Anti-Religion doesn’t necessarily mean “Anti-God”. For example, I had a conversation recently with a Vietnam veteran who is ultra conservative, loves his country and is unashamedly a believer of God.

There were two things that I found fascinating, and almost contradictory, about this gentleman:

1.) He said he would never stand for the pledge of allegiance.

Being a patriotic veteran, he said he would gladly fight for his family, for his friends, for his country and for freedom. The issue he took with the pledge wasn’t based in anti-Americanism, but rather with the wording of the pledge itself.

The line in particular he found troublesome was “I pledge allegiance to the flag”.

The flag, he suggested, while representing our liberty and values, was an inanimate object, and pledging allegiance to it he saw as a form of idolatry. He believes the pledge should first declare “I pledge allegiance to God above all else.”

2.) He said he would never step foot inside of a church again.

He views the church as the paragon of evil; the bastion of corruption seeking only to accumulate power and wealth rather than to solely teach the word of God.

Long before he moved to Texas he was a Baptist deacon at a church in Minneapolis and became privy to the corruption inside its walls. He left the church and devoted his life to serving God, not religion.

As someone who is critical of religion, I’ve never begrudged anyone their right to believe in what they wish to believe in. My issue with religion doesn’t revolve around the concept of a higher power.

In fact, I find agnosticism and freethinking less dogmatic in contrast to outright atheism. As an admirer of theoretical physics I find it’s imperative to keep an open mind to the possibility of an inexplicable, omnipresent force that may have had some deliberate impact on the creation of the conscious mind.

We simply don’t know how reality came to be or what it actually is. As such, I find it’s arrogant and presumptuous to declare that you have an answer to the greatest questions of all time.

Religion, specifically Abrahamic derivatives, has historically aimed to use force rather than free will; indoctrination over enlightenment.

One could argue, as our aforementioned friend has suggested, that the coveting and accumulation of wealth and power could very well be an assault to God. Religion itself may be the Anti-Christ. Who knows?

What I do know is that institutions of power, such as the Church, have historically executed great atrocity in the name of God. These oppressive organizations may not be accurately representing  their God.