Religion - The Guilt-Edged Sword
When we think of human relationships, the relationships between people, whether friendships or romances, we often come to a point where there is a parting of ways - a place where friendships stop being rewarding, when a love relationship ceases to be a love relationship and just devolves into something less. Just like a marriage where the love has exited stage left, all things end - and attempting to keep them alive artificially serves no purpose other than to drag things out to the very bitter, painful end.
Guilt shouldn't bind you to a person or trap you in a failed relationship. If it isn't love that keeps you there, but guilt - then you're both better off with someone else - or alone, because otherwise you will be doing yourself (and each other) more harm than good.
In many ways, the same thing can be said about religion.
Religion is a complex subject. I suppose this is because it comes down to what people believe, what people WANT to believe, and what people NEED to believe - and even more complex - what people believe in groups, and what they convince each other to believe - and what they are willing to do in the name of that belief in order to continue to cling to it.
At the moment, I am past being a disillusioned Christian - I don't believe in anything anymore. In my more melancholic periods, I even stop believing in love, but regardless of all that introspection, in terms of religion, I consider myself agnostic - which in my humble opinion, is a technical term for being open minded. I don't know if Christ ever actually existed, or if he was an invention of a growing religious movement of the 1st century A.D. - and so far there has been no concrete proof to convince me otherwise - but if he did exist, he was most likely seen as such a big threat by the Jewish and Roman authorities, that not only was he eliminated with extreme prejudice, but so was the new religion that he founded.
Oh, you think the Christian church attempting to dominate the world today is even remotely "Christian" at all?
As anyone who has done a little digging can attest, the modern Christian church is not really Christian at all, at least not by the nature of its beliefs - which are the foundation of any actual religion - but the legacy of the conniving and resourceful Roman emperor Constantine, and the descendant of a merger of facetious patriarchal pseudo-Christian traditions and beliefs blended with bastardized mythology and all the other older pagan religions of ancient Rome.
The Roman Catholic Church, not being actually Christian in any way - later gave rise to the Protestant movement - which in itself was based upon the foundations of this earlier bastardized religion, which of course means that, at its root, it is no more "Christian" than it's predecessor.
The original Christianity was far more gnostic in nature and even magical too in some ways - and because it encouraged free thought and undermined the established system of control in the world, it was viewed as revolutionary and subsequently virtually wiped out in the first two centuries AD by the Roman church which proclaimed it "heretical" and made war on it.
Perhaps I'm being a bit whimsical by saying "that sounds very familiar"? Perhaps not. The modern church still seems to be very paranoid, obsessed with "threats" and seems prone to declaring war on anything that fits the bill. Everyone who doesn't fit in is targeted, demeaned and ostracized. The phrase "Jesus loves you" is employed as a weapon, a bullet in a gun which people point at those they don't like, don't agree with and want to turn into mindless little clones of themselves.
And when people don't give in to pressure, succumb to persecution, disappear or become silent and invisible like the self-flagellating martyrs all good Christians "should" be - then all stops are pulled out to destroy them by various means - such as isolating them socially, and campaigning and working towards removing their legal protections and civil rights - and trying to get ancient obsolete and barbaric (and remarkably biblical) penalties installed into the legal system. Oddly enough, this very scenario has been playing out across Africa for the past few years - and especially in Uganda, and even now such a move is afoot in South Africa.
Sad to say, despite claims that we live in a so-called "Christian country" - there seem to be very few people today who identify with Christ and who seem truly Christ-like.
I find this to be profoundly ironic.