Thursday, December 18, 2003

Belief #1 - An it harm none, do what you will

This is the first article in an attempt to lay the groundwork for my beliefs. Because I enjoy discussing religion and other belief systems, many people want to know just where exactly I stand in this whole religion thing.

So here it goes.

As you follow along with this article, and those that will certainly follow, you will discover that my beliefs are not necessarily anything new. In fact, many religions cover the same ground. The big difference is, that I have yet to find one single religion that believes exactly as I do.

Many religions tend to clutter up their basic edicts with all manner of ceremony and mysticism. They focus on telling you why you should believe as they believe, instead of why they believe what they believe.

Organized religions are structured for the purpose of gaining members, and keeping them. Many religious folks have a kind and trusting heart, and truly believe they are keeping with their faith by being good little sheep. After a while, these people are so conditioned to follow that they stop thinking about it.

Let’s pick on the Christian religion for a bit. Not because there is anything wrong with it, but because it will reach the most people for the discussion.

Many Christians are Christians because that is what the majority of the people in our country believe. Their family has Christian roots, and going to church is what they have always done. You’re taught early on that you don’t dare question your faith or you’ll be on an elevator ride to hell.

I talk with Christians and find out that they have dedicated their lives to Christianity, gone to church all their lives, and are shocked by anyone who is not Christian themselves. They have memorized Bible verses, volunteered for good causes, and pray at the dinner table.

Then, I start asking basic questions about their religion, such as, “Do you know how the Bible was written? Who wrote it, and where it came from?”

Very few people can answer that question, yet they will beat you over the head with it as if it is written in stone. If you truly research how the Bible was written and translated, it would scare the snot out of you.

Don’t get me started with the somewhat darker parts of the Bible. Go to the “Forums” on this web site if you’d like to really know some interesting things that the Bible says.

As usual, I’m digressing in a big way. I can’t help myself sometimes. Let’s get back on track.

The point to the past few paragraphs is that religions tend to overindulge with a lot of extra clutter. Many of them also come from a time that is so old that it takes years just to understand most of it. We hire other people to try and explain the teachings from a long time ago, and put some modern perspective on the whole thing.

When the day is done, we find as many different interpretations to religious history as there are people doing the interpreting. Yet the guy you follow on Sunday knows just how it is. Praise the Lord, and pass the Kool-Aid!

I have elected to not buy into the organized religious route. My belief is in myself, and my ability to think independently. Sure I listen to what others have to say, I read the Bible, and I learn what I can from the religious world around me. Then, now here’s the real clincher, I make up my own mind about who to follow and what to believe.

That being said, belief #1 comes to us from the Wiccan religion, and in a lot of ways from many other religions as well. Am I Wiccan? Hardly, I just feel that the Wiccans have summed it up nicely. Straight and to the point.

Belief #1 – An it harm none, do what you will.

What this is saying, is you can do anything you'd like, believe anything you wish, just don't hurt anyone else in the process.

This is central to my belief, and the foundation on which all other parts of my belief system are firmly built. You could say that it goes hand-in-hand with freedom. With belief #1, there is no need to explain that people have certain freedoms.

Lincoln said it best, "That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

This first belief does not conflict with the Christian teachings many of us have been raised on. Unless of course you’re somewhat fanatical in your Christianity and believe that if you’re not Christian, then you need to die.

So there it is, belief #1. Any thoughts on this first volley into my religious outlook on life? I’d love to read your thoughts.

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