7 Things: Intrigues #4 – Religion

When it comes to religion, I have all sorts of intrigues. I think many of us do. I’m not even going into religion as an intrigue in and of itself. There’s just far too much. My most prominent religious intrigue of the past few weeks was spurred by a conversation that I recently had with my sister. The details don’t matter much, but a takeaway from the conversation was this thought  –

People are afraid of death, because who really knows what comes after?

My intrigue isn’t about people’s fear of death. It’s real and valid, even if I don’t particularly understand it. Occasionally, it occurs to me that there are things I want to see/do/accomplish in my lifetime (an important reminder, I think), but I’m not afraid of death, nor do I worry about what might come after it.

What I don’t  understand (and yet understand completely) is why religious people fear death. Isn’t religion supposed to quash fear? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Faith. Belief. In this world, that’s not what it’s about (which is why I understand why religious people still fear death), but isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about? Shouldn’t they know what comes after? Isn’t that the point?

As long as it doesn’t turn into a bastion of discrimination, an organization of lies, and an overall evil force in the world – which happens far too often – I have no problem with religion for those who get something out of it. But I find that, often, religion is great at making people fear hell, while failing to make them feel confident in heaven. It’s great at making them feel guilt or shame, without making them feel particularly comforted.

People *say* it brings them comfort. They *say* they believe in heaven. But, it seems to me, belief and fear have far closer ties than they should.

I don’t fear what I truly believe. I fear what I doubt. And if faith is healthy, if it serves you well, it shouldn’t breed doubt. It should breed serenity.

Shouldn’t it?

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