I was taught and brought up as a Roman Catholic, but as I've grown older (wiser???), I've become increasingly sceptical about the rationale and validity of "religion". It's true that many people gain much comfort and reassurance from their honest - but blind - faith in their "God", but as none of us are in a position to prove - or disprove - the existence of a supernatural deity, that's fine as far as it goes. However, the issue for me is more about religion rather than a person's faith. Let me explain.
In my own humble opinion, belief in a "God", whatever name you choose to give 'Him', should be a personal choice made freely by each of us. It shouldn't be forced upon us when we're too young to understand. As children, we're warned about the physical dangers around us (hot fire, sharp objects, busy roads etc) and in the same matter-of-fact way, we're taught that there's a God. We get scalded by a hot fire or cut ourselves on a sharp object, so we learn and believe that what our parents told us is therefore true. So God must be true as well. This is blind faith, only because it's what we've been told by those we trust.
Over the centuries, so much grief and human misery has been caused (and still is) throughout the world in the name of one religion or another, robustly supported by what its perpetrators claim is the official word of God, be it the Bible, Qur'an, Talmud, Book of Mormon or whatever. This can't be right. Religious institutions are among the richest organisations in the world, especially the Roman Catholic Church, but their followers are often amongst the poorest in the world. This also can't be right - or fair. It seems to me that these institutions simply thrive on this blind and unquestioning faith of their followers.
For me, it's not about what or who we believe in, but rather how we live our lives from day-to-day. If we treat each other with respect and dignity, regardless of sex, race, creed, colour, religion or sexual orientation, even though we might not necessarily agree with another person's opinion, then we won't be going far wrong. In other words, treat others as we'd like to be treated - common sense really.
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