Sunday, September 09, 2007

Religion: A personal Matter

It is Sunday afternoon. Earlier today, many of us went to one church or another. Some of us did not go to church. In a couple of days is the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, whan a handful of people killed themselves and thousands of innocent people, supposedly in the name of "God".

Last month, I watched a documentary on CNN called "God's Warriors". It was a three-part show, with two hours each focusing on fundamentalism and fanaticism in each of the three major religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It helped me to understand the sources of some of the conflict in the Middle East, but more so, it made me think how much a personal decision our religion must be.

Each of choose to either go to church or not, to believe in God or not. This is something that, at least here in the United States, cannot be forced upon us. I cannot force my beliefs, or lack thereof, upon my neighbors, co-workers, family, even my children. Sure, we drag our children to church when they are young and try to brainwash them with whatever version of religion our particular church teaches, but they eventually reach an age where they must decide for themselves what or if they believe. My 15-year-old son has recently stated that he does not believe in God or religion. So as a parent, should I force him to continue to go to church, or say: "I respect your lack of belief; it is up to you whether or not to attend church"?

On a larger scale, it is the fanatics and fundamentalists in each religion that are trying to force their beliefs upon the rest of the world, some by political means, some be violent means, and some by trying to "sell" their religion door-to-door. We most often think of Muslims when we say using violent means, but there have been violent Christians as well, such as those who have bombed abortion clinics or killed abortion doctors. Just recently a new Al Queda tape was issued in which Bin Laden said something like we won't kill you if you all convert to Islam. There are also Jews who are trying, by violent means, to force the Palestinians out of Israel. In the political arena there are plenty of right-wing Christian fanatics who are trying to steer the laws and leaders of our own country. And then there are the "sellers" of religion; those who go door-to-door like the Mormons and the Jehovas' Witnesses trying to sell their beliefs and recruit new members to their churches.

I may or may not believe in God and may or may not attend a church, but that is my own personal choice. It is not up to my government, my family or my neighbors. I have no business telling you that my religion or lack of it is better than yours. And it is certainly not up to me to hurt or kill someone in the name of "God"; for this "God" supposedly said "Thou shalt not kill". I am not aware of any exceptions to that.

Let us all remember the thousands of innocents who died 6 years ago at the hands of fanatic religions fundamentalists acting in the name of some "god".

So Sayeth The Shack

1 comment:

Jeni said...

Very good post John, very good, indeed. And how true it is about the various religions and the methods many employ there too.
My son waited till he was 26 or 27 to tell me he still believes in God but doesn't believe in "organized religion" therefore, he wouldn't be attending church with me or his sisters anymore. He has on a few occasions taken that back and gone to a service now and again with us but, that's his choice and he is free to make that whether I agree with him or not is immaterial.