I hate religion. Actually, it’s not quite that simple, but it’s a good synopsis. What I really hate is how people treat religion and the double standards that it causes.
Some background. I come from a Jewish family, a fairly religious one, in fact. I went to Hebrew school until I was 16. I had my Bat Mitzvah when I was 13. I went to Shabbat services every Saturday. And I was 14 when I started to question everything I’d been forced to believe about Judaism and religion in general.
Once upon a long time ago, I had a teacher who let me ask questions. I don’t remember who, or what subject, or even exactly how old I was, but I remember being given permission to ask questions about things that other teachers and family members simply accepted as fact. And for those few months, religion became interesting. But like all good things, it didn’t last, and I was forced back into the “accept it because that’s the way it is” mentality.
Except that my eyes had been opened, and no one ever told me that questions were bad. Sometimes I was even told that questions were good. So I kept asking, and I kept getting yelled at for asking them. Because in my corner of the universe, the “fact” was that Judaism was perfect and therefore all other religions were wrong.
Imagine your parents yelling at the television on a Sunday morning because a few of the stations were airing sermons. They weren’t upset at the inequality, they were upset at someone choosing to express their beliefs by preaching. Except that’s what happens in other religions too. In fact, that’s what my religious parents like to do. Preach, though they use different terminology. Force their beliefs at people, regardless of what those people believe themselves.
Now imagine the community that surrounds you deciding that Israel can do no wrong because it’s the Jewish homeland. The world doesn’t quite work like that. Because if you’re using religious homeland to justify actions, you need to be universal. And that just doesn’t happen.
So, to recap. Questions are bad. Double standards are common. Your personal religion is right and everyone else is wrong. Religious homeland equals perfection. Don’t force beliefs on other people, except of course, when they’re yours.
Now, before you think that I’m just being negative because I can, here are some of my rules/suggestions.
1) As long as you don’t shove it down my throat, feel free to believe in whatever religion you choose.
2) No one and no religion is perfect.
3) Questions are good, because questions let us understand things outside of our comfort zone.
4) If you’re going to complain about the actions of a member of a religion, don’t perform those actions yourself.
5) Accept that other people have different beliefs than you.
I don’t claim to know everything about religion, in fact I don’t even claim to know much at all. But from all the bits of religion I’ve picked up over the years, I think Wicca says it perfectly.
“An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will”