Two things


Today is the twenty-sixth day of Lent.

If you are part of a religion or spiritual tradition with a bible, scriptures, traditions, steps, or any sort of received wisdom, you should embrace your tradition’s teachings with humility.

And you should be encouraged to take any two doctrines and throw them out. You get two. Any two that don’t sit well with you. And I don’t mean you should just ignore them. I mean go outside, look up or down or sideways or in whatever direction you think points toward your god and say, “Hell no. I’m not going to do that!”

Stand on your own two feet and use a firm voice. Explain yourself.

“I’m not going to do that because I think it’s evil. I think it’s going to hurt people. And it violates a sense of rightness I have inside of me. A rightness that I feel has been enlarged by my devotion to my faith tradition. And if you are the kind of god who demands such a thing from your followers, I don’t think very much of you.”

So pick your two. Any two that you don’t like for ethical reasons.

If you don’t, your religion is going to be just following orders. And we all know the terrible kinds of evil the just following orders crowd have brought into our world.

At the same time you should receive and obey some things from your spiritual tradition that make no sense to you. For the sake of humility, in recognition of how small you are and how short a time you’ve lived, and because you know that any complex order of reality that is beyond human understanding will present as chaos and absurdity, you should believe and do some crazy shit in the name of your god.

If you don’t, you’ll just be creating your own religion. People do that, but self-made religions are always shallow. Even the best and brightest of us can’t understand very much. And you and I aren’t even the best and brightest.

How will you know which parts of your religion you should follow and which you should stand against?

That’s why they call it a journey.


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  • txredd

    Like Huck Finn when he decides he will go to hell rather than turn in Jim as a runaway slave… I have that passage listed as my religion on Facebook. I may go and add the second sentence of your seventh paragraph. Yep, that’s pretty much it.

    • That passage is one of the inspirations behind this piece. Another is Abraham arguing with God about S&G in Genesis 16. My rabbi friend, now dead, once told me that was the highest spiritual level a human being can attain. To stand on ones own ethical feet before God.

      Also this: Bertrand Russell, noting the apparent ethical diversion from OT to NT said, “I pity the Christians. They seem to have outgrown their own God.”

  • pastordt

    yea and amen. (tried subscribing once again as I’ve missed ALL of these. sigh.)