I don’t have a high opinion of religion in general. I see it mostly as a tool used by the “Elite” to control the masses and obfuscate true spirituality. It distracts with rote and ritual. It puts so many layers of varnish on Meta-language and the teachings of avatars as to make the real meanings nigh completely oblique to those within… even when they’re obvious to those without.
It both exasperates and amuses me to see someone within deny this only to prove it by reciting the predominant rote, often word for word, with not the least sign of independant assessment.
There’s a lot to be said for taking things on face value. It’s honest at least even if it seems naieve.
You will know the tree by the fruit it bears. It’s an adage, but, I think, a very true one. It’s all about practical discernment.
If someone tells you they’re righteous or trying to act that way and they do terrible things based on that premise, you can rest assured they’re full of Sh*t. That’s how I see the Westborough Babptist, churches that teach hellfire and guilt, those that force or coerce conversion on others, those that kill/torture/abuse/sideline others based solely on their religion, and Muslims that want or practice Sharia in any manner, shape, or form.
Yeah, don’t even try to tell me who sharia is their business alone. It’s not. It’s a whole bloody busybody system for controlling other people’s lives and doing so through acts of extreme cruelty and oppression. There is nothing good in that whatsoever. It’s as plain as the apples on an apple tree. But Muslims can’t see it through all the shallac that’s been applied to their religion.
Amusingly, some people of other religions are also blinded by the Islamic shallac… not because they believe in it themselves but more because the secretly fear that calling out the Islamic shallac would make them vulnerable to either Islamic temper tantrum OR their own shallac being called out in return. So when Muslims recite the old taqya shallac of “Islam is a religion of peace” there are always some fools who will eat that with a spoon despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Purge the dross from your ideology and you will never have to fear a nasty turnabout such as is happening to Islam now. Such as will grow progressively worse until all the dross will be burned away and all the dross spinners alike. Spider webs in flames. Just watch those insidious threads curling up and melting into nothing. And it won’t break my heart at all.
All that aside, there are some things I actually do appreciate about religion: things like charity, kindness, unity, hospitality, art, and metasymbology (which usually manages to outshine the shallac). People find hope and moral strength in some of it even though religion is not actually required for these things but rather serves as a cruch for those who would otherwise feel themselves spirtually weak. Most of the rituals it puts into practice are actual magick forms and a good portion of those are actually… well… Good. And holidays. Happy ones. Opportunities to come together and express gratitude in life both physical and non-physical.
Not all holidays are happy in religions nor are the magick forms always good.
Shi-ite Muslims, for instance, have a holiday commemorating the slaughter of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of prophet Muhammad, who, ironically, conquered Persia, forced Islam on it, and beheaded thousands of Perisian. Yet they beat themselves and their sons, even babies, with barbed chains and swords while the women and girls listen the eulogies of Ali and wail for him in darkend mosques/masjids. Disgusting. Must be an aquired taste.
Pentacostal Christians practice ritual channelling of spirits but with no apparent controls beyond their wrong assumption that the negative and mischievious ones can’t get into them. As a result, this can be a very disturbing thing to witness and I’ve fled a few churches I visited that did this. Now I don’t visit churches at all, but this is only a very minor reason I don’t.
Anyway, not good, but at least not even close to as damaging as the above mentioned Shi-ite holiday/ritual or aztec blood rites and sacrifices of still-beating hearts.
All that said, I still resent the hell out of any people that forbid the positive practices, rituals, or holidays of any religion. I think it’s pathetic, for instance that Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Iran, and others forbid the celebration of holidays like Christmas and Valentines days. Or that some non-Muslim religious types forbid celebrations of any kind. These are what you call stick-in-the-mud’s. Like wicked Phoebe in a episode where the Charmed ones are tainted with black magick, I’d like to turn them into real sticks in the mud for being such sour sorts. You forbid hope, joy, and gratitude and all you have left is dross.
The Sultan of Brunei says his ban on Christmas is because it’s celebration “could damage the faith of Muslims.” Anything that makes Muslims question their faith is called “fitna.” The is the category any positive aspects of other religions fall into in Islam. Meanwhile, he’s step-by-step installing draconian sharia law in place of compassion and civil/human rights.
How fragile are some religions that must forbid the good in order to keep people mired in a sea of negativity and oppression?
Pulls down lower eye-lid and stick tongue out that Islamist monstrosities in power.
Merry Christmas to everyone else. I hope you enjoy, share, and cherish it no matter what.
Basically, I hope you dance.