The Combination Lock of Religion

By Astreja

Trying to get something of value out of religion is kind of like trying to open a locked box.

At the beginning of our experience, we are informed that the box contains something of inexpressible value, something that exists only in the box, something that we can't buy or borrow or build.

And then we see... the lock.

A combination lock forged from dogma, tradition and our own expectations. Before we can open that magic treasure chest, we have to crack the code.

Some combinations appear to be fairly simple, but the gears stiff and heavy... The actual day-to-day practice of the creed proves too arduous, and we walk away.

At other times, the lock has so many parameters that we can twirl the dial for a lifetime without actually getting anywhere. Once in the while we do hear something go 'click', which reinforces the desire to keep trying.

But, once in a while -- Sometimes totally by accident -- the lock just opens by itself.

Some people find peace, love, a sense of purpose. Others, a dime-store ring that would look great on an eight-year-old, but doesn't fit their adult hand. And some of us just stare into an empty box.

Even after all that pain and bother, there's a chance that some control-freak minister, mullah, rabbi or roshi will slam the box shut on our fingers because we didn't open it the "right" way.

Why waste precious years of our lives trying to access something that may well turn out to be worthless?

And, if it is something that humanity actually needs... What kind of idiot would lock it up?

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