Two opinions are thought-provoking, one by Lloyd Willmschen (Jan. 27, “What’s wrong with the American system?”), another by Harry Short (Jan. 27, “Organized religion? No gods for this guy”).
In theory, I agree with Short in that Mother Nature created this universe, and that organized religion should be taxed like any other business.
Willmschen’s opinion is that the absence of organized religion in our lives, including the lack of prayer in our public schools, are the chief causes for our current ills: gang warfare, gays, etc.
I recall being told to “pray” in school, so many years ago, something we were told to utter. We had no choice. The words after a while lost their meaning; something we learned through rehearsal and repeating and repeating, sorta like learning our multiplication tables. We were further taught that anyone who didn’t have the same religious belief as our educators were the bad people; plus we were instructed in all the other religious myths that enthralled our youthful imagination.
As we grow, and, if we become truly curious for truth, we may observe that organized religion, too often, is a call to arms. Like the plague of today’s organized gangs that kill those in opposition, so too, through the past centuries, has organized religion killed those in opposition. A study of beginnings of various religious organizations: their orignal goals and ideals seem to dictate that most have simply deteriorated into competitive business with less attention to those original goals and ideals.
True, we all need something kinder and gentler to believe in, to lean on, in what is often a frustrating and in the extreme brutal society. While I have arrived at my own life’s beliefs, I am unable to criticize the “extreme” and almost “hypnotic” religious faith of others because the latter is an unreachable area.
It is also an unquestioning and serene state of mind that may tempt an agnostic like myself, but doesn’t. I have existed barely 80 years in a universe billions of years old and though ignorant of the “absolute truth,” I rely on common sense and my continuing education to direct me.