I see a lot of religious propaganda on a daily basis, mostly involving the Church’s stance on various political issues. While I don’t have a direct problem with this, I do take issue with the suggestion that the Church demands every member and follower of that faith absolutely must share these views, which would totally negate that stuff we have called “free will.”
If memory serves, free will was given to us by God as a gift and is rather self-explanatory: an individual is free to make his or her own choices in life without having to conform to a larger ideology. This includes all kinds of freedoms in life, like the freedom to wear pants, be a vegetarian, or even not to believe in God at all if you don’t want to. So, I ask: why does it seem like the Church is forcing its will upon its own followers?
I’m starting to wonder about the future of religion, specifically Catholicism. I’m personally not a subscriber of any faith, but I hold no ill will towards any that are. On the contrary, I understand it completely and silently admire (envy, sometimes) those that are able to have faith. Today, however, we are living in an age of wisdom and curiosity. New discoveries are made all around the globe, progressing the collective knowledge of human beings as a whole on a daily basis, while the Catholic Church seems to be moving backwards, or is at the very least stuck in the past. Now when I see religious content anywhere, I don’t see a group of people saying “Amen!” or “Praise be to God!” I see harsh criticisms and mockeries being made of those that have found religion. I find it very hard to believe that this may be a trend, but rather I see it as the evolution of the people’s thought of Catholicism as a whole.
“Evolution” is probably not the best word, considering their stance on that hot subject. So I’ll put it in layman’s terms: the Church needs to grow up. We as a people cannot survive by abiding to laws that were applicable over two thousand years ago; it simply isn’t possible. Hell, we can’t even live like we did two hundred years ago. Society is constantly changing, and instead of adapting and trying to overcome, the Church seems to be caught in a constant cycle of Condemnation and Forgiveness. Thanks for acting like the good guy in the end, but seriously, you’ll just hate me for something else tomorrow. What’s the point?
The Bible-quoting arguments are the ones that really make me laugh. People that post random Bible verses in order to support an argument amuse me to no end, mostly because there’s only one of two possible outcomes: 1.) there’s a different variation on the interpretation of the quote you’ve selected, thus invalidating your point, or 2.) there’s a verse a few chapters down the road that completely contradicts whatever you just said. People fail to understand the actual meaning of the Bible. It is not a directive on how to live your life. Not every word is meant to be taken literally. It is a collection of parables and guidelines on how to live your life appropriately in the eyes of the Lord. But instead of doing that, it seems preferable to be completely random at which exact rules to follow. If you were born gay then you’re going straight to hell, all while nobody seems to care about the rampant murder, incest, and rape that takes place in the Bible. Seriously, have you read that thing lately? And I mean actually read it, not just listened to a few clergies here and there. The Bible contains countless atrocities in vivid detail, a small example being the impaling and agonizing death of a man on a 70-foot-tall pole. Granted, the man I’m referring to was Haman and he is regarded as being a bit of an asshole, but what happened to that “forgiveness” stuff I mentioned earlier? That’s a pretty huge value contradiction there, wouldn’t you say?
Faith can be an extremely powerful thing. It grants people the ability to overcome their fears and problems, gives them the strength to overcome adversity, makes them feel like they are not alone, and above all else, faith can make a person just feel happier. Unfortunately, all I see these days is the use of faith to exacerbate fears and hatred instead of trying to dissipate them. For all of you theists reading this, I strongly urge you to follow the Two Great Commandments instead of the original Ten (for unaware parties: the “Two Great Commandments” refer to “Love thy God” and “love thy neighbor as thyself”), because if you do, the other ten will fall right into place. The way I see it, using God’s name in support of your personal beliefs on today’s hot topics and contradictory issues is the same as taking His name in vain, which in turn shows a complete lack of respect for your own faith. I urge you to be more supportive and understanding instead of screaming your views and condemning people to hell all the time. Disagreement is a part of life, and an important one at that. Without it, we have no free will at all. So don’t fight over the gift that God bestowed upon everyone. Instead, share it with others, take pride in it, respect it and yourself; but most importantly, have respect for others in the process.