Religions And How They Affect Us

By Donald A. Collins | 17 June 2022
Church and State

(Image by Booth Kates from Pixabay)

As our new telescopes allow us expanded peeks into the solar systems beyond our tiny orb, one wonders what’s out there. The nearest star Proxima Centauri is 4.2465 light years away. How far away is a light year?

A light year is a standard of measurement used by astronomers to describe huge distances in the Universe. The nearest star is 4.22 light years away. The center of the Milky Way is about 26,000 light years away. But how far is 1 light year? A light year is the distance that light travels in a single year. And light travels fast.

1 lightyear is 9,460,730,472,580.8 kilometers.

Need some other measurements? A light year is 5,878,625,373,183.6 miles. And a light year is 63,241 astronomical units (1 astronomical unit, or AU is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun).

Read here about Alpha Centauri.

For those who fancy space travel, you know that even getting people to Mars, 127 million miles away, is not a minor task.

So how does this relate to religion or should I say religions as there are so many??

Well, surely there are other creatures, likely human like us in the billions of solar systems out there.

I wonder what the residents of other planets revolving around Alpha Centauri that star only 4.22 light years away think about how Jesus came back from the dead or that Mohammed found the only true god before he died at 62 in CE 630?

Actually, I don’t wonder since we will never know the answer despite the claim of so many religions that they HAVE the answer.

The only conclusion one can possibly make is that all religions are conceived by humans and thus are not Divine, whatever Divine means.

This then plunges us all down the path of choice which everyone believes is their inalienable right.

Thus, the conflicts get unimaginably difficult to live with, particularly how to keep our fragile democracy tottering along to the manifest benefit of us over the tyranny offered by Chi, Putin, Kim and others whose “religions” are different.

Human beliefs are of course not all religious so I would give the right of assembly to everyone so long as it doesn’t involve inflicting their “religion” on me without my consent.

How naïve is that? Very based on the history of imposed choice by religious and secular dictators alike, but all of these oppressors were and are humans, not gods.

And that of course is where democracy plays its trump card—no not that Trump!

Keeping that democratic balance that allows elected majorities in the USA to govern has almost broken down and stands dangerously close to so doing soon.

Is the right to bear arms a religion, is the right to control one’s choice about childbearing a religion? Should that latter choice be forced on women by religiously biased humans under the guise of their divinely imparted knowledge from a god we known has only human roots?

Humans of the cloth make constant errors. Was it right for Pope Pius XII to be in close touch with Hitler when he knew what Hitler was about? Read here about it in the new book by Professor David I Kertzer, “The Pope at War”.

Of course not, but no religion truly got its ultimate validity from some unseen power, but from the creative imaginations of HUMANS.

To finish I wanted to mention the drawing together of likeminded supplicants.

African Americans needed the spiritual resort against the ravages of racism. They found it and still deeply find it in churches where they could experience love, non-racist confirmation, and the chance to move their members forward in education, political position and primarily personal respect which the white racial majority has for too long failed properly to observe.

Many of us need the comfort of coming together to pray for many things. One friend of mine to whom I sent a video of George Carlin, who found his faith in a group of Unitarians in his non-Christian group.

He sent me the following comments, from which I here remove personal references for privacy’s sake:

I appreciate your quotes from George Carlin, Einstein and the others.

I was a believer (kinda) until the age of 12 when I took the Catechism class at the Evangelical & Reformed Church (Now the United Church of Christ, after merging with the Congregationalists). I questioned a lot of what was taught in those classes and the minister who taught us appreciated my questions. He wasn’t hardnosed at all. What I learned in the classes was that I didn’t believe in practically any of it except the do gooder parts.

When I went to a prep school, there was a required course in religion. In it I learned about many religions. The Quaker beliefs appealed to me, and I considered becoming one.

However, when I went to college and as I was browsing in the library’s reading room one day and came upon a book, Rethinking Religion, by John Haynes Holmes, a Unitarian minister. It opened my eyes to a kind of non-credal religion I could embrace. There was a thriving Unitarian Church in that college town, and I started going there. I have been an active Unitarian (Merged with the Universalists in 1961 to become UU) ever since. Most or probably all of the objections Carlin had of religions don’t apply to us UUs.

I guess listening carefully to everyone is the best place to start, as choice on religion, personal behavior, or treating people with consideration has always been difficult, but uniquely possible only in democratically governed countries. This is why our current disarray is so troubling and so in need of repair.

I often laugh at the late George Carlin’s routine on religion, but we all should know that regardless of our religion rules determined by secular democratic processes are the best way forward.

Will we be up to that challenge? Who knows but the vision of an apocryphal almighty may not have come here from those distant universes, but clearly from humans on our tiny planet.

Gas prices, inflation, Putin’s war, unfortunately are allowing deferral of treating our planetary climate and environmental crises which neither gods nor men will be able to fix if we don’t act soon.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?: Leaders Commit to Reduce Human Population” and “Vote”.

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