My respect for religion ends at the mutual assistance and welfare that a religious organization will provide to the homeless and hungry, as long are there are no religious strings attached. In other words, pray to Jesus and we'll feed you. Although, this welfare is done largely to curry God's favor, charity is not the providence of the religion. Mutual aid and assistance is a necessary consequence of human-evolved altruism and the fact that humans have always organized themselves into social units.
So, I suppose I really don't respect religion. I respect people who help people. However, if one is going to embrace and acknowledge the positive aspects of religion, one must not also shy away from the negatives.
"Answering to a leader called Queen Antoinette, they denied a 16-month-old boy food and water because he did not say "Amen" at mealtimes."
It get worse.
"After he died, they prayed over his body for days, expecting a resurrection, then packed it into a suitcase with mothballs. They left it in a shed in Philadelphia, where it remained for a year before detectives found it last spring."
And if that isn't enough.
"Sources and Ramkissoon's mother said Ramkissoon, 22, has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge on one condition: The charges against her must be dropped if her son, Javon Thompson, is resurrected."
The problem is, the belief in a person's personal posthumous resurrection is not just the crank belief by this one, small Christian cult, but shared by all Christians. All Christians believe that full bodily resurrection is possible through belief in Jesus. Christians also believe that with enough faith, all prayers are answered.
Were these actions of an insane person? No. Ramkisson – the mother of the baby, was found to have beliefs that were "indistinguishable from religious beliefs" and that "she wasn't delusional, because she was following a religion" her attorney stated. What we have is a case of a perfectly sane person who is not physcially unable to distinguish from right and wrong. Perhaps, she read the Bible wrong?
I can hear it now. Mainstream Christians will claim that this cult had it wrong because the Bible says otherwise. Yet, this cult likewise asserts it's "authority for its beliefs in the Bible." And why not? I seem to recall Acts proclaiming dead Saints rising up from their graves (although no contemporary Roman histories confirm this) and John promising that "he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." (John 11:25.) Resurrection is the exchange and promise that Jesus makes to his followers who will believe in him. This cult showed that they wholeheartedly believed the bill of goods they were sold. If praying over a corpse for days isn't a testament of faith, I don't know what is.
No, this cult, One Mind is not out the mainstream. They just happen to be tragically, sincere in their beliefs.
Give me the good that religion does any day without the bs attached to it. If that were to happen, there would be little left of that religion as doctrine must be necessarily stripped away and supernaturalism put to rest with all the other mythologies that have inhabited our collective imaginations.