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Have We Not All One Father?

Proposition 8 is back in the news, and today I hear more people applauding the "legality" of outright hate and prejudice. Many of them are Christian.


This is one of the reasons I’ve always been turned off by organized religion. It too often seemed to judge and condemn, supporting hate while proclaiming love and compassion.


Take the phrase “It is illegal for gays to marry,” then substitute the word “Blacks” or “Whites“ or “Jews” or “Christians.” You get my meaning.


I’ve explored various systems of belief, I've read the writings of various “prophets” and talked to people who hold particular beliefs. Much of my life has been a pursuit to find my soul’s place in the universe. I’ve taken what I found useful in each faith and discarded that which sounds false to me, which is the majority of it all.


I’ve come to the conclusion that no revered book, or any book at all, has been written by God. This is my belief. I don’t want it to threaten anybody, but for some reason it does. Some would even go so far as to say my soul is damned.


I respond by telling you I am only doing what I feel to be right. I try to be a good person, I try to express compassion and love as much as possible, I try to be unselfish and give more than I receive. I am not always successful, but I can tell you that I’m sincerely and honestly trying. It’s important to me.


“But,” I’ve been told, “being good isn’t enough. You must believe in (insert your prophet) or you will be denied entry to Heaven/Paradise/Vegas, whatever. So you’re telling me that God will not forgive me for using the free will he gave me and doing what I feel is most honest to my nature. God won’t show me a modicum of mercy that I’d gladly show him?


“Bah!“ I say.


Look, I actually don’t believe in a paternal (or maternal), personal God. I think we understand God about as well as a cat understands a computer, so I try not to define God, and hold few specific or definable beliefs.


I’m not saying any of this to offend anybody, but I AM challenging the religious among you to look with better eyes and bigger hearts at those you judge and deny. Show them mercy and then I believe you really WILL be doing God’s work.


I also challenge you who are agnostic or atheist to show more mercy than those who think your souls are doomed. You must both wage a war of mercy against each other. Do this and the world will be awash in kindness and forgiveness, and much of the world's pain will subside.


Compassion is not Democratic, nor Republican, not Christian nor Muslim. Compassion has no agenda, nor platform, no dogma, no theology. Compassion is a secular manifestation of God in its purist form.


Before I start sounding like some weird-ass guru (too late?), I take my leave. But that’s my Statement of Faith, and I stand by my words.


Oh, and you can just comment on the photo, too. This doesn't have to be a religious or political discussion. Say what you want, but say it respectfully, please.


Oh, uh, this is a panorama, stitched together from three photos.

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Taken on April 17, 2009