I have two problems with religion:
1. Fundamentalists, extremists, fanatics.
2. Righteous intolerance and exclusion.
I’ve been pagan leaning Wiccan since communicating with a coven in my teens. My family background is lapsed Catholic, Methodist and Protestant. I infrequently went to church for funerals and weddings. I was married in a non-denominational ceremony by an Army chaplain. I’ve practiced shamanism, lucid dreaming and Reiki. I am interested in comparative mythology and religion. I’ve been reading both since grade school.
I came away from all this study believing that organized and institutionalized religion is a tool used by the powerful for control … as a soporific that diverts attention away from human rights and social reform. Someone can always find something in any religion to justify their actions and the tenants of a particular faith should never be judged by the practices of an individual. However, the practices of the individual and the institutions usually come to define that faith.
The ignorant, the inept, the insecure and the frightened force their faith on others. If their faith is “true,” then they should live and model it. They should lead by example and welcome the converts. Instead, they excuse their own inconsistencies by blaming social circumstances and the behaviors of others, trying to change those “causes” rather than themselves. They eschew personal responsibility.
The term “cafeteria Catholic” amuses me. I believe it has two prongs. After declaring themselves Catholic, individuals choose to ignore the rules they don’t agree with including chastity, birth control and divorce. They abhor other things and pass laws or set penalties to prevent others doing those things. The most egregious example of this is abortion. If you are against abortion, then you should support birth control and sex education. If your own child becomes pregnant, that child doesn’t get the abortion you’d deny anyone else.
We can see the consequences of ignoring and tolerating the fundamentalists, extremists and fanatics. My ultimate message is RESIST. Resist violence. Resist hate. Resist prejudice. Resist bigotry. Resist discrimination. Resist lies and liars. Facts matter. Action and inaction matter.