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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Religion Is Broken

John Lennon

I personally don't participate regularly in a traditional organized religion, so I might not be well-suited to discuss the topic, but I feel like I have something to say. Pardon my diversion from the usual topic of my artwork.

This might be more of an internal dialog I'm having with myself, so who knows, at the end I might truly care about the actuality of the facts behind religious teachings. Right now though, my question is why do people in organized religions to get so caught up in faulting the facts of other religions and fight to the death over them, when they generally look to their own religion as a source for lessons on how to live, not questioning or even really paying attention to the authenticity of the stories?

Human language, words, inherently lie in so much as they can't put the actual thoughts from my head into yours, only a representation of them. Religious texts are words. They are in general brilliant words chosen not for the *truth* of their content, but *for* their content. They convey abstract ideals. Through allegory, they codify ways to live well. Truly, most religions teach very similar ways. There are contextual differences due to the time and place the text was written, but the purpose, the intent is the same.

Why, then, has it come to matter so much what the words are, who said and wrote them? Why has the intent been largely lost? So much media focus is placed on archaelogical research proving or disproving events used to illustrate lessons in religious texts, making a mockery of the lesson. This feeds the distrust and hate felt by devout believers for people in every other religion. Maybe my internal head-fake is that the media actually would do well to recount the stories, teaching the lessons anew unreligiously. How do we teach morals secularly? Would we turn off the news if they added intent in their stories, ending each one with "and the moral is..."? We trust ancient religious texts to convey morals for some reason. Why? And why don't we trust apocryphal texts?

This is why I don't like the categorization of people. Race, sex, and religion are used to exclude. We're all human, all deserve to be included in humanity, but by categorizing and basing actions on those categories, we're really denying the humanity of people by comparison. "My religion is better than yours because its lessons are true and good, and the stories you listen to aren't factually true so your lessons can't be right."

Maybe though, if we turn over moral conveyance from ancient texts to currently living people, stories would come alive. We're taught human nature is good in religious texts. So let it be. Let people be free to listen to their conscience. Let people be the perfect creation of God that they already are. Let people love instead of teaching them to hate. Let people accept fear and find tolerance of that which they don't understand. Take away the power of fear by undemonizing it and hate will cease. People will accept themselves, others, and Life, and love.

Even in teaching love, religions exclude and qualify. They teach to love others even though. Even though what? Even though they believe in the same lesson, just use a different story to convey it? Just love. We are all individuals, we are all Life. When categorizing humanity stops, when "you're wrong" is replaced with "your intent is good", when stories of the ancient and recent past serve purely as a means to teach rather than as the end to be hallowed, when people listen, then there can be

ON CONSIGNMENT - John Lennon 06/25/08

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