It is always better to measure people by their behavior than by their words. This also stands true with institutions.
Religions were developed during hard times of famine to help people get through and survive, then during peaceful times politicians and sophists used, exaggerated, abused and distorted the religions for their own benefit. Thus, any religion that has survived through several cycles of Feast and Famine appears to be about as authentic as a three dollar bill. The true value of a religion is hidden deep bellow all the rhetoric, in the behaviors that they instilled in their followers that helped them survive tough times.
In the interest of survival, all individuals must find balance with their environment (including the other individuals in their environment). To do this they have five options:
- Do nothing – Buddhism is a passive religion that places most important work on introspection and eliminating our tendency to cause problems for ourselves by elevating above the human perspective. What we do out of boredom or blind reaction is the cause of 99% of our problems. Most often, when we have nothing to do, the best thing to do is nothing at all.
- Migrate (flight) – Judaism is a religion that has rituals designed to keep a community together and safe during the confusion and dangers of migration. Judaism has way too many rituals that are so blatantly obvious to me that they are focused on keeping a community tight and functioning through any chaos. However, and unfortunately, we have learned during and since the Holocaust that Judaism isn’t very good at reacting to conflict when it is thrust upon it and does not cope very well with the traumatic aftereffects of conflict.
- Compete (fight) – Islam is a religion that has rituals designed to keep a community together and safe when conflict is forced upon it. In our times it is hard to see, but try to consider the rituals of Islam as a way to relieve the stress and trauma of war; praying five times a day to help calm nerves, and requiring women to keep covered to protect them from the men who must become savage in order to survive in the war. I think this would be easier understood if compared to the problems we see today with Post traumatic Stress Disorder and how soldiers gets worse with the more free and idle time they have to let their minds wander, and how their wives become afraid of them.
- Adapt – Christianity is a religion that has rituals designed to help people adapt to new environments. As sure as the Catholic Church is based in Rome, the principles of Christianity – forgive those who trespass against you, tolerate differences, love thy brother, and turn the other cheek – are exactly what is required for a person to adapt to a new environment. The problem with Christianity however, is that unchecked adaptation leads to cancer.
- Create – Science is not yet a religion, but I have no doubt that it will become one… and that it needs to become one. To control our ability to create so that we do not kill ourselves from our own creativity.