I am not a religious person. What I believe doesn’t fit into neat little boxes, or for that matter, a church pew. I am, however, a student of religion because religion shapes our world.
Notice I say religion, not faith. The two can be mutually exclusive. Religion seeks to subjugate, control. Faith is freedom, or it can be. I guess it depends on where you put your faith.
Today, three of the biggest religions are celebrating holy days. I know people of all three religions, all three faiths. They live their faith daily. It is part of who they are and their faith is beautiful. Their religions? Not so much, in my opinion.
Why is that? I think it’s because faith is an individual thing. It lives in a person’s heart. Religion, on the other hand, is a man-made expression of what a group of men said they believed thousands of years ago, modified and codified and made rigid by human beings who maybe started with the best of intentions, then discovered the money and power available to them through the enforcing of said religion.
I don’t begrudge anyone their faith. Believe what is in your heart to believe. I have no desire to stop you.
So, where does the war part come in?
It’s no secret that religion has been used to justify war for centuries and it continues today. Right here in the US there is a concerted religious war on LGBTQ+ folks, on a woman’s right to control her body and on critical thinking. Around the world, religious groups attack other religious groups as they have done since the beginning of time.
And perhaps most jarring to me at this moment in time is the time and money that will be spent in religious celebration while men, women, and children are under siege by a megalomaniac. Not that I expect us all to sit and wring our hands all day every day over what is happening in Ukraine, not at all.
However, it might be nice if those religious leaders would stop praising the megalomaniac, and lead their congregations in support of those fleeing the violence.
Happy Easter/Passover/Ramadan, if you celebrate, Readers. Please keep Ukraine in your thoughts and remember that Kindness Matters.