Please think, instead of using the herd instincts!
Expressing one's personal philosophy is not always an easy task, especially when it involves some controversy. But my thoughts are essentially of peace and the search for truth. The seeds of my personal Philosophy stemmed from several shocking incidents that led me to leave behind my religion and create my own guidelines to live.
The first was a visit to a museum in Schwyz, a town in central Switzerland where one can see the testimonies of thousands of women who first were accused of having sex with the devil, then were tortured until they confessed it. They were then burnt in public, and according to the Catholic Church at the time, these burnings were a necessary cleaning process. This procedure was carried out for quite some time in Europe as well as in America. In Spain up to 1,500 burnings a day were reported. If you have a hard time to believe this, click on the picture. There you'll find statistics, and lists with names and dates and how the witches were executed.
Another experience that had a profound impact on my life-view was the revelation of some very special publications: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D., several books by Peter Lauster, a German Psychologist, and The Return of the Celts by Martha Sills - Fuchs. But the one book that had a particularly strong impact was "Wörter machen Leute" Magie und Macht der Sprache ("Words make People" the magic and power of language) written by Wolf Schneider, a style teacher of the German language. It still gives me the goose-pumps to read in this work about how easy language has been, and is used or misused by governments, religions and other groups to brainwash people.
Religions and religious sects have often manipulated their followers into committing absurd atrocities in order to 'get to heaven'… incredible suicide-bombings, flights into the twin-towers, Hitler´s brilliant speeches that managed to misguide a whole country to commit the most unbelievable crimes against humanity, to name a few. And it is absolutely startling that many of these methods of manipulation are used by political and religious leaders today. In the name of religions, we can count around 30 wars going on at any given time. Millions of people get tortured, raped, beaten, locked-up, and killed because of words that are written in some of these 'holy books' or spoken by priests or politicians.
Keep in mind that just a thousand years ago, very few people had the ability to read or write as printing had not yet been developed. It was mainly priests that had these skills and it was their duty to copy 'holy books' adding some of their own ideas along the way. That's why there are so many versions of some of these books (i.e. the Bible) that have caused so much trouble and misunderstanding among the believers (for instance 30 years of war between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland). Why do we have to learn about all the wars in school but so little about democracy and tolerance? If we don't learn how to live together in loving, tolerant relationships, we will never have peace on this planet.
There is no country and few communities without some sort of religion. People need social guidelines and ethical rules to coexist in harmony. Yet, it seems that most churches fail to provide these guidelines today. Pedophile priests are as common as Burger Kings that are supposed to guide us or our children. When I worked in insurance in Switzerland, I learned that the profession with the shortest life expectancy is the catholic priest because of the celibate life-style is an unnatural health-stress. In central Europe the churches only survive because of tax-payers monies not because of church-goers.
When I finally decided to leave my religion behind, I immediately got a visit from the local priest. Most people in Switzerland who abandon their church do so in order not to pay church-taxes. When the priest heard my arguments she said, "You're the kind of person we need in church. You would make a difference." I answered that I will find different ways to make a difference, but I cannot find what I need to be a better person listening to irrelevant sermons with half the congregation asleep.
Love your neighbor (or enemy) as you love yourself?! Well until I was 30 years old, I hated myself, did that make me a public menace? I could not even bare to see myself in the mirror.
At age 30, I finally decided to change my life and began by "soul-searching". I stopped smoking and started to do two to three water fasts per year to cleanse my body and soul and to practice self-discipline. I became a vegetarian, and believe me, all this turned my life around.The result was a defining and constant redefining of my own personal and practical philosophy.