So what matters to you my friends? What ideas seem to strike down to the core of who you are and what you believe? I ask this because if you fail to think this through for yourselves then you will undoubtedly be told what to think by others. Be especially cautious if you are young and wanting to make a difference in the world. Religion will play on your ignorance, your fears, as well as your desires!
Many people may not immediately like my tone concerning religion. Afterall, there are a lot of commendable and amazing individuals that have come out of religion. I personally don’t deny that there are some good ideas within various faith based systems. It is predominantly the good parts of it that get popularized. It is when we take a closer look at what the “good book” says that we often come to find where fear, ignorance, and sometimes both of these begin.
I’ll be focusing again on Christianity since this is the religion I’ve been actively distancing myself from since the spring of last year. According to many believers I have been told that I possess some kind of internal awareness of god and the bible’s flavor of justice. Yes, I am allegedly suppressing the truth and blinded in my own sin right now.
I guess it would depend on how one wants to define truth? If truth is shoehorned to display its superiority only in the sixty six books of the Christian bible, then I am without a doubt a pagan of pagans. Thankfully, via the use of reason and objectivity we can examine the bible’s truth claims, compare them to what we have learned in Philosophy and the Sciences and come away from it knowing that the bible gets it wrong most of the time.
Some believers even acknowledge how fatal it would be to derive their views literally and solely from many passages. They recognize the primitive parts, the misinformed parts, and the downright immoral parts! The best justification that many conservative thinkers give for this is that whatever god says has to be morally good. Whatever he says, is good by nature. No matter how much it grates against our own reason. No matter how much it contradicts the more loving and kind traits that this being is said to possess.
Let’s work this out just a little more, shall we? Conservative Christians think that it would be superior to sacrifice our logic and replace it with an appeal to mystery whenever this bible’s god is said to have commanded or done a very morally difficult act. Morally difficult is the nice way of phrasing Yahweh’s violent take over and execution of the nations surrounding Israel. Israel was said to be this god’s instrument of justice. We’re talking about the slaughter of millions of men, women, and children. Why was this done? Well, essentially it was just to clean house so that god’s true believers wouldn’t be corrupted by all the idolatry surrounding them. As we read on we find out what a failed attempt that turned out to be!
At the end of my first paragraph I said that religion will play onto our desires. This is where I think religion likes to exploit our ignorance because I’m not going to sit here and deny that it is altogether unappealing to have an all powerful being on my side. There actually could be a lot of comfort drawn from the idea that this all powerful being will grant me eternal life, but I now have to say, “at what cost?”
If I have to sacrifice all other knowledge claims, many of which are superior in nature and in scope to what the bible offers, then it is simply not worth it! If I have to bend my moral compass so far back that the tension buckles under the scrutiny of reason, it’s not worth it! What is more important truth or faith? Faith remains unsupported, untested, and in many ways invalidated.
I’d rather die and cease to exist by embracing every form of actual truth that I can muster up before that point, than to live hoping in what has never been confirmed in the first place.