I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the supernatural, the way of the world, what it all means and I've come to no real conclusions. This is no sermon; I have just been doing a lot of introspection - not necessarily soul-searching so much as navel-gazing without a roadmap. So I read some spiritual texts and found them to be of little help, largely because so many others twist their true meaning into something it is not - or, more specifically, what they want you to hear. The fact is that many religious texts read as flat-out insanity and their inscrutability is often used to inspire fear, anger, even outrage amongst its listeners. This conflagration of emotions is then manipulated by those in power to control the listener, reader, or viewer.
The Christian religion in particular is one which has been abused and twisted far too often by self-serving churches and demagogues, numerous times throughout history. I was so pleased to hear the new Pope announce that the true way of Jesus Christ is to be kind, loving, tolerant, and accepting of everyone, regardless of race, creed, sexuality or sexual orientation, and so on - to help those in need, those who cannot help themselves, and all others great and small. Jesus worked amongst the sick, hung out with prostitutes and the disenfranchised, and brought them hope and caring, along with the message that love and understanding conquers all. Those who claim to be Christians today are far too concerned with judging and controlling others, especially those with whom they disagree.
Unfortunately, there are many who use scripture to advance their own agenda - usually for financial and political gain. In fact, Jesus was even betrayed by one of his own flock simply for money. Judas Iscariot later regretted his decision deeply but Jesus stood his ground and even prophesied such betrayal. Many have asked why Jesus did not simply leave His place, knowing that he had been sold-out and forces were on their way to destroy Him. My question has always been: Why did those who knew Jesus and His message not stand with, protect, and fight for Him? Because Jesus stayed true to His word.
Islam is another religion that is too often exploited by those who wish to cause only harm to others. More than most religions, it preaches hatred toward, and intolerance of, others. However, all of the large religions have done the same in their time. Moreover, both of these - the leading religions in the world according to some (probably wrong) sources - are based on Judaism, the first modern religion in which the singular God appears; almost every other religion suggests there are many gods and goddesses - a pantheon of deities, many of whom represent one or more closely related ideals.
Many other religions teach not about gods and goddesses but spirits and similar forces we would consider supernatural. Many of these religions suggest that these forces are not only to be found within but without, and that these spirits can be called upon to help one's own forces or hinder one's opposition. Like the pantheistic religions above, different spirits are used for different reasons, often called upon to exercise powers according to their spheres of influence. If this sounds vaguely like Dungeons & Dragons, it's because these concepts are based on real religions and belief systems found around the world throughout history, just as the game itself is based on fantasy literature also found around the world throughout history.
Even these beliefs can be twisted by Evil people and used to nefarious ends. Which brings one to ask: What use is religion?
Religion today is most often used to manipulate and control large groups of people without the need for a centralized leader or faction - basically a form of slavery that uses fear of the Unknown to limit and control the individual. Most especially the individual who speaks out against these institutions.
America, in particular, has allowed too many special interest groups, religions, and corporations to purchase the laws and "freedoms" they then use to enslave and manipulate the free-thinking individual. They have perverted the true beauty of these wonderful things by manipulating those who believe into doing their bidding, holding them hostage by religious and political beliefs that have been twisted from their true meaning. The Bible itself is no longer the word of God but a deeply twisted mockery, changed too many times by men throughout the ages. It was, in fact, based on works that have been lost to antiquity and much of it is actually the history of the world, which missionaries subsumed in order to indoctrinate others into the fold. Christmas, Easter, even marriage are holidays and institutions originating from pagan cultures that have been incorporated into Christian religion in order to convert the populace.
The Church is just another corporation - an international business machine, to quote Clutch - and these corporations and special interest groups have been given free reign to control the individual. Technology and the media have also been used, often illegally, to further these goals. Gone are the concepts of integrity and honor, replaced instead by less virtuous ideals such as fame, power, and money.
The Greek government has taken to extracting money from their own citizens' banks to pay the debts their government elite have incurred through lavish spending. America threatens its population with a non-existent debt ceiling, raising taxes on the middle-class and cutting billions from welfare, social security, education, and other national programs meant to uplift the individual and create a stronger nation. Instead, we have kept the right to bear arms while hundreds die in gangland shootings, as well as the right to religious freedoms that seek to silence those who oppose the religious structures that are afforded the same rights as corporations, which are also afforded the same rights as individuals.
Iceland jailed the bankers who subverted their laws and rewrote their own constitution - which was not covered by the mainstream news here in America (and actually wasn't even covered by online outlets). The Wall Street bankers who masterminded the housing collapse here in America have not been held accountable. And those of us who speak out against these injustices have been railroaded and turned into scapegoats.
My mind fluctuates between revolution and peaceful negotiations yet we individuals seem to have no voice in this process and, when we raise them, our words are used against us. Artistic and religious freedoms are held on the same ground - given the same weight - and money is considered free speech. Artists and creators are jailed and silenced, our own works used against us by those in power, and everyone suffers.
Our once great nation now perverted by The Church and Big Business. Is there any hope for freedom from those who oppress us? Is war with ourselves the only answer? Should we just submit and allow ourselves to be controlled by those who hold greater power or should we continue to fight until the bitter end, never knowing for certain just what those ends may be? Should we be conditioned for peace or prepared for war and why are our own minds, words, and works used against us? Are love, peace, and harmony simply forever out of reach? And why are the kindest and most caring always the victims and only the blood of the innocent shed?
© C Harris Lynn, 2013