Religion, dogmatism and oppression

Here's a very short post for today, coming from Orkut (www.orkut.com). I try to explain Levinas' views on religion in about a 100 words :)

Orkuter 1 says:
Rights are not given by religion. We are born with our rights.Funny enough, it is religion that removes your rights. With what authority I don't know. Fools are the ones who believe in religious leaders who claim to be the authority of any religion in the world.

Orkuter 2 says:
Not only that, religion will tell u:
1. whether sun moves around earth or earth moves around sun.
2. evolution theory is right or wrong.
3. killing infidels right or not.
4. what u think right or not.
5. how many u should marry.
6. some says dont question what is written in so called holy books, just believe and act accordingly.
7. some goes to the highest extent and say how to walk, how to take bath, how to sleep, how to have sex, what to say in different situations,...

in a word a FULL CODE OF LIFE. (u just born, read and thats all. there is no use of ur own intelligence!!!, u r FREE of thinking....................)

I replied:
Other versions of religion exist as well fortunately.

I have read many books from Emmanuel Levinas (Jewish philosopher) lately. He emphasizes the own responsibility of humans all the time. Ethics form the basis of all human relations according to Levinas. And ethics is what matters in the first place, that we are good to each other as human beings. For Levinas God is in a way secondary (and formal religion tertiary). If we are good to each other we can see a glimpse of God through the Other, the person that I am good to. Levinas is always a bit suspicious towards religious leaders. Maybe they are looking for power on earth and misusing religion for that. The basis for ethics and religion lies at the personal level. The other person wakes up my conscience when I see his or her face. That is the best level for ethical responsibility. A more macro-level has a bigger chance of evolving into a totalitarian system which is immoral.
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