What thing or things can a religious person do that an atheist cannot?

I don’t know, sounds like a clinical trial might be in order?

I’m uncomfortable with the idea of religion, and that discomfort is growing into something akin to distrust.

I sort of see “religion” as a way to organise faith and belief into a structure. Traditionally, this structure has been a default in many cultures—because the organised belief and faith were heavily integrated into the social structures too. In the West, this tradition has become eroded. I don’t see this as bad in itself. It may prove to be hugely good, because it makes a person’s faith their own responsibility and maybe allows for a stronger connection with Love. Religion can get in the way of faith, and in the way of Love, especially if the structure of the religion is particularly authoritarian or the ideas closely controlled.

I do believe in a loving, creative God, and I follo the teachings of Jesus, but I’m uncomfortable with the structures and manifestations of “religion”. The way I see it, I think, is that if God is infinite and also benign (Loving), then those who want to Love, and those who question will ultimately find Love somehow. Religion might limit this questioning, and limit our own understanding of Love.

That’t not to say I don’t see truth in religious teaching, or that I am a complete non-traditionalist (my instinct is to embrace tradition, though my conscious thought is conflicted where I don’t see the truth in a tradition). Some traditions are good, or contain good or are useful or are beautiful. I think the ones which are narrative rather than proscriptive are most close to Love, at least for me.

So, I might surprise you by saying perhaps a religious person can hide behind an institutionalised version of the truth to justify not thinking for themselves?

Oh, I also think many athiests can be “religious” themselves, by the way. If the profound belief that nothing beyond their potential state of empirical knowledge becomes a structure, then it resembles nothing more than religious thought-laziness. So, be athiest, be religious, but don’t hide behind either. Be you, and I pray you find Love.

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