Tuesday, September 22, 2009

God; the reflection of humanity

I come across many people who feel God created man in his image and who never considered that he may actually be created in ours. I will never get into the debate on whether God exists because I feel it is missing the point. I know no more than you, and you know no more than me whether there is a creator behind the universe. Everyone is entitled to their own personal belief (emphasizing the word personal). A problem only comes about when people say their God has specific characteristics and wants us to follow his perfect carefully laid out rules. Even worse, these 'divine morals' usually make their way into politics and encourage the subjugation of out-groups. This is clearly seen in protests by religious groups against gay marriage.

The fact that Gods from various religions have different morals tells us that it is society creating their God in order to suit value system of their own cultural context. Weather inspired by spirituality or maliciously calculated, humans create their god in a human image.

Religious moralizing of a culture is a reflection of what that culture holds valuable or sacred. We are socialized by our families, education, and religious affiliations; but the issue appears when this socialization becomes an iron cage of hollow morals. In some Islamic sects, deviating from certain religious beliefs can be punishable by death. This puts the person at a position to conform out of fear and defend their morals by appealing to authority. I like to call this eggshell moral syndrome.

Morals without attached personal meaning are like an eggshell without the whites and yolk: empty and fragile. When this type of person breaks away from the authority of their parents, or begin to question the objectivity of their religion, their moral compass loses its magnetic poles. Their moral captivity prevents them from developing meaningful moral beliefs.

Being encouraged to critically analyze our cultural value system is essential. It is necessary to take what is personally valued and attach meaning to it. Living a life of purpose and meaning consists of more than a simple appeal to authority.

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