I was always taught religion was a dirty word, so much so, I was never Christened and avoided indoctrination from an early age.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong in holding beliefs - it can be incredibly positive and lead to a great deal of good. But everyone should find their own way, discover what makes them happy and, above all, never seek to foist their beliefs on anyone else.
I hate to state the obvious, but the evil that is religion has caused more war, more hatred and more atrocities around the world than anything else and continues to do so.
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which obviously isn’t anything new and has existed for years, is the perfect example but I could mention many more. There’s no right or wrong, just people on both sides of the argument using religion as a reason, or more accurately an excuse, to commit the most irreligious acts.
The nature of the problem stems from the fact the powers-that-be in every religion, whilst claiming to preach tolerance, actually do the opposite. They are so intent upon promoting their own way of thinking to their followers they cannot help but attest their way is the only right way and, by definition, those who do not follow them are wrong and, more often than not, less deserving.
Considering the actions of my grandfather, an active member of Plymouth Brethren, it’s easy to see why my parents decided religion should not play a part in our family life. Not that they didn’t hold their own beliefs – they just didn’t push them onto anyone else.
“Everyone should find their own way, discover what makes them happy and, above all, never seek to foist their beliefs on anyone else...”
So how do religious zealots maintain the grip they hold over their minions?
The power, not to mention the indescribable wealth, wielded by the world’s leading religions and their key players means their desire to maintain their position in the world will not be changing any time soon. And, whilst I would obviously advocate everything possible should be done to seek peace, sadly I have absolutely no faith it can be achieved.
I realise it may not be popular but I would argue this need for an individual to identify and worship a ‘superhuman’ power, identified as gods or a God, demonstrates an element of inadequacy.
Whilst I don’t prescribe to any religion and seriously doubt I ever will, from my understanding of their beliefs and practices, Buddhists, who do not believe in a God or a deity, are closest to getting religion right.