Monday, October 20, 2008

"letter to the editor"

Does religion lead to relativism? An almighty hand that can reach down to slap you for wrongdoing makes morality/doing good things a necessity. Thus the opposite would be true for those who NEED to believe there is a god. Absent of the heavenly discipliner, there is no need to do good, no higher purpose to attain to.

On the other hand, those who do not believe in an active creator god who is going to take us to the pearly gates after our spin on this mortal coil are completed, we believe it is our responsibility to care for each other. And this higher purpose is often what leads us to reject a "guiding hand" in the universe. We believe in the dignity and worth of all people. Life's cruelties seem out of sync and even contrary to the love of an almighty creator who has the power to at least alleviate the suffering of, at the very least, the weakest. It is not enough to say "it is sinful nature" or "it is free will" and in fact it is an incredible copout on the part of the people of the book to not spend their lives on their knees asking their god to intervene since they believe that god answers prayer. It is a stunning hypocrisy (and arrogance and any other number of negative human characteristics) that allows believers to think that they are somehow blessed by god while others, and generally the most helpless and defenseless, SUFFER due to their actions.

Indeed suffering is often the result of "sin"-- human suffering is so frequently the result of "man's inhumanity to man" that it is even more egregious to blame god for humanity's greed and violence. To say that human suffering is a result of sin and claim that humans are helpless to their sinful nature is to absolve humanity of it's responsibility in the world and to each other.

So does religion lead to relativism? Does a belief in god give one a shrug-of-the-shoulders view of the world, that it doesn't really matter since it's all "temporal" and "one day we'll be in heaven away from the pain and suffering of the world" attitude?

I believe it does.


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