I’m not, never have been and never will be a God-botherer. I’m quite content that others feel differently, but as long as they don’t impose their value system on my value system, I’m in favour of ‘live and let live’.
I have, however, read numerous religious texts in my lifetime, in order to at least understand the world’s major (and some minor) religions.
Sadly, the reality is that others don’t always take this view, and they feel the need to impose their values on me, in a very vocal, political and often legal manner to get their way.
For example, I’m not opposed to abortion. I don’t agree with it being ‘on demand’, used as a contraceptive, in effect, but I recognise that there are some people for whom abortion is a solution. It wouldn’t be my solution, ever, but it exists and is probably best being administered under proper clinical conditions rather than in back streets.
Yet there are some for whom abortion is anathema, up to and including murder in order to oppose what they see as murder (of an unborn child).
Chase the links in the link above and a pattern emerges. Religion sits at the back, in most instances, of the ‘justification’ of these crimes.
You don’t need a religion to have a code of morality. Agnostics and atheists seem perfectly capable of working within a moral framework – we could even call that moral framework ‘The Ten Commandments‘- while cutting out the middlemen, the religious ‘leaders’ who often corrupt the pure word of God for their own ends.
I have had conversations where a Christian will say one thing to me as indisputable fact, to which I present a counter-argument, and yes, I can actually quote from the Bible in support of my argument. The usual get-out clause is cited. ‘That’s not the true word of God, that’s from the x version of the Bible’.
I might quote from the Tripitaka, Buddhist scriptures, to which a response might be that the Christian doesn’t recognise that, thereby dismissing the views of 488m practitioners around the globe (none of them doing much killing in the name of Buddha).
Then there’s the ‘Muslim question’. There’s the ‘Black Lives Matter’ question. There’s numerous questions about how we get back to a harmonious world in which a white Christian can freely holiday in, say, Afghanistan without fear, a Muslim can walk the streets in religious dress without hate, a black man can reach for his driver’s licence without fear of death.
We’re living in an increasingly fractured world. The temptation is to log in to Second Life and pretend the problems don’t exist, problems more often than not caused by religious divisions out there in the real world. If not directly caused by religion, they’re caused by geo-politics and the needs to extract every drop of oil from the globe (then what? Shouldn’t we be addressing ‘the future’ now and seeking an alternative to oil dependency? One of the things that the World Naked Bike Ride addresses, incidentally).
I’m working on a couple of pieces that will pull these ideas together in a way that also tags naturism and naturist ideals as part of the solution.
I tried this before (and failed) when editing ‘The SL Naturist’, but this time I’m determined to see this through to the end and make a statement about how it’s an ethos of acceptance of one another, tolerance and respect -all central planks in the naturist ethos- that will see us through the awful times we currently inhabit. Part 1 should be up in 2-3 days, with the second part following 2-3 days thereafter.