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Reader comment on item: [The American Muslim Council:] 'Mainstream' Muslims?
in response to reader comment: Religion

Submitted by Perplexed in Portland (OR) (United States), Feb 18, 2006 at 14:03

I couldn't agree more with Mike's commentary. Organized religion, formed entirely as a self-serving interest and not for any real benefit of its followers (despite the internal message to the contrary), is the real culprit here. All organized religions attempt to sell themselves, through such extremes as hope and/or fear. The basic premise of religion itself is noble – it's basically a guide by which to live one's life in an honorable and peaceful manner. However, the ‘sell-job' contained within most religious text to propagate that particular brand of religion, whether explicit or implied, is what I disrespect the most.

It seems organizers are the one's who stand to gain in any religion's proliferation. The 'selling' of their flavor of spirituality benefits them alone (see Jerry Falwell, et al, and his vast wealth and power). The true victims are those who fall prey to the marketing and salesmanship of religious leaders regardless of the brand.

Not to imply that all religious leaders themselves are self-serving, but take away their religion and I'd be willing to bet they'd be successful selling something else. It seems to me that their success in selling religion is compounded by those in all societies who are most gullible, due in large part to their zealous (but genuine) search for meaning, guidance and hope. I believe that there are a great many sincere clergymen throughout the world, and while I respect them immensely for their honor and devotion, I also fault them for being some of the most gullible. It's apparent that the desire to believe has eclipsed our ability and duty to reason and question.

The recent events over the Danish cartoons serve as the latest example of the dangers of organized religion. It's generally accepted that the vast majority of lives lost in the history of modern humanity have been to what amounts to 'disagreements' over which brand of spirituality is better/correct/first/righteous/true/etc. To this I ask (rhetorically): What's the value?

In American football, when offsetting penalties occur, they neutralize each other. When children fight over a toy that they can't share, the usual outcome is neither child gets to play. It's a shame we can't apply that reasoning to religion. If we can't share beliefs, then neither ‘child' gets to play. Just "imagine" what our world would be like with one less important thing to fight over.

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