4/04/2013 | Share this article: View Commentsby Andrew Aaboe ~
Do you believe in a god? I don't. I used to believe in a god that loved me and the world and that took care of mankind. I used to be very strong in that conviction and every week I would be in church worshiping the god of the Bible. I used to spend loads of time thinking about god and the Bible and our place in this world. I would also tithe and make a real effort to spread Christianity. Going to church used to be the highlight of my week, a place of refuge from the “evil” in the world and the place where Christians go to worship God with other believers. Now I can say without equivocation: I don't believe in a god(s).
Does not being religious now mean my life is meaningless and devoid of any kind of real hope? No, I don't believe that it is. What has happened is that I now have a more realistic view of the world and my tiny place in it. I now understand that humanity is but one species on this planet and I have realized how small humans really are. The fact is what is meaningful to you is relative. You may believe that bird watching is meaningful to you and that nature fills you with joy. Another person might think that bird watching is boring, truly sucks and is a waste of time. Just because religion makes some people feel like they have meaning in our world does not mean that it is true. Some people might actually believe that religion sucks the life out of you and can make your life devoid of meaning. Your life having meaning is actually up to you, it is not extrinsic to you, your life and the meaning of it, is totally what you believe and make of it.
What happened to me anyway? Why am I on this rant about religion? What happened to me is that I made a conscious choice that religion doesn't make sense to me anymore (in ANY sense) and that it is a waste of my time. I have left religion completely and decided never to go back to any church. I now believe that religion and in particular “god” is imaginary. The reason I am on this rant is because I feel that religious dogmatism and indoctrination really screwed up my life and on some level I am still suffering from it. Secondly if I can help other people to realize the destructive capability of religion on society, families, children, science etc, then I believe I have done something good for our world. Even if only a few people read this article, that is OK, I hope it helped them.
My god is better then your god
First off, have you ever noticed that there are so many religions in the world? Every culture has their own particular religion, modern examples are...in the West, we have Christianity as the predominant religion. In Israel, Judaism is the main religion, in most of the Middle East, Islam is the religion and in China Buddhism is the main religion, to just name a few. There are even religions of the past which have died out and no one worships those gods anymore for example: the gods of the Greeks and the Romans, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Mithra, Apollo etc. Take some time to look up these “dead gods” and how popular these gods were. You would be amazed at how important the gods were to the people and how their entire life centered around the gods. Did you ever wonder WHY if a supposed true god existed he would have allowed this religious plurality around the world? Not all religions are ONE, they have competing philosophies and beliefs, and practices, view of morals etc. Plurality of religions makes sense if religions are created by MEN. Ironically this is exactly what evolution and Anthropology show.
Have you ever asked a person who is a Christian for example why he doesn't worship Zeus or Poseidon? The response may be that they don't accept those gods or the tenants of those religions and their god is the true one. Ask the believer “Have you ever tried to prove whether or not Zeus existed and whether or not he was a god? Most of the time they will have not even studied into these other religions and really why would they? They adopted the popular religion of their culture and Christianity for the most part is the religion of their culture. The real fact is that people will in the main adopt the religion of their culture. Look at India, for the most part people are following the Hindu religion. Sure there may be a few other religions in India like Christianity and Islam but the majority will follow the religion of their families, their parents. When you think about it, this argument is very obvious and exceptionally hard for the religionists to refute.
I used to be a Christian and my family were generally Christian and I became a Christian when I was about 20 years old. I wanted to follow the religion of my dad and looking back I sometimes wonder WHY I did that. I never approached my Christianity from FIRST trying to examine the evidence in a non biased manner. I have to admit I never looked at reason and logic and never really knew anything about the world religions. Why would I have anyway? I was more or less a product of my culture. I assumed that my religion is true and theirs is false, and ironically that is what they probably think of their religion and how they got into it.
In another article I wrote “My Journey in Religion” I put down some of the reasons that seemed to pile up on the side that religion was man made. The fact of evolution and studies in things like Anthropology and comparative religion, concerning how religions start was very revealing to me. Science essentially made mincemeat of my religion, showing me how I believed unlikely things about the physical world. In a short while I could see holes everywhere in the Christian faith and with good conscience I couldn't believe it anymore. So I stopped going to Church and used my time for other things. I truly now have no desire to study religion anymore because I believe it is failed philosophy and has been proven to be a bag of holes.
Sometimes I think about the past and how I truly believed some whacko things for example: I used to believe that the Theory of Evolution was essentially a mere hypothesis and that Intelligent Design made more sense. I believed that there was a conspiracy by scientists to destroy the Bible and Christianity. I used to believe that the bible was the inerrant word of God, ergo I believed things like a world wide flood of Noah, a talking snake, a woman coming from Adam's rib, Heaven and Hell, Original Sin, the Trinity etc. Now I can see that I was a delusional believer and through culture and family was indoctrinated into religion.
Lastly, I would like to say to anyone out there who is a religious person to consider their religion and it's origin and whether or not they can provide evidence for believing the things that they do. Shouldn't what we believe be based on sound evidence and reason? We humans generally think this way in the world apart from religion e.g. If someone told you that Vitamin C cured cancer I am sure you would be skeptical right off the bat. Cancer is a powerful disease and kills millions. You would probably tell the person you would want to see some evidence of that. Think now, if you would be skeptical about your health why wouldn't you be skeptical of someone saying that you can have eternal life and live forever. A rational person wants evidence for claims not mere claims to knowledge. Religious people in my opinion compartmentalize their religion from the real world, they believe things that are preposterous.
Carl Sagan once said “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” he also said “I try not to think with my gut. If I'm serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble. Really, it's okay to reserve judgment until the evidence is in.”
Mr. Sagan also said “ It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones. "The Burden of Skepticism" in Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 12, Issue 1
Thank you all for reading and I hope that you have a joyous wondrous life and I hope that my sharing perhaps provoked you to think about why we believe the things we do. I hope as well that perhaps you would consider your beliefs and how you see the world and perhaps see if the light of evidence shines on them or not.
Filed Under: Opinion