YESTERDAY, I JOKED ABOUT WHAT I BELIEVE; HERE IS THE REAL ARTICLE:
Love is my Religion. But let me explain…
People who know me understand I am adamant about several things:
One thing I am adamant about is appreciation of the accomplishment of life and thus:
Having superlative respect for life;
I am adamant about the respect that should be engendered by the infinitely fortunate condition of sentience.
Finally, given sentience, we humans should hold that humans and their thoughts & expression are sacred, and thus it should be considered the greatest crime to harm anyone.
Included in my idea of ‘harm’ is the curtailing of anyone’s freedom, beginning with being dishonest with another person. Yes, being dishonest with someone is a curtailing of his or her freedom.
Being dishonest with another includes teaching children anything that is dogmatic; if a doctrine is dogmatic, it must go beyond theory and it must be provable to be true. If not, it should not be taught to them as true.
Therefore, based on this set of principles I find to be of the highest sense and self-evidence, I find the teaching of religious dogma to children, immoral.
Anything that is predicated on dictates is maligned. Truths must be experienced, and honest–if not provable, not in conflict with reality–otherwise, how can they be universal and above reproach?
If we want to teach children that love is the highest virtue and that hate is the sickness plaguing humanity–then we have to strike from their education all prejudice engendered by religion, all justification of violence in the lessons of religion, and all refutations of reality, which engender fantasy–completely pernicious and different from healthy and imaginative flights of fancy and dreams.
People offended by what I have just said should ask themselves these questions:
1. Do you believe what you believe because it was forced on you, or because you came to find it as true through your own enlightenment?
2. Do you believe in a religion that directly or indirectly justifies or justified violence of any kind?
Do you believe in a religion that requires you to gloss over violence in its prescriptions, with justifications or dishonesty?
4. Do you believe in a religion that can be easily used to harm others?
5. Does your religion refute science, putting you against the most honest system of exploration devised by humanity?
7. Does your religion cause you to go against what is best for humanity, whether it is human and compassionate use of technology to reduce suffering, or repair of our environment?
8. Does your religion cause you to be focused on prophesy–a method of selling the religion–rather than on love and forgiveness?
9. Does your religion cause you to create heartbreak, with mental and spiritual rigidity and intolerance?
10. Does your religion promote independent thought and spiritual exploration, or does it promote martial adherence protected by fear and punishment?
The worth of a religion is in its promotion of love, truth, independent spiritual growth and freedom. A religion that promotes the opposite of these virtues, necessary elements for peace, science, and happiness, is a danger to humanity.
These are my religious beliefs.
My religious practice is different:
1. I love all humanity;
2. I meditate for awareness and the escape of the animal ego;
3. I “pray” without begging, words, or doctrine, by trying to imagine with sincerity communion with righteousness and loving intentions. Any true god or representative of the divine surely requires no language, no worship, no petty use of punishment. Once we eliminate these pernicious elements of ego, we shall all be in heaven.
Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese