Religion Defined Most of the prophets, patriarchs, spiritual leaders and founders of the worlds many religions believed

that they were divinely inspired and duly anointed to deliver their God's message and instructions to all of mankind. Their religion was based on how they interrupted their concept of a higher power. Most gave hope of a life after death as a reward for believing in a particular God. The directions to the people were very explicit as to when, how, and where to worship. They were told what to believe and what not to believe. If the followers asked "why?" they were told that it was God's will. If they were so bold to ask for proof, they were told that they must accept all on faith alone. If they persisted most religions punished. There were long lists of dos and don'ts. The directions and rules were not confined to heavenly matters. There were many laws and rules on everyday living. These laws and rules made it possible for members of particular groups to live together with relative peace and harmony. Religions that did not fill a need or inspire did not survive. The world religions have done much good: -Taught ethics to the young. -Provided charity to the poor. -Provided comfort to the sick. -Provided spiritual guidance to its members. So far so good, but it was not good enough to live and let live. Wars were fought and terrible atrocities committed to impose the beliefs of one group on other groups. These destructive and inhumane acts were perpetrated because the victims did not believe in the practices and values of a particular religion. When the victims explained that they could not find proof that the religion was valid, they were told that it must be accepted on faith or suffer the wrath of the all-loving Supreme Being in the afterlife. When the victims stated that they could not muster this faith and would not fake it, the religious leaders often had them burned at the stake or put to death by some equally horrible means. This did not stop with the inquisition. It continues to this day on a lesser scale. Most of us say: We believe in freedom of religion, but fail to finish the sentence with "as long as it does not significantly differ from our beliefs". In my dictionary religion is defined as: 1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. 2. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. Belief is defined as: 1. The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another. 2. Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something.

3. Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons. It has been my experience that most of us have no problems with the definition for "religion". The definition for "belief" causes us problems though. We are told (in so many words) from childhood that if we don't believe we should fake it. If a person does not believe or fake a belief in the predominate faith in the locale where he/she lives, that person faces many obstacles. One example would be for a member of the Jewish faith to apply for a government job in Saudi Arabia. Another example would be for a catholic to run for governor of Utah. It is my unimportant opinion that the vast majority of people profess a belief in a religion for one of four reasons: -They are true believers. - They join a religious group for the social activities. . - They have a superstitious fear of the unknown. -They use their professed religious to promote a Political or business agenda. Will this ever change? I think not. Mankind has a real problem with the live and let live approach to religion as well as many other aspects of life. This has been the case since the beginning of recorded history. What is my point? I guess I don't have one. Just stating some observations and thoughts. Jim C. 6734