Get out of the pool

Although a religious person, I am more of a pragmatist with a goal to simply treat everyone like I want to be treated. I have grown increasingly frustrated by more zealous followers of any religion. I wish for God, Allah or the Supreme Being to simply call out from his ultimate life guard chair “Alright, everyone, out of the pool.”

The attack in Egypt which has killed over 300 Sufi Muslims is yet one more example of why most violence is caused by religion. Your branch is different than my branch which is more pure, so you must die for your blasphemy. Or, you are going to hell for not worshiping our way. With all due respect, “who appointed you judge and jury?” I ask.

Christians do not get a hall pass on this either. Many deaths have been caused by fighting between Protestants and Catholics. Jesus would not condone such behavior. We should remember The Church of England was started because of a horny king, which is not a good reason to start a church at least in my view.

Then there is the fighting between different religions with Muslims, Christians and Jews at odds throughout history. Muslims pushing north into France about eradicated Christianity while the Crusades tried to do the same with the Muslims.

And, while all of the intersectional fighting was going on, the Mongols eventually were at Europe’s doorstep taking advantage of various rifts and divisions with their superior fighting force. Religious views provide a reason to divide, not unite. Under the Mongol rule, religions were allowed to continue. In fact, In the Capitol city of Mongolia, various places of worship were represented as Genghis Khan wanted enlightment.

I mention this last example as it showed how letting people worship their on way can be done even in close proximity. Trying to stop this worship is counterproductive to keeping the peace. So, if God can follow this example and tell us all to “get out of the pool” until we learn to live together, that would be most helpful.

Let me close with how I started. Jesus called it the Golden Rule. And, it can be found in various forms in most religious texts. Treat everyone like you want to be treated. It is that simple. Then, you can get back in the pool.

Note: Please forgive the many oversimplifications above. I recognize I greatly oversimplified and these events did not overlap.

17 thoughts on “Get out of the pool

  1. I think your simplicity, as you called it, is enormously effective. Because I believe you are absolutely correct: at the very core, the heart of all major world religions lies something like the Golden Rule or even more succinctly, Love. I don’t personally subscribe to a theistic religion, but I do find much beauty and profundity within them and also an important injunction: since your Creator is not a tangible thing in the phenomenal world, how better to honor him than to love his other creations, your fellow human beings? Great post, Sir!

    • Many thanks. One of my favorite quotes comes from Gandhi that speaks to the message not the bias of followers, “I admire Jesus, it is just the Christians I have concerns about.” It reminds me we need to do better at living up to his teachings.

  2. Not being religious myself, it’s hard not to become even more skeptical of a “higher power” when I read of past, current, and I’m sure, future, atrocities done in the name of a god (or, in the case of acts like pedophilia, done in spite of a person’s claimed piety). I think Gandi’s quote is right on… and I’d include the other religions in that sentiment.

    • Janis, thanks. I find myself as more of a Deist, which interestingly the belief of some of our founding fathers. In essence, God wound up the clock and it is up to us. This is the way I resolve when bad things happen to good people. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: I have written often how many of us try to follow the letter of the law in religious texts, overlooking that these documents were written, edited, interpreted, and translated by imperfect men. These men were in power and used their biases to heavily season “deity inspired” language. Women are treated as second class citizens in most religious texts, for example. There are also contradictions given the many authors. So, focusing on the overarching messages like the Golden Rule permits us to look passed those imperfections.

  4. Note to Readers: One of the key tenets of the US Constitution is the separation of church and state. This is essential to our country’s existence as we are a melting pot of different ethnicities and religions. Religion and government must remain separate to be supportive of freedom of or from religion.

    For those religious leaders who want to alter that paradigm, be wary. Per an editorial by Katelyn Besty, a former managing editor of Christianity Today, a magazine founded by Billy Graham, she notes: ” According to historian Kevin Kruse, (Richard) Nixon aide Charles Colson later said, ‘One of my jobs in the White House was to romance religious leaders…I found them to be the most pliable of any of the special interest groups that we worked with.'”

    Her editorial was a caution to leaders like Franklin Graham for ignoring the gospel for political affiliation. Franklin’s father Billy was embarassed when the Nixon tapes betrayed the confidence he had placed in this politician. She notes Nixon disguised it better, but there are no illusions for the kind of man the current President who is “childish and vindictive” and has been “accused by sixteen women of sexual assault.”

  5. I’ve always had a Christian affiliation and in later years Catholic, simply because ‘it works for me’ or I suppose to be more succinct ‘I work with it’. This path is not without its problems as being anti-Catholic is one the ‘respectable’ prejudice in the UK and as we all know every society ‘must’ have them. (sarcasm)
    Anyway that said. From a theistic point of view it would seem as we are all here because of A Creator, but cannot be by definition equal to A Creator. So we must have inherent flaws and weaknesses. Therefore we have not business telling anyone else how to worship a Divinity, just so long as that worship does not involve vilifying, hating and killing those of a different belief system. Once you do that, as I see it you’ve lost the message.
    Every belief system regrettably has its vile wing, its hypocrites and its stupids. Though religion is not unique in this respect, we have politics. And I have come across atheists just as blinkered and prejudiced as any you’d to bump into on The Religious Right.
    In short Humanity could do with not just being told to get out of the pool, but a celestial kick in the pants. I guess it’s only because of the hard and courageous work of those who carry out the thankless task of trying to build bridges between communities that this event hasn’t happened yet.

    • Roger, well said. I like the “celestial kick in the pants.” In the work I have done with people in need, the volunteers tend to help from a position of faith – looking out for “the least of these,” as Jesus called them. You are right the more zealous ones of faith give a bad name to any belief set. I like watching Bill Maher’s talk show because of the guests and subject matter, but he is very condescending to a person’s faith. That is out of line, in my view. Keith

      • Thank you Keith.
        I agree no one should be condescending of another’s faith…that said I am not so sure how I would react to meeting a satanist?

  6. Occam’s razor … sometimes the simplest explanation is best. Excellent post, and I love the image of God as lifeguard, ordering everybody out of the pool until they learn to play nice. I nearly choked with laughter over your reference to the ‘horny king’! Good one, my friend! If only they will listen!

    • Jill, thanks. Roger had another reference to a “celestial kick in the pants” that works well. As for the horny King, it takes a lot of chutzpah to create a religion to remarry. Of course, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard’s first wife said Hubbard created a religion to provide a sustainable source of income. Keith

      • Our Roger does have a way with words! So many religions in the world, all created by mere mortals for reasons that we may never fully understand. It boggles the mind, but there is, at least in my opinion, nothing to do but live and let live. Don’t like someone’s religion? Fine, don’t join it. Don’t like same sex marriage? Fine, marry the opposite gender. Just don’t condemn those who think differently than you. If we thought this way, we could all live together in peace. Why can’t we? I’ve yet to figure that one out.

      • Jill, he indeed does. You say the obvious so simply. I used to work with a young curmudgeon (who is probably now an old curmudgeon) who spoke under his breath so o could hear about a party I invited him to. He said “I don’t want to come to your stupid party.” My response was simple and direct, “Then, don’t come.”
        You reminded me of this with your comments. Keith

      • Jill, I think we all may have an inner curmudgeon that airs itself every once in awhile. We just need to keep a lid on the pot. Keith

  7. Note to Readers: If you have a minute click on one the suggested posts beneath this one. The one which highlights John Lennon’s song “Imagine” is an interesting supplement to this post.

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