Do you think any credible and rational religious leader would try to force others to follow his or her religious teachings and beliefs if the other folks didn’t believe in the teachings or beliefs?
The Jesus of the New Testament gave credence to the idea that secular government is separate from religious teaching: “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him.”
Obedience to secular governments is stressed in the New Testament: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king as supreme or unto governors…”
Is it that Jesus was a credible religious leader who had socialist leanings? Is it that some of today’s most faithful followers ignore many of the wonderful teachings and examples contained in their holy scriptures?
Is it not a religious group’s job to make their beliefs into civil laws but to live lives worth emulating: lives which express “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” and not spending precious time creating laws which hinder other citizens from experiencing all the joys and privileges of their citizenship such as being able to visit each other as family members wherever they may be, as other citizens are able to do?
Why are so many religious followers so far off of their proper path which is to follow their teaching by using love rather than force? Why are they so distracted? Is “satan” the one tempting them with the power found in politics so that they might become discredited and lose their way and their influence? Are they are giving time to almost anything except what they are supposed to be doing?
Is it that if individual believers became a power unto themselves by being authentic believers—not just seat warmers—would they no longer need or be influenced by the rants and raves from many of their leaders?
Why not become spiritually independent simply by living lives worth emulating, and wouldn’t such lives carry no hindrances to having interesting experiences and would this way of living probably lead to having very effective lives?
Would this be a real revival composed of precious long-term thinking and actions? Should believers leave all of the judging to God? Isn’t positive behavior much better than negative behavior when trying to lead others to your way of thinking?
Is it that trying to dominate others by making them feel like second-class citizens, hateful? Are the odds very high that it is hateful—even if the motives seem justified to the persecutors?
If Christians feel persecuted, could it be because of their unjustified persecution of others? Why should anyone be forced by law or any other way to live by religious teachings to which they do not subscribe?
a little bit of background
I no longer believe in or trust in the Christian God, yet I love my Christian heritage and I remember well how good it felt to be safe and secure as a member of the only group on earth which had in its possession the only true set of religious teachings and to be one of those whose destiny is an eternity of joy.
I realized over a period of time that if I had been born into a family with a different religious brand, I would have had the same sincerity and trust in its teachings that I had with the teachings of Christianity.
I now am an agnostic because it makes sense and there’s no need to prove anything, and both of the extremes are beliefs, and it would seem the theists would need several batches of faith because of all their magical thinking, and the atheists would need maybe just a little more than a molecule of faith because of their lack of magical thinking.
So, with some regret, I gave up my magical thinking and I’m taking my chances—since it’s hardly possible and so over the top that there’s an all-powerful creator somewhere keeping complete records of everyone’s thoughts and actions and who is going to torture all non-believers forever in a lake of fire. Those beliefs now seem to me like tales hatched by witch doctors with dreams of power.