Thoughts on Organized Religion


I see all over the web and social media about how organized religion will be the downfall of a progressive society…it would appear that this is largely due in part to the notion that violent acts are done in the name of a religion or deity. As a lifelong student of religion and theology as well as an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, I’d like to do a quick analysis of the problem and discuss why this is…largely…incorrect.


1) Views On Religion

I feel that before we delve into the issue I’d like to share a little back story on my thoughts on religion in general. I have always noticed parallels in all of the major religions. There is a monotheistic deity (With some play on this, Christianity’s ‘godhead’ comes to mind), there is a set of guidelines to live by with some differentiation on the rewards one will receive for living a life of good service to their community, their deity, and the world at large. But in a general sense almost all religions are the same. Let that sink in for a moment. Allah, God, Yahweh, The Great Spirit, The Mother Goddess aren’t these all just different words for the same idea? Why let religions be divided when they are so clearly united? We are all people and no matter what we want to believe or how we want to believe it, we are already acknowledging the same cosmic power that works in all of us.

2) Killing in the Name of Religion

Almost every religion carries some penalty for this crime. I say almost because I can’t be 100% inclusive or exclusive but let’s look at it from the major religion point of view:

 

  • Islam : Considers it one of the Greater Sins
  • Judaism: Considers it a sin to harm another life
  • Christianity: Considers it a mortal sin for which there is no peace for the soul that has committed it, for they have already forfeited their place in heaven, depending on the sect this is absolute, or purgatory may purge them of their transgression against humanity
  • Wiccan: While Wicca does not view sin as other religions do, nor does it view death as most do, it does have a big rule about what a person does…what a Wiccan wills into the world through their rites or actions they will receive threefold. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to imagine that murder threefolded would be unpleasant to experience
  • Buddhism: In Buddhism there are five precepts, or five universal…’rules’ that should be applied to every life. The first and foremost is that one should never kill nor harm a life, failure to follow the precepts could have negative impact on not just the killer’s life, but the lives of everyone around both

 


Strange, it would appear that just a handful of popular organized religions already have negative views of murder. Ah! But here’s the point I was trying to make by explaining the above bullet list! If an individual acts outside of their organized religion…it cannot be considered the fault of the religion, now can it? If I were to break the rules of my beliefs then I would have to deal with the consequences of my actions, no? So the situations in which organized religion is blamed to me at the very least, seems to be a superficial and erroneous assessment. If the religion said “Go forth and kill everything” then yes, that would be the religion’s fault, but if the religion says that killing harms your soul, than obviously those that kill do so against the things they had originally stood for.

Using the recent war in Afghanistan and related countries as an example: you’ll notice that not all Islamic practitioners are extremists. It’s generally hard to refer to any of the “Islamic” extremists as Islamic, as they clearly act or speak in a way that is NOT in accordance with their religion’s belief system. No, the issues seem to be more of a social issue than a religious one…perhaps if anything, religion has failed. In these situations it would appear to me that the individual failed to grasp the value of human life…if it is not being understood by them from a religious context, then education and society need to step up their game. When the understanding that human life is valuable and worth persevering, regardless of religious context…then, and only then will the society be able to truly be progressive.

A final thought is that as people are very passionate about their religion, media knows that they can stir up a frenzy by involving the beliefs and views of the mass audience…so perhaps, instead of a debate on religion vs no religion, expression vs progression…perhaps the real question is…what are they distracting you from? What is going on that this becomes the red herring to steer you away from the true situation? Be vigilant, for evil takes many forms.

May you and yours be healthy and know peace, may whatever you believe in watch over you, keep you and allow you to prosper and thrive. I pray for your continued happiness and freedoms.

~William

Issues

I have lately begun to suspect that the issues I have faced in writing fantasy is largely due to the fact that growing up I was a student of Old High Fantasy. I grew up reading and absorbing the ancient lore of Tolkien and exploring the highlands with Conan. Finding secrets with Merlin and facing dragons with a rag-tag meanegerie. Whenever I attempt to write in a more modern form these elements play at the back of my mind.

Perhaps, instead of letting them play at the back of my mind as some sort of cognitive shadow-box theatre I should focus on them while writing and see where the words take me. Even Stephen King dabbled in this writing style. I also play a lot of D&D which imports this into my mind in a more interactive manner.

I`ll have to keep trying this writing style and see if I can come up with anything worth reading.

Some musings

For years now I have tried to figure out exactly how to make this site something I can share with the world. I have tried tech support websites, I have tried forums, this blog is only the most recent in a long stream of attempts at being able to bring my gifts to the world and yet I always come back to this sort of site. A blog.

About what? What would I possibly blog about? It could be many things. I could blog about my thousands of interests, I could blog about cybersecurity, Magic – The Gathering and many many others that come to mind when I sit down to write something.

But something I have never really forced myself to try is to use this site as my own personal blog…that’s right folks, I will be using this site as my own website. Something that I never really expanded on or tried to use before was making this site all about me.

I mean, there’s nothing super awesome about me. I am one of hundreds of thousands of aspiring authors…just people with a lot of characters and stories banging around our heads that we try to force out in a way that you can understand. So I guess that’s why I decided to use this blog for some real talk…things that are too lengthy or wordy for me to share or discuss on sites like Twitter and I despise Facebook with a raging passion. Tumblr, for all of its entertainment lacks a good reply system, eventually forcing the longer replies into meaningless streams of characters that you’d have to have vertical pupils to read.

So, in the end I have decided to use this blog for something that I probably should have been doing all along. Using it to post about my own writing experiences and to connect with anyone who happens to come along at just the right time to maybe catch some cool things. I hope you enjoy reading my words because my greatest joy has always been providing them to you.

There is no real catch here either. I will publish my free works here as well as on other resources, but they’ll go here first. If you like something I write please share it with someone. Helping others find writing they enjoy is a great thing in life.

I don’t write for the money, surely, any writer knows that you can’t expect to thrive off a writer’s income. They are part of an elite group called ‘starving artists’ for a reason.

Anyway, now that I’ve rambled on for far too long, I will be going back to working on my new serial that I hope you find delightful. I know I have been having a blast exploring this new phenomenon that originates from a very old one. It seems the penny dreadfuls are making a comeback in a unique and vibrant way. I hope any writers out there that read this feel inspired to give it a whirl.

Best of luck, keep writing and most of all, just be yourself.

Stay awesome,

William

Serials

I’ve decided that I’m going to try my hand at writing serials and then probably e-publishing them using the Kindle publishing service since it supports them.

Serials have always been a love of mine and I think that’s what attracts me to things like manga which is very episodic and gives you that cliffhanger urge to come back and read more. I’m looking forward to this project along side my other project that I’m just calling ‘Cowritten Steampunk’ for now. Be sure to check back for updates on both projects.

Will

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Not much is presently known about these new releases, other than they are going to be taking place in a new world for Pokemon fans and will feature Kyogre and Groudon. Whether this is going to take place in Hoenn or not is as of yet unconfirmed. This master post will be updated as information is revealed.

Updates

I have finished updating my blog. I will now be using this service to post about the things that I hold dearest to me. Be sure to check out each individual category at the top of the page to find content relevant to your own interests. Hope you like what you read! Stay in touch!

Will