Thursday, March 7, 2013

Are you a murderer?

     Are you so connected, so invested, so insecure in your belief in a particular religion or ideology that you would insist upon its truth even if it was hurting someone? Are you so bereft of the ability to think, to reason, that you must point to some book for definitive, indisputable, infallible answers to life's questions? Would you not draw the line, that if your belief system was harming, possibly fatally harming, a fellow human being, that it is time to back off insisting that your beliefs be true for that person?
     If not, then you are a murderer.
     You have a responsibility first and foremost as a human being. There is no commonality greater than that. Nothing, no religion, race, politics, geography, ideology, cultural difference can precede that responsibility.
     People are vulnerable. Especially some. To insist that they follow your beliefs to their harm is criminal. And, sad to say, there are some people so mindlessly committed to their beliefs that they regularly do just that. And people have died because of it.
     I have had my own experience with it. I was going to a church where the pastor preached  that 'legions of demons, vast networks of demons' were swarming the earth, controlling everything ('Satan is the god of this world'), destroying and killing all things human. And I would sometimes listen to this pastor's sermons on CD before I went to sleep.
     Well, after listening to these sermons for several months, I started having horrific nightmares and I started waking up in the middle of the night with chest pains. I mean to say, this was messing with my well-being, my health, with my very life.
     I wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to grow spiritually. So I talked to the pastor about it. I told him what I just told you. He was like, 'Stay the course.'
     So I did.
     The nightmares grew worse; the chest pains intensified.
     I talked to the pastor again. (And I was distraught.) 'Keep listening.' he said. 'Keep going. Stay the course.'
     I no longer go to that church. I no longer go to any church. I no longer listen to sermons on CDs.
     My life was more important than my religion, than my ideology.
     God would never expect human beings to die to follow him.
     What that pastor told me to do was irresponsible. It was inhuman.
     Do not make the make the same mistake I did. Think for yourself. Do what's best for you. Do not be bullied or overwhelmed by authority figures or texts or the teeming billions that may believe a particular religion or ideology.
     Believe in yourself. In your judgment. In your ability to understand the world without need for someone else's interpretation of it. Live your life. Enhance your life. Follow what feeds your life.
     This is your most sacred duty.

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