The Convenience of Ambiguity: Is it Religion or Philosophy?

The way I see it, religious belief is a get out of jail card when used to discriminate against people, and sadly religion depends on ambiguity in order to remain relevant in today’s world.  Ambiguity can also be an excuse to distance one self from something unattractive and questionable. To the Christian or Muslim, their religious beliefs are often fused with something positive yet we find these belief systems associated with negative acts over and over again and explains why we find religious apologists defending religion by offering this sentiment; “A true Christian/Muslim wouldn’t do that”.
 
Ok, first lets find out what a true Christian does.  The Christian Bible certainly seems like a reasonable place to find out.  But understanding the Bible has proven to be complicated process.  In 2000, The World Christian Encyclopedia asserted there were 33,820 Christian denominations.  Unsurprisingly, these sects are not reconcilable but yet how can that be if they come from the same book?
 
The same can be said about Islam.  ISIS, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda all proven to be a thorn for Muslims who are against the “misrepresentation” of a peaceful Islam.  What constitutes this huge discrepancy about something that is supposed to be an objective claim coming from one source called the Quran? 
It seems to me subjective interpretations are to be blamed for these “misinterpretations”.
 
Since there is no standard established to determine what a true Christian or Muslim is (considering the original context of these religious beliefs are now irrelevant to todays western world), why is the religious offering that sort of unsubstantiated claim?  Why defend the idea of religion at all?   More perplexing, knowing their religion is represented via different sects, why are religious people surprised when their respective religion is misunderstood? 'I am a X', is a chosen label one chooses to adopt, knowing their label is often misunderstood. 
 
The term cherry picker is often used to describe people who choose to ignore the sanctioning of very ugly behavior like slavery, misogyny, genocide, stoning people to death for being a non-virgin or homosexual by their chosen deity.  This sort of person often relies on apologetics as a disclaimer to smooth out the rough edges and replace it with the idea of appropriate  “context”.    Well I would argue the realistic context would involve the fact these traditions came from a time of ignorance, so again, why are these books regarded as divinely inspired?
 
If religion was recognized as a philosophy, it would give people the opportunity to see it as something that is not backed up by any divine supreme authority but rather identifying it as ones own personal view.
In fact, we are seeing religious ideology being formatted to fit our current understanding of the world play out already, dogma has and is continually becoming subject to ones personal moral compass.  So what is the point of holding onto an appeal to a higher power in spite of ones own ability to recognize what is right and wrong already without it?

Once a “God” is in the equation, the rules of engagement have been compromised therefore taking “God” out will level the playing field and we understand that our perspectives are not higher than anyone else’s but seen as a philosophical approach.
Why would anyone have a problem with that? I would imagine it would be a problem for the person who believes they are representing an all-encompassing authority and are attracted to the ideals of elitist tribalism, which has been proven to be problem of arrogance.
What seems to continue to function as a form of protection for religion is the appeal to an authority no one can prove they are appealing to and makes religious belief more than a philosophy or an opinion, when it really amounts to just that.  Why in the world would anyone who isn’t religious want to defend a methodology that serves to protect arrogance? I think it has to do with political correctness by not holding the religious responsible for choosing to associate with something that is all too often associated with unwarranted discrimination.   Maybe they never thought to think of it that way or maybe it’s a social taboo to redefine religion as a philosophy? Perhaps it’s a combination of the two.  Although we cannot ignore that it is not fitting with dogma when we see people are already editing the scriptures to fit their own ethical stance. 
 
Has religion been a source for good?  No it hasn’t.  I would argue the source for good would be humanity.  Is humanity also a source for evil, of course it is.  But the problem is this.  The entire premise of religion is to undermine humanity completely, as it implies only good can come from a particular deity and only evil can come from humanity, who’s naturally inclined to be persuaded by the enemy of good.  I find that to be odd being that there isn’t a moral act a nonbeliever cannot do that a believer can. I also find this to be dangerous.  Why?  Because religious ideology is the reason DOMA gained traction, why women’s reproductive rights are issues, and why those who are terminally ill cannot choose to die with dignity, all because of the unsubstantiated claim these human rights are in violation of a god’s will according to the representative of the supposed supreme being of the universe.  The self-entitled position of claiming to know the will of an authority over everyone is the height of undue importance.   We cannot continue to ignore the ruse of religion, which has been used as a means to protect one thing, the audacious idea one has a personal relationship with an authority over you.
 
 

Leave a comment

Add comment