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Pondering ethical organized religion

Started by Susan, February 10, 2024, 01:02:55 AM

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Susan

In a world abounding with diverse cultures and beliefs, our pursuit of spiritual truth unfolds in myriad ways, each path reflecting the profound tapestry of human experience. This quest for enlightenment or ultimate understanding is seen through countless lenses, each shaped by the aspirations and insights of seekers.

Recognizing this rich diversity, we understand that there is not one universal path to spiritual realization but many, each uniquely crafted to the journey of the individual. The concept of multiple paths to enlightenment, as varied as the individuals who pursue them, celebrates the diversity of spiritual expression. Christians, atheists, Jewish people, Muslims, Indigenous people, and followers of belief systems that bring good into the world all navigate distinct trajectories toward universal understanding and peace. Our purpose in this world is to progress spiritually, discovering universal understanding and peace, guided by the one universal ethic – the Golden Rule: to love one's neighbor and treat others as one would wish to be treated.

This fundamental ethic, resonant across numerous traditions, underscores that the essence of morality lies in empathy, respect, and mutual care, suggesting a just society is built on compassion and understanding rather than the strictures of dogma. The paradox of a deity granting free will, yet restricting it under threat of eternal torment, invites us to critically examine the motives behind our moral choices. Observing the laws of the universe, we see that consistency is a hallmark of the divine; thus, when we encounter inconsistency in religious teachings, it suggests the influence of human interpretation rather than the pure word of God. This insight challenges the traditional narrative of divine justice, prompting us to consider the value of actions taken out of genuine compassion or ethical conviction rather than fear of punishment or anticipation of reward.

An equitable approach to salvation, accessible to all irrespective of background, champions the importance of doing the right thing for the right reasons. This viewpoint critically addresses the notion that suffering might be divinely ordained to teach empathy, highlighting the moral quandary posed by a system where pain is a prerequisite for moral growth. It calls into question the justice of a scheme that necessitates suffering for enlightenment or compassion's development. Moreover, the idea that a deity might condemn individuals for whom they love, or permit persecution for living their lives authentically—especially concerning LGBTQIA and transgender individuals—conflicts sharply with principles of compassion and unconditional love. A truly loving deity would advocate for love and authenticity over condemnation, challenging us to reflect on the ethical implications of religious teachings that cause harm.

The misuse of religion to justify exclusion, persecution, and hatred, misleading followers in the divine's name, underscores the need for a spirituality that transcends dogmatic boundaries, fostering a more inclusive and compassionate worldview. This calls for a reevaluation of our understanding of the divine, suggesting that perhaps the essence of the divine lies not in orchestrating challenges but in the compassion, solidarity, and action these challenges inspire among us. An inclusive approach to spirituality celebrates our shared humanity, encouraging us to find truth and peace not in conformity but in the richness of our diverse experiences and the depth of our shared values. It invites us to engage in actions born of love rather than fear, championing a view of morality and spirituality grounded in genuine commitment to doing what is right.

If such a deity exists, they would surely embrace our diversity as beautiful aspects of creation, worthy of respect and dignity, not flaws to condemn. This vision embodies unconditional love and mercy, transcending human limitations and inviting us to stand with those who suffer, offering hope and solace through our actions and understanding. This reflection is a plea for each of us to pursue our paths with integrity and compassion, respecting others' journeys while committing to ethical living that transcends fear of punishment or desire for reward. It's a call to action to shape a world where every path is honored, every seeker finds their place, and every action is taken for the sake of goodness itself, fostering a society where compassion, understanding, and mutual respect flourish.

Just some late-night thoughts for people to consider.
Susan Larson
Founder
Susan's Place Transgender Resources

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    The following users thanked this post: LoriDee

tgirlamg

A wonderful post Susan!

The Golden Rule is the key to many doors! I always resonated deeply with this brief scene in Kingdom Of Heaven... David Thewlis plays a Hospitaller Knight whom, although it is never stated... is an angel... He tells Orlando Bloom's character, Balien, his view on religion and what God wants of him... Simply his head and his heart... and by what he decides to do each day, he will be a good man... or not!



Onward Beautiful Sister!

Ashley  :)
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment" ... Ralph Waldo Emerson 🌸

"The individual has always had to struggle from being overwhelmed by the tribe... But, no price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself" ... Rudyard Kipling 🌸

Let go of the things that no longer serve you... Let go of the pretense of the false persona, it is not you... Let go of the armor that you have worn for a lifetime, to serve the expectations of others and, to protect the woman inside... She needs protection no longer.... She is tired of hiding and more courageous than you know... Let her prove that to you....Let her step out of the dark and feel the light upon her face.... amg🌸

Ashley's Corner: https://www.susans.org/index.php/topic,247549.0.html 🌻
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Yvanektara

#2
I quite agree. Many organized religions set their theologies as the source and basis of all their ethics, and if those approaches are incomplete, allowing passivity on the part of adherents, those ethics can quickly degenerate into following the leaders who happen to be in charge at the time. It does call for us to consider the ethics themselves and what makes them ethical. Even so, there's a danger.

This became clear to me in 2012 when I took a class in Ethics. One assignment consisted of taking a news item and evaluating whether decisions should be commended or condemned based upon 1 of the moral theories taught in class. I noticed something. Only 2 people found anything to commend and the rest found things to condemn. I brought up this issue with the professor, and he was clearly shaken to realize that students found more to condemn than commend in humanity, and his feelings as an instructor were understandable.

When we consider ethics, especially when approaching the realm of spiritualities and religions, we should also ask ourselves the real objective we seek in those ethics. Key to this, I think, is the objective of innocence. What is it in the first place? Is it something we approach legalistically? Or is there a naturalistic approach that should direct our approach to our ethics, and consequently, our relationship to one or more spiritual traditions? I think it's the latter, for the former too often tempts us to vindictiveness instead of providing an impetus toward greater compassion.

In other words, if small children are our examples of innocence, and if innocence is a precious thing to be preserved, is it because of their ignorance, especially regarding sex? If so, we do no favor by teaching them anything. Is it sinlessness? If so, the popular "original sin" idea prohibits it. If we appeal to small children not understanding enough to be accountable, we retreat again to the idea of innocence being ignorance. So what are we really talking about?

Looking into their eyes, I see what it really is. They continually live a dream and that with gusto and great wonderment. In fact, the frequencies of brain waves in small children are slower, more akin to deep meditation and dreaming than what we commonly find in adults. If those wonderments are tempered with a recognition of truth as not absolute but objective, we can feel assurance that the wonderment we should feel about the world, one another, and even deity should remain in balance.

Northern Star Girl

@Yvanektara
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    The following users thanked this post: LoriDee

LoriDee

@Yvanektara

Wonderfully written post. I enjoyed your perspective on this.

I'd like to welcome you to Susan's Place. Take some time to read through the links Danielle posted for you. We would like to get to know you better and read more about your perspective on other topics too.

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