One of my issues with religion is the element of worshipping an unprovable, and unnecessary, “Supreme” being.
Removing this “being” from the creation of the universe does not alter the results. Existence is resilient and resourceful. The more we learn of the workings of the universe, the more evident this becomes. I can envision the reality of the universe without the need for such a being.
The “Holy” texts, the various versions of “In the beginning,” are full of words like adoration, worship, lord, king, and other terms that are meaningful to man, but meaningless compared to the true “majesty” of the universe.
This concept of adoration and worship is man-made. Assuming ad arguendo that there is such a being capable of creating the universe and the laws that govern it, yet at the same time capable of operating outside those laws, it would seem nonsensical for such a being to demand or benefit from worship and sacrifice.
To what purpose would an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being require such acts? Let alone reject them if not properly performed. The idea that proper worship requires such mundane things such as covering a woman’s head, kneeling to accept a piece of magic unleavened bread, waving incense over a sacrificial lamb, wearing a beard, spreading ashes on a forehead, circumcision (my favorite,) making the sign of the cross, putting your head on the floor, bowing to the east, or any of the other 9 billion rules of proper god worship is irrational.
We would all be better off if everyone in the world took a moment each day to be alone with their own thoughts. Those surrounded by the continuous connectivity of modern society need turn off their devices. Those in countries not yet so inundated need to pause their toil.
Do these two simple things. Go for a walk and think.
For me, there is no better thing than to go for a walk in the rain. When was the last time you did that? To walk and inhale the petrichor, the aroma released when rain hits dry soil, is to feel alive. Derived from the Greek, petra (stone) and ichor (the fluid that flows in the veins of the Greek Gods) petrichor is a familiar, comforting, and intoxicating scent.
I suppose some would argue the element of the blood of the gods is why it influences me. I disagree. The word is another example of an attempt by ancient peoples to explain that which they did not understand as evidence of a supreme being. A being of their own invention.
If I can’t explain it, it must be god. To the Vikings, lightning and thunder were proof of Thor. To the meteorologists, they are naturally occurring, and explainable, phenomena.
Most people dash through a storm from their mobile conveyance to work to home and back trying to avoid the rain. I find a walk in the rain to be both inspirational and clarifying.
If you let the rain act as a shield to the outside world (easy enough since most of the world will be trying to avoid both it and you) and let your mind think about your time in this world, you will find many of the answers you seek. Or, you may find the questions were unnecessary in the first place.
I find it reminds me of the things that matter.
Over the last few months, I’ve read a great deal of the writings of a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk by the name of Thich Nhat Hanh. He embraces a concept of mindfulness. Being aware of now, this moment, this time.
I won’t be shaving my head and donning a saffron robe anytime soon, but there is great wisdom in these works.
Since I am so quick to criticize organized religions, I must also be honest enough to concede there is much good they do. When the religious act in the cause of justice, when they strive to aid the less fortunate, when they seek to end violence, hunger, homelessness, and suffering that is the good side of religion.
They are acting in “mindfulness” of the world. This is a good thing.
My point would be that it is the human element performing these acts. Removing religion from the acts does not diminish them. It would seem the religious aspect is nothing more than logistics.
“Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” A quote (so to speak) attributed to the step-son of a Jewish carpenter (and reputed son of a real God, divine in his own right).
Are the words any less meaningful if said by an ordinary human being? We are all in this together. Yet religion, with all its rules and dictums, is what separates us.
Requiring a God of some religion to give weight to compassion and common decency is unnecessary. Religion adds nothing to honest spirituality. I would argue it distorts and compromises it.
No matter how you look at it, a walk in the rain or just a quiet time of contemplation would do all of us a great deal of good.