The God of Abraham
Today, I wanna talk about the faiths that most people think of when they hear the words “Spirituality” and “God”: The Abrahamic religions. (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam )
The first thing I wanna make clear is that even though I don’t claim to follow any of them, I still think all three can beautiful faiths when viewed with the right perspective and all three get entirely too much hate. Far too often, I see people take the bad behaviors of a few naturally shitty individuals who’ve just decided to use religion to rationalize their shittiness. It’s really common for people to hold entire religions responsible for the actions of individuals who are only pretending to believe in them. I don’t think that’s really fair, because the people who actually follow these religions tend to be kind and caring individuals who do a lot of good in this world.
Jesus never told anyone to condemn anyone, and Mohammed was pretty clear about not shedding blood except unless you’re defending yourself in a time of war.
Christ said that we’re all only human which means we all make mistakes. He told his disciples to love and accept everyone without casting judgement, and to forgive others who wronged them universally without question. A couple direct quotes I can remember off the top of my head are “Love one another as I have loved you” and “Judge not lest ye be judged”. I dunno what’s going on in people’s heads when they decide to bomb abortion clinics and lynch people over their sexual orientation, but whatever it is, it’s not a logical conclusion you can reach from any rational interpretation of the shit Christ said. I completely understand why people have a grudge against Christianity, but like I said before, the "Christians" who fit into that judging, hateful, and unloving stereotype are lying when they claim to be following Christ.
Islam has it even worse when it comes to being hated because of the atrocities carried out by non-believers who’ve chosen to mask their fucked up motivations by pretending they’re Muslim. People love to say the Qu’ran explicitly tells those extremists to wage war in the name of Allah, but it only appears that way if you take things out of context. Here’s an exact quote to show you what I mean:
“Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not transgress, for Allah does not love transgressors.”
Do you notice how it’s only telling Muslims to defend themselves, and specifically forbids them from being the attackers?
In reality, The Quran has the same message of peace, love, and goodwill towards your fellow man that the Bible does. As a matter of fact, J-dawg McChrist-guy actually gets mad love in Quran, and Muslims believe Isa (their name for Jesus) to be the messiah. The Gospels were considered holy by Mohammed and Muslims are told to obey them. Islam’s dispute with Christianity is with believing a man made of flesh is the same thing as God. They think the holy trinity is a misinterpretation of the Gospels' teachings, and instead believe in the oneness of <Allah/God/Yahweh/Elohim/The God of Abraham>.
(Do you really believe such a being would care what you call it?)
I’m gonna be honest, I have a lot less direct knowledge of Judaism, but from what I’ve read in the Old Testament, the general theme still appears to be focused on loving and caring for each one another and only waging war to protect yourself. God was just a little harsher about punishing those who didn’t wanna go along with that back then. We all made mistakes when we were young. He cleaned things up a bit for the sequels….
(Ever heard of a beta test?)
Here’s the thing though: Remember at the beginning when I said “I still think all three can beautiful faiths when viewed with the right perspective”?
*A LOT* of people have the complete opposite of what I’d consider the right perspective.
The biggest problem secular people have with these religions is the tendency for supposed believers to cast judgement on one another, condemn people for choosing to believe differently than they do, and try to force people to convert. The idea that followers should be attempting to convert all mankind is by far the biggest misinterpretation of these religions that’s possible, in my opinion, and I highly suspect this misinterpretation first came about intentionally by dudes who wanted to say “God said I gotta do this” to justify warmongering and empire building.
You want some proof that God doesn’t want people judging one another straight from the scripture?
(Besides the direct quotes from Christ I used earlier, obviously)
In the Bible, it’s basically the first thing people are told:
“And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”~ Genesis (1:31)
Notice how it says “Everything he made” and not “Everything he made except for people who disagree with you”? That’s probably a distinction you should be keeping in mind. By casting judgement on another person, you’re looking at piece of God’s creation and saying you know better than God, and that piece of his creation is bad.
(God’s pretty proud of his creation from what I’m told, by the way. He’d probably be pretty pissed at you if he knew you were talking shit. Don’t worry, your secrets safe with me)
In the Qu’ran, it’s a little farther in, but a lot less ambiguous about it:
“Oh humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know each other (not that ye may despise each other).“ ~ Qu’ran (49:13)
Full disclosure: I dunno very much about the Qu’ran. I Googled for the Qu’ran’s version of creation to get the quote that was analogous to the one I used from Genesis, and found this instead. From what I can tell, not all Muslims use that part in parenthesis. It’s still pretty clear about Allah putting us here to know one another, and I’m fairly certain “know” isn’t a synonym for “condemn”, “convert”, or “kill”.
(If you think otherwise, I’d prefer it if you didn’t try to get to know me, thanks)
The problem I have with all of the Abrahamic religions is they all claim they’re one true religion. That raises a lot of logical problems. If all them are claiming to follow the same God, why did that God allow the confusion that’s caused by having three “One true religions”? He really coulda saved us all some trouble by just picking one and sticking to it. Also, if the only way into Heaven is by believing in the correct religion, what about all the people who never got to hear about these religions because they were born on the other side of the world? Then there’s the free-will problem: If God want us to be blindly subservient, why did he give us the option to not do that?
I’ve said it in other essays: I think all religions have a shard of truth in them, but that message is diluted by additions made by men with ulterior motives. That’s why I always fall back to Daoism and Buddhism. Both of them tell people not to accept them as unquestionable truths and to apply your own judgement to come to your own conclusion. I don’t believe in one correct prophet that had God whispering in their ear. I believe we all have a piece of “God” within us, so we should look within ourselves for guidance. If there is a God, I don’t think it told people to avoid sin because it’s hurt when we don’t or because it wants us to be obedient. I think the reason a God would want man to avoid sin is because sin hurts, and it doesn’t want us to hurt. The craziest thing about the Abrahamic religions is that they all claim to believe in the same God, yet the people they judge and vilify most are their fellow believers.
Ultimately, the truth of God’s existence and what that God’s will would be if it does exist are questions whose answers are beyond the scope of human comprehension. Forcing your will on other people, demanding they believe what you believe, and telling them to live life as you’ve chosen to live it isn’t something a God who loves mankind and wants us to be happy would require. The people who suffer the most from doing that are the people casting judgement on each other. They cut themselves off from truly understanding the world, and turn themselves in angry balls of hatred. That whole message about casting judgement and being hateful is just something a man posing as a priest taught. All men are flawed, so don’t take everything they teach as Gospel.
Do what Christ taught: Love one another, love your life, and be at peace. That’s the real Gospel, so take that as Gospel instead.