5/23/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S. ~
There are times when l ﬁnd myself wishing this were not an ex-Christian, but an ex- believer, site. There are good reasons for this. For one thing, shared experiences for the sake of comparison would be eye-opening amongst believers of many faiths. For another, the rationalizations and convoluted defenses of the faiths would be exposed; those ways in which people were conned into accepting them in the ﬁrst place. Then there is the emotional involvement, the dedication and utmost certainty each testiﬁer would have to offer as evidence why he or she stayed in the respective faith. And, why each believer in each respective faith thought he or she was in the one true one.
It would be enlightening to note that all religions begin with miracles, that all of them somehow manage to lose all the “evidence” for their claims even at their beginnings. And that the conﬂicts in interpretations of their beliefs at those beginnings are still unresolved to this day, as ﬁrmly as they are taught to be believed unquestionably by each religion and sect. Each believer would share the fact that none of the beliefs has evidence to back them, that their god or gods are invisible and untouchable. And, that the commandments from their god or gods are quite different for each of them, dependent on geographical location.
Every religion claims visions, miracles, and martyrs as reasons they are true. But, if believers are willing to die for each faith, and each division within their faith, that is no proof at all of any of them being true. Within every faith are heretics, and, since no one has any evidence of what is true or not in belief systems, everyone is a heretic. Visions and voices of an invisible god are no different from mind hallucinations, and yet all religions reference them as portals to spiritual knowledge.
Every religion begins as a cult.
All former faith adherents can tell you how they claimed to “know in my heart” as their primary reason for believing in their deity's existence. Note that, to members of various faiths, the real deity can be and is Krishna, Jesus, Zeus, Thor, Venus, etc., etc., throughout the centuries. Each religion claims that you need to believe in it completely to be good, and that without obeying its rules you will be immoral and condemned to a fate worse than death. Some will forbid pork and/or alcoholic beverages. All of them will tell you how to control your sex life, what and who to avoid like the plague, and urge you to suppress your curiosity about the world in general, since their scriptures disagree with it. Each of them creates their own “reality.”
Religions depend on the willingness of their members to lie to themselves; in fact, this is a necessity which they elevate to the status of virtue. And, they are well aware of how willing humans are to be deluded (and easily prone to self-delusion). They demand allegiance to them as the price to pay to be “forgiven“ by their deity, and them, for whatever your offences to the rules might be. And, the rules vary with the sect. (Of course, yours is the “true” one.) And, if you walk away from any of them without explanation, forget all that propaganda about being forgiven. There is nothing to be gained for them from a prodigal son, a moral person who can't accept the dogmas any more, who doesn't repent and bow down to ask for forgiveness. You are ostracized or even killed for not accepting the loving forgiveness of the god and his people. (And to think that you lived with so many strings attached to truss you.)
I wonder if every “ex” from religion has taken the same paths to reach reality, choosing morality over blind adherence to belief systems. It would be great to compare experiences, don't you think?