Religion, attempting to help humankind understand the mysteries of creation and our place within the cosmos, issued theological statements about our origin and how we should live. These proclamations varied greatly with the accumulated knowledge of the day and with the motivation and intentions of its leadership. Many of these mandates were not concocted for the benefit of society but for the pursuit of self-interests including the attainment of power and wealth and control of the populations’ behaviors. Some of this deception resulted in disastrous and unethical outcomes such as the denunciation of Paganism and other beliefs that were not mainstream ideas and were subject to scrutiny by religious authorities. Nevertheless, religions’ struggle to win the hearts and minds of humanity initiated a theology that also denigrated the Earth and ultimately promoted its destruction by elevating humanity as a superior being, deserving to be master of the Earth. This doctrine gave humans the right to do whatever they pleased with their habitat and in good conscience. The negative consequences from this ideology cannot be overstated!
What we need to do now is to re-examine the religious treatise of history critically and re-interpret what they should signify given our present knowledge base about the cosmos and our evolutionary development. From this, we need to create a new religious theology that takes-into-account our interconnection and relatedness with the natural world and operate from this new perspective. Religious values that are already viable and being practiced should be included as well.
Religions should also acknowledge the past mistakes and wrong doings they have made and help their congregations’ transition to more appropriate ethical values and attitudes. It would also benefit society if religions acknowledged and appreciated the diversity of religious beliefs and practices that exist, without prejudice and the need to demonize or disapprove of other religions’ belief systems, despite how unorthodox they might be.
Religion should continue to focus on helping humanity understand purpose and meaning in life and in addressing ethical considerations. It should not however, control societies’ behaviors using manipulative tactics such as sin, guilt, shame and the indoctrination of their preferred belief systems in a coercive manner as it has frequently done in the past.