Friday, May 18, 2007

The "One" True Way

I recently told a friend that at this point in my life, I am all religions and I am no religion. I followed a path for many years that helped to keep me mired in depression, until I realized I had a choice.

Religion has to have a hook, and a good portion of them hook you with "love". Then, because religion requires membership, there is a need to keep people hanging in. This is accomplished by convincing you that you are fundamentally flawed and that the only salvation is in whatever brand of "truth" they happen to be selling. That's why there are so many different "one true way"s.

All through history, there are examples of religious zealots who believed they had the God-given right to take over the world and enforce religion as law. Bullshit! If God wanted us all to be alike and think alike, don't you think we would have all been created alike?

If religion can convince you that you can't figure out the truth for yourself, and that you must believe the "truth" as they sppoon feed it to you, or you will go to hell or experience some other horrible end, then they get what they need, which is faithful, controllable members. I don't believe that religionists do this consciously. I am sure the vast majority of them truly believe what they are teaching.

But here's my point. Our Creator didn't give us the gray matter in our heads just to fill up space. We are meant to think for ourselves. No one has any corner on the truth. We all have the ability to figure it out for ourselves.

And I have come to believe that my God, a God who would create such a vast variety of people and other creatures and features would not damn any of them, especially based on the fact that they don't all see or recognize God the same way. A lot of people would believe this to be heretical, but to be honest, I wouldn't be interested in associating with a God who would create people just to condemn them.

In the religion I once adhered to, I was taught how cautious we have to be lest we "fall into sin" and offend God. And do you know what I found to true? When I began setting myself free from the prison of caution and fear, I found I had no real desire to harm anyone. And if there is any definition of sin, it would definitely be doing harm.

Oh, sure, we all feel every now and then that we would like to see someone "get what is coming to them", especially when they have done harm to a child or someone less powerful than them. But I find that love always drowns out the other voices in my head, and at the deepest level of my being, love is what I am. I believe the same is true for you, and that's exactly what you will find if you dare to explore the depths of your being.

At the very most basic level, we are all made out of the same stuff, and that stuff is love. God is love and we are all manifestations of God in this world. How could a manifestation of love be anything less than love? How could anything God created be anything less than perfect? And how could anything God desires be "wrong"?

So, the way I see it, the "One True Way" is what you decide it is for you. And it is not something for any of us to force on one another. And if you believe I am "wrong" and that God is someone to be feared, well - I have been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and I would rather die than go there again.

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