Ninety-nine percent of all religions are wrong. How do I know? I know, because all religions contradict each other. And, most religions believe that they are the one true religion. If these religions contradict each and they claim to be the one true religion then only one of them can be right and the rest must be wrong.
However, if a religion is wrong is that bad? Most people would agree that it depends on what the religion is wrong about. If the main issue is whether the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Jesus or a symbol of community one could argue that there is little serious difference between the beliefs and it doesn’t really matter who is wrong and who is right on this issue. Since the entire concept of Christianity pertains to community it makes little sense to even argue about this issue at all and instead concentrate on bringing the Christian community together.
But, who’s to say that any Christian sect is the one true religion, if one exists at all? After all, Paul and Jesus didn’t even agree on several points. In fact, the Bible contradicts itself in many ways and in many places. Add to that 2000 years of theologians creating ways to reconcile different ideas in the Bible. Then stepping back and looking at the Bible we find that it contradicts the observations of the real world. The Earth is round and orbits the sun, which aren’t even the center of the galaxy let alone the center of the universe. There is no water above the firmament. In fact there isn’t any firmament; gravity holds the atmosphere to the earth and is not contained by any material.
At this point we should consider what Religion is anyway. Religion is man’s natural response to the supernatural. Supernatural in this context is anything that is beyond the natural world. Since the supernatural is beyond the natural world science can not measure is by definition. Science is the observation of natural world. Religion is how man responds to the supernatural. And, since religion involves response to something that isn’t part of our natural world it gives us a handle on the supernatural.
For a moment let us assume that the supernatural exists outside the realm of our natural world and man can recognize and observe it through some unknown ways. All religions agree that man has some contact with the supernatural. If they believed that there was no possible contact in either direction there would be no point to the religion. So, for this argument we will not consider atheism.
Let us step back and look at religion as a scientific measurement device. Now, I hear some groaning and doubting going on out there. This is because all religions believe that they are the one and only true religion and they already know everything there is to know about man’s response to the supernatural. Take one moment to imagine that you might be wrong, because we already know that 99% of all religions are wrong about some aspect of their belief. The odds are pretty good that your religion is wrong about something. So, instead of concentrating on where other religions might be wrong we should look at religions in general and discover what things are similar, because similar responses to the supernatural are bound to be important responses.
So, what do religions in general tell us about man’s response to the Supernatural? Religions tell us that there is at least one supernatural being and respecting and honoring that being is a good thing. The majority of religions believe that this supernatural being created the universe and everything in it and this being cares about his creation. We should also consider the possibility of multiple supernatural beings, but these manifestations could be multiple aspects of one being. Abraham realized that one being manifesting multiple aspects was more powerful than multiple beings manifesting one aspect each. So religion concluded the belief in one God was more powerful than the belief in multiple gods.
But, religion tells us more than just the nature of the Supernatural. Religion tells us about behavior chiefly how we should behave. Since Religion is man’s response to the supernatural, man wants to know how he should behave. Through out human history there have been those who have devoted themselves to religious life. In general Religious life is concerned with fixation on the supernatural in an effort to learn what the humans should know about the supernatural. Over thousands of years man has learned quite a bit about the supernatural and what is expected of humans on this planet in this universe. He has divined that some behaviors are pleasing to the supernatural being while other behaviors displease the supernatural being.
Across the board the majority of religions agree that murder, stealing and lying displease the almighty. It is also fairly obvious that disrespecting any being would certainly displease that being, therefore disrespecting the supernatural being is bad behavior. It turns out that all these behaviors also help maintain order in society.
One aspect of religion is that it evolves over time. Primitive religions recognized the supernatural in the power of nature. Each aspect of power became a supernatural being. Lightening, Ocean, Volcano, Wind and Sun evolved into gods. Then these aspects merged into the concept of Mother Nature or a Super God or Titan. Abraham then merged all power into the aspect of one God and monotheism was born. But religion didn’t stagnate, instead it continued to evolve. Other religions also evolved as well. The evolution of religion was concerned with two main issues. First, how should man behave? And, how should man communicate with the supernatural.
Along the lines of behavior man recorded stories, allegories, myths, lessons and real history in order to have examples that describe what people should do in every possible situation. Hypothetical behavior is one thing, but there are always the particular where one needs to decide between two evil choices.
Along the lines of communication man studied prayer, meditation, ritual and contemplation. As the religious continued to study communication by using drugs, alcohol, sleep deprivation, pain, hunger and thirst. Hallucinatory images were revered as a form of communication with the supernatural. Over time these communications were compiled into the wisdom of each individual religion. But, since each religion believed itself to be the one true religion these ideas remained isolated and unpruned.
Unlike the free market place of ideas religions tended to keep its ideas in isolation. Because of this mistakes in understanding the intention of the supernatural being could not be corrected. In a free market of ideas the silly ones would be weeded out, as other religions that had better communications with the almighty on certain issues would prevail. In this way one super religion would evolve for all people on Earth with more of the best aspects of every religious idea in the free market place of ideas.
We can look at how Jesus helped religion evolve into a better form. In his three years of public life Jesus’ main message was: “Use love and understanding in addition to the Law to build a better community.” Jesus is saying that following the law pleases God, but when the law causes harm, use compassion instead. Break the “no work on the Sabbath” law when someone needs your help. Why should we do this? Because we are all sons and daughters of God our Father and therefore all of humanity is family. And, family takes care of each other. Jesus described taking care of the lowest in society because it is the right thing to do. Obviously this is a major step forward in the evolution of religion.
When someone does something amazing they earn respect. Sometimes when someone does something outstanding people repeat and exaggerate the feat. In the case of the amazing Jesus some people even called him God. Of course when Jesus called himself the Son of God some people claimed that he was proclaiming himself God, because a Son of a God must be a God, Right. But these same people ignore the fact that Jesus also called God "Our Father.” That makes us all sons and daughters of God and does not imply that each one of us are gods, right?
The one thing that I am sure about is that no one knows what the one true religion is. In fact, I believe that no religion has everything right. On the other hand, I also believe that every religion has something right so we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The wise person realizes this and knows that there are many paths to God and the free market of ideas is where they are tested. Religion