Not an Attack on Religion

I think disagreement is a healthy part of discovery. We can’t grow our perspectives without allowing them to be malleable. And I believe we can stagnate if we aren’t growing. But arguing is counterproductive to growth. Arguing inspires us to dig in and refuse to bend. Ironically, being presented with contrary perspectives may often lead to greater investment in our own beliefs. In spite the fact that I try to remain open-minded, there is one “truth” I hold above all others. I believe love is the greatest force in my life. When a religion identifies love as a desirable trait, I find value in it. At the same time, when religious perspectives are used to inspire fear and division, I do not find value in these aspects of it. At the very heart of many religious perspectives is the idea that there are a select few who earn God’s favor. In many incarnations of religions, those who don’t gain God’s favor are condemned to an eternity of suffering. This idea seems, to borrow a word from religion, “blasphemous”. That is not to say that God takes offense to anything we choose to do. I believe we are perfectly as we are and that no higher power could expect anything more. But rather it is to say that God loves everyone and, as the creator of all laws, is bound by no law to punish or allow punishment to fall on anyone. We are created logical beings. This world teaches us to expect cause and effect relationships. Therefore, to deny our powers of logic is to deny our nature. Ideas of Hell are illogical to me. Of course I understand my perspective is not absolute. I don’t have a perfect understanding of everything and think it wise not to claim with absolute certainty that I know anything. But I feel compelled to try to make the world a better place. And I believe ideas of Hell, punishment for those who don’t adhere to a specific set of beliefs or behaviors, work to promote fear and division. I’m not speaking from a place of absolute perspective because I don’t feel confident enough in any human’s ability to know anything about their world. But I am trying to encourage an open conversation. This makes sense to me. What makes sense to you? Can we discuss it without arguing about it?

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