Christmas is just around the corner. Despite its being commercialized as a holiday shopping season, Christmas should be about spirituality and religion. To go a little further, religion is about belief. Belief defines the human spirit that sets us apart from other animals. Everybody has the right to believe in anything, even the most ridiculous and illogical. However, nobody has the right to impose his personal belief on others. Furthermore, nobody has the right to deceive or harm others because of his own personal belief.
Religion and belief have the same root — spirituality. The only difference is that a religion is an organization where people come together to worship and celebrate their common belief. Every organization is led and managed by a group of people who are fallible and corruptible just because they are human. That means every religion is susceptible to the danger of straying away from its good principles due to bad leadership. In medieval times, religious wars were common especially in Europe. In modern days, most conflicts around the world, especially terrorism, are colored by religion. Can you imagine religious people kill rather than be kind to one another?
I believe that all religions are good because their scriptures urge people to do good things. A religion becomes less than good when its corrupted leaders misrepresent the scriptures, and advocate violence and slander to further their authority and power. Therefore, the devil comes from the crooked human spirit, not from a religion.
All religions have a supreme being to believe in. Most people subconsciously extend that belief to the religious leaders. I think that is going too far. Personally, I want to believe in a supreme being that is good and merciful, not a human being who leads a religion. You may call this supreme being anything you want. Without this belief of mine, I would become depressed because I see all the cruel and unjust things happening in this world everyday. I believe for my own self-interest because I want to find spiritual strength to help me recover from all the traumas in life.
Many people think that science and religion conflict with each other. Why should they? Albert Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” Religion gives us the concept of a supreme being. The great powers of this supreme being are manifested in all the wonders of nature. Science is a study that discovers the wonders of nature bit by bit like a jigsaw puzzle. You may also say that nature slowly reveals itself through the minds and works of the scientists.
Many scientists don’t have a religion. Some proclaim themselves atheists. Some believe that the complex universe evolves out of nothing. Those are their rights to believe. Whatever the scientists believe does not matter at all. They have already performed well by discovering the wonders of nature, thus reaffirming the great powers believed to be associated with the supreme being at the heart of every religion. Whether or not we were created by the supreme being is beside the point, and should not be an issue of argument because we may never find out. Needless to say, we are endowed with the ability to evolve, survive and progress. That is sufficient reason to reaffirm the evidence of creation.
Some great scientific discoveries are known to conflict with religion. Among these are: the creation of the universe where the earth is not the center but a tiny sphere; the origin of humans dated back millions of years ago, contrary to what the scriptures say; and the evolution of species through millions of years, instead of being created as they are according to the scriptures.
Are those great discoveries really in conflict with religion? Not at all! They are only in conflict with the religious dogmas invented by religious leaders. The religious dogmas encourage the followers to interpret the scriptures literally as if they possessed little intelligence to reason for themselves. As science continues to advance, the religious leaders find themselves increasingly out of touch with reality, because they cannot adjust to new scientific evidence. They are not brave enough to embrace science for fear of losing their authority. They don’t recognize that science only reveals and reaffirms the wonders of nature associated with a supreme being that is at the center of every religion. Again, it is the human mistake and fortress mentality that cause the conflicts between science and religion.
Faced with a choice between scientific facts and religious dogmas, I do not hesitate to believe the former. I am sure many reasonable people will agree. In science, there is intense intellectual competition among scientists for further discoveries and refinement of their theories. In religion, the religious leaders fear scientific challenges to their authority. They demand blind obedience of the human-invented dogmas, which is only acceptable to the ignorant too lazy to think and reason.
As far as I am concerned, I want to believe in a supreme being that is good and merciful, whose existence I never need to question because the wonders of nature will suffice. I want to believe in any religion that urges people to do good and be compassionate. I want to believe in scientific evidence that reaffirms the powers and wonders of nature. However, I don’t want to believe in the outdated dogmas maintained by any religious leader who is fallible and corruptible.