It is a common theme among people who identify themselves as nonreligious to give blame for past crimes of humanity such as wars to religions. This unfortunately blocks them from discovering some truly remarkable things leading to personal growth!
In this post I want to help alleviate this by giving a different viewpoint, as someone who has been on that side myself, but later developed a keen interest in religions by researching them myself. What I have found is that behind all dogma and rules of religion, are a core that is what is sometime referred to as ‘mystery’, ‘magic’, ‘supernatural’, ‘miraculous’. The common theme is the personal experience that must be found for oneself. To penetrate into it, one must drop the prejudices held surrounding the name of the religion or teaching, and let oneself be immersed without the past interfering. This is the core of what is faith. Note that faith is not anything particular to religion, it is the necessary prerequisite to learn ANYTHING new in life. To go to a new place, one must have faith enough that it actually exists, and that one can travel there. To start a conversation, one must have enough faith in oneself and others that it is possible. To discover something new in science, one must have enough faith that there is actually something new to find there.
So what gives rise to the blame is not what is in the religions themselves, but the actual identification in taking a side, which becomes notoriously problematic when it is done on a collective level.
‘I am nonreligious, and that is the correct way’. Or ‘I am religious, and not having a religion is wrong.’.
Thus, the name of the religion or non-religion becomes irrelevant, it can be atheism, Christianity, Islam and even science or veganism. The identification of self with being the ‘right’ side and what is created in the mind as the ‘opposite’ as ‘wrong’ is what actually causes the friction and fraction! The identification also leads to the mind adopting rules from the system of belief to which it has attached itself, and from there it starts searching its surroundings to start classifying things accordingly, much like an automatic sorter. This can be useful when there was actually a good reason and purpose behind it, but it is most often completely detrimental to one’s own well-being as well as that of others.
In daily experience, one has just to take a walk outdoors and observe ones own mind to notice it. Any labels might come up which create an artificial barrier between oneself and others. ‘Woman’, ‘child’, ‘old’. If any of the words conjure a negative connotation in the mind, the barrier is raised for any deeper connection to what is actually there.
It can also be useful to notice that the labels in the mind have actually very little to do with what is actually occuring in once perception. There is visuals, sounds, movements, but where are actually the words and thoughts? How relevant are they truly to what is in the direct experience?
To overcome this, one can inquire into oneself, what memories are causing these connections? What beliefs am I carrying inside me that prevent me from seeing the world without these labels?