led to the conclusion that the concept of ‘god’ was a myth constructed as a placebo for the poorlyeducated.My first family of children was raised on the basis that my son and daughter would make up their own minds when they were of age. They are intelligent. Now that they have reached their forties,neither is religious, nor do they attend any house of worship. My second family of two girls ismore of a problem. They attend a nominally Roman Catholic school and have grandparents andrelatives that still pay some small obeisance to Catholicism and its church. Hopefully, they willalso make up their own minds because Roman Catholicism has become merely a historic symbolin northern Belgium. The church is an artistic relic. Priests rarely disturb its precincts.
Do not be misled. Despite the decline of orthodox Western religions, the world today is notdevoid of ‘religions’. It is rife with extreme opinions, ranging from beliefs that some sects are so‘right’ that others should be destroyed; to the sanctity of animal life above that of human life; to adedication to revert society to that of ideal ‘green’ society; to the continuing inferiority of womenand to the belief that a white skin is preferable to a black one. There are even more extreme ideas… all religions to their believers, and unfortunately, there are always people who have little elseto do in this world than to force their ideas upon others.Does this seem curiously familiar … does this sound, in each case, like the Crusaders’ cry of “Convert to Christianity or be damned?” For example, the slogan used by PETA, an organization,which believes that animals deserve PETA’s own idea of ethical treatment, “Meat is Murder,”shows similar Crusading bigotry. They certainly don’t want a member to equivocate: “Well, OK,meat is murder, except for pork. I like pork.”These new ‘opinions’ are the new ‘religions’ of the third millennium. They are based on thesesthat followers are expected to accept and follow without question. They include such beliefs thatdictate that a true follower of Allah or Jehovah be guided by an Imam or a Rabbi; that a cowshould not be milked because of animal pain; that anyone following Muhammad is more (or less)worthy than anyone following Yeshua bin Jozef; that one should not step on a worm; that globalwarming is attributable to human behavior; and, generically, that my opinion is worthier thanyours.These religions are ‘supported’ by writings such as the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, Mein Kamp, the Greenpeace manifesto and PETA action statements. There is very littledifference between any of these manifestos. Believe what I believe or be damned.We can all create our own religions on that basis.
In the United States, a religion is defined, like it or not, by its tax status. Religions, confirmed bythe Internal Revenue Service, do not have to pay certain taxes, including taxes on property. InCalifornia, religions arise, therefore, on the slightest of pretexts. One church named the HolyTurtle Church gives its priest tax-free status for his property. The Church is on the InternetFacebook under ‘Organizations – Religious’. Their honest description says, “
We might actuallyhave "services" from time to time, but this is mostly for people who love Turtles and believe thisreally should be a Religion.
”Others are not so benign. The manifesto of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas is direct:
“Webelieve -- and vigorously preach -- the 5 Points of Calvinism! Anyone preaching otherwise is a