WANTED: A True Religion
If I were going to believe in a “supreme being”, a concept which I am not a believer in at this time, I would have certain criteria for my “God”. To date, I have yet to come across an organized religion or cult (and really, what is an organized religion except a cult that’s reached a certain membership plateau?) that meets my expectations. But, I’m willing to be swayed. The following items are my criteria.
- I don’t owe “God” anything
One of my central problems with all organized religions is their notion of the supreme being as some sort of oppresive parental figure. Thou shalt not do this. Thou shalt not do that. My wife and mother-in-law might try to counter, saying that just Puritanical American thinking. But, I would remind them, and you, that Bahá’ís are forbidden from drinking alcohol, from using recreational drugs, and from premarital intercourse, among other things. First of all, if you believe “God” is truly a supreme being, which I wouldn’t, even if I did believe in Him/Her, why should He/She care what you put into your body? Second, why this notion of “God” as some all-powerful being or force? I ask you, if “God” created us, who created “God”? The answer: we did.
If there is a “God”, the only relationship I see between Him/Her and myself is a symbiotic one. I don’t owe “God” anything that “God” doesn’t owe me. And if “God” wants to continue to give me war and famine and death, then I’m going to continue to drink and swear and I’m not going to feel bad about fucking before I was married.
- “God” shouldn’t care who I fuck
I have yet to find a religion that doesn’t condemn homosexuality. While I consider myself a heterosexual, I have many friends who are not. And I, for one, don’t think that there is anything wrong with them. If a male friend of mine wants to let his boyfriend shove a cock up his ass, who am I, or “God” to judge? And if a female friend of mine wants to munch rug all night long, should we think of her as less of a human being because of it? I don’t think so. Even the vaunted Bahá’ís are forbidden from participating in homosexual relationships.
- “God”, if there is one, is essentially unknowable
Now, I know quite a few religions appear to agree with me on this one. But, in practice, they do not. If they believe “God” to be truly unknowable, then what gives them the authority to prescribe their rules and doctrines for mankind? How do they know what “God” wants out of humanity? Aren’t they just distorting His/Her image?
- “God” created all creatures equal, not just all men
The superiority complex of mankind is perhaps the aspect of organized religion that I find most disgusting and disheartening. As Eugenides mentions in Middlesex, and again in the article I referenced in yesterday’s SoapBox piece, “Researchers expected to find 200,000 genes in the human genome. Instead they found about 30,000. Not much more than a mouse has.” Humanity likes to think itself the chosen race, the only really enlightened creatures on the planet. And within the species, subsets of the species often claim to be even more enlightened and all-powerful than the rest. But we’re animals, people. We’re just animals with an unfortunate mutation called Conciousness that makes us think of ourselves as more than what we are.
There’s the old cliché that “all dogs go to heaven”. But, even if we believe that, do all cows? Do all ants? If not them, then why us?
So, those are my basic requirements. I welcome any and all comers to tell me why I’m wrong, why I’m an asshole, why I’m going to burn in hell, or why their religion meets my criteria.
I anxiously await your replies.