"One thing seems to be a truth, and that is that if a person or an institution are held sacred by too many people, then they are by definition beyond criticism. And when a person or an institution becomes beyond criticism, it seems they slip inevitably towards corruption."
He is an absolute genius in his own unique and crazy way, and I do love him for it. The reason I feel perhaps constantly passionate about certain people and certain institutions, most notably the zealots who promote hate with their text, is that they feel empowered by the millions who also hold their belief... and they have this idea that they are justified therefore to force their ideas on others.
"It is your human right to hold sacred what you will. If you want to imbue earthly things with supernatural agency that is your right... But I don't think that means you should get to tell other people what they hold should sacred."
Faith is fine, if you cherish the community it builds or the feeling of security it brings you, that is fine. I like the idea of Hinduism so far as a philosophy because I see the deities that represent aspects of living, and the prayers, as a means of clearing your mind and focusing your energy on what you want. So much as I do not believe in a supernatural reason behind the Law of Attraction, there is some truth in the placebo effect, and when the mind believes in what it will, or is put under considerable stress, the human form can achieve miracles. You can become a superman in moments of stress, and sugar pills prescribed by doctors can cure pain... but this concept that the tomes of the ancient world should be held literal and binding is absurd. I was raised in a Hindu family, a family not born Hindu, but Hindu by choice. I was taught to learn and reason, and not forced to read the texts of the divines or learn about the will of a God. I was raised to read what books I wanted, to follow what passions I wanted, and to learn to be educated and logical. And given this choice I've accepted the faith so much as a building grounds for community and meditation perhaps, but not the literal interpretation of an all powerful divine.
The thing that irks me about modern faith is the trivial nature in which it is called upon, and the almost brainwashing and hypnotic nature it's taken. I enjoyed the freedoms of a thinking family, one that accepts and promotes activism, reflection, and debate... to remain an active member in society and not become complacent with wrongdoings. Children of other households, children of the other major monotheist doctrines, however, seem to lack this freedom. They were raised going to their churches, temples, and synagogues... going to Sunday schools and being taught from young age about the will of God, about his power, and to embrace his words... You're taught God before the age of reason and I feel that an injustice.
In elementary and middle school, they have you read old African folk-stories, they have you read Native American lore, they have you read the legacies of the ancient Roman and Greek gods... but they teach you that these are myths. They teach you that they are fiction of long dead civilizations, to be admired and analyzed, but not to be taken seriously. And yet, these surviving faiths- Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam... are considered politically incorrect to discuss, and to be accepted as real... despite similar roots, despite similar stories.
And there's a contradiction in the very terminology of the religious... the strict of faith call themselves "god fearing people"... and yet promote the compassion of their Lord, and praise his love and kindness... his path to salvation. And it's fine to think that, but having faith, having a religion, it's like having a penis...you can have one and be proud of it, but you shouldn't whip it out in public, you shouldn't write laws with it, you shouldn't run schools with it, and you shouldn't force it on children.
The issue I have, the very root of my contention, is the lack of education people seem to have in their faith, and that I only ever see the negative connotations of it. You get the viral videos of 5 year old boys singing how "ain't no gays gonna get into heaven", you get church groups holding bibles in one hand and their pre-school child wearing 'God Hates Fags' shirts in the other protesting Gay Pride Parades, you get fucking idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church going to protest at the funerals of soldiers and the burials of the victim children of the Sandy Hook shooting... And you get these hyped up zealots screaming about how Leviticus 20:13 says; "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." And yet they're just picking and choosing what they wish to follow from their own volume. How about Leviticus 20:9; “Anyone who curses their father or mothers to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head." Or what of Deuteronomy 21:18-21;"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." Why are these not what you call out about in the street and hold protest for? Your Lord told you to murder your children for their rebellion, but the intimacy of another couple you don't know takes precedence?!
It's this way the words are warped that gets underneath my skin. The Bible, if read literally, is evil. That fact is inescapable. God brings the deaths of millions, directly and indirectly. He commands the Israelites to commit genocides, to kill all life from the women and children to the cattle, but keep the virgins as their own. He defines the sexist place of a woman and gives her the labor of child birth as punishment. But that's not the point of the Bible, or any religious text. Such are meant to be allegorical descriptions of unearthly and miraculous events that should provide hope for life and after-life. And yet that's not how they are used. And that's not how they are educated to children of faith, despite how clear the words are upon self examination.
(Exodus 12:29-30; Exodus 34:11-14; 1 Samuel 15:2-3; Numbers 31:17-18; Deuteronomy 20:16-17; Samuel 23:2; 1Kings 20:28; 2Chronicles 28:6; 2Samuel 8:2; Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; Ephesians 5:22-24;1 Timothy 2:11-15; Deuteronomy 22:5)
I support the idea of human power, and the intrinsic rights of mankind. You are of course given the right to live as you desire, and to hold dear and sacred whatever you choose. But know what you are promoting, know what you are screaming about, know what you defend. And do not force it on others as law. If you don't like the idea of gay sex, here's a thought, don't have gay sex! GASP Shocking concept?! If you don't like gay sex, don't have it. That's your right, you have the right to decide that you don't like it and that you don't want it, but that does not mean you have the right to tell them what they can or cannot have. You were given the choice, you cannot then deprive them of their choice. And you can see it now, the death of the ancient bigotry, the organizations of hate falling apart. Gays are marching in their Pride Parades, I along side them. And they are gaining rights, and the internet lights up with the symbols of equality and love. If you taught children logic before you gave them god, in this new age of technology and reason, I doubt you'd have many truly hatefully religious left at all.
"Science adjusts its views based on what's observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved." - Tim Minchin.
My name is Jeffrey Hepburn, and I'm a young writer, graphic design artist, and aspiring filmmaker.