Faith and stuff

On the way to My Mom’s this morning, I happened to be listening to NPR on Sirius. It was a show called, “The State We’re In,” which I’ve never actually heard before, apparently it’s out of the Netherlands? Go figure. Anyway, they had a man on named Joseph Fadelle (a pseudonym), an Iraqi who’s family purported to be direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. Obviously a devout Muslim family… Anyway, after rooming with a Christian in the army and some serious soul-searching, he converted to Christianity. And his family tried to kill him. Like his own father had him arrested and tortured for three months. He was forced to flee to Jordan with his family where his father and uncles apparently followed him and again threatened his life. He then moved to France, wrote a book and is doing talks and lectures and said basically that he and his wife had resigned themselves to the fact that he would be murdered one day.

Here’s a link to the piece if you’re interested…
It got me thinking… Religion is generally not a good thing. I’m not saying that people should be atheists or no one should be a part of an organized religion. I’m saying that, more than anything else in this world, people have twisted and warped religion to become an outlet for hate and violence and a means to separate and control the masses. I’m not saying that this man’s father was looking for an excuse to try and kill his son. Worse, his faith, his beliefs dictated that was what must be done. That this what what his god intended and that it was the right thing to do.

I don’t get that. It doesn’t make sense to me that people fight wars and kill and perform genocide over their faith. Because if you get down to it, get down to the basic fundamental teachings of most religions, most of them have the general theme, “Be good to each other.” I know that many of the Judeo-Christian religions have good portions of their teachings promoting fire and brimstone and a God that is to be feared but I have trouble believing that was the original intent. If you really read the bible, sit down and read it, there are so many inconsistencies you wonder how it could all have been encompassed  into one religion.

Another thing I don’t get? Why persecute and kill other people? Specifically, why persecute and kill others simply on the basis they believe something different from you? The Crusades, The Salem Witch Trials, The Inquisition, Aztec Sacrifices, Northern Ireland, Thirty-Years War, Lebanon, Bosnia and Croatia, 9/11… the list goes on… And on… And on. Okay, I have to amend the statement “simply on the basis” because most of these atrocities were not “simply on the basis” of religion or faith but more accurately, used religion or faith as an excuse to wage war or eradicate whole groups of people for land or politics or resources.

To me, spirituality, faith… It’s something to be found. Something to be searched for or happened upon or even avoided. But it’s your choice. Your path. Your ideas and beliefs and choices and how you decide to practice them (or not). I recall my first real lapse of faith in religion, the first time I thought, “that’s not right.” I was young… Maybe 7 or 8? We went to a Catholic Church and I went to CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, who knew?) and the teacher told us all to draw a picture of what we thought God looked like. The other kids drew the stereotypical, old-white-guy-in-a-robe-with-a-big-beard… You know, the Santa Claus dressed in a toga kinda thing? Me? I drew a lion. I was reading (for about the 50th time), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. Iin my mind at that moment, God looked like Aslan. The teacher looked at my drawing and then spent 10 minutes telling me I was wrong and why I was wrong. I suppose she had seen God first hand? I dunno. It basically was the moment that I began to decide that religion was in fact, stupid. Even as a 7 year old, I couldn’t understand how anyone could know, positively and without doubt, that they were right about God.

Anyway… This was kind of rambly and I’m not sure if I even had a point, but just to help illustrate where my brain is at this morning, Here’s a translation of The Lord’s Prayer, directly from Aramaic (The language Jesus would have spoken).

 

 

Oh Thou, from Whom the breath of life comes,

Who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.

May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.

 

Your Heavenly Domain approaches.

 

Let Your will come true – in the universe (all that vibrates) just as

on earth (that is material and dense).

 

Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,

detach the fetters of faults that bind us,

(karma) like we let go the guilt of others.

 

Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, temptations),

but let us be freed from that what keeps us from our true purpose.

 

From You comes the all-working will,

the lively strength to act,

the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.

 

Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being)

Courtesy of angelsfortruth.com

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