"Atheism is a requirement for a complete human being. Religion is a crutch that is shackled to you, one you never really needed in the first place, but were convinced by others that you couldn't live without. Once you discover it's only an illusion, that it's not even a real crutch, you discard it gladly." - Brent Yaciw
Image by halr75 via FlickrThis quote struck me as of late. Hard. And the more I read it, the more I contemplated it... the more I realized just how true it really is.
Everything I thought I ever believed was nothing but an illusion. Even in leaving it behind I tried to find replacement theories and answers, but all of this was just an attempt to comfort a fearful mind. Religion is nothing but another attempt at self-understanding; however, instead of actually learning anything about ourselves, we just make it up as we go along.
I don't have a whole lot of motive behind posting this one. I just came across the quote and thought "Wow. That's it, in a nutshell."
I spent/wasted so many years. It makes me angry in a lot of ways to have lost perfectly good years to religion of all things. chasing fantasies of the mind... no better than any other daydream I have on a regular basis, and twice as bad because this was one daydream I allowed myself to drag into reality.
That is so dangerous. Living a dream is beyond dangerous...
I mean, I'm a messed up individual. Between Agoraphobia (an anxiety disorder) and OCD and SA Disorder, it's hard not to be a little crazy; by a little, I mean a lot. However, I firmly believe I was never more crazy than when I believed religion was true. Note how I say the word religion here, and not the word "Christianity." No, I was in my most crazy and delusional state when I was involved in any religion of any kind. Christianity wasn't the problem. Christianity is just another way the problem manifests. It's a symptom, not a cause.
What's funny is that I keep thinking about the questions and I keep looking for the answers, but those answers will never come. A good quote to that effect would be as follows:
"What happens when we're dead? The irony is that all our questions will be answered after we die. We spend our whole life trying to figure out the truth and the only way we'll find out what it is, is to get hit by a bus. And the only comfort that religion offers is that God is driving that bus." - John Ryman, When Galaxies Collide
(This is a fantastic quote, though if I were to re-write it I would place quotation marks around the word "God" -- you can derive what that means of your own accord.)
We spend waste our entire lives trying to figure it all out. But our questions will all be answered in only one instant: When we die. How depressing is that? Well, it's not really depressing if you think about it; it's actually quite freeing. It means I don't have to worry about it day in and day out. My answers are coming, and the answers will not change based on what I believe in this life.
As a result, if there is a God (which I no longer believe), this God already knows that none of us will ever have the truth. Let's face it: If half the people on the planet are correct, the other half are going to spend eternity in some kind of hell anyway. This isn't to point out that hell is real or that anyone can have the truth; it is in fact to point out the opposite: All any of us can do is guess, and treat mythology as history (religion is, in fact, nothing more than treating myth as fact when you boil it all down) -- and all this guessing has created what we know today as the wide scheme of religious diversity covering the planet.
The fact is, the invisible shares a lot in common with the nonexistent. People often make me laugh when they say "We can't prove there is a God, but how can you prove there isn't a God?" Simple, actually. If I might quote David Spitz for a moment:
"One might be asked "How can you prove that a god does not exist?" One can only reply that it is scarcely necessary to disprove what has never been proved."
The burden of proof does not lie on the atheist, but on the believer; and that burden cannot be met.
Truth only begins when we set aside that which we believe. I'm actually starting to gravitate toward the idea that a believer is not a thinker, and a thinker not a believer. I used to firmly state you could be both; now, however, I am re-assessing the situation. I am starting to believe that truth and religion are fundamentally at odds. To believe, you must put aside what is in front of your face, including if what is in front of your face is nothing at all.
To think, you must put aside beliefs in favor of facts, and as for theories (a type of belief, if you break it down), well theories are fine.. but one must reach a point where you put aside theories that simply have no finite basis other than your own personal feelings, thoughts, or other subjective matter. That which is objectively and empirically proven should always trump those things of our own mind.
I'm even more interested to realize within myself that religion over the years may have actually made my mental health conditions worse, when at one time I often though it was going to be my saving grace. In actuality, religion has kept me living in a delusional state where I am incapable of accepting reality... which is exactly what my anxiety disorder is based upon. An inability to see the world, and everything within it, for what it really is.
Wow... talk about an epiphany.
I have to now admit: This whole process (leaving religion behind and moving toward a cessation of the search for "subjective" answers) is exhilarating, when I thought it would be frightening. I'm just beginning to see how religion is a cosmic crutch, and how fake it all really is. Little by little, it is really becoming easier and more rejuvenating to toss that crutch aside.
Next step: Breaking it up for firewood and torching it.
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