Living a fulfilled life without God
I’m sad about the attack on the US Consulate that happened last night. It’s sad to see the loss of lives over protests that apparently began as a result of a film that had been released that mocked the prophet Mohammed. I don’t know why people think that criticism of their religion is a valid reason to take someone’s life… even more the lives of people who had nothing to do with it. I don’t get it.
Not only am I sad about the attack, I’m also sad about the dialogue that I imagine will take place now. The secular community will be waving the “I told you so” flag around and touting the damaging aspects of religious faith. The religious community will be emphasizing that this is not the way their particular faith is and that these are just extremists. They will also wave their “I told you so” flag around by saying that people need to be more respectful and quit criticizing religion.
While I tend to agree with the secular community, I do think it’s important to recognize the enemy and to have realistic expectations about the near future of humanity. I think the secular community needs to be cautious expecting that religious faith will just be eradicated soon. There are way too many very decent and good people who belong to religious faith with whom we share this planet. I wish there were better ways for us to stand together. I think we have a few common enemies… especially if we’re talking about standing with the more liberal forms of faith.
I know this is a heated topic and one to which I realize not everyone will agree with me. However, I’m just not able to write off my dear friends and family who are religious. Regardless of what those of us in the secular community think about faith, their faith really does bring them comfort and often makes them better people. I think they could do this without religious faith, but what I’m saying is that I don’t personally know anyone whose faith leads them to do destructive things like bomb buildings, etc. I think good people will be good people and bad people will be bad people. I realize that religion gives a justification to people who want to do bad things, but the reality is that those people would likely do those bad things anyway. People that want to kill others and harm others will find their justification for doing so.
So I guess my message is that I’m frustrated with these extremists who used their faith as an excuse to kill people. There are not strong enough words to convey how much I hate this. However, in an effort to not create more tension and animosity, my message to those people I know that are religious would be that I know they are not my enemy. We don’t agree on many things, but I consider most of them very decent and sincere people with whom I’m happy to share this planet. We need more people interested in sharing the planet. I’m very troubled lately over the increasing divisiveness in more than just the religious arena. I don’t completely know the answers since I think some of the debate is necessary, but I think we can do better in living peacefully with others (myself included). We owe it not only to the victims who died in this most recent attack, but to the millions of people who have died because of our inability to learn to live peacefully with others. How do we have the necessary conversations without the divisiveness? How do we learn to partner with people who may think differently than us on many things, but similar to us on the important things? How do we learn to better share our planet?