Does it shock any reader of my blog to read my opinion that ALL religions are man-made? It shouldn’t be. I have been a student of religion, all religions since my undergraduate days at Franklin & Marshall College.
Each and every religion has, if carefully and historically studied, changed and evolved over the centuries. That is not a bad thing. It is just the truth. This truth, however, may be extremely upsetting to members of each and every religion since they believe that they are ‘God’s’ representative on this planet and that their religion perfectly reflects the wishes of the Deity.
It is this passionate belief in the correctness of their religious belief at the expense of any other belief that has resulted in wars, persecutions, genocides–the dark and horrendous legacy of organized religion.
Yet, this is not the ‘fault’ of religion–merely the tendency of human beings to use religion for their own ‘unspiritual’ desires. Seeking power, control, manipulation, scape-goating, they have used the name [s] of God or gods to create true evil in the world.
All religions emerge from a beautiful spiritual truth. They are founded upon mystical experiences and all proclaim the same basic spiritual values.
And still, religion can offer its members necessary, healing rituals for all of life’s rites of passage [birth, passage into adulthood, marriage, death]. It can offer a sense of shared values and community. But it is in this sense of community that the seeds of evil are planted.
The innate tendency to form ‘tribal’ units by definition separates people from each other. Fear and paranoia quickly widen the rift between ‘them’ and ‘us’ and the grounds for disaster are sown.
If we could only realize that religion should be regarded as the tool for spiritual growth, rather than the goal itself, we might be more open to accepting the interpretations of others as their tool.
Religions are like languages. Like languages they have historical and geographic roots. Like languages, they are only the tools of ideas about deeper truth.
They are man-made and we need to accept that truth.