Welcome to “Religion is Garbage.com” a blog courageously devoted to taking an honest look at religion—its shadowy dark side and its liberating light side. A word of warning: if you are an angry dogmatic evangelistic atheist looking to bash religion and ridicule believers, then this blog is not for you. This blog is mostly directed at three categories of people:
1. Intelligent people who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious” who have legitimate concerns about organized religion — and may not want any part of it.
2. Intelligent People who have been deeply wounded, or even abused, as a consequence of organized religion, and whose faith experiences have been trampled by rigid religious fundamentalism.
3. Intelligent people who remain connected to a faith tradition, and wish to create community that is genuine, authentic, love based, inclusive and non-judgmental. These are persons who value the essence and teachings of the world’s great religions at a mature level.
I want people in these categories to know, especially those who may have been born into Christianity, that not all of us who remain connected to organized religion have lost our minds or spirit of unconditional non-judgmental LOVE. Many of us in fact experience religion as an infinite fountain of spiritual wisdom and beauty.
God’s Greatest Enemy—Religion Itself
It is my belief – and this may sound strange to you coming from a parish priest (that God’s greatest enemy is religion itself) but that is sadly the case, when it’s most extreme and fundamentalist manifestations make their ugly appearance.
God’s greatest enemy is religion itself.
Organized religion is habitually entrenched in uncompromising dogmatism, and often operates at a very low level of spiritual maturity. This practice has scared countless numbers of intelligent, insightful, ethical and Spirit-hungry people away from churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. It is also no secret that much of the violence generated around the world today (and historically) has been generated by political agendas with religious overtones. Religion has been used to wage war, instigate terror, and suppress human rights in the advancement of extreme conservative and abusive political agendas.
Religion has a very dark, shadowy and destructive side. The human capacity to subvert something that is in essence beautiful, liberating, and LOVE infused, into something putrid, dark, and murky is frightening. This however is not the result of religion, but rather our own underlying innate human capacity to undermine our great institutions, be they religion, government, family, etc. There is no such thing as a human institution that is not flawed, and religion is no exception.
Authentic Religion Is Spiritual and Liberating
I suggest that we make a distinction between what I call “Authentic Religion,” which is always liberating and yes, SPIRITUAL, and “Shadow Religion,” which swims in an ocean of ignorance, shame, fear, guilt, ego based agendas, violence, etc.
Religion, like all things human, has two sides: a shadow side and a light side. It is time to reclaim what is beautiful about religion and return it to a rightful place of spiritual authenticity.
Please join me on this journey. It is my prayer to God, Allah, the Spirit of Creation (or whatever you may call the Divine Intention driving all things in creation) that some good will come from this blog, and wounds be healed. It is my hope that my writing, photography, and poetry will inspire and touch something within; and finally, it is my hope that fears be put to rest for those brave souls on a quest for meaning.
May religion in all its authenticity be rediscovered in its purity. Please know that this blog is devoted to YOU, and the One Love that makes us One Humanity. Blessings, mercy and grace to us all!
The Rev. Wilfredo Benitez,
Wilfredo Benitez is an avid photographer and Episcopal priest. He is a strong advocate of religion without the garbage. He is the current Rector of Historic Saint George’s Church, Flushing. N.Y.