I just saw Bill Maher on Fox’s O’Reilly show, and… despite my dislike for his politics, I whole-heartedly agree with his opinions on religion. Religion has been overwhelmingly responsible for the hate, war, and strife in the world. Not any one religion, mind you. Not christianity, not islam, not jews, and certainly not buddhists, taoists, or even pagans. Religion in general. I’ll grant you that most religions tend to “settle down” over time and become benevolent (someday maybe even the muslims will achieve that), but for the most part all they tend to do is fight with those who believe something other than what they’re preaching.
The reasonable thing would be for humanity to discover true “enlightenment”, and accept that we’re all human and need each other to exist. Religion is not generally conducive to this end, although again I’ll be the first to admit that some religions seem to make that their objective over time.
To paraphrase George Carlin, how stupid do we have to be to blindly accept that there’s an “invisible man in the sky”, who loves us, but threatens to send us to burn in hell if we do wrong… and is needs our money!
Here are some quotes from Bill Maher that I found poignant. (Taken from this google cached article)
“That’s one of the things that really bugs me about religion. If you don’t know the answer, just say, ‘I don’t know.’ Don’t make up stories and make people believe them, and then work backwards in everything in life from the dumb little story you made up, you know? We don’t know. Be a good person just because it’s the right thing to do. How ’bout that?”
“I believed all this stuff when I was young,” Maher begins, smiling wryly. “I believed there was a virgin birth, I believed a man lived inside of a whale, and I believed that the Earth was 5,000 years old. But then something very important happened to me — I graduated sixth grade.”
I have to admit, it always seemed rather like a fairy-tale to me… I went through the motions, memorized the appropriate passages, read the required texts… but it never struck me as particularly true.
“Morality is mostly the Golden Rule, treating other people the way you would like other people to treat you,” he says. “I mean, the teachings of Jesus are a great moral guide. Jesus is one of the greatest role models I can think of. It’s a shame that Christianity has gone so far from the teachings of Jesus. I don’t know anyone less Jesus-like than most Christians.
“And, by the way, the Bible does have wisdom in it, but it’s written in parables,” he continues passionately. “It’s the idiots today who take it literally. And the first parable that is in the Bible is the story of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of knowledge.
“What I believe that writer was trying to tell mankind was, ‘You can’t know. Don’t try to eat from the tree of knowledge. You can’t know. That’s for God to know, not for you to know.’ . . . And I believe that is a fairly wise story. You can’t know.”
Why does it feel like Maher is quoting me?
This is uncanny… I feel like I’ve found a fellow traveler.
Thank you, Bill Maher, for letting me see I’m not alone.