A Quick Bit of Religion

And lo, the blazing bush began to speak and Moses though it was spiffy, rolling a new joint.
Oh wait, that's not right. That's just silly. On with it!

Throughout the ages, humankind has resolved to put it's faith into many things. The sun, the moon and the stars have all been gods at one point, from this has evolved the various pantheons of world from classic Scandinavian pagan gods to the gods of Egypt and Greece, even those of Hinduism. All those gods have provided a link and answer to the human psyche, the seasons of Earth, natural catastrophes and indeed the creation of the world, the universe and intelligence. The current religions most prominently at the tip of our tongues are probably the various Christian sects and Islam. The sad irony of it all is that Islam is derived from Christianity and Judaism, it acknowledges Jesus as a prophet of God, yet to Christians Islam is like a whole different religion while to my understanding the major difference with the Christian and Islamic cultures is the fact that Muslims live what they preach, whereas many Christians have become to see their religion as a forced Sunday trip to church and a guaranteed salvation thanks to Jesus coming down to absolve mankind. And there's also their younger brother religion, Baha'i Faith, that preaches tolerance of other religions while still holding onto one single God and his commandments to the man. But I'm getting well off-track here and ahead of myself.

There are the monotheistic religions on one side and then there are the other religions we sometimes hear about in school or the news; Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto. All of which are more philosophical in nature rather than being about following the directives set by one god. There's reincarnation and personal enlightenment, walking the golden path, really philosophical thinking about human existence that is not just confined into books and single-minded preachers. Especially Buddhism, which I recently heard for the first time being called a religion compatible with science because it is a study of the self and one's own mind (which is rather odd since science abhors sample sizes of one).
There are neo-pagan religions such as Norse religion with Thor and the likes, there are Druids and Wiccans who would have been burned some centuries ago for witchcraft by the inquisition. There are even the Satanists who believe, and correct me if I'm wrong on this one, that Satan released humans from their chains set by God and gave them ultimate free will to do as they pleased and not just within an extensive set of rules laid out by God.

And then there are those who do not have religion in their lives but have faith in science, a group of which I am a rather proud member of. There are the Hitchens and the Dawkins who wage their personal wars against religions, spewing out overused examples and speeches that does no real good for some atheists while being a waking call to others to fight the system as well.

And here's the personal opinion bit of this, although that prelude was sprinkled with it a bit already. I do not honestly care what you have faith in, I respect humans enough to know that waging my personal war against someone's faith is wrong on so many levels. I do not wish to be the target of a war of conversion into any religion, so I do not try to convert others to my views by force. If it comes up, I can state what I believe and don't believe but it remains on the person to make sense of it all and see if it's right to them. However, as much as I tolerate the freedoms of others, I have a very hard time tolerating the religious organizations who say they are the middle-man of god who is infallible and they should be followed while he is concerning himself with other business. The first objection I have is that as much as god may be infallible and sacrosanct in religion, the middle-management is not. Religious leaders are humans, often elected to that position by a small group of humans. And humans are even by religious sources fallible. When people take the holy book in one hand and the dogma of a religious institution in the other, they cannot seek a golden way in the middle because that more often than not goes against the dogma of the institutions. It needs to be either or.

It is my firmest belief that humanity has the best hope when a majority of the people with dogma in one hand and the holy book in the other discard the dogma and rely on the holy book. Because humans do cherry-pick things from holy books, that's simply natural since every holy book has commandments and rules in them, half of which contradict the other half. When people actually get to that crossroads in their faith that they look at things critically, even if they still believe in something greater and infallible, they can discard not only the dogma, but they can also look at the holy book and pick the commandments and rules that are morally and ethically the right choice for the modern day and age. If they choose at that crossroads to discard both, that is equally fine because they will find a whole different kind of beauty. The beauty of not having all the answers, but that you must think for yourself and rely on yourself for a moral compass and the right ethical choices without hiding behind an umbrella of religious tenets. The beauty of all things science has ultimately given us a comprehension of that no holy book could ever relay. You don't have to be able to do the maths to be able to find the awesomeness that's often hidden beneath it in astrophysics, quantum mechanics and even the marvels of engineering.

If we can get out of this whole religious downturn of civilizational growth, we may even take a look up to the skies and do something about the asteroid Apophis that will come very close to Earth (well below geo-orbital range in the worst case) on the 13th of April 2029. And if it then hits a 900 mile "keyhole" perfectly, it will plummet into the Pacific Ocean on April 13th 2036 and cause 40 five-story tsunamis that will come in at 50 second intervals.
And since you probably won't believe me, believe the astrophysicist community who has actually done the math. I give the floor to Doctor Neil deGrasse Tyson: