Yes, the taboo topic. The topic that is sure to generate more controversy then all of my posts about race and black lives matter combined. No doubt this will anger some. If this were any other site I would fully expect death threats from talking about this subject matter. Religion, for reasons I don't understand, is always given a wide berth. In school talking about religion was forbidden, because god forbid anybody challenge someone else's beliefs. You can challenge beliefs about anything else- but religious beliefs are in their own special category. You cannot challenge them, you cannot criticize them; you should simply accept other people's beliefs and go about your day.
First off, let me emphasize this point. I most certainly tolerate other people's beliefs. I do not think it should be illegal to practice religion. As long as you practicing religion does not interfere with the law or harm anybody else (more on that later) I am tolerant of any religion. That doesn't mean I accept them though. I personally believe this world would be a better place without religion. That's just my opinion. Does not mean I'm right.
So to wrap up this introduction, if you're open to hearing me out and can respect my beliefs I'm open to hearing you out and respect yours. I do not think religious people are unintelligent- as a matter of fact, I think there are several logical reasons to follow a religion. I'll cover that more later on as well.
I am not an atheist. I'm not an atheist because I don't believe anybody can prove gods don't exist. In fact, I know nobody can prove gods don't exist. How would anybody go about doing that?
Same rule as before applies here; if you can respect the fact that I believe there could be a god, I can respect the fact that you believe there isn't a god.
So if I don't believe in religion, but I'm not an atheist, what am I? Take a guess. Got an idea?
That's right. I'm agnostic. (and yes, Dr. Pepper is my favorite beverage.)
Funny enough I think I realized I was agnostic after watching the South Park where they lampooned agnostics. It just makes the most sense to me.
Plus, just because I'm not religious doesn't mean I don't want to get into heaven. So I figure by being agnostic, I'm hedging my bets. I'm not saying god does exist, but I'm not saying god doesn't exist. And I'm not saying which god exists either. So being agnostic probably gives me the best chance of ending up in heaven (I hope).
I was watching a video which made a good point. There are 10's of thousands of religions. 10's of thousands of deity's. The chances of picking the right deity, assuming any of them are correct, are very slim. I figure if I don't believe in any one deity that's better then me believing in the wrong deity.
I'm kind of kidding about the getting into heaven part (not entirely though.)
Most religions center around a text of some sort. Christians have the bible
Muslims have the Quran
Mormons have the book of Mormon. Not to be confused with the wildly popular broadway show book of Mormon.
Scientologists have whatever this is
(One reason (the only reason) to join: they get to watch Movies)
I'm not an expert on religion ("so why the hell are you writing this MyTake then?") But I do know some basic information.
According to most religions, these books are the words of a god. A God relayed this information to somebody or a group of somebodies and they recorded this information and the compilation of said information is the modern day religious text (I think). I believe this is true for most religions.
But that raises a lot of questions in my mind. Questions such as: (feel free to answer down below)
How do we know the guy writing this information down wasn't a complete narcissist/totally insane and that this whole spiritual deity thing wasn't completely made up?
If I were a narcissist living way back when (You can see how great I am at remembering dates and history) and societies were being built and I wanted to influence how they were built, I would probably claim that a being larger then me- larger then anybody else- had told me the exact way things should be. And if things weren't this way- there would be a price to pay. Namely: Being burned alive for an eternity.
But of course, some people would protest saying there was no proof that what I was saying was accurate. How to deal with those people? I know. How about adding a passage about eliminating anybody who doesn't think I am telling the truth. And in order to avoid burning in a fiery pit of hell for eternity, society must eliminate those nonbelievers.
But then there's another problem- why would anybody want to believe me. The solution? Tell them about an amazing place they can go to if they follow all these rules. A place where all of their wildest dreams come true. No specifics. Just a bunch of nebulous description of how great this place is. Compared to the shithole they are currently living in, unruly society, that sounds great.
At this point anybody who doesn't believe me wouldn't speak up because if they did so they would be killed. That means this disbelief wouldn't spread. And in order to blend in with everybody else they would be forced to practice the religion and learn its teachings, so if they didn't believe in it before, they certainly would now.
If the guy was insane more or less the same thing would happen, the guy causing it wouldn't be consciously aware of it though.
Even if the information came from a deity, how do we know the writer didn't misremember or misinterpret it?
Religious texts are hard to comprehend when reading them. Imagine memorizing them. There's a lot of room for error. There are many different ways to interpret many different passages in religious text.
If I am to believe that a god relayed this information to a writer, I also have to belief that this writer was intelligent enough to understand what the god was saying and had a good enough memory to keep track of all of it. And that's a little hard to believe, when I can't even get through a page of the bible.
Even if the information came from a deity, and the writer recorded all the information correctly, how do we know that deity was any good?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it kind of weird that a supposedly great deity condoned slavery and let people burn in pits of fire if they rejected him. If you ask me, that's kind of evil behavior.
In order to convince you of their goodness, what do bad people do? They convince you that somebody else is bad. So if deities have something in common with people, wouldn't a bad deity do the same thing- convince society that they were the good deity and the other deity was bad. And throw in some passages that seemed to be teaching positive messages to avoid arousing suspicion. Obviously if a passage reads "kill everybody" whoever suggested that will look bad. But if a message reads "don't kill" that looks sweet and innocent.
Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but in many religious texts aren't there passages encouraging the followers of said religion to kill nonbelievers? Doesn't this kind of directly contradict the "don't kill" message (I'm paraphrasing, obviously the bible passage is far more flowery with thou and shalt thrown in).
I'm just saying, a lot of the stuff in these religious texts seems like something a bad deity would suggest. And the supposed bad deity seems like something a bad deity would make up to make people think they were the good deity.
Those are just a few questions to think over. There's a lot more I want to cover in this post.
If I don't kill somebody because I might go to jail am I a good person because I didn't kill, even though my reasons were purely self-serving?
Most religious texts (if not all) condemn killing people (in the eyes of these religions, nonbelievers aren't people). Why shouldn't you kill people? Because it's wrong? Well, yes, certainly you should refrain from killing somebody because killing a person is wrong. But an even bigger reason you shouldn't kill anybody- you'll go to hell if you do.
So if the only reason you don't kill a person is because you'll go to hell if you do isn't that kind of self serving? Isn't that the sort of behavior religion discourages.
If I disown my son because his way of life doesn't line up with my religion, what does that make me?
The way I see it, the only reason a parent would disown their son because said son was gay is because of religion; more specifically, because that parent wants to get into heaven and having a sinner in the house jeopardizes their chances.
Isn't that the ultimate act of selfishness? Shouldn't they be condemned to a lifetime in hell. I view these sorts of people similar to how I view terrorists. Complete narcopaths. Terrorists are willing to ruin others lives because they believe in doing so they will get into heaven and have everything they've ever wanted.
People like this are next level narcissists. Willing to do anything to get the ultimate prize- entrance into heaven.
And I cannot respect people like this. Not sorry.
The God I believe in
If there is a God, I believe he is an all loving mercifully god tolerant of everything and everyone. I believe he created Earth and created other planets so people can benefit from them. I believe he cares about people. I believe he does not personally interfere with the planet and lets society function how society is going to function. I also believe we may never seem him and once we've lived our life, that's it. Or maybe we are reincarnated. Who knows.
I believe we'll never know for certain whether there is a god or not. But I also believe, if there is a god he isn't a merciless, self-centered, hypocrite
You are the leader of your own life
One of the things I find strange about religion is how willing people are to devote their entire lives to the cause. Some religions require people fast for an entire day- which is very unhealthy to do, if you aren't sick. Various roles in different religions require you to give up pleasures in life. Catholic priests for instance can't get married or have sex. And, because of that, other problems that I won't touch on occur.
It's baffling to me that people would give up so much for something that may or may not exist. If there is a God I believe he gave us the ability to live life. I believe we should take advantage of that ability.
If you are religious because it makes your life better, terrific. But if you are religious because you think if you aren't you will burn in hell I urge you to consider how likely this is. There is no proof hell exists. There is no proof a god exists. There is no proof of any of this. I'm not saying you should stop being religious, I'm saying you don't have to adhere so closely to your religion.
Who says you have to follow one religion?
Another thing I find weird about religions is how people think you have to follow one religion or another. This religion is right, this other religion is wrong. That sort of mentality. I don't understand. It's like voting. I'm independent; I vote on individual issues based on how I feel about them. I don't ally myself to either political party. Shouldn't religion be the same way? If you like the teaching in one religion or you believe more in a certain element of one religion why can't you follow both religions. Maybe it's just me, but a group of people all devotedly following the word of one person sounds less like a religion and more like a cult.
Separation of church and state
Religion is not supposed to influence policy and law. And yet, it often does. For instance, in the case of Gay marriage.
I did a post about this a while ago and a lot of people lost their shit. Admittedly, it wasn't very well through. Now that I've had more time to think about it, here is my stance.
Any religious person ought to recognize that the beliefs they hold are different from reality and facts. Any religious person should make a good faith effort not to vote based on their religion. The counterargument- people always vote based on their beliefs. Why should religion be any different? Religion is different because there are absolutely no facts backing it. If you believe, say, Global warming does or doesn't exist there are studies and data supporting your claim. If you believe a God exists, there is absolutely nothing supporting your claim. I wouldn't say absolutely if I wasn't very sure that I was completely correct about this.
It's funny how Christianity and Islam is taken so uber seriously while scientology is the butt of every joke about religion. Really, is scientology any more ridiculous? I don't know a ton about scientology, but here's what I do know. Scientologists believe in energy and they also believe in a spirit of some sort. Similar to Christianity. The differences are listed here.
This video explains it well too:
I mean, for fuck's sake there are people willing to kill somebody because they challenged their religion. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?! How on Earth could you be so confident in something when there's absolutely no proof it actually exists.
One thing I hope religion got right
Weird as it sounds, I hope there is a hell. Take somebody like Hitler. Yes, his army turned on him. Yes, he ended up shooting himself. But is that really enough for the crimes he committed? I don't think so. For truly rotten people who are sane enough to realize how bad they are, I think punishment is necessary. It gives me much more peace of mind to think of a horrible person being punished in hell then to think they are lying dead in the ground completely unaware of everything.
And, for that matter...
I hope there is a heaven of some sort. Even if your average person never gets to experience it, I hope there is something like that for truly amazing people. People who gave up their lives to save someone else. People truly worthy of it.
I don't mean you or I. I mean people who have done wonderful things for other people at the expense of their own comfort or life. Not because they were bent on getting into heaven, but because they truly feel better helping people.
I think, just like Hell is for the worst people, heaven is for the best people. And for the rest of us, we get to enjoy our lives and live and when it ends, it ends. Fortunately we won't really know whether there is a heaven or not when the time comes.
The true God in our lives
This is going to sound insane, but I do think there is a god. I think the God in our lives, the ultimate power is our brain.
We have no control over it, and it can be very unpredictable. Try as we might there's still a lot we don't know about it. Without it, we can't live. With a different one, we wouldn't be the same. Weird anology, but I think it actually makes some amount of sense. I'm not saying there isn't a God, but in terms of there being a God in our own lives- our brains would be said God.
But hey, at the end of the day
In the same way we imagine Christmas when we are younger, before we know that (spoiler alert) Santa Claus isn't real, we can imagine religion. Ultimately if it makes our lives better and the people around us lives better (that sounded awkward, just roll with it) who's to say whether religion is bad or good.
It can be bad. It can be good. It all depends on what you choose to believe.
Because, ultimately, religion is nothing more and nothing less then what you choose to believe it is