The title of this just made you judge me. I know it and I’m okay with it. Yup, I said it. I’m a Catholic/Buddhist (my mom is a non-practicing Catholic and my dad is a Chinese Buddhist), Catholic school girl atheist. Please don’t try to save me, preach to me, send me flyers, ask me to join your club and/or support group…I’m not lost or searching for any kind of recruitment or guidance towards the shining lights of your God, but thanks anyway!
I have been to every kind of religious institution; church, temple, synagogue, mosque, yet none have filled me with so much “faith” that I jump on the bandwagon. I have never gone to any of these houses of worship with a closed mind. I go, I listen, I observe, I absorb the cultural traditions, and I respect that I am in a room full of people who are dedicated to their religious convictions. In fact I love religious studies, I find all religion interesting, but I do not believe in it per se. I respect that you believe whatever it is that you believe, but do I agree with you? Not in the least bit! BUT I do know why you believe….do you know why I don’t? Well take a seat and give the atheist a chance, after all wouldn’t God insist you do?
Voltaire’s simple assessment provides you with one of the biggest reason why I am an Athiest, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
In the name of religion we shun our relatives, we blow things and people up, we have the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, clergy who take advantage of children, and the Westboro Church. Religious institutions use their convictions to suppress women, to starve people of education, and to control and judge people’s individual lifestyles. Most of the so-called religious people I know are a bunch of hypocrites…you smoke and drink, lie, and have sex before marriage (all things I wouldn’t care about, but religion shuns), but you’re on your knees worshiping on your Holy Day of the week, so that makes you a better person than me? I don’t think so. Not to mention I find religious people to be the most unforgiving and judgmental people when I though religion was all about love and forgiveness. “God forgive me”, is a popular phrase out of the mouths of God fearing creatures, because if you do something not so favorable it is okay because God loves you and he will forgive you of your sins, therefore you are not a bad person, you are just being a flawed human, right?
The Vatican is one of the most secretive and richest institutions in the entire world, it’s it’s own city state!! But the clergy takes a vow of poverty? If everything they do is for the betterment of society why are so many things so guarded and secret? Fundamentalist Islamic organizations shame the true roots of their religion by starving their youth of education and making them believe that being suicide bombers is an honorable act, that the bombs full of shrapnel will blow outwards instead of blowing them up. Not only does this give people a wholly negative idea of a religion that is no more “evil” than any other, but these acts are in the name of the Almighty God. Does that make any sense? I thought God was supposed to be looking out for us, guiding us in the direction of goodness. Instead it seems that God is constantly judging us and not loving us in spite of who were are…
Can you tell me why you believe in a Higher Power? Most of the time when I question people they look at me dumbfounded, scrambling to give me some bullshit response about how in times of darkness The Lord has pulled them up, or “What do you mean? How don’t you?!”, yada yada…In truth people typically “believe” for the following reasons: 1) Someone else taught you to believe it and you practice more from routine than devout belief 2) You fear oblivion and the fact that Earthly existence is it 3) You say you believe when you really have no reason to, but are too scared to say.
In 99% of cases people did not stumble upon their love of God one morning, unless of course you’re a recovering addict or reformed ex-con of some sort looking for a new addiction/cause in the form of whatever religious group came to “save” you first… So can you tell me why God allows genocides? Does he not like those people? Is he too busy helping other people? On a near daily basis I am reminded of why I question God as I walk past a severely mentally ill man in the train station who sits there filthy, wearing tattered clothes, freezing if it’s cold or wet when it rains, but never begging, just talking to himself. It makes me so sick I have brought him food and drink on more than one occasion and NOT because God compelled me to, but because I have a conscience and seeing a human suffer that way makes me feel terrible…Lord knows he didn’t compel the two people who stand mere feet away from him handing out Jehovah Witness flyers…
In my opinion of what should be common sense, religion was created to explain the inexplicable at a time when science did not exist, when people were mostly uneducated and looking for guidance. Question: Why did that volcano explode? Answer: God must be mad at us, let’s sacrifice the town virgin!! Question: Why did Mary, the unwed young girl become pregnant out of wedlock? Answer: That’s right!!! She was impregnated, not by a man, but by God!!!
Who would have believed me if I used that when I was 20, unmarried, and pregnant? Can I retroactively claim to have been carrying the next Messiah? My oldest son’s name is Mateo which does mean Gift of God!! I’m sure my mother would have been much more understanding had that been the case! HAHA
It’s the year 2014, why can’t we accept that science is the reason for everything on this planet and beyond? That evil is driven by ignorance, that ignorance is a super power of it’s own leading megalomaniac people (who are basically ruled by their overwhelming insecurity) to become tyrants or radical leaders. Why can’t we accept that religious scripture is meant not to be taken literally, but metaphorically and anecdotally? Also, why can’t we see that we have progressed from Biblical times? Socially, technologically, and scientifically our world is completely different. We aren’t so ignorant anymore (ignorance isn’t really a bad thing, just a lack of knowledge). At the end of the day The Bible is just a book of stories from a time when women couldn’t even own property…do you still think it’s completely relevant? The Bible says we should not cut our hair and men should not shave their beards…does this automatically mean we are bad Christians since we obviously do both those things? Or are there things its okay to disregards and certain things that aren’t okay? If so, who is the deciding power in what we can ignore and what we must follow? Oh wait!! Ask me!! I know!! ANOTHER MAN!!! The Pope! He’s the one who deciphers between right and wrong because God Himself gave him the authority to do so, you know because you saw him come down and decree this.
Having blind faith in something is not a noble thing. I know that’s a huge thing that religious people use to describe the depths of their conviction, but I don’t see how blindly following anything is something to be proud of. It is in our nature as human beings to question things, to express our curiosity, it’s part of our learning process. How could you just say “yes” to everything someone preaches to you without examining it? The only other thing we follow blindly is love and that doesn’t typically work out too well either! Be driven by your morality and virtue as a human being. I consider myself a very spiritual and morally bound person and nothing good that I do has anything to do with God or my ultimate goal of heaven. Is something really good if you are only doing it for fear of being condemned to hell?
Blind faith usually means a lack of knowledge on the topic. Since you never question anything, you never seek to learn more about it. The thing is people’s blind faith or blind anything is really out of fear of the unknown. It’s easier to wear blinders and just go with it than to have to dig deep because you might uncover things you don’t like. Do you know how many so-called religious Catholic/Christian’s I’ve challenged to justify their belief system to me who can’t even give me a direct quote from Scripture? Tell me how not one could give me the Medieval history of the religion, meanwhile that is a time of huge change/development in the Church and a time period in which most of the a dictum that shaped our modern day Church were put into effect. I couldn’t get one person who could tell me about the Great Schism or the Council of Trent off the top of their heads. I even got a, “What the hell are you talking about?!” These people couldn’t talk me about the root of all their religious beliefs, but they could tell me that being gay is bad without missing a beat! So then it brings me to the point of being educated and why education is key and liberating. I guarantee if we were better educated as a whole you’d see the population of religious people continue to decline. The more educated we are the less religious we are and the less children we have. It’s an indisputable fact. But if you’re going to claim to be devoutly religious I need you to be able to educate me instead of the other way around. Don’t claim to be something you’re not, don’t pick and choose things to know or believe in. When you say you believe something say that with 100% certainty that you have taken the time to do the work! Don’t in the same conversation go on to me about your devotion to Christ and then when I ask you about your views on the papal hypocrisy of their many affairs and bastard children and bribery tell me that I have no idea what I’m talking about.
If I should have any label it should be that of a humanist. Dictionary.com defines humanism as, “a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.” That is in the simplest terms what I believe and how I live my life and I feel like it has served me well. Whatever I do, whatever choices I make I base upon how I feel it will affect myself and those around me, not on a patented response I should have because someone else told me. I teach my son’s to be good people because it’s the right thing, not because of God, and as a result my older son happens to be one of the kindest children I personally know. He has not suffered for the lack of Christ’s infusion in his life. Maybe you feel like your religion makes you make the right choices and that’s fine by me. I’m not here to bring you over to side of “righteousness”, I am here to hopefully help you understand why I believe what I do and to show you that being an atheist does not make you the Anti-Christ. It just makes me a person who makes choices, just like you. Whatever you believe is great and if God is what gets you through the day, wonderful!! But just please resist the urge to be a conformist because it’s easy! Having someone think for you isn’t the right thing, ever!
In fact get a last laugh from these two great Atheists, a writer and one of the greatest comedians ever. Another one of my favorite Atheists (Bill Maher quoted them a bunch of times):
“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
― Charles Bukowski
“Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.”
― George Carlin