Using Religion for political purposes doesn't hide the motives.
A very good friend of mine was expanding to me on his conclusion that all religions, centuries back to the present day, were just methods of controlling the masses, and highly effective they were too.
Speaking for myself, I feel a belief is a personal judgement. Feelings are impulses of thoughts strung together - sometimes fleeting, sometimes appearing random, sometimes frivolous, but quite often deep and profound. We are all different, and all rationalise our thoughts and experiences in different ways. We frame our thoughts so we can make sense of what we are thinking. We may not fully understand or comprehend the importance of each thought, but eventually, we elucidate and organise our thoughts into some kind of reasoning. A comprehension we understand - that makes sense to us. Something that we might term as logical.
By definition, "Faith" cannot be proven until it is - that is what Faith means. Believing without proof, until you are proved right or wrong. And then, "Hope". Not "hoping" as in "I hope I win the lottery" but rather "Hope" - as in there is still the "Hope" that all will be well. I have not lost all "Hope". So with "Hope" and "Faith" - and of course the one that is missing - Love. Not love as in greed, avarice or possession, but love as in unpossessing, appreciation, empathy and wishing all life well. Unconditional love as it were. Just an acknowledgement of that emotion we term as love.
What I find irrational and difficult to understand is how anyone today, with a rational comprehension, can believe in a religion that appears to be based on intolerance of others who do not share their belief. There is no logic in that what-so-ever.
And yet we see different world leaders professing to be firm believers in one or other religion, yet behaving as if there is no religion except themselves.
They serve only themselves. They don't lead but rather hide. They don't spread unity but rather exploit intolerance. They don't preach loving kindness but rather hate and fear.
Most people with a modicum of common sense can see through Trump, as they can through Putin, Erdogan or the Iranian Ayatollah, Ali Khamenei, or a hundred others. But almost, wherever we look in the world, we see the cynical tactics of these grotesquely self-obsessed people, spreading fear and then exploiting it - often obsessed with their Machiavellian schemes of clinging to power for self-serving reasons.
These thinly veiled dictators are controlling the masses - giving them just enough so they will be grateful and never too much so that they may become complacent or dread of dreads, start thinking for themselves. These rulers are nothing more than ego-driven, tyrannical despots. Some hide their actions behind a religion - but it is just another name for spreading fear.
It really does feel as if our civilisation is edging backwards, just as we witness the glaciers receding and collapsing into the sea. And we let this happen.
Possibly my friend was right. And when we look out at the leaders of today - it is not difficult to understand his reasoning. It is all perfectly logical and makes perfect sense. But I think it is confusing two separate issues - that of power over others and power over self. In other words, we can choose. We have that power to choose between right and wrong, light and darkness or hope or fear.
I still believe in a kind of divineness - a "magic" of life. For me, it is utterly real - I see it every day somewhere - I can reach out and touch it. It is there. What would I call this? I wouldn't want to put a name on it - but if I was so forced - perhaps "Beauty" - or "Peace and understanding." It is something far bigger than life though - and it is life.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 8th March - 2020