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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Politics: the poison that corrupts religion and life

Politics is the game of power, the struggle for external control. Religion is a set of personal beliefs that guide ones life and try to explain the world we experience. Originally this meant trying to explain everything, while passing along generational knowledge and wisdom and encouraging self-control, responsibility and community. Philosophy replaced religion's intellectual and physical explanations, leading to the development of scientific study. This has not replaced the life lessons, moral principles, and techniques of reaching enlightenment, stress management, and self-control that religions provide. Religions are based upon personal belief and faith. These are meant to be shared with others to allow them to choose to accept or reject them as they wish. Faith develops within, it can't be built in you by another. That's not faith it's obedience. One is an act of self-control while the other is an act of force and thus political. I believe that no one can convert another. Only god has the ability to truly change a heart, and that's where faith comes from. Organized religion is just a way for those who share beliefs to gather and practice their beliefs. Organized religion is not an evil, but religious organizations are, the difference being that former is a gathering of believers while the latter is a corporation whose business is conversion and control. Their dogma is the corporate charter and mission, and the people merely consumers to be manipulated. Unfortunately once a religion organizes, it becomes easy to poison with politics. I believe in a firm questioning faith rather than blind obedient belief. Since a nation is a collective of people who believe in that nation's ideals, the same problem and principles apply to nations as to organized religions. Blind obedience to organizations is never a good thing.

 "You don't convert people by yelling louder." This mantra from the Gospel According to Peanuts, speaks to the problem in our governments and our churches. Instead of sharing ideas and letting the audience decide for themselves what to do and believe, religious organizations and political parties (which are essentially the same animal) use politics to manipulate emotions, yelling louder until they use the bang of violence to silence dissent. Politics is essentially competitive, while religions and nations should be at least internally cooperative, a sharing of ideas and talents for mutual good. Politics is external, while religion should be internal. Politics is the forcing of ideas and wills upon others. Religion should be a personal quest for qualitative personal improvement, compassion, and self-knowledge leading to self-control. Practically all religions started this way, until they incorporated. Heavenly Father and Jesus don't have need of politics to accomplish his goals. He respects free will so much that he doesn't interfere with the evil it can generate. He doesn't yell, but speaks softly in the darkest silence of your life to lead you back to the light. He gave us commandments by which we could improve and to challenge our free will. He doesn't send angels to make sure we don't break them or fine us when we do, he leaves it to us to experience the consequences that we create. He lets us learn, he doesn't brainwash us.

True religious belief opens you up to the world and its experiences as a personal spiritual exploration of self and life. It gives signposts and guidance, and, I believe, occasional contradictions to test our free will. It isn't simplistic. Its is faith not dogma. Dogma is the creation of politics. The best politician is Lucifer. He wants to strip away our free will and impose his tyranny, and many follow in his footsteps. Dogma is created for external control. Religion relies on self-control, the only control that truly matters. People like dogma and unquestioning obedience because then they don't have to expend the energy to think and act for themselves. Most importantly, they don't have to be responsible for controlling themselves. Self-control of free will is the only legitimate control and is the sign of an adult. Finding the balance between free will and self-control, as Aristotle knew, is the chief purpose of life and its greatest wisdom. The Golden Mean and the Golden Rule both apply.