Can We Ever Forgive Religion

There will come the day evangelical Christians will see the error of their ways. It will be after some horrifyingly epoch defining crisis that all humanity will pay with yet more needless suffering. The true believers will rise shakily to their feet to look around at the devastated landscape they dreamed would be so much better and wonder at how it all could have gone so wrong.

The world will not have been “raptured” but will go on as it always has without their heavenly kingdom or blessed savior dedicated to their self righteous dream of privilege. It will be the same imperfect world but mutilated by the actions of those who quested for power at any cost. It will also contain those who tried to warn them of their folly.

On that day those who deliriously exclaim “christ is lord” and “god is great” will turn to the rest of us and ask for our forgiveness. With tears streaming down their brazen cheeks they will profess how sorry they are it got so out of hand. With bowed heads they will confess to the understandable fear that lead them to unleash the horror that they now are ashamed to have participated. They will tell us all that it was their human weakness that allowed them to be swayed and tempted by the words of their false prophets.

They will ask us to accept their flawed humanity and humbly beg for us to accept their sincere apologies for ignoring our pleas they so vehemently tried to grind under their heel.

On that day, will they then realize all those warnings that we gave them using scientific reason were not arrogant persecutions of their faith? Will they understand then those simple but cutting jokes were to illustrate where this all was heading without resorting to violence? Will they will finally feel shame for using biblical scripture as a garrotte to strangle the constitutional liberties of Jefferson and impose their dominionist Christian values?

This blog post from Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld frames what all of us endure and what they ask us to forgive after every time this happens,

Can we forgive you for defining us as “inherently disordered,” as “contrary to God’s will,” as “sinners,” as “perverts,” as “heretics,” as “Godless,” as “deceived” and “depraved,” as a “corrupting force on civilization and on the family,” as “contrary to the laws of nature,” and that our relationships “will tear down the very fabric of society”? Can we forgive you for your insulting and repugnant mantra “We love the sinner but hate the sin”? Can we forgive you in your efforts to deny me and members of my community the rights of self-definition and self-determination, and to deny us our integrity and our humanity by attempting to prevent us from maintaining our subjectivity, our agency, and our voice?

Maybe the question is SHOULD we ever forgive religion.

It is fundamental to religious belief systems to easily ask forgiveness for they have permission from their god to do as they will in his name. Even if that means acts of evil for the cause of good they can always seek forgiveness later.

Rather they will proclaim in the face of their lord they are sorry. For us non-believers, they won’t care if we forgive them or not.  The rest of us mean very little unless it means some kind of ostracization that can always be turned around as further proof of their persecution. For as rational people we continue to allow them to jump this line from lamb of god to fellow human.

Throughout time from sect to sect from puritans to evangelicals these groups of fanatics wreak terror and misery on the rest of humanity to impose their version of divine order over the rest of us. But this is not only about persecuting those poor Christian evangelicals but also the fundamentalist Islamist’s who reinterpret the Koran for their own agendas as well for in the final analysis they are all despots who rise on cults of personality. These are only the latest groups to use the rest of us as the rungs on their ladders of ambition and political advancement.

This is about the cycle of irrational behavior that continues despite the advancements in our understanding of human consciousness. If we do not begin addressing the root cause of why this happens then this cycle will continue as it always has. The root cause is this imposition of divine will by religion on others. That is what can no longer be forgiven or excused.

Religion demands you accept god and works to impose it upon for your own good as religion views it. Religion rejects your right to freedom of thought and gaslights that despotism with the mask of free will. To religion you have the free will only to reject god not the idea of god and in an ultimate display of arrogance it claims persecution when you reject it.

Using human nature as the excuse for religion does not recognize the problem nor does it approach addressing the causes. Claiming life has no purpose without god is a cop out for those looking for an excuse to let suffering continue to rule and lack real empathy. Shrugging our shoulders about our inability to handle the human condition is a child’s response, we are greedy, we are weak, but how we harness our weaknesses into strengths is what makes us human.

Religion is the equivalent to kicking that tin can down a road for eternity never picking it up to read the label. We may be down the road a bit but we continue to let this dented can distract us from progressing into understanding our destination. It’s an empty vessel we project those things we can’t easily understand or more importantly don’t easily accept.

So without the tin can I’ve just left you without a solution? No, I’ve lead you to a solution no one ever wants to accept and that is to toss the kicking can aside. The solution is we must grow up and stop accepting today’s truth as absolute truth. We have to accept that each step down the road finds it’s own equivalent truths and past truth is only the trail we leave blowing away in the wind. Each step is a generation of new people and problems that grow beyond what was the previous generation Religion links back to a past which never existed in order to dominate a future which is never possible. We must cast aside the belief in gods and change into empathetic humans responsible for what we do even if we don’t understand it or like accepting it.

Thinking religion provides morality conveniently side steps the real nature of humanity known as Reciprocity. Our morality evolves from this reciprocity. It stays our hand from the sword and forces the pen into it. It provides the reason for us to not become a culture of Jeffery Dahmers. It is this unspoken compact of civilization which prevents us from slaughtering each other for mutual destruction forces us to cooperate instead of dominate.

No matter if it uses ancient beliefs or cults of personality we should know better by now both of those roads lead to destruction and misery. Religion inspires the idea that there is a magical unstoppable force that will somehow prevent that mutual destruction upon the believers. This excuse for a dominate group to bestow upon itself unearned privileges is humanity’s single most oppressive form of behavior that must be dismantled for humanity to progress.

Here’s a final thought, it’s a reply the noted writer James Baldwin gave to a white news reporter who asked, “What do Negros want from white people?” Baldwin responded, “You ask the wrong question, which should not be what we want from you, but rather, the question should be, ‘Can we forgive you?'”

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