Accepting that I know nothing, the following is reached through 56 years of observation.
Organized religion fails us. Considering the world’s three major religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), how could one not conclude the above?
Christianity has been prominent within western society. Yet, there are radical differences in how it is practiced. Is it good deeds or faith which lands one in heaven? Hmm . . .
But more important, when one takes into account that organized religion is big business, it is far easier to see the flaws on religion. Catholicism is beholden to scandals and bottom lines. Catholic education, the hallmark of the American Catholic family, is discarded to balance the budget after decades of covering up sex scandals. Yup, faith has nothing to do with anything; it is all a public relations game involving very human decisions. Four paragraphs into this and I am just now invoking God. God is secondary to power.
And to think that the other religions are demonstrably different is folly. Episocpal faith centers around the formation of the Anglican Church, King Henry’s creation so he could divorce.
Speaking of divorce, my experience is that it is merely extortion to glean cash for righting a bad situation. My ex-wife paid upwards of a $1,000 so she could marry me and continue to flaunt church teachings. And the community of believers did not reach out once to help an outwardly dire family situation. Not one. Ever.
Organized Christianity has failed.
Judaism and Islam suffer as well. Eight days of presents during a minor holiday to compete with classmates’ Christmas hardly extols virtue. And if one’s religion can be used to attack another’s nation, then what good is that religion to begin with?
Religion, it seems to me, is a construct which serves a society in many ways. It provides comfort, It answers what is unanswerable. It provides community. Rules. Etiquitte. It pacifies. So, organized religion has been useful.
Then again, like any construct, it is exploited. And because it is exploited, it fails. We can’t just accept the good up until to the exploitation. It is like everything else, something created to fill the void: that time between birth and death.
Death is the ultimate equalizer. We all die. At death, nothing before matters.
Religion has us believe that it is after-life that will matter. Perhaps. But how can we trust it? If the construct is suspect on everything else, why is it to be taken seriously on the after-life. We are suspect of government at every turn; why we would accept that it is not say during a pandemic? Same situation.
Sure, some will point to Pascal’s wager as hedging bets. Hey, if it soothes your soul, have at it. But does Pascal really support organized religion?
One can believe there is a guiding hand, a creator, something beyond humans without joining a team. Rabbi Kushner’s tapestry can exist outside the framework of pervert priests and 72 virgins.