The Clash and Synthesis of Free Thinking and Religion

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“Mullah: We Beat Women to Honor Them,” titles youtube video with unconfirmed captions.

A friend asks:

Will my Muslim friends please weigh in on this? How pervasive are these ideas?
There are similarly distressing ideas in the Bible. Will my Christian friends please share their vIews?

I’ve read the whole bible, and I’ve never encountered anything that vivid about beating women. In fact, I don’t know anyone, Christian or Muslim, who knows anyone who thinks beating grown women is ok.

To me, it sounds like the acceptable way things were 3000 years ago regardless of religion. Once upon a time, human sacrifices were normal. Judiasm’s strange laws in the Torah were progressive compared to what was acceptable at that time– “hey, instead of sacrificing humans, let’s sacrifice animals.”

In regards to Christianity, Jesus is the Christian authority over all things and very progressive and liberating of women. People want to stone a woman for being “slutty,” but Jesus said, let the person with no sin cast the first stone. At the time, that sounds to me like Jesus was saying, “who are you to judge her?” saving her life.

It sucks to associate practices of a religion thousands of years ago to what the religion inherently is. Back then, women were treated badly, b/c civilizations didn’t know any better. However, I can understand why people associate the practices thousands of years ago with particular religions. Christianity, for example, when it became the official Roman religion, was used to control people. It was used to keep power for the powerful and away from the powerless.

People didn’t start reading until the printing press, which is only 600 years old, so what did they know (besides what the “authorities” told them)? That mindset of keeping things the way they were thousands of years ago is part of a lot of religious rhetoric– thinking that this is how you stay loyal to God and being afraid of losing power.

I think Jesus was far more brilliant that his followers represent (even today) and was thinking thousands of years ahead of his time. He told his followers to write down their experiences, so that we’d have multiple perspectives on what was going on rather than a black and white set of rules.

So, what we are experiencing is free thought clashing with tradition and a lot of emotions obscuring the matter. This new wave of education and free thinking will synthesize well with the core of what religion is about, I believe, and we are just in that transition right now.

That’s why I did my nonprofit, b/c I believe education will remedy a lot of this.

I’ve been Buddhist for a little bit, but I know the most about Christianity. For Christianity, at least, I can say it is the religion for the mistreated, objectified, and abused. Jesus liked being with the outcasts, not the religious elite. He called the religious hypocrites of his day a “brood of vipers,” and said over and over again, “why can’t you see that life is about love?”

Imagine Jesus saying this to unloving Christian public figures today:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23%3A13-33&version=NIV

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