Religion Quote

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Religion, like politics, is a very touchy subject. When someone attacks your religion, if you have one, it feels like they personally attacking you. I have learned in life that the worse thing to do is to take things personally. I am still working towards that goal because I tend to take things personally when I should not.

I have often wondered if having a religion serves a real purpose beyond making us feel guilty. You could argue that it is just because I was brought up Catholic which is often regarded as a high guilt based faith. Doing right thing because doing the opposite makes you feel guilty is not effective. I know of plenty of people that sin and then repent themselves just to turn around and do it over and over again. I think Mr. Lincoln’s approach to religion however simplistic is very powerful. We should have our own code of ethics and know wrong from right; religion should be a tool that helps us but not our only guide.

The Pope is apologizing for the remarks that were taken out of context recently in a speech. His message was simple, that religion and violence don’t go together. Even though he did not mean to say that Islam promotes the killing of infidels (some extremist do), the reaction to his speech make a stronger case for Islam being used for hate rather than love.

There has been so much blood spilled on this earth in the name of religion that I would have hoped that the human race would have cleaned up its act and stopped killing each other over it. It seems like we as a race are doomed to kill each other. In the movie the matrix Agent Smith classifies us as a virus, a disease… but I am starting to thin he was wrong, because even a virus does not kill itself.

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6 comments on “Religion Quote

  1. The only problem with Lincoln’s quote is that some people have no conscience. Therefore they do bad and yet they do not feel bad.

    Sure, repetetive sin is a problem for a lot of people. That is their particular weakness. Drugs are attractive to some, booze to others and just because they are Christians doesn’t mean it stops being a temptation to them. Thankfully that is where grace comes in! Phew!! When it was asked how many times someone should forgive their brother, seven times? Jesus replied, 70 times 7. Sorry, I’m a bit off topic now :)

    The problem with a statement like “We should have our own code of ethics and know wrong from right”, is that people don’t know. It goes into the “I’m OK, you’re OK” mentality and there is no wrong or right. If that is the case, then nothing is wrong. Murder, OK. Child molester, OK. You get it.

    I also find it slightly humorous and scary that any time anything “offensive” is said about Muslims, there are riots and cars or buildings being burned down. Could you imagine if every time something offensive was said about Christians, they would do the same?? HOLY SMOKES!!

    On your last point, people will continue to blast away at each other on whatever grounds they can think of. Christ certainly preached peace, love and joy. But until people actually emulate his love and stop being motivated by their own hatreds, then it won’t stop :(

  2. I continue to be very concerned that the capacity for religious violence we see in extremist Muslim groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban are not only more common than we’re led to believe in mainstream Muslims but deliberately so.

    I look at sectarian violence in Iraq, I look at Palestenian violence in Israel, I look at internal divisions in Egypt, Iran, Turkey… I see the increase in violent tendencies in the Muslim populations of France, Denmark, Sweden… and in the last few months I see the violent reactions to the Danish cartoons and the Pope’s speech – while some of these reactions are media-manufactured, the truth has to remain that a number of them are being presented by what we’d call “mainstream” Muslims, or even peaceful ones.

    It’s this silent minority/majority that I think could present the biggest threat of all – what would happen if suddenly 10-20-50% or higher of the Muslim population in this country decided what the Wahabbists were saying was pretty much correct (or already believed it in the first place) and made up their minds to start a popular wave of suicide bombings, assassinations of church leaders or worse?

    I’m not saying every Muslim is inherently evil, or even the vast majority of them are any more likely to strap on a bomb as to lead a peace march – since 9/11, the overwhelming reaction to events in the world from mainstream Muslims has been either anger and indignation over the actions of the various “infidels” within and without their own faith, or total and utter silence regarding the actions of their brothers and sisters. I haven’t seen a single unified statement or feeling from mainstream organized Islam in five years that would make me comfortable knowing they truly are of a peace-loving faith, and that they hold the actions of those who would pervert their religion in contempt.

  3. It is ironic that religious disagreements have probably caused more bloodshed than any one other catalyst.

  4. Well, religion and faith is the one part of life that people have the capacity to get the most passionate about (other than immediate family, I suppose, and you can’t go to war over that).

  5. Religion teaches us to believe in things without evidence; faith. Faith can lead to actions, which is dangerous. Actions based on beliefs without evidence is the cancer that causes good people to do bad things. In this regard, I have a few choice quotes in reference to religion to share with you:

    “I’m not convinced that faith can move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers.” -William H. Gascoyne

    “Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God holds others in contempt.” -Robert Green Ingersoll, lawyer and orator (1833-1899)

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” -Steven Weinberg

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” -Anne Lamott, writer (1954- )

    “Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.” -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

    “At least two-thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity: idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religous or political ideas.” -Aldous Huxley

    “A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.” -James Feibleman

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to believe.” -Laurence J. Peter

    “It’s hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning.” -Bill Watterson, comic strip artist (1958- ), in his comic strip Calvin & Hobbes

    “A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports the myth.” -Edward De Bono, consultant, writer, and speaker (1933- )

    “God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining.” -Douglas Adams, Author of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1952-2001)

    “Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” -James Baldwin, writer (1924-1987)

    “Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.” -Ludwig Feuerbach, philosopher (1804-1872)

    “My last vestige of “hands off religion” respect disappeared in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th 2001, followed by the “National Day of Prayer,” when prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonations and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands, united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place.” -Richard Dawkins

    “Atheist, n. A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others.”
    Chaz Bufe, The American Heretic’s Dictionary

    “In the heart of great injustice lies a popular belief and a sacred text backing it up.”
    Riskable, self-quoting geek (1978-)

    “Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.” -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

    “So many gods, so many creeds, So many paths that wind and wind, While just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs.” -Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet (1850-1919)

    “Knowing ignorance is strength; ignoring knowledge is sickness.” -Lao-Tzu, philosopher (6th century BCE)

    “A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.” -Arthur C Clarke, science fiction writer (1917- )

    “Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state controls religion.” -Samuel James Ervin Jr., lawyer, judge, and senator (1896-1985)


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