Posted by: johnhourihan | January 3, 2013

Religion is the answer: As long as it doesn’t become the government

On Christmas day, I saw two things that sort of stuck together in my mind. One was a tent inside a room, and the other was the Middle East on the TV.flag andcross
The tent was a Christmas present, and the parents had put it up in the living room. It was big and took most of the room and was a safe haven for the day for a five and a six year old boy who couldn’t help but climb inside it for comfort.
It was beautiful but disturbing.
Let me explain something that I am pretty sure everyone has thought of, but it isn’t usually said honestly out loud.
In the time BC, there were thriving empires in Mesopotamia (now Iraq mostly). In Europe people were worshipping trees and living in caves, and in the Americas there were some big time powers in the south, but not so much in the north.
So what transpired that made the United States, one of the more recent powers, a civilization so far in advance of these other places?
The answer: Religion.
Our biggest and best notion is that we should not be dictated to by a religious government.
If the rules of religions from a few hundred years AD were to be adhered to without change for thousands of years, wouldn’t we be living by rules that meant something when the best shoe was a sandal and the best mode of transportation was an ass?
The difference today between the Christian world and the Muslim world is the separation of church and state.
If we were living by the rules of the Christian church, in the way Muslim countries live by Sharia law, Sunday would still be a day when no one goes to work, MacDonald’s would be closed on Fridays, couples would still go to celibate men for marriage counseling, we would still be cutting off someone’s hand for stealing and a leg for running away, and an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Women would be subservient to men in all things at all ages, religions other than Christianity would be outlawed, and those who practice them would be jailed or killed.
Well, you get what I mean. When ancient religions with ancient laws rule a people, the people stagnate.
Hence the difference between our state of life and that of many countries in the Middle East. There is nothing wrong with the Muslim religion, but it is a religion, not a government. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. What  didn’t we understand?
What religion does to our capacity to learn, is the same as putting up a tent inside a room, inside a house, inside the world. It has a nice safe feeling, but if that is all there is and we never go outside it, it keeps us harnessed by what is under the tent roof and we never have to learn anything other than what is in that sacred space – the tent is religion, and living safely inside it we never have to learn what is in our own house, country, world and universe. And if others go outside and learn it we call it sacrilege and heresy and we never have to progress ever again.
Honestly, I believe in God and I believe in religion. I just think we are supposed to at least look at all the other stuff that is outside the tent.
This isn’t news. It is just honesty, which religions says is the best….oh crap.



  1. I always believed in that render to Caesar and to God as Jesus way of telling us we need separation of church and state. Religion is needed inside a person. Laws are needed outside a person. Remember without laws we might as well go back to living in trees and throw our crap at each other.

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