Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What is NOT right with (organized) religion

It is perhaps not "business as usual" for most people, but here at the City Gal headquarters, debates on religion, politics and social justice is like breathing air!

Interesting debates have taken place with friends and colleagues on this topic recently, religious and non-religious. Perhaps the US primaries have been a stimuli, but I would like to consider the topic more of a personal interest.

Coincidentally, tonight Jon Stewart had Jim Wallis on the show, promoting his new book The Great Awakening.

During the interview, he said somethings that I very much appreciated:

Religion does not have a patent (or own the right to) morality! I don't care what religion you practice, I am interested in your moral compass.

The Moral Compass: My ever-lasting dilemma!

My point is what has gone wrong in religious practices over the centuries, is that people have used religion to promote their own agenda: war, slavery, torture, social injustice and sexual abuse of children. I don't think there is any dispute in that fact.

Most people tell me, it's people's agenda that is the problem, because religion is all about great values. Well, I agree. Religions and religious texts are generally so vague that they can be interpreted in different ways and therefore, taken advantage of. Therefore, everyone shapes their interpretation to their own agenda, or I as call it their Moral Compass.

so, my question is, what is the use of something that can be interpreted in different ways? It seems like at the end of the day, people will push their own agenda and use their own moral compass (good or bad): good people do good deeds and say they learned it from a religious text, and bad people will do the same and justify that on a different interpretation of a religious text!

Again, I agree with people who say religious texts were written with good intentions. Well, the same people say that the road to hell was paved with good intentions, too.

More over, I have come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with having the "fear of hell" as your motivation for following morality! I believe it takes a lot more than "heaven vs. hell" debate to cultivate values in people, or we are dealing with a much less sophisticated creature than the human being I know.

What I want to say that if you have a working moral compass, no matter what god you worship or whom you accept as your saviour, you will do just fin in life (and if there is an after-life, your efforts will be rewarded). However, if your moral system is not all that in order, I am sure you can find some religion that justifies your sociopathic behaviour anyways.

So far, what religion has accomplished more than anything else is giving some people a false sense of moral superiority over others.


At 4:51 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

Bahar jan, the argument that the religion is based on good intentions and it's people's agenda that gives it a bad name, is fundamentally flawed and it looks like you are falling for it too. Please stop saying "I agree" to the things that you don't agree with, ok?!

Did you finish reading "The God Delusion"? There is an entire chapter about morality and its evolutionary origin (as opposed to religious origin)

At 8:37 a.m., Blogger The City Gal said...

Thanks buddy!

I have been to busy and didn't manage to finsish that book.

I should.

At 9:38 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

how dare you give higher priority to anything against a richard dawkins's book?! i'm sooo cross with you now :P


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