Friedrich Nietzsche distinguished the difference between faith and religion: “Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle. The foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.”
Through the gloomy shadows of dawn and deep snow banks, a group of little lads is sneaking down to the gates of the mansion. Frosty wind burns their faces. The drops of sweat are visible of their foreheads as it takes a lot of energy to walk across the whiteness. The desert of snow tries to ingest these tiny humans with a single big gulp. To punish them for their tenacity and limitless courage.
But even though they are small and helpless, entirely at the mercy of her majesty winter, they keep moving. They have a goal, and no matter what, it must be achieved. They must reach the gates of the mansion and open them. But no noise should be made not to wake up sleeping neighbors or attract the attention of passersby who got up early for work.
As the gate opens quietly, one can read no fear on the faces of undaunted and obstinate nippers. Their eyes are filled with the passion for the deed they are about to commit. They know that they should not be here, but the faith in the miracle is more powerful. No matter the consequences for themselves and their parents, the boys made the decision. And this decision is to spread the joy of Christmas.
Religion in the Soviet Union
My uncle told me this story when I was a child. It was his childhood at the end of the 1970s, beginning of the 1980s in the Soviet Union. He told me that nobody was allowed to celebrate Christmas or even talk about it. Vestiges of the Czarist era, one of the main attributes of capitalism, anti-socialist religious propaganda. That’s how the communist regime formulated the celebration of Christian holidays.
But despite the prohibitions and strict laws, my uncle and his friends believed in the miracle of Christmas. Or they thought so. You must understand that children will believe in anything adults tell them, especially if it’s about the magic and miracles.
And the life in the Soviet Union was anything but not a miracle. There was a chief of the party who was in charge of the preservation of communist dogmas. There were party members who were responsible for the prosperity of the nation. And there were typical workers, the class of people shaping the core of socialism. There was no place for any religion.
Nevertheless, it was never satisfactory to the core of socialism. Religious traditions were always part of the culture. You know how it works, parents were taught by their parents, and grandparents were taught by their grandparents. Thus, Orthodoxy is in the blood of citizens born in Ukraine and Russia. And even powerful anti-religious propaganda (you can see one of the posters made in the Soviet Union) could not help to influence the minds of millions.
I am not a big fan of socialism and communism, but the decision of the party to prevent the spread of religious propaganda in the Soviet Union was not the worst one. You heard about the Cold War, and you know what it was. During this war, the communist party scorned everything related to the free world. Meanwhile, the free world used any methods like the war in Vietnam, for instance, to prevent the proliferation of diabolical socialism.
However, I tend to believe that then communists knew something that many people today struggle to comprehend. They knew that religion was a political tool to have an enduring impact on people. Once people are influenced, it is so much easier to manipulate them. As you can see in the second half of the twentieth-century poster below, the religious propaganda implied that whoever was an atheist was against democracy.
And we all know where all the atheists lived in the second half of the twentieth century. Correct, in the Soviet Union and other communist states. I realize that democracy provides freedom and many other benefits, but the manipulation of masses through religious propaganda is beyond my understanding. And even though the Soviet Union is long gone, politicians and public figures of the free world keep using religion as a tool to control societies.
And how they control society you ask? Very simple to answer. Are you a baptized person, I mean, are you a Christian? I have no idea how it precisely works in other religion. So, I will ask the question differently. Did you choose to be a Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, or a Christian?
I did not have an opportunity to make this decision. I was baptized before I turned one year old. My parents decided to do the ritual without even considering to ask me when I would have grown up. But I do not blame them. Society dictates its rules and stereotypes are something that is very tough to resist. The meaning is that the religious propaganda of the free world is working faultlessly.
I was born in Ukraine, where the official and most common religion is Christian Orthodoxy. Therefore, my parents did not have much choice but to donate me to the system. And the circle will never be disrupted as I suppose to do the same with my children and teach them to do so with their children.
But with this article, I would like to claim my right for real freedom. And to be honest, I do not go to church as it is not the place of God. It has never been the place of God. It is just the building where politicians negotiate with priests and where old grannies sell candles and other religious attributes like crosses, books, calendars, etc. There is no holiness in the entire scam called religion. And the religious person is just the product of propaganda.
And this is the moment where I use the word “faith.” Have you ever thought about it? What is the difference between faith and religion? Try to google it, and you will find thousands of pages explaining the difference in a very sophisticated and philosophical manner. This is done in an attempt to confuse you, so you would remain without answer and continue to be blind.
So what is the difference between faith and religion?
I will try to explain faith from my perspective as I see it.
When I was nine years old, I asked my mother who is God and why we have to believe in him? I was already baptized but wanted to understand why people must be religious. She said that if I talk to God through the private prayer in the moment of fear and despair, he would always listen and help. It was hard to trust her as it sounded crazy to me.
A few months later, on one hot summer day, I went with my friends to the lake. I did not know how to swim but wanted desperately to plunge into the freshness and remove the burden of the heatwave. After I stepped into the water and walked approximately five meters away from the shore, I slipped on the mossy bottom. I started to drown, and my friends were reluctant to help as they got scared.
This was the first time in my life when I prayed as I realized that I might be dead within a few minutes. It was time for God to show his power, and he did so without hesitation. Somehow, I managed to find the balance on the water and make it to the shore. I cried like I never cried before. My entire body was shaking, and I think I peed myself, but nobody could see it.
The point of my story is that on that day, I found God in my heart and my soul. I did not know anything about other religions and their Gods. But I had faith that there is something bigger than me or any human living on Earth. I had the knowledge that God is a savior. But the knowledge is not enough; you need to have faith in this knowledge. And do not confuse faith with religion as the difference between faith and religion is immense.
Conclusion on religion
I was trying to look at the social problem related to religion from a different perspective. I tried to find answers in scientific evidence. I discovered that 84% of the total world’s population belongs to one of the most popular religions. And the following quote opened my eyes:
“…religion must be understood as a multi-faceted embodied institution of substantial social and political relevance.”
Can you imagine, even scientists believe that religion is an institution which has significant political relevance. It is widely used as a tool to shape the social values of populations and, in case of need, manipulate them. One of the contemporary examples of such need is the holy and bloody war between Muslims and Christians. And while the terrorist attacks take place, white Christians of the free world play a victim card and continue sending troops in the Middle East. They presumably fight terrorism, but we all know what their real intentions are. Money and power!
You have to think for yourself. Believe in what you want to believe. Never make public opinion and media influence your perception of the world. Be kind and have faith. Don’t search for God in church or ask your priest where to find him; look for him in your heart. And always remember that there is a huge difference between faith and religion.
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