My take on Religion:
Firstly, I’ve abandoned it. I’m intensely grateful for having grown up in a society that not only tolerates this despite its majority-Christianity, but also encourages inquiry and use of logic. I pursued a path of Science and Electro-Electronic-Radio and eventually Computing Technology – a field demanding accuracy and a thorough knowledge of what one is dealing with (and drastic consequences otherwise) and thus development of an innate sense of Right and Wrong (and Caution between).
Then, having felt a dissatisfaction with the various Protestant faiths I encountered in my late-teens / early-20’s, I was invited to a Buddhist meeting, and the philosophy expounded there made sense!
This was the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, and the Ven. (Later Maha Sthavira) Sangharakshita, and his published works and recorded ‘lectures’ explained much that no-one else could. I felt ‘at home’, and joined the lay sangha, a flat of around 8 or so fellow-followers.
Through this I encountered several variations of Buddhism – Tibetan, Sri Lankan, Japanese (Zen) … and though they varied in expression their underlying philosophical ‘thread’ was consistent: self-betterment to beyond thought.
After some years there, the flat was to be sold, so we all parted ways. I vowed I’d be one of those enumerated in the precepts as the ‘advanced beings’, and continue to this day following that path to the best of my ability. Subsequent consideration led me to equate the (10 lay) precepts with Christ’s 10 commandments, just expressed differently.

Much later, with the uprising of Islam occupying the News, my imagination took me back to those days.
Imagine with me:
Camel train days, the Spice Road. Jesus of Nazareth, maturing, goes on his ‘O.E.’ Son of a carpenter, his skills with wood would be of value to the Traders – repairing and customizing the camels’ pack-frames, repairing tent-poles etc… Well, he’d been visited by ‘Wise Men of the East’ – what more might be discoverable Eastwards?
On his way he encounters Buddhist lands – stable societies (for at least 500 years) contrasting with the turbulence ‘back home’ with Roman rule etc… and he investigates the teaching, finding these precepts. Now, how could I get these into my home folks’ heads and hearts? I’d need to teach in parables – tales tall and true – people love to hear them. I know many in my own family and others of my acquaintance that fit the mould as subjects. WHY NOT?
He arrives home, relates his adventures – and findings. Followers – and some dedicated disciples, who recognize him as ‘The Christ (anointed) Child’ – gather, the following grows, but things have gotten worse – the money-men are using the temples as premises for trade. That’s really too much – if I can oust them and expose their usury … the money trade itself is not too bad, but NOT THERE!
His following keeps growing – he’s probably embarrassed by the attention and would rather not, but the message seems to be getting through…then some ‘officious official’ complains, having heard a rumor of a “king of the Jews” …
we all know the story.

The camel trains continue (spices and silks, rich stuff!), with increasing protest and banditry – even socially acceptable and sanctioned occupation as raiders for those in the Arab lands – after all, they cross our lands, they should pay a toll … Of course the Traders (mostly the money-canny Jews) defend their wares, and themselves! …
Into this mix comes Mohammad – a flowery poet adored by his followers in Mecca. He’s enticed to Medina for a greater audience, and a group of thugs engineer his works – more adoring fans – then the bite, the hate/maim/kill of anything not-written (Mohammed’s / the thugs’ words) … the label Islam, with the pre-existing ‘god’ Allah as focus, explaining all unknowns, and forbidding all human endeavour other than procreation, conquest and submission … morality enforced that overpopulates for the resources … geo-political expansion by conquest – thuggery maximised … and here we are …

So, Christ managed to instil in his followers a life-affirming GOD – to the extent that later Greco-Roman philosphers, having exposed the ‘pagan’ elemental gods as just personifications of unknowns, found that Christianity’s One God was an acceptable ‘sop’ for the multitude who, less-educated, still needed gods to explain unknowns. (Even now it’s common to invoke God or Christ as a source of strength or wisdom to deal with an unknown situation: “God alone knows”… It’s no longer really a ‘profanity’. If/when frustrated I invoke “gods” – plural – any you care to name, but then I continue, hopefully towards a better outcome).
One major weakness exposed in modern times in Christ’s teachings: along with “love thy neighbor as thyself” there was no following “but defend thyself vigorously against those of destructive and death-dealing nature” – Islam was a long way in the unimagined – unimaginable future.
Yes, you catch more flies with honey, but they’re still flies polluting your honey. The West’s riches still attract the plundering hordes.
My take on this: just as honey attracts and traps flies, killing them, just so should the West be that honey. The attraction of the West’s riches should be a fatal attraction, and only by being a bee can you partake.

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