Religions are predicated on some profound or miraculous event that requires blind faith to believe in. From an objective point of view, these events are usually quite incredible and sometimes sound plain silly. Did you know that…
- Christians believe that Jesus was born to a virgin mother and that the universe was created in 6 days
- Mormons believe that God lives on a planet near the star Kolob and that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri
- The Kaaba – that Muslims walk around – contains a black stone that they believe is a special divine meteorite that fell at the foot of Adam and Eve
- Hindus believe that every 40 billion years all things dissolve and nothing exists for an equivalent time – then it all begins again
- Hindus also once believed that the Earth rested on four elephants and those elephants stood on a giant tortoise floating on the universal ocean
- Buddhists believe that all life is suffering and that the only way to escape suffering is to eliminate all desire and attachments by becoming a monk and meditate
- Xenu, according to Scientology, is the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft
- Wiccans believe in magic that can be manipulated through the form of witchcraft or sorcery
A religion is more than just a belief in the incredible though. I haven’t found a single case where there isn’t a strong sense of community. Most people are just looking for a place to belong and a way to give their life some meaning. Most of our lives have very little meaning so it’s no wonder we are attracted to the fantastic with promises of another life, after death, that will be much better than this one. Though each religion may be based on a myth that requires a stretch of the imagination, what you get in return is not so bad, is it?
Mormons believe that God was once like humans and that humans can become like God. How empowering is that? Christians believe that we all have the power to be saved and go to Heaven after we die. Muslims believe in a rich afterlife and are required to give a portion of their income to the poor. Scientology has rallied against the power of pharmaceutical companies and also setup some of the best drug rehabilitation centers in the world. Hindus have developed a religion and cosmology that is remarkably close to modern science and cosmology.
Of course, depending on where you were born and what language you speak, someone else’s religion always seems a little silly. But remember that your religion also seems a little silly to them, too. Instead of condemning one another for not believing as we do, it seems better to embrace these differences in the marketplace of ideas. In the end, they are all trying to accomplish the same thing – to give your life and your eventual death meaning in a universe that often feels completely meaningless.