I was born and raised a Christian. It wasn’t until about my third year of college that I really started to question religion at all. In fact during my first couple years of college I was almost pulled into what I would consider “almost” a religious cult. The guy leading the group basically wanted us to go around campus and “street preach” to our fellow classmates. Luckily, I came to the conclusion that this guy seemed a little off and quickly abandoned the idea. One good thing did come out of it though, I decided to actually study religion(s).
Ironically, most of my questions about religion came once I actually started formally studying religion. Religion even eventually became my minor in college, which doesn’t make me an expert by any means, but gives me just enough knowledge to be dangerous, I guess. Since graduating college I have added to by “wealth of knowledge” by reading almost non-stop different books based on religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I even make an effort not to be biased so I read books on different faiths, Christian Apologetic, and books refuting religion all together.
In my search for “enlightenment” I haven’t been able to come to a 100% satisfactory conclusion, but I have become fairly confident in a few things. For one, I am fairly sure that there are some serious flaws in modern religious thought, the Bible, and those who take the bible literally.
For example, some people refute the ideas of evolution based on the creation story in the bible. Well, that brings up a few problems for me. One problem is that the bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs and we don’ t find any ancient pottery or artwork with dinosaurs drawn all over it, so we can conclude that they weren’t around at the same time as people. I mean when Adam named all the animals in the creation story – dinosaurs were not part of it. So, the HUMANS that wrote the book simply weren’t aware dinosaurs existed. I doubt that God would make such a mistake or that people would leave out the biggest animals on the planet. The whole creation story was written as an obvious metaphor and and attempt by our ancestors to explain A.) God’s power and B.) How we all came to be. Our ancestors didn’t even realize there were other planets, Galaxies, etc. which is why these things weren’t mentioned in religious text.
Another example is the great flood and the whole story of Noah’s Ark. Now lets be honest – there most likely was some sort of massive LOCAL flood that was the basis of this story, but a few things didn’t happen. Noah didn’t harbor two of every species of animal on earth in his boat, feed them, and manage to keep them from eating each other. Noah didn’t repopulate the whole earth via inbreeding. Those who believe that story are failing to see the point and can’t recognize it when the author is trying to show a point.
I could go on and on punching little wholes in the logic found in the bible and the people who take it literally, but I won’t. My point is that people want to understand and when they can’t they make up the best expiation availale. People want to know about life after death, how they were created, what their purpose is, what is right and wrong, etc. – religion, God, and spirituality often gives an answer to all of these questions. (a comforting one at that) I mean its no coincidence Christian’s believe they get an eternity of perfection after death (including mansions!) – it sounds GREAT! What a flaw in thought though if you consider it logically.
Why would a Perfect God, that knows everything before it happens, create an imperfect being? I know Christian’s will probably say “free will”, but why is the punishment for even 100 years of sin an ETERNITY of burning in a lake of fire (a.k.a Hell)? Or why can a murderer change his ways before execution, confess in God while in prison and get a mansion and perfection (a.k.a Heaven)? The whole story is starting to sound a little illogical to me…
Christian’s believe that God knows everything right? Does that mean he knows who’s going to hell beforehand? It must. So did he create you to go to hell for all eternity? That doesn’t seem fair! Of course not all Christian’s believe this, but that’s kind of like ignoring an overall flaw in a belief system – just to keep on believing.
Another thing – Let’s just admit it. Religion has an unfair advantage. When people are raised to believe in something their whole life – taught that it is absolute truth – and the only way they can escape this thought is somehow miraculously on their own. All of their friends tell them it’s right, their parents thell them its right, even the President (who probably has some reservations of his own, but isn’t willing to commit political suicide) says his religion, specifically Christianity, is the truth! Not believing means crossing every person you know, admitting no mansion is waiting for you after death, and going against the grain with almost everyone you know. We all want our mansions don’t we?!?
Even in light of all that, people still come to the logical conclusion that something is most definitely wrong . Can we prove that no God exists? No, and I don’t want to. You can’t prove that something doesn’t exist. I can’t prove 100% that Santa Clause doesn’t exist. There are even some good arguments for deism, but that’s not my beef. I just want people to do some research and sit down with a logical mind and sort through all of this propaganda. Is religion evil? No, not in itself, but the biases and beliefs that can come from religious dogma can be. Nothing is more powerful, in fact. It’s the only thing that can convince people to kill themselves in order to kill other people (see suicide bombers).
Sadly, in most of the greatest wars in history it was believed by the perpetrator to be condoned by God – so what gives? I mean the Nazi regime felt completely justified! So do terrorist. So did the Christian crusaders! We can’t keep bending our worldview to meet what we want. There is only one truth – however complex it might be. So lets step back and embrace each other as human beings that have to share this planet and make it last. The truth is – our species will only last as long as we can survive without killing each other and ourselves. We have no where else to go, no plan b, no alternate planet to inhabit – So please, lets pull of the blinders and make this work.