By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel
On Saturday, May 5th, I made a post on social media about religion. I’d like to expand upon it here. I wrote:
“Some of the worst people in the world are the religious ones who sh*t on everyone else’s beliefs/lifestyle. If you’re religious or spiritual, just be yourself and love your God in whatever way you prefer. Meditate, study Hinduism, and learn about chakras if you want. Or don’t. If you’re an atheist, shout your love for science from a mountaintop. I promise you won’t be possessed by the devil or fall into some mythical hell.
“The true ‘agents of satan’ are those who use their religion to justify a contrived sense of divinity and attack everyone who doesn’t think like them. They’re not doing the work of the Lord – they’re being a d*ck. The world would be much better if they went away and stopped bothering the rest of us who are just trying to live.
“If you cannot muster up love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding for all people regardless of race, religion, or how they feel about your God, you are not living religiously. You are a false prophet living for your idea of what God wants.
“Isn’t it interesting how your God reflects your beliefs and what you think is right/wrong? That’s because it’s not God, it’s your ego. It doesn’t matter how much you study scripture or how strictly you adhere to some belief system created to control you. Condemnation and conversion will never be reflective of a truly religious life.
“And yes, I know I’m being hypocritical by saying we should love everyone but calling out religious people who are judgmental. I’m imperfect, as we all are. I don’t claim to be some born-again Christian arbiter of what people should think or how they should behave.
“My advice is just to be yourself. Do no harm, but take no sh*t from religious bullies who try to make you think you’ll go to hell if you don’t let them tell you what to believe. Also, when you find out how much money these people make off of Jesus, you’ll understand why they’re so nutty about gaining followers.”
I know this sounds harsh, but my intention was not to go after all religious people. I’m generally okay with religion. I study it and try to find what’s at the heart of every teaching.
I think that what we know as religion was, at one time, used for good. In many ways, it still is today. Despite the manipulation and everything lost in translation through the ages, many religious texts still hint at the golden rule (if not directly point it out).
There are religious people who live a positive life and only want to help others. They don’t condemn those who think differently. They know they can’t change anyone, so they focus on becoming the best version of themselves. They’re not driven by ego and the desire for control, but love and the desire to grow as a person. Instead of judging, they empathize. Instead of going after money or power, they live humbly in service.
These are not the people I refer to in the rant above.
I mentioned in that post that condemning and converting non-believers does not reflect a religious life. In my mind, a truly religious life is built upon love and empathy over all else. From these divine qualities spring others that will help you make your little corner of the world better.
I don’t know why religion has taken such a dark turn, but we now have this whole other thing that’s as far from the truth as you can get.
We have people fighting and killing each other over slight modifications of the same philosophy. We have accusations of devil worship against people with alternative beliefs – a modern-day religious witch hunt. If you pay attention to these radical religious groups, you see their members accuse each other of being satanic for believing slightly different things. It’s insane.
I don’t know how people can be so attached to these belief systems yet blinded to the golden rule that inspired their creation. Admittedly, the tone of my post was less than loving. But some things need to be said or done, even if it’s at the momentary expense of peace.
There comes a time when we can no longer accept condemnation, hate, or insanity in any form. It will only get worse if we don’t keep it in check. Since this is a moral conundrum, I suppose we should find a middle ground between being peaceful and calling out hate when necessary.
I believe love is God and there is no greater truth. It doesn’t bother me if you believe something different. Just don’t come knocking down my door and calling me a heretic without expecting me to defend myself.
I hope these people find the truth, and I don’t hate them for thinking differently. If I have any animosity, it’s because it perplexes me that they can be so dedicated to their religion yet miss the point by being so hateful. Love, empathy, discipline, and humility are all you need. It’s not that hard.
I wish they could see the source of all this conflict – a lack of love – and realize they’re fueling it. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I feel bad for them. Love and empathy are much simpler and more rewarding than these crazy, twisted philosophies that lead to all this nonsense. I hope they can see the error of their ways, but my inner skeptic doubts that their egos will soften anytime soon.
I’m trying to live by my own newfound religious/spiritual path and its accompanying principles. Call them what you will – rules, structured activities, guidelines by which to live – they’re helping me create a better life and be more tolerable to the people around me. They’re also helping me develop discipline and a resulting sense of accomplishment.
These disciplines include working hard at my writing and whatever other creative projects come along, as to me, this is a form of karma yoga (service to humanity). They also include empathy and helping people even when it’s uncomfortable.
More than anything, this lifestyle is one of peace and service to humanity rather than conflict with myself and others. I’ve only recently started on this path, and I obviously haven’t mastered it. It’s never easy at first, but you must wade through the confusion if you want to find the bright meadow at the end of the murky swamp.
One thing I may never empathize with is how people who are supposedly religious can be so hateful. But if they don’t hurt anyone – except with their opinions but let’s face it; we’re all adults and we can take it (words are just words) – then I have no reason to hate them. I should wish them well and, as with anything, look at myself to figure out why their words affect me.
It’s all about improving yourself and helping the world while you’re here. I sincerely hope religious radicals can one day understand this and join the rest of us in trying to help this suffering planet.
I wrote the following for the 290th issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.
Income from the guide helps me get by and ensures I can continue to offer free content, and every subscription is appreciated. You can find the option to subscribe below (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).
About the author:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run Openhearted Rebel, a daily news blog dedicated to igniting a revolution of love by raising social and spiritual awareness.
I also have a personal blog in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).
I write from the heart, sharing informative and enlightening content with anyone who wants to check it out.
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