May 23rd, 2021
I took a pause between my last post and this one because I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say about it.
About the act of believing.
The first half was an affirmation. This part is a warning.
There are over 4,000 distinct religions on our planet.
And every person who has one believes as strongly in theirs as you believe in your own. They know they are right, just as you know you are right.
It is an objective fact that all of these religions can not coexist as truth. Virtually none of them are provable in any concrete way.
Which brings me to this unfortunate, inevitable conclusion:
Religion is never going to be the thing that brings all of humankind together.
But it can help people anyway.
Kindness and understanding and communication and compassion and empathy — these are the pieces that link us together and create positive change.
They require more than learning, however; they require real action.
You can’t just want to be better. You have to do better. You have to be better.
In my favorite series of lectures, William James uses science to determine whether religion is objectively good or bad for the whole of humanity and the progress of civilization.
His answer isn’t a definitive “yes” or “no,” but more of a “it depends.”
Unfortunately, it largely depends on how good a religious person is without the religion. Because a large segment of the world is hypocritical, and religion doesn’t serve to fix that, but instead highlights and enables it.
In the last post, I said that what you believe shapes who you are. It absolutely does.
What we believe makes us all unique shapes, like living, breathing snowflakes, and religion would have you believe that the only other shapes that fit yours are the ones that have been shaped in a similar way.
If you learn nothing else from me, it’s that I believe if you take the time to really look at and appreciate every shape that exists, you will find a way that they all fit together.