John Cole over at Balloon Juice got his comment thread really jumping when he said, in writing about the Supreme Court hearing the case of Hastings College of Law vs. the Christian Legal Society (which I wrote about here), “I have no use whatsoever for religion.” A lot of people agreed with him, but he got some pretty heated responses, too, including those who seemed to think he was somehow infringing on their right to practice their faith, which, by any fair interpretation of his words, he clearly was not. So that leads me to ask:
Do you have any use whatsoever for religion?
I think anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time knows where I come down on it, but just in case, the answer is pretty much in line with John’s. Yes, I’m a Quaker, but that doesn’t make me religious; it means I’m in agreement with many of the tenets of the faith, including the four main aspects — peace, equality, simplicity, and truth. I acknowledge the fact that since the human mind is incapable of fully accepting the idea of its own demise and that once life ends, that’s it, I can’t help but wonder if there’s something beyond that. But other than that, I have no use for religion in my life. I don’t have any problem with anyone else doing whatever they want to in that regard — as John Lennon said, “Whatever gets you through the night” — but it stops when you or some group of absolute strangers tries to tell me what to do, how to live my life, who to sleep with, or impose their beliefs on others, including their choice of partner or what they can do with their bodies. As long as it doesn’t harm me or frighten the horses, it’s not their business, or mine, either. Religion has been used as a control mechanism by far too many dictators and con artists, and far too many wars have been fought over superstition and mythology.
Worship whatever you want, be it the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a ’57 Chevy, but keep it in perspective and respect the rights of those who choose to believe in something else or nothing at all.