Recently on LinkedIn a member of the TED: Ideas Worth Spreading group posted a question to the group members asking how they would teach a child about Christianity without denying evolution. When I jumped into the discussion the thread of responses was already approaching 2,000 in number. A lot of rather emotionally charged and often heated exchanges took place and I admit to tossing in a few verbal grenades into the mix too. Eventually I ended up posting what I’ve repeated below to sum up my views on religion. Any thoughts?
This entire thread, which has gotten way off topic and I know I and others were part of the cause, has made it quite clear what my very religious father once said: You can’t ever really argue, in the true sense, religion and faith. It’s not about facts. It’s not about anything provable. It’s not even about a consensus of opinion on any universal axioms that we can all point to and agree upon. It’s about what spiritual stories resonate with each person, or not, and there is simply no way to intelligently argue or discuss it without spiritual emotionalism showing itself as the core argument foundation (and yes, I see the irony that I’ve tried to do just that and I cop to the emotional basis of my stance too).
Nothing in this thread has given me any reason to veer from my primary directive of simply treating others as I wish to be treated. That “golden rule” concept is really the distillation of the core essence of the best part of all the religious doctrines and dogmas I’ve been exposed to.
I recall in eighth grade when a nun at my Catholic school asked me, as I neared graduation, what I learned in my eight years at that school about Catholicism and my spiritual life. I said something like “be good to others and to yourself and it all takes care of itself in the end.” She was a bit stunned by my response, but she didn’t really have any good counter to my assertion.
I find religion, all religions, to consistently over-complicate what should be a simple thing, how to be a good person. It’s not rocket science. We all know what a good person does and is, but I guess some need some sort of fodder for being that good person. And some want to be able to feel good about belonging to the “right” spiritual camp.
I’ve never bought the argument that God, assuming God exists, is so petty an entity as to actually give a damn about what particular religion anyone adopts or not. It’s about who they are as people and how they act towards other people. Any person walking the face of the Earth who has made every effort to be a good person and live a good life will be in just fine standing with any Creator should such a Creator exist.