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It’s Time to Evolve

September 3rd, 2007 · Written by · No Comments

Let’s be humbly honest. We don’t really know what folks are describing when they use words like God or Allah or Oneness. None of us can be absolutely sure if the beliefs entire afterlives are gambled on are the least bit valid. And even assuming the unlikely scenario that one of the world’s religions is right about everything it purports, what are the odds that you’re lucky enough to be counted among its adherents? Certainly not very high, considering the number of possible choices.

Why then are most of us so sure about things we can’t possibly be sure about?

The history of our species is a veritable train wreck of religious conflict: men, women, and children being killed, enslaved, or tortured simply because so many of us place faith before reason. So many of us sedated with guarantees of salvation, the larger problems facing our species are written off as a side note. So many of us holding onto notions of divinely ordained human superiority, the planet is approaching ecological meltdown. But we’re not supposed to talk about this. When it comes to civil discourse, a person’s religious beliefs must never be called into question.

If someone running for political office believes they can solve our energy problems with gumdrops, we demand a reason. Yet, the belief that the Creator of the Universe has authored some sort of instruction manual for life apparently requires no logical justification and warrants no discussion.

Perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves why this is. Whatever the sphere of discussion, be it politics, fashion, or the weather, we require others to back up statements of belief with solid rationale. If someone running for political office believes they can solve our energy problems with gumdrops, we demand a reason. Yet, the belief that the Creator of the Universe has authored some sort of instruction manual for life apparently requires no logical justification and warrants no discussion. We are just supposed to tolerate temperamental human beings arguing about which of these mutually exclusive magic books is right. Instead, we should be determining whether any of these ancient texts – filled with ethical inconsistencies, advocations for barbarous acts, and scientific fallacies – are even still applicable.

Sure, many moderate religious individuals manage to selectively draw from their scripture to support acts of benevolence or civil disobedience. They’ve clung to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, while rejecting entire books in the Old Testament. They’ve interpreted Jihad as a personal spiritual struggle rather than a war against infidels. They’ve realized that prohibitions against pork and shellfish were likely necessary before refrigeration was invented, but no longer. Such exercises in logic should be applauded, but they were only achieved by taking these supposedly inerrant texts less seriously.

So why not take this deductive reasoning to the next level and finally retire these divisive “holy” books to their rightful place on our shelves: next to the works of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and the Brothers Grimm. After all, gaining wisdom through studying the deeds of Zeus, the tribulations of Macbeth, or the teachings of Socrates is all well and good – so long as none of us begin to claim that any of these stories are divine and therefore above scrutiny.

Let’s finally leave behind our addiction to myth, ditch all the labels that divide us into fanatical factions, and plunge forward into the great unknown. Let’s come together and develop a new interpretation of transcendental and spiritual experiences that jives with what we’ve come to understand about the natural world and modern ethics. With open minds, we might even finally come to terms with our place in the scheme of things: within and not above the symphony of life.

“The reason our institutions, our traditional religions, are all crumbling is because they’re no longer relevant. So it’s time for us to create a new philosophy and perhaps even a new religion. And that’s OK because that’s our right, because we are free children of God with minds that can imagine anything.”-Bill Hicks

Tags: Opinion · · ·

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