Full Definition of RELIGION
a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year ofreligion>
b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural(2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
The only definition that loosely applies to me is the second one, not in the personal, but in the community, sense. I don't have any use for "gods" and their capricious, jealous, vengeful ways. I do, however, have much respect for communities, built over many generations, of shared attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Maybe this makes me an atheist. Whatever...
As I believe Jesus exemplified, I think the best way to spread responsible compassion is to invite all to a feast where everyone contributes something. Nobody will ever convince me that pot-luck isn't the way Jesus fed the multitudes who came to hear his stories. He obviously got this hint from his Jewish mother, "Feed them and they will listen to you, but don't think you can satisfy all their special needs. Make it pot-luck, and don't charge admission. Those who don't feed us can clean up the mess."
I blame Paul for ignoring the roots of Jesus's religion, and I blame the Roman Catholic church for putting the marketing of Paul above the patient persistent of the Jews and joyful, Jewish Jesus. I also blame Abraham for allowing Hagar and Abraham's son to be sent into the desert to die, and for attempting to kill his own son Isaac, and for denying the birthright of his first-born, Ishmael. We continue to fight these ancient battles of our ancestors. We should get a life.
Once again, we humans must to dial back the clock of true humanity to another era in order to understand what to do to survive. Can we consider simply dialing it back to Pentecost, when Jesus released his spiritual essence to all who want to embrace it?
I am not willing to kill anyone and/or his/her children because my (perhaps drunk) father/mother pissed another off several generations ago. Are you?
Salaam, Shalom, and peace be upon us all.