Good Religion, As I see It
By: Edward L. Daley
My name is Edward L. Daley, and I’m what’s known as a deist. That is to say that I embrace no particular religious faith, yet I do believe in an eternal creator of all life and existence… as best we understand those terms. I simply do not claim to know the motives or methods of our creator.
As a deist, I’m generally regarded by most religious people as being a little weird, which suits me just fine, since I AM a little weird… and believe me, religion has absolutely nothing to do with that fact. Still, I’ve always been fascinated by religion, and that’s why I’m writing this article today.
For you see, I’ve come to conclude over the course of my 48 years on Earth that there are good religious practices and bad ones. I shall not name the various memberships of either camp here, but I will outline, in the simplest terms available to me, the necessary elements of what I believe to be a ‘good religion’.
In my view, a good religion is one in which its practitioners understand that a person cannot force another to honestly and wholeheartedly embrace any particular belief system. True faith can only be achieved of one’s own free will, devoid of coercion, bribery or any other illicit act.
Secondly, no good religion systemically endeavors to punish people for not embracing it. If one truly believes that one’s faith is the only means by which one may enter into the kingdom of God, such a person would necessarily pity a non-believer, and one does not punish those for whom one has sympathy.
Lastly, no practitioner of a good religion would seek to openly demean, degrade or defame the good religion embraced by another, even though one may strongly disagree with the latter’s method of worship. One may attempt to convert a person of a different faith to their own, but only via positive means, lest one be essentially corruptive in nature.
After all, if the point of embracing a religious faith is to find oneness with God (and please tell me, what other point is there?) what Godly purpose would it serve a person to embrace a religion which causes harm to non-believers for simply failing to share in said faith? Are not all people created equal in God’s eyes? And if one is judged wicked by God, isn’t it God who determines one’s ultimate fate?
I rest my case.