With all the Rapture-mania yesterday, it really made me think about the role of religion in the world and I had a sort of epiphany:
Religion is created by Man.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “yea” or “nay” to the existence of God or Goddess or even multiple celestial beings. But the rules and regulations governing any religion are all created by Man.
Please note that I am intentionally using masculine pronouns here. I believe that women have played a role in the maintenance of religious belief over the years. I am also aware of the more feminine face of past religions. But I think that the origins of modern religious behavior come from man because women’s voices simply were not allowed or heard. Most women could not read. Most women could not write. So, when the guides for any of the current major religions were “set in stone” the most likely people to do it were male.
Even if we accept that the guiding books were dictated to us through God, ultimately man wrote the so-called “rules” down. And man is not infallible, he can make mistakes and adjustments to anything based on his own understanding and interpretations.
In current society, people choose to interpret those teachings in different ways–in ways that support or explain their own individual belief systems as well as make them feel superior to anyone who believes differently. Thus leading to the idea that only “Good Christians” would achieve Rapture. But what, I ask, is a Good Christian? Peas and Cougars posted a comic Flowchart yesterday that went viral. If you browse through the comments you will find some hilarious reflections, as well as some angered ones that reveal the hypocrisy of it all. The chart mostly referred to the restrictions from the Old Testament, which led to several people reaming P&C for not understanding or misinterpreting or whatever. That in itself supports my theory of religion being created by man. Think about it (but please correct me if I am misrepresenting something):
- Jesus was a Jew. So, unless he set out to rebel against his own religion (which I don’t think he did) he would have been following the rules and regulations of the Old Testament.
- Christianity still has, as some of its basic tenets, the Ten Commandments.
- So, when the New Testament was created, the creators picked and chose which elements of the Old Testament to embrace and which to discard. And I believe that was written down well after Jesus’ lifetime.
- In many interpretations of the Bible, it includes the possibility that we have “Free Will” which suggests that God would expect people to make choices, and perhaps make mistakes. And, as I’ve written about here, I refuse to believe that a true all-powerful being would sweat the small stuff.
Now, that’s only reflecting on the Judeo/Christian aspect of religion. But, you can go further back (or perhaps simultaneous to) and look at the Pantheistic religions. Those gods created their own rules for mankind to live by, and the rules changed at the whims of the gods. Many of those rules, whether from many gods or just one, are simply ways to function and control how we interact with one another. In other words, they make sense if we want to live in some sort of peace. But, obviously, they don’t work.
Also, if we accept that these words were handed down by a creator of some sort, than we must also accept that that being has the final say in everything. In other words he/she has the power to change his/her mind. So, we, as humans have no power to dictate when or if anything is going to happen. We cannot predict the end of the world, because God can make it happen when he/she feels like it. It is mere ego for anyone to assume that he/she can predict the decisions made by a more powerful being.
Of course, given our free will, we can probably speed the end of the world by simply making poor decisions ourselves. God may look on and say “Well, you have to make your own mistakes” just as any good parent would do.
In addition, the Bible was compiled at a time when the calendar was different. It was not the same calendar we use today, so how can we predict anything accurately?
So, ultimately, the rules and regulations of religion have been created by man. All we can do is live our lives to the best of our ability, embracing the fact that we are all connected, whether through spirit, energy or simply by the fact that we share this earth. The rest is silliness and ego.
See you in 2012!