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The Problems of Religion

Religion encompasses a range of experiences that profoundly impact individuals and communities. On one hand, it fosters a sense of belonging and spiritual fulfillment, connecting individuals with a higher power and promoting moral values. However, religious belief presents challenges, particularly with rigid dogmatic beliefs that conflict with modern knowledge. The Bible, for instance, requires updating as some parts are unclear or contradictory. Failure to adapt beliefs to contemporary standards and scientific advancements creates discrepancies within religions. Extreme religious practices, including harmful cults promoting suicide, further undermine the principle of non-harm. Religion's power lies in its ability to use hypnotic suggestion, blending beautiful teachings with potential propaganda and profit motives.

TV evangelists leverage suggestion to encourage monetary donations, although God, as creator of the universe, does not require money. While some religious charities effectively aid the needy, others view donations as income. Preachers attempt to alter reality through words, though physical miracles do not happen.

Anyone who becomes politically active can soon discover that Bible teachings influence the opinions of many Americans on issues involving nuclear war, overpopulation, conservation, women’s rights, gay rights, racial equality, corporal punishment of children, church-state separation, sex education, science, abortion, contraception, censorship, capital punishment, and other subjects.

The Bible portrays a punitive deity, and despite various translations, it is largely revered in society with little opposition.

The closest to a popular Bible rewrite is "The Message" written by Eugene H. Peterson. It translates the Bible into our contemporary language. But the writer, does not dare to change the original meaning of the Bible.

 It is time we had a new, kind, wise, and scientifically-minded God to foster wisdom, peace, and ecological consciousness through a religion allowing continuous revelation. However, entrenched dogma prevents even minor changes in meaning, despite the Bible being translated approximately 900 ways.

Old religious organizations face numerous challenges, including religious extremism leading to violence, cults manipulating followers, discrimination against minorities, denial of medical treatment, suppression of science, divisiveness, child and forced marriages, institutional corruption, sexual repression, and censorship of free speech.

A suggestion is made to consider joining the Unitarian Universalist Church, known for its inclusivity regardless of individual beliefs, and a belief in science.

Specifically, here is a list of some of the evil committed by old religious organizations:

Religious Extremism: Some very religious individuals or groups may interpret their religious texts in an extreme and literal way, leading to acts of violence and terrorism in the name of their faith. This kind of extremism can result in harm to others and damage the reputation of the religion.

Cults and Suicides: Certain religious groups or cults with charismatic leaders can manipulate their followers into harmful actions, including mass suicides, child exploitation, or other abusive practices. In Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, over 900 people drank cyanide-laced Kool-Aid.  In 1997, the Heaven's Gate cult committed mass suicide and 39 people died.  In 2000, 300 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God were found dead in a Kanungu, Uganda church.

Discrimination: In some cases, extreme religious beliefs can lead to discrimination against individuals who do not share the same faith or beliefs. This can manifest as discrimination against people of other religions, the LGBTQ+ community, or women.

Denial of Medical Treatment: There have been instances where religious individuals or groups have refused medical treatment for themselves or their children based on religious beliefs, leading to preventable illnesses or deaths.

Suppression of Science: In certain religious communities, the rejection of scientific principles, such as evolution or climate change, can hinder progress and scientific education.

Divisiveness: Very religious individuals who hold extreme beliefs may isolate themselves from mainstream society or create divisions within their own communities, leading to social fragmentation and a lack of cooperation.

Child Marriage and Forced Marriages: Some religious groups practice child marriage or forced marriages, which can have severe consequences for the individuals involved, particularly children and young girls.

Institutional Corruption: In some cases, religious leaders and institutions have been involved in financial or sexual misconduct, damaging the trust of their followers and the reputation of the religion.

Sexual Repression: Extreme religious beliefs about sexuality can lead to sexual repression, guilt, and psychological distress. This can affect an individual's mental and emotional well-being.

Censorship and Suppression of Free Speech: In certain religious societies, there may be a culture of censorship and suppression of free speech, stifling critical thinking and open dialogue.

No Concern For the Environmental Movement: The Bible points our that humans have dominion over the Earth and thus environmental issues are placed secondary to human needs and interests. If the environment gets worse we all suffer.

The best explanation for something is often the simplest and most straightforward.  The Bible, from my viewpoint, over complicates everything causing people to disagree, and even go to war over all the extra beliefs on might have to have to be a good Christian  So we need a more modern religion, a more modern God, which makes sense, and tells it like it is. The people who invented the Christian beliefs, thought they were so holy and wonderful, they could receive direct messages from God and interpret them perfectly.  But they were not.  And so different authors of the Bible do not agree on what God said.  There are conflicts in the Bible. There are beliefs, like the Trinity, where you have one God, but three different Gods at the same time.  Sounds like a compromise made at a meeting.  Oh the mystery of it all.

Talking back to Christianity can be fruitful to correct its mistakes and most of its beliefs.  Many wars are religious wars.  It is important to get real with what is real, get un-hypnotized, and see things in a clear light.

Here we offer some ideas to simplify beliefs and narrow the scope of popular belief systems.  Why not look for what seems to mesh with science, common sense.  Also many things such as life after death is a mystery.  It might feel good to have hope, but it also makes you feel good to try to have heaven on earth. Why suffer for something that cannot be proven? One could argue that there are people who have had near death experiences, and I do not fear dying as much after reading some of this literature.  But I just do not go around trying to be a perfect Christian, so I can enter the pearly gates.

God is smart.  Just because you belief Christianity, does not make you a super person who God loves. God made us, and thus know how we work.  If we be all we can be, God I would think would love so much.   So it is OK to just believe in the things that are actually true and helpful.  You can still feel holy believing that everything is holy without the clergy making it so.  You can still be in the state of grace without confessing your sins or to be saved. By believing in a perfect personal God, it is even better.  If you believe in a God who really loves you just the way you are, that really feels good.  You could be gay, or a person that is try to break their addiction, but God still loves you.  And this God is your personal God, not something up in heaven.  The person God inside you, wants the best for you, who will make you feel blessed and together, who He is someone you can talk to.

Not everyone is such a person that change their belief system for another belief system.  A lot of people these days do not believe in anything.

Not believing in anything means that you are subject to your unconscious, primitive mind which tries to fill the vacuum. If you let your primitive mind, your animal instinctual mind to run your life, you can be a bad excuse of an animal.  We are too smart to become animalistic. If we fall into this trap, there is a possibility of chasing the wrong things.  It is possible to become an animal lusting, fighting and running out of fear. Untamed animals are mean, hard to tame and in general not what most people want. 

 So why not be an angel, a modern angel believing in science, logic and knowledge from around the world.  Keep believing love, fulfillment, purpose, clarity,  and probably most important believing in personal continuous revelation.  Save all those wonderful feelings of purpose, grace and holiness. So it is really possible to have your cake and eat it too.

There is so little criticism of the Bible, especially in the United States. The Bible looks so important and seems to have all this authority all dolled up with gold edges and fancy leather covers.  It is meant to impress with the type setting.  Most all the churches fall under its spell. If you visualize the whole Bible as  hand written in a bunch of spiral wire notebooks, would you believe it?

Just for fun and enlightenment, lets look at some concepts in the Bible and challenge some of their concepts.

Concept Christianity's Beliefs My Beliefs
Truth Christians believe that truth is rooted in the nature and character of God. They believe that ultimate truth is found in the teachings of Jesus Christ, who proclaimed himself to be "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).  They believe that truth is not merely a set of abstract principles but is embodied in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Christians also believe in the importance of living truthfully, with integrity and honesty, in accordance with biblical principles. Demand some evidence for any belief. It could be rather mechanical, as saying the brain needs higher structure.  It could be inspiration itself.  There are  miracles. How wonderful is the way the universe works.  Watch a baby, and look in its eyes.  See the awe. See nature with fresh eyes. Look at a sun rise or set.  Follow a beautiful butterfly.

You could be scientific and see our body as trillions of cells all working together.  What a huge amount of cooperation.  We make computers seem like toys.  If you insist and want to compare us to computers, realize that all computer are built by people and controlled by people.  Inside the computer, the operating system is like a computer within a computer.  It knows all your hardware, and lets programs to be free of having drivers for each type of hardware.  So computers have a hierarchy, and we are on top. 

So what is on top of us?  What keeps our brain from going crazy?  It has trillions of parts, and anyone of these parts could break.  Just in the brain there are trillions of synapses connecting neurons together.

So there must be some mechanism managing the brain, to make it work right on the highest level.  And that is not our human self.  There is something higher up.  We need a guide, a teacher to manage us and the overall brain (Baha'i Teachings). Even nonbelievers have e intuition and common sense, and manage to know what is good, morally and spiritually,  This teacher also gives us a great and a deep reason to live.
God Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who came to Earth to save humanity from sin and offer eternal life through his sacrificial death and resurrection. They believe that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human, the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, and the central figure of their faith. Additionally, Christians believe in the Trinity, consisting of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as three persons in one Godhead. There are two aspects of God, namely Nature and our personal God.  Nature seems to be wound up and set loose. Nature has its laws as discovered by science. I would guess God would love us to check into what He created.  There are so many physical constants out there, that if they were just slightly different the universe would be so altered that we could not be here.  God is a master mathematician and physicist.

Also we have God of our heart, and that is what I call our personal God.  This personal God shows up in different ways for different people.  He could be seen as just common sense, or a divine source and teacher for another person.  At its best, the personal God, helps us to know what is right and wrong, what is holy and gives us insight into our purpose in life.  Another point of view is that our personal God works at the highest levels of our brain, helping the brain to work together, to be strong, and powerful.
Jesus Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to Earth as the Messiah to offer salvation and redemption to humanity through his teachings, sacrificial death, and resurrection. They believe in his divinity, his role as the Savior, and his eventual return. Additionally, Christians believe in the Trinity, which includes God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit as three distinct persons in one Godhead. The Christian Jesus could be simply the concept of a perfect man with lots of embellishments.
Bible Christians uphold the Bible as the inspired word of God and consider it to be the ultimate authority for understanding truth and living according to God's will. I my opinion, the Bible is now largely obsolete. If you Google "Atheist Bible" you can find out why.  For instance, according to the Bible, God is one mean critter. He kills innocent people without batting an eye. This happened during Noah's great flood. Except for Noah's family, all the animals aboard, everyone else drowns.  God killed huge numbers of innocent people including babies and children.  How could so many people all be wicked. Not only that, if we all descended from Noah family, the effects of the incest would result in huge amounts of birth defects.
There are so much wrong with the Bible, an actual holy God would be ashamed to have people think He inspired for such a book.  But I admit there are wonderful passages here and there. I like "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalms 23:4 NIV.  Our personal God does exactly that.
The sayings of
Jesus said:
"You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also," (Matthew 5:38-39, NIV).

The statement "I have not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" is found in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically in Matthew 5:17

If Jesus was perfect, he would not utter any confusing contradictions. Here he says to uphold the old testament laws, and then he makes is own law which is in direct conflict with the old law.  The eye for an eye is the complete opposite of turning your cheek.  Both methods do not make any sense.  Revenge or being overly passive is stupid. Start a war, or set around and get killed.  Anybody, anybody... can we have some common sense.

What makes it rain? Ancient cosmology of the ancient Near East, there was a common belief in a solid dome or firmament called the "raqia" in Hebrew, which was believed to hold up the sky. This dome was often envisioned as a solid structure akin to a metallic or crystalline barrier.

In the Bible, particularly in the creation narrative found in the book of Genesis, there's a description of God creating the firmament on the second day of creation:

"And God said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven." (Genesis 1:6-8, KJV)

This firmament was perceived as a solid structure separating the waters above from the waters below. According to this worldview, the sky was essentially held up by this solid dome.

According to the Bible, there were "cisterns" (windows or sluices) in the firmament emptying when it rains. The idea was that these windows would open to allow the waters above the firmament to pour down as rain upon the earth.

While these ideas are within the cultural and historical context of the time they were they were written and could be excused, what about all the other concepts in the Bible?  So there is a conflict in believing in the Bible word for word, or just some of it.
This is so much more believable:

Rain is primarily caused by the process of condensation and precipitation within Earth's atmosphere. Here's a simplified explanation of the process:

1. Evaporation: Water from the Earth's surface, such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, is heated by the sun and evaporates into the atmosphere in the form of water vapor.

2. Condensation: As the warm, moist air rises into the atmosphere, it cools down at higher altitudes. This cooling causes the water vapor to condense into tiny water droplets or ice crystals, forming clouds.

3. Coalescence: Within clouds, water droplets collide and combine with each other through a process called coalescence. As these droplets grow larger, they eventually become too heavy to remain suspended in the air.

4. Precipitation: When the water droplets or ice crystals become large enough, gravity pulls them down to the Earth's surface as precipitation. This precipitation can take various forms depending on temperature and atmospheric conditions, including rain, snow, sleet, or hail.

Factors such as air temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind patterns all influence the formation and distribution of rainfall. Additionally, geographical features such as mountains and bodies of water can affect local weather patterns and contribute to variations in precipitation.
Why was Jesus sent to the earth as a baby? Christians believe that Jesus was sent to Earth as a baby to fulfill various aspects of God's plan for humanity's redemption, as prophesied in the Old Testament. Here are some reasons commonly cited:

1. Fulfillment of Prophecy: The Old Testament contains numerous prophecies foretelling the coming of a Messiah, a Savior who would deliver humanity from sin and bring about reconciliation with God. One of these prophecies, found in Isaiah 7:14, speaks of a virgin giving birth to a son named Immanuel, which means "God with us." Christians interpret this prophecy as being fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.

2. Identification with Humanity: By being born as a human baby, Jesus experienced the full range of human life, including infancy, childhood, and adulthood. This identification with humanity allows Jesus to empathize with human experiences and serve as a compassionate and understanding Savior.

3. Incarnation: The birth of Jesus is seen as the incarnation of God, where the divine Son of God took on human flesh and entered into the world as a vulnerable infant. This act demonstrates God's love for humanity and his desire to intimately connect with human beings.

4. Humility and Servanthood: Jesus' birth in humble circumstances, as a baby born to a virgin in a manger, exemplifies humility and servanthood. It sets an example for believers to follow, emphasizing the value of humility, simplicity, and service to others.

5. Teaching through Example: Jesus' life from infancy to adulthood serves as a model for believers, demonstrating how to live a life of obedience to God, love for others, and devotion to God's kingdom.

Overall, Christians believe that Jesus' birth as a baby was a crucial part of God's plan to bring salvation and reconciliation to humanity, demonstrating God's love, humility, and desire to connect with his creation in a profound and personal way.
Why would a God who made the universe, take some of himself and turn it into a baby?  This seems like a rather stupid fairy story.

1. Fulfillment of Prophecy: While Christians interpret certain passages in the Old Testament as prophecies of Jesus' birth, others may argue that these prophecies are either not specific to Jesus or are taken out of context. Additionally, some scholars suggest that the Gospel writers may have intentionally crafted their narratives to align with Old Testament prophecies to bolster Jesus' messianic claims.

2. Identification with Humanity: Critics argue that the idea of God needing to become human to understand humanity's experiences is unnecessary or inconsistent with an omnipotent and omniscient deity. They may also question the logic of a perfect and unchanging being needing to "learn" or "experience" humanity in this way.

3. Incarnation: Skeptics challenge the concept of divine incarnation altogether, questioning the necessity or plausibility of God taking on human form. They may argue that the idea of God becoming human is a theological construct with no empirical basis.

4. Humility and Servanthood: Critics argue that the portrayal of Jesus' birth as a humble and servile event may be a narrative device used by early Christian writers to convey certain theological themes rather than a historical reality. They might also point out inconsistencies or discrepancies in the birth narratives found in the Gospels.

5. Teaching through Example: Skeptics question the reliability of the Gospel accounts as historical sources and argue that the portrayal of Jesus' life, including his infancy, is heavily influenced by theological agendas rather than objective historical truth.

In refuting these points, skeptics draw upon critical analysis of biblical texts, historical context, philosophical arguments, and theological considerations to present alternative interpretations or challenge the validity of the reasons given for Jesus' birth as a baby. 

Babies are just learning about things.  How could they be considered gods?  At what point does the baby become god like?  I suppose this would be a gradual growth process. Parents of adolescent children do not have to be taught this for sure. 
Ecology The Bible teaches in Genesis 1:28 that God gave humanity dominion over the Earth, This should be interpreted as a call to responsible stewardship rather than unchecked exploitation. Christians should exercise this dominion with wisdom, humility, and respect for all creation. Our earth is in trouble.  It is overheating due to the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted by humanity.  It is the only place where we can live in the solar system without machines making what we need.  The earth has plenty of air, water, plants and animals.  We need to really respect it.

In summary, I love the Unitarian-Universalist Church which allows people to think their own best thoughts.  This church respects a wide range of beliefs, but centers its belief on love, doing no harm, and taking action to make the best things happen in the world.  Giving people the power to think and an education, can produce wonderful results.  I think it is more powerful to go to the heart of why there is so much evil in the world than fix all the little problems.  If we can get leaders to think like this how great it would be.  Instead of putting out a bunch of little fires, we find the arsonist.

So if people are not educated, and are domesticated like animals they are easily led around.  They esteem leaders more than they desire and follow blindly.   There is so much false authority in the world, so much misinformation, so much hype fueled by mass media gives us what we have now.  By going to the core of the problem, making religion actually make sense, helping people to wake up, will go a long way in cleaning up the mess we have today.

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