Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been spending more time with family projects and life, and less on contemplating my frustrations with Religion. I have also been grateful to be a member of The Clergy Project. It's an online community for previous and some current religious ministers. It helps to be able to share with others who do not feel attacked by my thoughts. Not only that, but they can relate to most of what I am going through.
But, that being said, I have been learning that tolerance really is the key element that is so necessary in life. I see more clearly how religious differences give us identity and structure that can make someone feel secure in their place and understanding of the world. But I can also see how these differences create such strife and unnecessary struggle.
To tolerate does not mean to agree, but to accept that someone else has the freedom to believe things, no matter how absurd these beliefs may seem to me. This stops at harm of others of course. And this is where my beef comes in lately with religious belief. It does harm others. One of its' main goals is to say to others " you have to do it my way." Not all spiritual beliefs do this, but the Abrahamic (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) ones certainly do.
I also think that certain forms of government can do this as well. That is why I choose to be more libertarian in my political opinions. If we are all free to make our own choices and live with the consequences then we can be sure not to be oppressed by a small few, at least at the government level.
In any case, I want to put my efforts towards finding ways to help people in a real way and work towards encouraging avenues of social and mental wellness without appeals to some supernatural claim that cannot be proven or demonstrated.