Losing My Religion!

Posted in opinion on November 25th, 2016 by John Coxon

me

I do not have a religion as such, I am so much more family of man kind of person. This  if having a “religion”  means that I am slave to received values , ancient dogmas and scriptures, essentially folk wisdom disguised as something more profound , and therefore I must believe in a spiritual divinity, an all seeing God and the prospect of an after-life, some sort of eternal paradise, invented by man, to ensure a complicit public , where, that script goes, if I had led a virtuous life, only then  would I be welcomed into heaven , with the self righteous and enjoy eternal life ! Those kind of thoughts appear to me to be absurd now and have thought that since I was a child, growing in my own country, and had experienced a kind of brain washing within its schools for the very young where Christian assembly, at the start of each day, was mandatory, and the law demanded that Christianity was the only subject all schools had to have on the curriculum. If we are in hospital here, we have to fill in a form stating our religion,  just in case it all goes terribly wrong and we die , and so many , who actually never attended any church regularly, write in “Church of England”, still the official state religion as they loosely assign themselves to the values of that faith. Somewhere in my stuff from my distant past is a certificate I was awarded, without my knowing  as I was aged one, by my birth mother who was a non-conformist practising Baptist Christian  and without my consent but with good intent ,  had me signed up to that religion at what was my baptism or Christening. Don’t get me wrong, I have faith and eternal optimism and think of myself as a member of the world family, irrespective of race, colour, belief, language or any other of those barriers which sadly divide us when we have so much more in common  that unites us and we should respect an honour . Scroll forward to my late teens, significant people I met along the way that for example gave me the books of a writer, Alan Watts, an American author, who introduced me to Zen Buddhism with ideas that matched my own but which also challenged all the conventions in terms of  ideas and how to act in the most profound way. As I read more I entered  the world of teaching  and found myself with the responsibility of teaching vulnerable kids with huge learning problems about the world’s major faiths and through the research I had to do to deliver that, learned respect  for all those faiths  but, in that time, without in any way trying to influence or direct those kids, myself  found that the one major world faith that does not have a God, was home for me and that was Buddhism. It was as if Siddhartha, a real person, who left his wealthy isolated home , a former prince,  went on a journey over some twenty years to try to discover the source of human suffering , looking at all major faiths and , at the end of his journey, sat down exhausted under a tree , and had that moment of enlightenment where he realised that human desire was the basis of all suffering.

 

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