DISCLAIMER: Before you read this, know that I don't hate religion, religious persons, or the idea of spirituality. My critiques of religion and mythology (the term I use for most religion), is a general statement on ignorance as a whole, and not just the ignorance of "religious" persons. I don't fault people for not actually knowing what they believe in, I fault people for believing in that which they don't know. So I wrote this not as a slam against "religious" persons, I wrote this so that so-called "religious" people would examine their beliefs and obtain a better understanding.
To start this blog entry, I will set up a few scenarios and ask all of the "faithful out there a few questions.
Here's the first scenario, it's a sunny Sunday afternoon (you skipped out of church this weekend because you spent all night getting "right" at the club), you're on your way to the local Wal-Mart Super center (to get some Advil for that hangover). As you're walking towards the Wal-Mart, you pass a homeless man. This homeless man seems to be talking to a person that is not there. You walk closer to the vagabond, out of curiosity, and you overhear him call his imaginary friend "God". My question is what is your opinion of the homeless man?
Second scenario goes like this; you're watching a talk show on a cloudy Tuesday morning. A panelist on the show tells a tale of how he disappeared for a number of weeks to a mysterious world. He tells the audience that these beings, which he refers to as "extra-terrestrial", gave him warnings of impending doom and destruction. He states that the beings sent him visions and sent him back here to warn the rest of humanity of the coming annihilation. My question is what do you think of this guest on the talk show?
Okay, for the last scenario, a news broadcast interrupts this Wednesday's "American Idol"; they talk about a man that refers to himself as a prophet. He claims that his deity appointed him as a messenger. He gains the trust of a numerous amount of followers; they look at him as their messiah. What is your view of this self proclaimed prophet?
Now before I get to the heavy stuff, I've got one more question. To quote a line from my favorite McDonald's commercials, do you believe in magic? Now I know most people are reading that question and saying "hell to the nah!". Now really think about magic and the definition of that word, "the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature". According to most religions, western as well as eastern, control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature, plays a major role in their doctrine. I'll now delve into what I presume would be most people's answers to the fore mentioned scenario's. For the first scenario, I know most people (including myself) would say that the homeless man is insane or just a little bit imbalanced. But let's think about this from a religious aspect, throughout the book of Christianity, the Bible, throughout the Jewish Torah, and throughout the Quran, men talk to a voice that isn't talking to anybody else. These men heard things that no other man heard, yet they are divine while this homeless man is insane. Could God not have picked the meekest of men to convey his message to, could it be he is receiving divine guidance? What if he's homeless because he followed your Jesus Christ and gave up his worldly possessions, and this was conveyed to him by God, himself (or herself, or itself, or themselves)? How is he different from a man that lived in a magical whale? And who are you talking to when you kneel on the edge of your bed at night? Now, for the second scenario, I know a lot of religious people don't believe in aliens because in the Bible God doesn't create them (he also doesn't create dinosaurs, explain that). So is the second man as crazy as the first, did he see imaginary beings from out of space? Now according to the Bible and the Quran, people had visits from mysterious beings from the "Heavens" (which is somewhere out in space, even though the Hubble couldn't find it), they referred to as angels, or the host of heaven, or the Elohim. These beings had mysterious powers and abilities that mere men didn't have, they cast of a glow that mortals wouldn't. All the characteristics besides the wings (unless you factor in the people that saw Mothmen) and the weird shaped heads of aliens, are very similar. So what if this man was visited by your angels, even better, what if your prophets were visited by aliens? I mean wasn't John the Baptist whisked away to Patmos and given visions by one of Gods angels (it's called Revelations, if you didn't know)? People claim to have the same experiences as John the Baptist, yet he is a messenger and they are nuts. Okay, the last scenario revisits the whole Waco and Branch Davidians, a man claims to have a message from God and proceeds to spread it, the world views him as an insane man and kills him. Now, most religious people view him as insane because his name wasn't written in a scroll in a cave somewhere. But it makes me think of Christianity and Islam, both religions are based on men telling people that they were sent by God with a book (they just happened to last longer than David Koresh). Lets take Christianity for example, after Jesus' death, rebirth and then death (and you don't believe in magic), a man named Paul runs around talking about his dead friend and his dead friends illegitimate father. Paul runs and tells the Romans (the people that supposedly killed his friend) about his dead friend, and they decide to take and mold a new religion out of Judaism. The Roman scholars sat in a dark basement and pieced together various stories, throwing away the ones they deemed unnecessary, and created a new book to add on to the Hebrew Torah. Word spread around and people converted (mainly because if you didn't do what the church said, they'd kill you). As for Islam, it was spearheaded by an Arab named Muhammad who went around the Middle East and recited lines from his book that he wrote with the aid of his invisible friend, Allah. He and his cousin / son-in-law went around killing those Arabs that didn't follow his doctrine, they referred to it as "slicing off the heads of devils" (the slaughter of infidels in the name of Allah continues). So if Jesus' so-called friend can sell his story to his enemies and make a religion out of it, or if a military general can persuade people to follow his religion; why can't a man in modern times be given the divine task of leading people to a divine being? Now I want you to pick up whatever holy book you believe in (that you only read a passage or two from when you're in your in you church, mosque, synagogue, temple or shrine) and read it thoroughly. After you've read the entire book and analyzed all the wonderful stories, pick up a Harry Potter book and read that. After you've done all that reading (and wasting time), ask yourself, do you believe in magic? Of course you do!
Peace, I mean WAR!