It saddens me that religions all use words written by MEN that make choices FOR US about who to love, who to accept, and who/what is good for us. It would behoove us all to remember that the translations of the scrolls and other biblical documents were done by MEN and they decided unilaterally what (of those writings) was okay to be used and what to be kept hidden. All this was determined by what they wanted; their personal goals and ambitions. There are times when someone discovers that the words some translator of old thought meant a certain thing turned out in later translations to mean something else.
What we’re forgetting is that “religion”, all of them, are manmade. If a man (always a man) didn’t like what he was hearing, he formed his own religion so that he could set his own rules and dominate anyone he wanted any way he wanted, and people, especially women, followed without questioning his motives. They followed Jim Jones off the cliff of life because they stopped questioning what I’ll bet their instincts were telling them. People who weren’t born Jewish began to separate into various religious groups like Catholics, Baptist, Methodist, and much later Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons.
When my sister became a Jehovah’s Witness I was a teenager. She changed from a funny, fun-loving person to one more serious, challenging, aggressive. When I’ve tried to talk to her about religious beliefs she will get mean and raise her voice, and I back off because she changes her personality. I can remember commenting about saying a prayer asking God for something and she became icy, snapping at me about how God didn’t have time for us piddly individuals because He had the world to attend to. It was so noticeable that her husband interrupted and, in his soft, pleasing manner, explained what she was trying to say. Whatever she was trying to say I never heard because she mentally scarred me with her tone. When she first became a Witness she would not even associate with our family because (I understood at that time) we were not Witnesses. Manmade rules. We’re good now, but I don’t discuss religion with her—ever.
Mormons don’t allow people outside their religion to walk into their church. When the last huge tabernacle was built here in San Diego the whole country was invited to visit for a period of time. When that period was over, the church was cleaned from top to bottom and all the carpeting was replaced so that no trace of anyone outside that group was evident. And, for a long time Blacks were not welcome into their church and could not enter into heaven when they died. Manmade rules.
Even the pronouns “man” and “woman” were not as distinguished in the original writings (learned that from a Homily and a science channel). And I’m particularly fascinated with how someone who has what’s called “second sight” can be demonized by religions because the leadership can’t control the visions or the people having them. How is it wrong or evil when a person today has a vision of something that will happen in the future when it’s clear that prophesies learned from biblical readings are just people who had visions, or second sight?
If all of us are made up of energy and that energy never dies, and we are prone to genetic memories handed down through generations, how can some of us not be visionaries? When someone can see how doing X will be beneficial and that person creates X and becomes a billionaire, we don’t hesitate to call him or her a visionary. How is that bad? How does that differ from someone seeing a house ablaze in a dream and warn the homeowner to fix the electric outlet? They are all visions made from the energy that surrounds us and we get them in different ways.
When we look at the Catholic Church where laws were written to keep women from owning property (following generations of priests marrying and having children), papal decrees started prohibiting priests to marry because the CHURCH could lose the property; another example of manmade laws twisted into religious “beliefs.” After all, that law wasn’t always in place; greed and jealousy over possessions changed that.
In many religions writings are used in church doctrine that were not from the original translations because they created their own holy book (usually to replace or augment the Bible). In those cases, some man (always a man) decided he didn’t like what was written as taught by the Bible, so he proclaimed himself as being some type of prophet and wrote his own rules and little by little, others began to follow him until he reached the multitudes. There was a time when some religions taught that being Black (tied to Cain and Able) was an abomination and all Black folk could only be slaves.
There was a time when Catholics were forbidden to read a Bible because they were considered too stupid to be able to interpret what was written, so only priests could tell them what they should know. You might imagine the conflict that gave me as a kid when my mother was a Baptist who read the Bible, and good ol’ Fr. Buddy at St. Boniface Catholic School was telling us pimply-faced, pre-hormonal kids that that was a sin. I spent sleepless nights tussling in my undeveloped mind about how my mother was sinning because I can’t put together her NOT being Catholic with what Catholics are supposed to believe. I didn’t think it was right and that led to me questioning. My minor league kiddy questions to clear up my mental conflicts were answered by St. Marie Antoinette and Fr. Buddy (he led the catechism classes) with a saying I’ll never forget, “That is one of the great mysteries of God.”
Some religions have rules about with whom you can associate, or it’s against their laws to visit other churches (yet they can browbeat others about their church), or what you can (or can’t) wear, and of course, who you can or cannot marry. And, if you marry someone outside your religion, in some countries you can be killed. This is really happening at the time of this wring in India (Pakistan) where woman are particularly devalued.
I wonder, if I can visit your church without fearing I would lose my beliefs, what are you losing to visit my church if you are so solid in your beliefs? How can someone who knows NOTHING from experience of other teachings be so solidified in their beliefs? Do they fear their beliefs can be shaken?
It all makes me so sad, particularly when it’s about disowning someone for being born a certain way. Remember that in the past, people with obvious disabilities were deemed witches and therefore it was okay to burn them. Or, they could be hidden in the attic so no one would know they existed. Or if they were severely disabled they could be killed because of their imperfections. How about that a woman could not own property. Or that if a woman’s husband died, she had to marry his brother. God said that?
I don’t think God makes such distinctions. One cannot possibly say that God is good, and then demean His creations. If God creates energy and some of us are more susceptible to levels of energy than others, how is that not God-given?
I’ve been a Catholic almost all my life, but there are some things that I instinctively knew even as a kid that it was not what God intended. For example, I was very conflicted as a child about having a Bible in my house that my mother read. According to good ol’ Fr. Buddy at St. Boniface Catholic Church and School in Milwaukee, I was taught she was a heathen, she was going against God’s will for being bold enough to read the Bible on her own, but I didn’t believe that. I did keep silent on the issue (because I was a kid), but I never believed that God would condemn someone for reading His word. That same argument hits me dead in my stomach with condemning people for being gay. How can God create us all yet we can call His creations bad if some man deems them so? That’s all sorts of arrogant and a misuse of biblical guidelines. You can’t say that that gays are an abomination in the same breath as “love your neighbor as I have loved you” without being a hypocrite. You are basically saying you are better than something else God created. Again, arrogant as hell.
We see almost on a weekly basis an insecure young white male shoot up some establishment, yet we know that it’s against God’s will to kill. Do we look at insecure young white males as an abomination? Nope, society makes excuses about that young man being an INDIVIDUAL, not a representative of a whole ethnic group. If an insecure young Black male shoots up the post office, more laws are written to control the comings and goings of Black folk in general. Is that one of God’s teachings? Where is it in the Bible that whites are better than any other ethnic group? How can some minor writings in the Bible (alluding to gays) be such a prominent part of religions while other parts (what can and cannot be eaten) is ignored?
I really believe that religions were created to control women. Yes, that’s my take on it. Men don’t’ try to control other men they want the women controlled so they can multiply and control the children. When religious groups like the Mormons can expel males because they challenge authorities, they fair much better in controlling the minds of the women in the group. Women having children increases the number of the group and anyone questioning their beliefs are ousted and/or shunned.
From my perspective, no religion is perfect because it is dictated, translated, and taught by man, not God. The Bible is a guide for how to live our lives, but it’s used more to control our thoughts and hate others who are different than it is to love others as your neighbor. We, as a people, have got to stop these constant (mis)interpretations of what laws we follow , or don’t follow, because that indirectly influences the minds of the next generation.