This is a response to both RICK and LOFF56, though not a complete response.
First of all, if you read the texts of the actual words of - take your pick - Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, Martin Luther King, or many lesser known spiritual conduits, they never say that anything is their "opinion." Never. Find me one passage from any of them where they equivocate on what they know is the Truth. No. They simply impart the Truth to any who would listen, and furthermore, they all make the point that said Truth isn't only available to them, the spiritual masters, but to anyone willing to seek it. Our own Founding Fathers started out this country by saying - "We hold these Truths to be self-evident. Indeed, all Truths are.
I am not claiming to be Jesus or Gandhi, boys. I am claiming only to be a genuine and honest seeker of Truth, and I am willing to share that Truth when I find it, regardless of the slings and arrows of criticism that may come my way. That is what the great teachers wanted us to do, and that is why most of them were killed.
I would rather be accused of arrogance for speaking the Truth than of ignorance for not knowing it.
My attitude isn't "my way or the highway." It's that there is a way, and it's not all subjective or relative.
Listen, I understand that a lot of harm has been done and a lot of atrocities committed by people who claimed to know the truth. Our current president and vice-president are two of the worst perpetrators in recent times of creating such harm by lying and calling it truth. But if we let ourselves become unable or unwilling to call anything The Truth as a result of these abuses, then the abusers have prevailed.
Only when one is thinking dualistically does everything seem to be a matter of opinion. For example, LOFF56, the idea that the "good side" of organized religion should be considered with the bad when evaluating the viability of said institution is representative of a split in consciousness. If Bernard Madoff rips off investors of $50 billion dollars, or a mafiosi kills a few people a year, but they donate lots of money to a charity that does good work for some people, should we take that into consideration when we evaluate said crook or killer? Really?
This kind of thinking reminds me of an excellently executed film I saw last night called "You Kill Me," with Ben Kingsley. He plays an alcoholic who temporarily loses his job as a hitman for the mob because of his drinking, so he is forced to go into AA to get sober. With superb irony, Kingsley's character goes through all the stages of recovery, including making amends to the families of people he killed "badly" (6 bullets instead of one) because he was drunk. The AA folks are in conflict initially, but because they are so invested in his "recovery" from alcohol, they accept his being a professional killer.
The evil that religion has perpetrated is not mitigated by the good it has done, just as any negative things I have done personally in my life are not mitigated by the good I have done. I am a whole person, and until I become wholly (holy) cleared of my negativity, I must continue to work on myself and seek the Truth. That does not mean I need to be punished by guilt or any externally applied suffering, at least not as long as I am continuing to examine myself and heal and grow.
I am only saying on this blog what the aforementioned spiritual masters have said: "Seek and ye shall find."
And mind you, every one of them was quite willing to kick ass!