THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 371, June 11, 2006
"A lot of controversy"
A Lot of Controversy
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
Over the last few weeks, we've seen a lot of controversy in the religious world. Between the release of the movie "The DaVinci Code" and the date 6-6-06, there has been quite a bit of furor. In addition to this, there has been the Senate considering the issue of 'gay marriage' and the religious wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My wife spends a lot of time on a game and chat site, which has also had quite an uproar over the last week on the issue of religion. What I want to know is where the hate comes from?
Religion is supposed to be a way to search for what we consider the divine attributes: honor, courage, loyalty, love, tolerance, respect, kindness, and a host of others that are considered 'good.' Where in that list is hate? Where is bigotry? Where is violence? Where is intolerance?
Supposedly, Jesus associated with publicans and sinners, fallen women and the unclean. Where in this example is a 'holier than thou' attitude? Where is the hatred and intolerance that so many of his followers display?
Ladies and gentlemen, I have to agree with Neil on this point: there is absolutely no contemporary evidence that Jesus ever existed! Nor is there any evidence that he did the things that it is claimed he did. The closest thing to a contemporary account is Flavius Josephus, writing 30 years after his supposed death, and even this cannot be considered evidence, considering that Josephus was a Jew who turned his back on his own people to join with the Romans.
What we have is a collection of accounts that don't even agree with each other! We have the writings of people who have sent letters to each other encouraging each other to lie to advance the aims of the church and who obviously have a very personal agenda.
Why is this significant? We know that Pontius Pilate existed. There are existing records that cover his time as governor. Both the Romans and the Jews were obsessive about record keeping, the Romans in regard to government records and the Jews in regard to bloodlines and geneology. Why is there nothing in either of these that records Jesus' birth or his execution? Jesus is addressed as 'rabbi' in the gospels. Why is there no record of his training as a rabbi? There are extensive records of the early church. Why are there no contemporary records of Jesus' life?
Now, all of this may sound as if I'm denigrating the Christian faith. Nothing could be further from the truth! I actually have a great deal of respect for most religions, apart from the organizational bodies. For instance, I respect Christianity, but don't have a great deal of respect for the Vatican, nor for its counterparts in other hierarchal religious bodies.
Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mithras, Mohammed, even Confucius, all taught one basic idea, the Golden Rule, in one form or other. Even the Wiccans and libertarians have their own version of this in the Wiccan Rede and the Zero Aggression Principle! So why is there so much conflict, when the single core is the same? I don't know, but it disgusts me that those who claim to follow a god of peace use violence, hatred and bigotry to persecute those who follow a different path.
My religious beliefs are my own. Yours are your own. I'm not going to attack you for them, or for the lack of them. At the end of the day, all we have is faith. Yes, even atheists have faith, faith that the views they hold are correct. What is the use of fighting about it? None of us knows the truth, nor can we. I admire and respect L. Neil Smith a great deal. Why should I consider him an enemy because he holds different views than I do? How about the Dalai Lama? Should I hate him because his beliefs are different from mine? I don't think so. From what I've heard, the Dalai Lama sincerely believes and lives his beliefs. I can respect that, even if I don't share them.
What it all comes down to is faith. I have mine, you have yours. Even if you sincerely believe that you have found your way to 'god,' 'goddess,' 'nirvana,' heaven, or whatever, you have no right to assume that you can tell me how to believe, how to live, or how to think, as long as I'm not hurting anyone else. The same goes for me. I have no right to tell you how to live, how to think, or what to believe, as long as you're not harming me or mine, and I won't. Unless, that is, you try to forcibly change me.
What do I mean by that? Try to force your religious beliefs down my throat by enacting laws that contradict my beliefs, and I'll ignore them. Try to enforce them, and I'll resist. Attack me, and I'll kill you.
I've said it before, many times in this publication. If you don't like what I do, as long as I'm not hurting anyone, ignore it, and mind your own damned business!
In fact, I'm going to repeat this: