It was a pretty interesting lecture on Monday, because it wasn’t a lecture.  It was a discussion in which there were so many views being expressed and rather than one person talking to many.  Religion has done a lot of good things, but I think Tolerance has done more.  On top of that, I could never get my brain around the idea that any group of people could be said to deserve more than another group simply because they believed something the others did not.  Through the discussions I’ve had with family, friends, people in churches and people in classrooms, there are a lot of things I could say about what I hold to be true, but I’m only going to go into one.

 A funny thing about many religions that teach that things are pre-destined, or that there is a single path that God (or whoever one believes to be up there) wants you to take/pushes you towards, is that it makes it easy for that person to not take responsibility for their actions.  If you do something, or you make a bad choice, or even if someone else makes a bad choice and as a result you respond in a certain way, it becomes possible for you to assign that choice as a part of God’s preset plan.  If you place all of your faith in something bigger and more powerful than yourself, it becomes easy to accept and settle for what in actuality is not your full potential.  An example without God, but represents the problems with believing the problem is higher up than yourself:  Soldiers fighting in Iraq for the United States of America.  Many people don’t want this war to keep going on, but it does.  In one of my other classes, we were having a discussion about this and one guy was angry with the soldiers for signing up and going to war, which met a lot of opposition from the rest of the class who were defending the people who signed up saying things like, some minorities don’t have choices about whether to sign up because they are offered things like college tuition, etc; or that they start recruiting in highschool so early that a lot of kids aren’t given enough information to make an educated decision.  (There are a lot of reasons people fight in wars-but the class subject was based more on minorities and social influences) The point of his argument (which I see truth in because I’m bringing it up here) was that we do not have a draft.  There is a choice that is being made by these kids and young adults.  When we defend the fighters in a war that we don’t believe in because we argue they were forced into it by circumstance bigger than themselves we take responsibility out of the hands of the people who are commiting the action and we internally create a feeling of hopelessness in ourselves to right the situation.  Circumstance, and how these young adults were raised, and their political backgrounds, and how politicians, teachers, recruiters, and friends influenced them to make one decision becomes too much for us as spectators of seeing these people go to war to muster up the guts to make any kind of active change.  When we take it out of the big picture and look at it simply on our own level, it doesn’t become an impossible problem.  It becomes something we can see and understand and take action towards, whether by providing more knowledge about alternatives to funding college or encouraging discussion about these choices when we see them being made.  Basically, when we begin to see things on our own scale rather than huge and complex and omniscient and omnipotent, we can take RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS.  Problems are no longer outside of ourself, they are within us and are tangible around us, and when we see them in this way we can fix ourself first-and by doing so, then we can work to fix the problems in our environment.  It is increasingly important that we contunually define our own individual moral code, taking in all the information we learn as we age, and to make changes as we gather new information.  The world is changing all the time, and as flexible beings we change with it and interact with it on our own terms.  We can never know for certain if there is or isnt a God, but we can know our own limits and our own definitions of what is right and wrong and we are capable of making our own choices and molding ourselves if we don’t fit our own expectations that we arive at through having a strong individual moral code.  In going to church, when I was little, I remember being taught that God or Jesus (I don’t remember which one) wanted us to question our beliefs and continually think on our physical and spiritual actions so that we could better come into a stronger way of faith.  (Did anyone else who went to a christian church ever learn that? I haven’t heard it since….) My main point is that whether there is an afterlife or not, we do the best that we can so that we can interact with eachother in ways that allow eachother to live happy and healthy because we care about the people around us (and if you’re surrounded by happy and healthy people, they probably won’t want to cause you any harm either… because happy, healthy people just don’t do that sort of thing) and we allow ourselves to live in the now and enjoy life while acknowledging the power that we have as individuals and the power we have when we come together to create change in the ways we think and how we live.


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