eye in regards to all of the tenants associated with their religions. Note the dozens of denominations that fall under the realm of Christianity. Look at the discord among followers of Islam about the interpretation of the Quran.
Even though religious groups cannot manage to band together even to gather their own beliefs into a tidy package, they find it necessary to force their ideals onto the larger global population that does not prescribe to their often erratic, unstable train of thought.
This forced path has led to some of the most hypocritical, atrocious and even comical acts the world has ever witnessed. How can so many Christians clamor for the death penalty because the Bible calls for “an eye for an eye” yet decry abortion because a human life is lost? How can some Muslims condone martyrdom through chaos and the death of innocent people when Islam stresses peace?
Most religions do not have a firm grasp on their own truths and ideals, so it is impossible for them to even approach the belief that they possess an absolute truth.
All major religions are founded upon the principles of pursuing the greater good and showing kindness to others to reach an elevated state whether it be some form of heaven, reincarnation or enlightenment. Yet this mad dash for supremacy manages to undermine any and all attempts at goodness that the religious practitioners may be capable of accomplishing in the name of their faith.
Religion has not failed people, but people have failed religion because they have managed to lose sight of its true purpose and ability to bring hope. People are using it as a political tool and excuse for terrorism .
I just hope that the derisive that exists among world religions dissipates before it is too late. There have been enough atrocities performed in the name of religion and each one’s
Jason E. Hutchins is a senior business administration student from Athens, Ga. He is the opinions editor for The Famuan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org