While on a vacation cruise to the Caribbean, my wife and I met a delightful young lady giving travel talks on the ship. During some conversation, it turned out that originally she is from South Africa, that she has dual USA/South African citizenship and that she is Jewish.
We also met a young man, an engineer, originally from Turkey, with dual USA/Turkish citizenship and who is Muslim.
Guess what? The Jewish lady and the Muslim man are married. To each other. This works for them and they both seem very much in love with each other with each of them caring about their spouse.
What makes this seemingly odd combination work is that neither of them is interested in or caring about their respective religion. That they – and most of us – are of a particular religion is in almost all cases a result of our parents. We as small brainwashed children subscribe – or are forced to subscribe - to the religion of our parents.
With their separate dual citizenships and their jointly but separate shunned religious backgrounds, they are free to accept people, ideas and concepts on an individual basis. They are free to think to critically to consider ideas and to abide by their intelligence instead of slavishly following some ancient man-made dictates. As the distaff side of this couple explained to me, “we consider ourselves ‘citizens of the world’”.
This ties in with the saying that “morality is doing what is right, rather than what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right.”
Of course, this could be expanded from "morality” to the larger view of “ethics” for even more meaning in life. But the point is that religion is man-made and consists of rules, dogma, rites, rituals, and man-created beliefs that in reality have nothing to do with a good, honest, respectful, caring-for-your-fellowman life.
I pointed out to them both that if either of them were devoutly or even moderately religious, they could not – would not - be married or with each other. One of them would have dismissively shunned the other only because of religious differences.
As it is, they are not influenced by dietary laws such as the Kosher rites of Jews or the Halal rituals of food for Muslims. They are not observant of the various religious holidays of Ramadan, Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, or other Jewish or Muslim practices. This rejection of man-made rituals works and their marriage and relationship works.
This simple but cogent example is something to think about. Does religion only serve to keep us apart, to divide us, to create food, dress and life style codes that separate us from each other? Is that good? I think that we all know the answer and that religion is only a detriment to morality and ethics.
In short, this couple is singing my song that basically religion ruins or has the potential to ruin everything. Without religion to ruin our lives and destroy our thinking, we are free to accept people and ideas in an open way and to utilize critical thinking to make decisions and to accept or reject ideas and concepts.