HESP February 1, 2018

Lighting the candles one by one while singing along the old prayers and inspirational thousands-years-old tales. Nothing like a good religion to make any blood-sworn war sound like the essence of glory and pride.

As kids, they teach us that religion is filled with fun stories and valuable lessons, build it up like a fairyland that even Walt Disney himself would be proud of. It’s only when the clock hits Bar Mitzvah that you find yourself baffled, why are all the boys around me celebrated and I am not? It’s good to encounter it so early in life, after all, as a woman, the feeling of inferiority will accompany you wherever you go.

Some shatter the illusion; some don’t. As I see it, religion has been used as a tool to control and oppress women for centuries, even more than that; it was used to control all people. Why else will ordinary, sane individuals leave their families and risk their own lives? Give them a cause, sell them a story that touches their inner fears and a simple solution, just do what God says, and don’t you worry! I’ll let you know what it is. Not only will they be loyal, but they will thank you for it as well.

Back then they were called prophets; today we know them better as salesmen. I wonder if Moses ever got a commission.

The problem begins when a modern country keeps forcing us to obey those old fairy-tales. Compelling me, as a woman, to accept that my gender is a flaw and act like it. Religion and gender oppression is not a thing of the past, it is alive, and kicking, and disguises itself as “tradition”. Suddenly, you’re not trying to prove yourself as equal and get the same opportunities as your male-peers, no, you are a disgraceful kid who defies her tradition and betrays her family values. The struggle is not only to prove yourself; it’s not even fighting for the chance to prove yourself, it starts with having to fight for the right to fight for the opportunity to prove yourself.

I love my religion; I love the variety of holidays and the morals behind the stories. I love feeling united with my ancestors and the feeling of family that it bestows upon all its followers. But religion is a potent tool, and it is very easy to use negatively. Unfortunately, that is all that’s left of it nowadays. Using messages of love and caring to further blood-thirst and pure greed.

The greatness of humanity is our ability to evolve, our ability to break through barriers and create a better future. I hope one day we can understand that our belief doesn’t have to come at someone else’s expense. Believe, love, and accept, learn to embrace those around you, whether they agree with you or not, you might just find another fantastic world awaiting you on the other side, or at the very least make a new friend. Isn’t that what life is really about?


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