There have been few TV shows that I have deemed 'worth watching' over the past decade because for the most part, I find most shows to be garbage. However, on occasion a show comes along that I can relate to on some level or that actually exercises my brain for a minute. Westworld and Mr. Robot come to mind in terms of 'compelling dramas' that I would recommend others watch. Mr. Robot in particular has me completely captivated and after watching the premiere of Season Three last night, I was reminded of the fact that this show is not afraid to address some of societies most challenging issues head-on in an attempt to get us all thinking (or reacting?).
With it's bold outlook on society, and it's 'rebel with a cause' main character Elliot Alderson, nothing seems to be too taboo to explore which I find refreshing amid our 'hyper-PC' culture where everyone is afraid to say anything controversial aloud.
One episode of Mr. Robot from Season Two (Ep. 3) really went out on a limb on the topic of religion which got me thinking for days on end. Elliot was attending a small group religious discussion where he was asked to share his opinion on God. After a round of opinions from the group, Elliot asks the audience...
Is that what God does, he helps?
Why does God allow the countless wars declared in his name?
Alright, let's forget about the random, meaningless murders for a second.
How about the racist, sexist, phobiast soup we've all been drowning in because of him?
And I'm not just talking about Jesus, I'm talking about all organized religion.
Exclusive groups created to manage control... dealers getting people hooked on the drug of hope.
His followers, nothing but addicts who want their hit of bullshit to keep their dopamine of ignorance.
Addicts, afraid to believe the truth, that there is no order.
There is no power.
That all religions are just metastasizing mind worms, meant to divide us.
Because it's easier to rule us by the charlatans that want to run us.
All we are to them are paying fanboys to their poorly written sci-fi franchise.
If I don't listen to my imaginary friend, why the fuck should I listen to yours?
People think they worship some key to happiness, that's just how he owns you.
And even I'm not crazy enough to believe that distortion of reality.
So fuck God, he's not a good enough scape goat for me...
As shocking as it was to witness this scene on a prime TV show and as much as I did not agree with him entirely, I was not too surprised to hear Elliot utter these words with such conviction. Because there are many atheists out there who harbor the exact same sentiments as Elliot and unfortunately have given up on religion, period. Let's face it, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have all had their fare share of bloodshed, persecution, and deceit in some form or other for thousands of years leaving many individuals confused, detached, and without conviction.
But what bothered me most about Elliot's beliefs and his way of thinking is that he is excluding one VERY profound anomaly in religion, namely Buddhism. Buddhism is the one religion that does not promote, nor believe in any of the things that Elliot is complaining about. Buddhism does not condone the killing of any man or creature. Buddhism does not put certain men on pedestals, nor ask for money for your redemption. Buddhism does not fabricate stories that are untrue in an attempt to inspire awe in it's followers. Buddhism is not about acquiring material goods or promoting exclusionary principles. Buddhism is a religious belief focused upon awakening oneself, Buddhism is truth, inner-truth pure and simple.
Studying all major religions throughout my life, even as a child, I could see through the false masks of deception and the clandestine methods of control. Although I was baptized Lutheran, I was not forced into any one religious belief. My parents believed that religion should be an individual choice, and they also realized early on that I would only believe what I wanted to believe. Thus began my journey to find a religion that was as universal as my own thinking. A religion that did not battle against anything else. A religion strong enough for me to adopt and believe in 'forever'. After hearing Elliot's speech, I was disappointed he could not see the obvious exclusion that he was omitting and I began to feel sorry for people like Elliot who go through life without any belief in God. But many people make this mistake and some people even claim that buddhism is not a religion at all. I find this thinking ludicrous, considering that Buddhism laid the foundation for many Christian beliefs (do your homework people).
How buddhism has helped me throughout various stages in my life is a topic for another day. But in general, without these beliefs and without purpose, what is the reason for living? Following buddhist practices and eternally seeking to be awakened and enlightened is powerful enough reason for me to rise yet another day with hope and aspiration. Those few people who know my buddhist self can see quite clearly how much it helps me in my life. I'm not saying that I am the perfect buddhist or anything, far from it, but I do remain attached to my buddhist beliefs. Especially while living downtown under materialist control during this insane age of 'fabricated reality'. The universe is a crazy place and there are many mysteries to solve, many truths to find, many hills to climb. I feel that much more empowered following buddhism versus no religion at all.