Eyes Wide Open: Religion or Cult?

Religion has been a focal point of our lives and a major source of controversy since it’s inception. We have been brought up thinking its a mandatory part of life without understanding it’s true effect or even life without it. By doing this we limit ourselves spiritually as well as intellectually.

It’s necessary to analyse life without the “Religion Filter”- we must not confine our minds to a box.

We fail to ask ourselves these questions – what is religion? what is it doing for me? Why do we feel compelled to be a part. Religion is suppose to be a guide to how one “should” live their life with the ultimate goal being coexistence. However, for most people it seems to be more of a distraction. The fundamentals of humanity are put on the back burner and selfish desires take over.

In some cases it preys on the vulnerabilities and misplaced needs of persons who need something “greater” to believe in and in others stems from the fact that we are conditioned to fear death and most religions teach that if you adhere to the religions’ policies that you would “go to heaven” “be saved” or “live forever”.

If you look back in history Roman Catholicism has always been the biggest and most powerful church. You were either Catholic or an abomination, like it was a crime to be anything other than Catholic hence they believe the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church. The strong hold and intimidation by the Catholic church lead to the emergence of protestant churches.

Over the years so any churches have emerged – some with questionable motives taking the form of a very strategic business with the allure of tax free exemption where they find ways of extorting money from the congregation/parishioners. They preach total devotion to the church at whatever costs and that good work is being done as a result of the sacrifices.

Religion should not be associated with absolute ludicrous policies such as “Disconnection” and “Fair Game” in Scientology and Disfellowship and Two Witness Policy in Jehovah’s Witness. And thanks to Leah Remini and Mike Rinder on the award winning A&E show “Scientology and the Aftermath” for exposing the abuses endured by persons and giving them a platform to share their experiences. Church, if anything should bring people together not divide them, encourage speaking out against abuses and criminal offences and not cover them up.

The most devastating result of a cult was the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana spearheaded by the People’s Temple leader Jim Jones where over 900 people committed coerced suicide by drinking kool-aid containing cyanide. When this kind of mind control is attained there should be some form of oversight and the implementation of deterrents for persons using the facade of church to exploit people causing irreversible psychological trauma.

 

 

Science, Religion & the Bigger Picture

Everything in the universe has a unique design and although each element has its own identity, they’re all connected. Despite the long standing conflict between religion and science, they share a common ground in that they affect our ways of life. Religion is an institution that’s divisive, rigid and judgmental, whereas science is an intellectual and systematic body that simple seeks to explain. It’s logical and it works! However there are things that science can’t explain and religion can’t comprehend which leads to severe grey areas. Despite the many differences among them, there are commonalities; their sacred scriptures all speak of “peace”.

• “If a man sings of God and hears of him, and lets love of God sprout within him, all his sorrows shall vanish, And in his mind, God will bestow abiding peace.” –Sikhism
• “A Muslim is one who surrenders to the will of Allah and is an establisher of peace (while Islam means establishment of peace, Muslim means one who establishes peace through his actions and conduct).”–Islam
• “The Lord lives in the heart of every creature. He turns them round and round upon the wheel of Maya. Take refuge utterly in Him. By his grace you will find supreme peace, and the state which is beyond all change.” –Hinduism
• “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.” –Judaism
• “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” –Christianity

We should look to nature for answers, put our minds to work; reason, and make every experience a learning one. It is evident that as humans we need something constant to believe in (religion) but everything in nature shows us that change is constant, gradual but constant and with change comes evolution and so we must evolve as a species physically and intellectually. It’s not about finding “one absolute truth” or whether God is Allah, Krishna, Jah or Brahman. It’s not a religious thing, “but a spiritual network linking us to the most high, the universe and each other”. (H.I.M Haile Selassie I). It’s our differences that make us dynamic and instead of embracing it we fight for superiority. We should be finding ways to coexist through a system that is based on compromise; irrespective of any social or cultural preferences.

Everything on earth is connected to each other and to the rest of the universe. Look at the Human Genome Project, we’re not nearly as complicated as we thought; we share much of our genome with many plants, worms etc. So it leaves me to wonder why we think we’re superior…There’s a cycle, a balance to be maintained among all life forms and as humans we take advantage and exploit for our unfounded needs.

There comes a point where everyone dies, the physical body can no longer perform essential processes. The divine part of our being, most commonly referred to as our soul, however, transcends scientific explanations. It lives on. Destruction of the flesh is not the ending of life. Like energy is never lost but changes from one form to another and the existence of different planes/dimensions, so too is life.

We live in an era ruled by technology, but before we became so advanced people relied on the sun to tell time, the lunar stages to plant crops and to make other decisions and deductions. The people of antiquity (Babylonians, Assyrians) worshiped the moon, the sun and stars and so became masters of astrology. They dedicated a day to each of the five planets known to them and with the sun and moon made up the seven-day week:

Satur (Saturn) day, Sun-day and Mon (Moon) day.

See, it all fits together.

It’s amazing the diversity in the customs and beliefs of the people throughout the world. Let’s take for example funerary practices: accodring to Herodotus, the Callatians ate the flesh of their fathers. To them this could have been a sign of respect and a means of staying connected to them. Given that interpretation the cremation of the dead, as the Greeks did would be unacceptable, therefore, “Right” and “wrong” is relative to the paradigm with which you’re using.

Everything is open to interpretation; that’s the beauty of life. The sense of not really knowing that leads to a realm of possibilities. At the end, it’s about never stop questioning, because a stimulated mind is essential to life.

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