What is the first stage of religious freedom?
No, ot freedom to worship your religions of choice.
No, not freedom to have many religions in a country.
But true religious freedom.
Free of religious thought, constraints and diatribe.
We have here in the United States of America seen an upswing in mostly Christians openly speaking out (other religions are probably afraid to speak out because of them) about their religion. In some cases they demand to be given total freedom in this country for their religion in order to spread the "Word" to everyone, through government and therefore down onto the heads of the people. Believers and unbelievers alike.
Why? Why is this happening?
First off, some people have tried reading the Bible. And became atheists.
The religious, that is theists, have had to live in shame for a long time. Good people just didn't share their religion outside of their home, their tribe, their church, their religion. Back in the 1970s however we started to hear from these people about the word of Jesus Christ. And that opened a flood gate. People began to realize that this was indeed, America. We have freedom here, and the first amendment.
The protests of the 1960s were still fresh in people's minds. Evangelical churches started to get bigger eventually becoming mega churches. Because it enriched their leaders. Some of those who went to prison because of it. Most of them got carried away with it and their rock star status. That even led to some of those leaders enjoying buying sex with their profits.
Freedom of Speech.
Freedom to pursue happiness.
Freedom of religion.
That last one has turned into a killer, as we've seen of late. People began to lose their shame about speaking out. The internet increased that euphoria and if there's one thing theists know, it's how to exploit euphoria in their chosen beliefs.
Religion loves putting shame upon people. Like in the Catholic Church with its concept of "Original Sin" that you are born born with. A sin that was passed down from Adam and Eve. Because Eve ate a piece of fruit and talked Adam into it.
The creation of "confession" in the Middle Ages (AKA, the Dark Ages) allowed some priests an amazing amounts of power and leeway in their potential for blackmail of prominent citizens. That is, the ability to "convince" people of doing their bidding, "for the Lord."
You are therefore born losing and so are beholding to the Church to save you. You have to be brought into the Church as an infant through baptism, thus washing away your "sin" and avoiding ending up in at very least, Limbo. Pretty ridiculous. But it begins "The Shaming".
Once you realize that isn't a concern, then you can speak outwardly and openly.
The trouble is that once you begin to lose your shame, you also begin the long journey of losing your religion. So the 1960s for many was the beginning of the end. Though it really began long before that. This was just its coming out in public, openly, therein laying the foundation for the public origin of the reason of what we're seeing today.
Intelligence, education, even the Internet, are all antithetical to religion. Religion teaches to not think too much about its teachings or else it quickly evaporates in a puff of logic.
Religion has to reward ignorance.
So here we are today with new a generation, a new population of religious ignorants and emboldened shameless people.
It is the beginning of the end of religion but, they cannot see this... yet.
Go out into the wild and fatally wound a wild animal. Let it lay there in pain as it dies. Then try walking up to it and poke its wound.
Would you do that? No? Why not? Because it would be dangerous? Because it is dying, in pain and in its death throes? Because it is using all its power in a binary all or nothing attempt to protect itself at all costs? Yes, quite so.
We see this in many of the religious and religions today. We are seeing the spiritual death throes of many of the religious and many of their religions. It is merely matter of time now that will disintegrate in a serious of half lifes, like with radioactive decay.
Some are dying slower than others, some are younger than others and so will have further to go before they fall. So they will seemingly be around forever, and yet they will be zombie religions. Much as it is now with many, who believe but do nothing about it.
It is happening now all around us.
Religious death cults are not helping things much, in groups like ISIS and other Islamic based death Jihadi type groups. Although all the desert Abrahamic religions are really death oriented and capitalistic in nature. You receive your "just rewards" after death in going to heaven. You receive more of something in death for something lesser in life and so isn't death rather attractive? Proximity to the Lord in Heaven, or 72 virgins, or whatever.
Islamic extremist Jihadis have certainly keyed into that one.
Christian right wing types and apocalyptic versions of religions are looking all the time more the fool to mature rational people. They exemplify the worst religion has to offer and in their actions showcase their ignorance and even that of others who normally are more rational, albeit still religious creatures. Most use it as a method for what they could do with other forms of thought but find beauty in ancient religions. So it's an aesthetic choice.
Still the first signs are in seeing their lack of shame in public, and their inability to any longer be humble. To maintain one's religion in a private belief should require no support from others. It should require no one other than those in one's chosen religion in order to maintain or alter their lifestyles because of their beliefs.
And yet, we are seeing that happening just about everywhere. It will pass, though with time.We are seeing the adolescent phase of religious belief as humanity grows beyond the need for religion as a race of beings. So far we have advanced through paganism, Polytheism, into monotheism and finally in the closing chapter, we will see the advent of atheism spreading far and wide to be replaced by rationality, science and reason.
We see it now in religions in people being of their religion identifying with it (frequently out of fear to do otherwise) while not actively practicing their faith. A good sign that they treat it lightly. Then they get upset when called out about it, as they fear being outed. But to whom? God? Others? Society in general so they have to admit the demise of their beliefs?
What is sad and curious is we began with atheism. Before we even knew what we were doing we had fallen into giving ourselves over to fantastic explanations of the mundane, what really required only simple scientific explanations for and that we did not have, yet.
It is as if we decided to take a boat out from a lakeside dock we are standing on. We decide through new beliefs presented to us, to walk all around the lake first, only then we find our way to other lakes, as more people show up and convince us they are the ones with the magic. Until finally we arrive right back to what had been directly in front of us to being with. That which was in fact originally right under our feet, all along.
Well, at least we're finally getting there.
We just need to continue for the time being to help others along. Those who are still struggling with finding that dock. While there are many fishermen already out on the lake enjoying themselves and having far less trouble existing than the many, than those who are simply lost and continuing to think they have to find some magic element in life.
Even though it is right there before them.
It is and has been, as the Buddha said, always right there before you and within you. You have merely to see it, to recognize it. It's no magic elixir, no magic fix, no ghost in the sky. It's you. You just have to not be so scared that you cannot see it there, right there before you.
Don't worry. We'll get there.
As long as we don't destroy ourselves over literally nothing along the way.