Friday, August 24, 2007

So, what is wrong with faith?

reposted from
by David Rutland

The human race has a problem. Well, actually, it has several, but the problem this website is addressing is faith. You may be asking, “So what is wrong with faith? Don’t we all have some degree of it? Is it not a noble and desirable quality to be a faithful husband, wife, loved one and employee?” The sort of faith discussed here is something different. It’s the “faith” that requires you to give up your own personal reason and experience and turn off your brain. It’s a leap of faith that plunges you into a bottomless chasm of ignorance.

One of the unique and wonderful things about human beings is their curiosity. Driven by this insatiable desire for knowledge, we explore the universe around us. Because of it, we have discovered and harnessed fire, expanded our table of elements from four to one hundred and eighteen (and counting!), looked into the sky and seen to almost the edge of the universe and the beginning of time and space, discovered the building blocks of all life, and split atoms into smaller and smaller quantum particles. Our innate curiosity has caused us to change our view of the world and how it works, several times over. We constantly modify our concepts based on emerging information. New movements and ideas in the fields of art and politics have challenged and advanced our notions of personal freedom and _expression. There is only one area of human _expression and endeavor that seeks an exemption from this constant searching, and that is mainstream religion. Here we are not allowed to grow in our relationship with our spiritual natures, but instead commanded to take what we are told on “faith”. What as incredible disservice to the human race!

We are beings who have advanced technologically, socially and politically. Yet we are using spiritual models that have remained unchanged for thousands of years. We are champions of individual freedom, except when it comes to the hierarchal structure of our religions. Then we are treated as subjects to the dictates of a clerical class, who stand between us and some externalized goal of “perfection” and communion with God or divinity. Using threats of eternal damnation or excommunication, and promising great rewards in the “hereafter”, unscrupulous human beings manipulate others into acts of violence, hate, war and abuse. To anyone watching from the outside, the harm this mindset causes is obvious. To those under the influence of faith, such questioning is a blasphemy, and can subject them to eternal damnation and excommunication.

It’s time to stop being blinded and bullied by religious faith. It’s time to reclaim our right to search and decide for ourselves what is best for our spiritual development. It’s time to identify religious faith for what it is; another excuse for ignorance. Spiritual searching is hard. It requires your involvement. And it means that you may have to reject the false security of a lie and face an uncertain truth. Faith robs us of our individuality and forces us into a cookie-cutter “one size fits all” mentality. It turns comfort into captivity and safety into slavery. Faith is the fuzzy little kitten that in time becomes a roaring and ravenous lion.

We won’t overcome faith by force, but by reason. The weapons in our struggle are not guns and bombs, but ideas and information. We need to open minds and hearts that are constricted with fear, and replace reliance on blind faith with open-eyed wonder and exploration of the universe. Religions in their present state are excellent tools for control, but very poor models for spiritual growth. They set up an external ideal of perfection that no one can attain, and then proceed to make us feel guilty for not attaining it. It is spiritual bondage, using our natural curiosity and yearning to derive meaning from life to entrap us in dogma and empty rites and rituals. There has to be a better way. Let’s find it together.

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