The founding fathers of the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights got it wrong. The decisive freedom should never have been freedom of religion. Rather, it should have been freedom from religion.
Religion, like any other belief system, is really a form of social control who gains its authority from a spurious connection with its own self-designated god. And because each religion claims such over-arching authority, one that transcends the laws of nations and, in many cases, our own innate sense of right and wrong, it will make demands on its followers that are corrupt and ugly.
The endless wars, the hate, the acrimony fought between religions has been nothing less than a plague on human history.
Isn’t it one of the ultimate ironies that the very bundle of beliefs, on which people assign their most sacred identity, is the very source of war, murder, suicide, rage, and indignity wrought by one person against another? It is made doubly ironic because most believers tend to say that they are worshiping the same god!!! They are lying. They are worshipping their own “in” group that makes them right and holy and others wrong and sinful.
They are not worshiping any god. They are worshiping their own personal and cultural identities. Religion is crap. Its toxicity is no different from rank patriotism. Anything that sets one idea against another and goads its followers to preach hate and insist on division, and subjugate anyone in the name of their religion or their country is living in the universe of lack, invalidation, fear, and ignorance.
Belief is ignorance.
The only purpose of spiritual inquiry is liberation from all belief – without exception.
Thus I say, the key freedom is not freedom of religion, but freedom from religion.
I can almost hear people saying – “what about all of the beautiful things made in the name of religion – the architecture, the music, the art, etc.? – What about all of the charity done by religious organizations.?”
I say to them that the potential to produce beauty need not ever be compromised by an enforced system of beliefs which people, especially children, are coerced to accept to gain love and acceptance from their elders and peers. This is poison pure and simple. We are always free to produce objects of beauty and relationships of beauty. This is part of our fundamental wiring. But even more importantly, when we are truly connected to the source of Everything, then we would never hesitate to reach out to those in need. Only in this way are we bound together as one.
Down with all religion that separates people from nature and people from each other.
Readers – you might be intrigued to know that there is absolutely no word for religion in any North American Indian language. The whole concept of religion was founded at the same time that political and social power became concentrated in the hands of the few against the many. This began in the dawn of the age of intensive agriculture – approx. 10,000 years ago in the Middle East and about 1,000 years ago in northern Europe. Religion is just another form of belief perfectly designed to control workers from birth to death. It is the hand maiden of coerced authority.
No one is ever liberated as long as their identity is shaped by any religion. This is not say that all religions lack wisdom. To the contrary all of the world’s religions contain about as much wisdom as they do garbage. All of the fundamental goodness that makes us a part of the same nature that created the birds and the bees and the oceans and the winds are contained in the pages of most religions. But that could never be enough for any system of faith.
To make it unique, each religion has a vast store of utter nonsense and general crap that you are required to believe. They must stand out from the others and proclaim themselves to be the one true faith. Many of their adherents will possess the generosity of spirit to allow for the expression of any religion in their community, but there are many others who are not so tolerant. They will be easily insulted. Eager to strike back. Their religion will be wedded to their own inner demands and when great belief is nurtured by fear, you will have the most explosive combination that mindlessness can create. And in that wake come the wars, the invective, the hate, and all the rest.
Thus I say, we must have freedom from religion and have our own path illuminated in this very moment with our own inborn connection with the power that makes the cosmos now and forever.