I have had an insight. Please await it.
It started when Rob and I were having that unpleasant conversation in which he wanted to know why Everyone Couldn't Just Get Along, and I wasn't really sure.
It continued to simmer during the whole War on Christmas thing that comes up every year, when I think it was Caitlin who remarked so insightfully that it seemed like it was actually a War on Happy Holidays.
And then, in the shower this morning, between applying the conditioner and rinsing it out, is when I figured out Where Religion Went Wrong. This is RICH STUFF, people. (It was Tresemmé Advanced Technology Salon Performance.) And as with all insights, I can confidently assume that many, many people have already ALSO had this insight---but "having it first" and "being the only one to have had it" are not required for something to be categorized as an insight, so THAT'S okay.
Braced for salon-quality brilliance? Okay! Here it is: it went wrong when it turned outward instead of inward. Religion works beautifully, I assume, if each participant uses it as a guideline for working earnestly on their own behavior, and for improving their own relationship with the god or gods of that particular religion. This holy book says our deity doesn't want us to get tattoos, so I will not. This holy book says our deity doesn't want us to eat pork, so I will not. This holy book says our deity doesn't want us to have sex during a woman's period, so I will not. This holy book says our deity wants us to take care of the poor, so I will. This holy book says our deity wants to give over 10% of all my money to our church, so I will. Lovely for everyone.
The trouble started when people INSTEAD said: This holy book says not to get tattoos, so I will picket outside tattoo parlors, even though the holy book doesn't say anything about wanting me to picket. This holy book says not to eat pork, so I will tell other people they must not do it either, even if they don't belong to my religion and the holy book isn't trying to give rules for people who don't belong to my religion. This holy book says not to have sex during a woman's period, so I will make sure that our national laws list it as a prosecutable perversion for everyone, whether they belong to the same religion or not. And worst of all: I don't choose to follow the rule about giving 10% of my income, and that rule about not getting tattoos isn't relevant to our times, and I don't think the rule about taking care of the poor applies to THESE poor people or to anything _I_ should be doing---but I will put tremendous time and energy into making sure other people follow that rule about not having sex during a woman's period.
The only holy book I'm familiar with is the Christian Bible, but it's weird that it even COVERS this with "Take the 2x4 out of your own eye before you try to get the speck of sawdust out of someone else's" and "You can throw stones as soon as you're perfect in every way"---the obvious message in both cases being that no one will EVER be available to work on someone else's issues. And yet that's not the way it goes down a lot of the time.
I don't see why people CAN'T get along, as long as religion (and, as long as we're at it, various self-improvement programs) stay inward-focused. If one person is working on herself, and another person is working on HERself, they can be friends even at a restaurant where one orders a ham sandwich and the other drinks wine. It's when one person decides to start working on SOMEONE ELSE'S flaws that we run into problems. Nobody LIKES that, is the issue I think.
Er, which is why I'm DEFINITELY NOT working on other people's flaws with this post. Certainly not. I am merely recommending my conditioner, in case you decide for yourself that it's right for you.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...