Today on ReThinking Podcast Bill discusses the "Selfishness of Religion". Listen in as Bill reflects on religious views that involve sacrifice, eternal life, self pleasure (but not too much pleasure).
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For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (Joh 3:16 ESV)
Oh, how special you are. You, being specifically a human, are special. Everything was created for your benefit, for your pleasure (but not too much pleasure, that is sinful), for your enjoyment. Southerners in the United States are notorious for believing in the idea that a sense of entitlement is what is wrong with this present generation, and that “kids today” just do not understand that the world does not revolve around them. While that is certainly a debate to have, it is rather ironic that these elders of the south are largely Christian conservatives, and most likely Baptist. The reason being, because the whole premise of any of the three main religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) is that you are extremely important. When you go back before the days of these monotheistic religions (yes there was a time before these beliefs existed), you see more of a animism/spirituality approach. Everything had value, including the plants, animals, and fellow species of homo sapiens. Religious beliefs were local, and there was not a “I am right, you are wrong” type of thought process when it came to religious thought. The world had a soul, and I think that is a beautiful thing from that time period.
Then monotheistic religions came into play, as early as c.1350 BC in Egypt, according to the records we have. This was truly a change in direction, and quickly turned spiritual thought away from “everything is sacred”, to “we are sacred”. Now, we kill others, both fellow species, and other species down to the smallest life forms all to (supposedly) better ourselves. The selfishness of man has been seen throughout the ages, and monotheistic religion was a push in that direction. As the verse above gives reference to, monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam took the world in a direction towards believing that not only are humans what everything is about, but specifically a certain type of humans. You now need to believe a certain way, or even be born a certain way, in order to be special. The animal kingdom is completely taken out of the picture. No longer do we care about the world, because hey, it is here for our benefit anyways. The irony is hard to miss, and it is strikes at the heart of all things that humanism stands for. When Christians tout their “caring” religion, it truly doesn’t take long to realize the hypocrisy of this whole religious system. The importance of realizing our place in the world as a whole cannot be understated. Just among fellow humans, we are one in approximately 7.6 billion other humans. That does not even include animals, and plants. Christians, specifically the Southern Baptist Christians love to mock those who defend animals, and plants as “tree huggers”, and trying to suggest that we must care more about animals then we do humans. I do not understand why we cannot do both, care about humans, and animals at the same time. There is a lot of work to be done in the area of care for our world. Climate change is a reality, and all the other species are suffering for it. Homo sapiens have left some pretty amazing advances in technology, and knowledge in its wake, but we also have left devastation and destruction. You are not the point, get over it.