Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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Bethany Saltman is a writer and editor who lives in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. She writes about religion, spirituality, and parenting for such magazines as Buddhadharma, Mothering, and Geez.
You can spend your whole life struggling against war and end up with a world that’s more violent than when you began, but resistance is what gives you spiritual strength. You trust that the work is worth doing and that it’s helping somewhere, though perhaps evidence of that won’t be apparent in your lifetime. You find self-worth in the ability to stand up and fight back without worrying too much about what you can accomplish. That is part of being human. We’re not God. We have a limited capacity to fight evil. We use the gifts and tools we’ve been given and trust that life is meaningful, even if everything we try to do seems to fail.
If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion. I think more people are dying as a result of our religious myths than as a result of any other ideology. I would not say that all human conflict is born of religion or religious differences, but for the human community to be fractured on the basis of religious doctrines that are fundamentally incompatible, in an age when nuclear weapons are proliferating, is a terrifying scenario. I think we do the world a disservice when we suggest that religions are generally benign and not fundamentally divisive.