Occam's Razor
According to Occam's razor, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is most likely true. In other words, simplicity is a meta-scientific criterion by which scientists evaluate competing theories.
This reflects my own view: "why complicated when simple will do".
In terms of religion, complicated rules and it would benefit all to remember that actually behind all of it is a very simple desire, built into humans: get in touch with the infinite, under whatever name the infinite is given (after all,  no name which can be spoken is "infinite"  in itself).
 
My friend, the conspiracy theorist, offers an explanation of life which includes ghost beings, reincarnations from other star systems (santiners and indigos) and reptiloids, all of which are busy either helping or hindering us in achieving progress on an everlasting development path. They want to take over the earth and enslave us all, apparently. When I asked why and what advantage these beings gained, when it was easier to just let the dumb and stupid and greedy ones do their work for them, I couldn't get an answer I understood.
 
I've been reading the Quran lately and find it very hard going. It appears to me that Allah primarily works with threats and promises. Promises of paradise with a garden with flowing streams for the believers after death or after judgement day and hell and fire for the unbelievers. I can't find so far (I'm about halfway through) anything about love. Here it strikes me again that the simple description is that both paradise and hell are here on earth already. When I read the disgusting things human beings do to each other all over the world, then I cannot imagine hell being any worse and when I watch the wonderful world shown in David Attenborough documentaries, I cannot imagine anything more wonderful that the planet we live on.
 
As I've mentioned in other entry's, to me , what is offered by all religions is interpretations. I have no doubt that there have existed many enlightened souls who taught a path towards consciousness of the Infinite Power (whatever name we give it). I am also equally convinced that the message of each one of those teachers was that it depended on one's own efforts to achieve the ultimate goal and that all priests - of whatever group - are unnecessary. We don't need interpreters. we need a practical method for achieving this goal and that's a path each one has to walk for themselves. A priest doesn't know more than anyone else, just because he studies religious texts. They can't take a single step for me - they need to focus on their own steps, just as we individual do.
 
What I see are organisations and I've worked in a number of organisations - religious ones are no different. They consist of a hierarchy and the goal of each is to maintain the organisations existence and for the individuals in it, to progress in the hierarchy. And, as in every organisation, there is use and abuse practiced within them. Look at the list of religions in Wikipedia by wealth and it's quite staggering how many billions they have, not including real estate assets, just cash. How does that accumulation fit in with the message of giving alms and living a simple life?
 
Check these links out :
 
The abuses by religions have been well documented and are still being practiced by them. Thanks to the ubiquity of the internet, a great deal is being uncovered. And still, people believe what they hear in their churches and temples and mosques. Now that is something I can't understand. What would it take to open people's eyes to the facts and accept their implications?
 
Regardless of the excesses' of the interpreters - who interpret the messages to their own personal advantage - people carry on supporting them. Incomprehensible.
 
As I started of saying, I like simplicity. Simplicity for me means personal growth through personal responsibility. If - as most religions say or imply - there is at our core a direct connection to the Infinite, then it can only be me who can access that core within me. Nobody else can do that for me; nobody else will ever know that core in me, only in themselves. A true teacher is one who can show me how to access that core, but the effort has to be mine. That's simple. Just do it!
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