“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 someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”
- Matthew 5:38-42 quoting Jesus Christ
“While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty and found a well. He lowered himself into the well, drank, and came out. Then [he saw] a dog protruding its tongue out with thirst. The man said: ‘This dog has become exhausted from thirst in the same way as I.’ He lowered himself into the well again and filled his shoe with water. He gave the dog some water to drink. He thanked God, and [his sins were] forgiven.’ The Prophet was then asked: ‘Is there a reward for us in our animals?’ He said: ‘There is a reward in every living thing.’ “
- Abu Hurairah, quoting Muḥammad
God and bravery in kindness
God has many names, and many different ideas exists of God. Before asking “do you believe in God?,” one should ask “how do you think of God?”
The word is vague, and holds different value and meaning to all. The beauty of humanity is it’s endless perspectives.
Evolution and manipulation of religion
In Zoroastrianism, one of the worlds oldest monotheistic religions, the afterlife is considered not a place, but a state of spiritual existence. Our state in death will be a reflection of what we give in life, in this way choosing our own heaven or hell. They believe that if we live with kindness and generosity, there is nothing to fear.
God, called Ahuramazda, is referred to as the fountain of all life. Behind or beside Ahuramazda is Zarvan Akarana, boundless time and boundless space, from which Ahuramazda manifested.
To oppose Angra Mainyu, the destructive spirit, Ahuramazda sent Spenta mainyu, The Holy spirit, to prevent chaos and destruction. Spenta mainyu is part of everything, and is in ways considered our destiny, or fullest potential.
It is worth noting that the three wise men who came to Jesus, are widely considered to have been Zoroastrian priests, and Islam, Judaism and Christianity, are all highly influenced by this religion. The historical placement of Zarathustra is widely discussed, but is generally agreed to be between 1000-1500 BCE.
In Vaetha nask, a Zoroastrian text, a question is asked about how a person can be recognized as a Zoroastrian. The answer given is through that person’s good mind, intellect without deceitfulness, good speech and good actions.
In Catholicism however, (and many other religions,) it is believed that God grants salvation through the medium of the church, and that there is no salvation outside of it. Before Jesus, everyone had to suffer for their sins in purgatory. This changed when he traded his own life for humans, as a part of a deal stricken with the devil.
The goal was to save humanity from repenting in Hell. Originally, all humans deserved death and punishment on account for their sins, and owed it to Satan through a sort of binding contract.
Jesus/God died on the cross, but since Jesus had lived a sin free life, Satan couldn’t take him, and the deal was broken. All humans were free from eternal death and separation from God. After death, a Catholic may enter purgatory or heaven, depending on their atonement in life. But if one is in “a state of mortal sin” at the moment of death, they will still go to Hell for all eternity.
The Catholic church claims to be founded by Jesus Christ, and that it’s bishops are descendants of his apostles. The pope acts in persona Christi, “in the person of Christ,” and is considered holy.
Catholics are among other things, required to support the church financially and otherwise, and to show complete obedience to God, and thereby to the church. It was previously taught that all who are not Catholics, are undoubtedly condoned to Hell for all infinity.
This changed in 1965, under the Second Vatican Council. They made several changes to the church after the protestant reformation and the Enlightenment, which decreased their power drastically. Among these changes were dignitatis humanae, a declaration of religious freedom.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity. … Don’t stop to marvel.”
“I know one thing; that I know nothing.”
The founding principles of the Abrahamic religions, are spiritual, and their message is to live with love and kindness.
To use these religions for anything other than this shows obvious misunderstanding or corruption. We must learn to notice and deny those who use religion to preach destruction and hate. Sexuality, gender, physical traits etc., are irrelevant, and deciding human value with such materialistic approaches, is not in accordion to the core values of these religions.
The holy texts and rules of different religions were not written by God, but by people. Some of those people were close to God, and wrote what they felt, with honesty. Others were not, and used religions as a transport to power.
This is quite easy to spot.
“See, the day of the Lord is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger. . . . I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty. . . . Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.”
In the Old Testament, God is often portrayed as an evil deity, one who slaughters infants, threatens with rape, cannibalism and violence to those who doesn’t follow his strange and unjust commands.
The Old Testament consists of some stories, mostly meant to give a moral message, and also a lot of rules and laws, some of which seems outdated, such as this, concerning preparation of a sacrifice to God.
“No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire. As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.”
Or this, allowing parents to stone their son to death alongside the rest of the community, if they think he is acting rebellious or drunken.
“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
A religion that both condemns and encourages murder, violence and fear, should be acknowledged for what it is. A lot of people have left impressions of it, and a student must read with this knowledge in mind.
It has been used to justify the horrible actions of twisted people. Threatening with the wrath of God to pious men and women, has been highly effective throughout history.
The power of an individual is immense, mysterious and seemingly limitless when cooperating with others. None should waste this power of cooperation with those who does not value it; some people think of humans as expendable objects, and will gladly let half of the world die in exchange for a sum of money. We should not blindly follow.
All that preaches darkness and violence is unholy, and untrue.