Echoes of Hope – When bad things happen to Spiritual-But-Not-Religious people Introduction

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Listening to Echoes of Hope

Tom Let’s get right to the first concern: many of you see Religion itself as a cause of suffering.

R158 Religion for me is a scary thing.

R053 Religion is nothing but fodder for war. Sheryl Crow sang it in 1997: “We got loud guitars and big suspicions/ Great big guns and small ambitions/ And we still argue over who is god”.

R018 When harmful, damaging practices and actions are carried out in the name of religion, I find it difficult to respect.

R090 In the news and history, we always hear about holy wars of the past (Crusades)

and the present (Palestine-Israel), terrorism and killings (9/11) done all in the name of Allah, God. So much bloodshed, millions killed and lives destroyed all in the name of religion...

R156 I think it’s all just a little bit ridiculous. Various cultures have waged war over their religious differences since the beginning of time. It’s a tired and disturbing cliché that more people have died in the name of religion than for any other cause. It’s sheer lunacy. No one really, truly knows. No one can definitively and undeniably state whether or not God or Allah, or any deity for that matter, exists. No one can definitively state with concrete proof whether Heaven or Hell exist, whether or not there is an after-life or whether or not the concept of karma is real, for example. Do Christians know the truth, or do Muslims or Buddhists? Nobody knows for sure, but despite this, cultures have threatened and murdered in the name of their religious beliefs.

R037 There are three reasons why religion is more harmful than helpful, first religion is used as a pain killer or a wall to protect oneself from life, second the amount of negative situations like murder and war caused by religion are astronomical, and finally it takes away from the responsibility of the individual when everything is put on god.

R161 I belong to a Muslim family. However, I was completely put off by religion and thought it was an unnecessary element in life. I did not deny God’s existence but I believed that there are many other ways of showing gratefulness towards God than praying. I thought it was much more important to be a good human being and to serve humanity as a whole. I believe that serving humanity, being nice to other individuals and helping them in their hour of need is of utmost importance. Even though that is what all religions of the world teach, I find that most religious people overlook this fact.

R167 I am homosexual as well as Muslim. I do not believe in organized religion, yet I do have a belief in God. I believe that my beliefs are intimate and personal. I do not see a positive in organized religion, I take a much more spiritual and personal-experience interpretation of what I believe are the foundations of Islam. I believe that mainstream Islam, organized Islam and much of its proponents are political and derive from Arab culture rather than the true message of the religion.

R173 Religion has been used as a tool of oppression and hatred. I feel as though they have molded the church, the concept of God and religion into a way to judge and hate others. Fred Phelps, for example, claims to be a “Man of God” but shows his devotion by protesting outside funerals holding signs that read “God Hates Fags”. To me, this is hate. Rather than outwardly say that they hate something, some choose to hide behind the guise of religion. It allows for hate speech to be renamed “freedom of religion.” I do not find hope or guidance in an institution that does not speak out against these acts of bigotry.

R174 Well personally I find it hard to believe in a God that would allow pain, suffering and evil. I also find it hard to believe that with all the diversity in the world, and the many devoted followers of other religions, only one religion would be the “true” pathway to heaven or God.

R174 I’m just not one of those people who can follow a religion without questions. What is religion? Where does it originate? Is religion really something that I can trust and believe to be true without any physical evidence? These are questions that I have often asked myself. Growing up in a Christian household, it was difficult questioning a religion which surrounded me since birth. However, any religion which is not examinable must not be worth following at all.

R557 I was born and raised a Roman Catholic, but I question many things. Why is there so much violence in the world if most of us believe in a “force” that is supposed to unite us? Why are there wars? Why is humanity full of hatred, if God, or that higher force is all about love and respect for each other?

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