This all started because I got an Alpha Course pamphlet on my desk. (It was placed as a joke.)
We all have those 'awareness' moments. The sense of 'I' and sometimes they can be pretty intense! Impending, unstoppable death. Why are we here? Looking at your family and realising one day you will say a final goodbye to them and hope that they understand the joy they have brought to your life. Weighing up whether you have done enough positive things to merit people thinking you are a good person. Railing against injustice in the world and overcoming a feeling of powerlessness when things are wrong in society.
Blimey, no wonder people turn to a religious comfort blanket!
The benefits are obvious: They say you will go to a heaven and be blissfully happy FOREVER! (Because this wonderful planet is not good enough.) That a benevolent being is looking after you. (Provided you accept the correct being - there are, after all, SO MANY false gods! Irony.) You will have a moral compass. (Because you didn't have one before - think of it as a free gift when you join.) And be a better person. (Although you are not allowed to say that - that's rude. But all the gang secretly know it.)
But choosing and believing in what is (statistically a certainty) a lie/ misrepresentation/ false hope/ a con/ cult/ wishful thinking/ ignorance/ brainwashing/ threat/ etc. [delete as appropriate] is such an injustice to understanding.
So it might make them happy. I'm not authorised to deny them their happiness. Good luck to them.
Some claim to have no doubt. And these are the ones I feel most pity for. It's the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and denying all possibilities. A fear of being wrong. To have that sense of being special, the Earth being made specifically for YOU, taken away.
Am I a shameless zombie, denying a god's loving light? Am I ungrateful whelp, deserving of a punishment from a all powerful being? Am I tainted by a devil's knowledge, intent on corrupting the kind and good? Am I clearly too STUPID not to see what makes religious people so blissfully happy?
My mind is open to all the possibilities. I have been vainly trying to find some, any, evidence for existence of a god. I would go to an Alpha course with an open mind, but I could not bear the thought of being 'taught' by someone who has closed their minds to the possibility that they don't need their metaphysical metaphors to lead a good life.
I have NEVER met an atheist who has stated that there is no god AND states that there is no evidence that they would accept to change their minds. Theists on the other hand HAVE to think this way. (It's 100% or nothing!)
And the insulting fallacy is that some theists see this as a weakness. (Hey! They could be persuaded!) Or have the cheek to call us close minded!
And this is why I feel so sorry for theists.
Just bask in the chaos of nature, the almost infinite random possibilities that lead us to this exact point in time, appreciate that we are creatures made from stars, that there is wonder in the expanses of space, beauty in a single grain of sand, that all life on this planet is connected...
We are all monkeys with big brains. If only some of us would use it more.
Been a bit shy on the blogging front lately... however, this gem landed in my comments section.My new comments are, quite helpfully, coloured red.
Until your god, Science, can keep you from dying you will have to deal with the real one at some point. Scientific studies show that belief in Jesus greatly reduces stress, anger, and hostility in most people...if you believe those sort of studies.
Science is not a god. Belief in a deity will reduce stress if you are the kind of person who worries about death and ghost stories. A lot of people who call themselves christians are, in my opinion, LESS tolerant of others. At worst they see themselves as morally superior or at least, a better person for having that 'belief'. A lot of christians ARE less hostile, but too few will turn the other cheek as recommended by Jesus. I have a great deal of respect for nice people. I just don't think that being a believer makes the slightest bit of difference. I personally would rather trust a genuine nice person than someone who is doing it because they are 'told to' or will 'go to heaven'.
So 'anonymous' made quite a few reply statements...
Science is not a god. - - - - - - I'm glad I'm getting through to you.
AARRggghh!!! Since WHEN has ANY atheist EVER thought 'Science' was a 'god'. This is an utterly ridiculous statement that has no merit answering. (They should try getting their nose out of a bible and try a dictionary for a change!)
...but too few will turn the other cheek as recommended by Jesus. - - - - - - We do try harder than the folks who sit in the bleachers calling the fouls.
Sorry, I'm not sure what this statement means. :-) Being British and all that. But in my personal experience and opinion (it is MY blog after all) I have found NO difference to the many atheists that easily forgive others. Forgiveness is not the exclusive right to religious folk. Declaring a 'Holy war' on the other hand...
You exhibit very little tolerance in your post for those you claim are intolerant. Why complain about Christians who don't turn the other cheek? Isn't this an indication that they are rejecting what you also despise? Perhaps they are well on their way to your side. Otherwise, if you are in agreement with this teaching, then you concede that Christianity does carry some merit.
I readily admit, I like a good rant. Clears the air. Stops you bottling stuff up inside. I apologise but I really hate to see a waste of intellect. (This is the reason I became a teacher!) When someone informs me that the Earth is 4000 years old, my first thought is 'You poor, misinformed person.' If they carry on then I'll try to explain, reasonably, why they are wrong. And if they still carry on then I will mock them.
I personally would rather trust a genuine nice person than someone who is doing it because they are 'told to' or will 'go to heaven'. - - - - - - - - - You must do some interesting screening when someone stops to help you fix a flat or pick up something you dropped on the ground....Sir, are you helping me because you want to go to heaven or because you think I might give you a tip? I hope you are helping me for no reason other than for evolutionary and scientific purposes, as this is a genuine motivation and will allow me to trust you in much higher matters such as babysitting my young daughters and managing my bank account.
That was funny! :-) Actually I might start asking people who help me! Seriously. And this is what I predict. Most people will do nice things BECAUSE they are nice people. Not because they are hoping to go to heaven/ nirvanna/ valhalla/ reincarnate as a cow etc... My conclusion, they don't need a sky pixie. You may disagree. (And I'm sure you will...)
Belief in a deity will reduce stress if you are the kind of person who worries about death and ghost stories. - - - - - - - Belief in science will induce stress if you are the kind of person who worries about global warming and aliens.
I am actually getting my breath back from laughing out loud at this! Thanks. The idea of aliens would be wonderful! Science has been able to predict events about global warming and the scientific community are working together to provide alternative methods of energy supply. Scientific discoveries are improving lives, saving lives, getting us closer to understanding the wonderful world around us! Having a scientific knowledge has enhanced my life immeasurably. The very fact you are actually criticising science is only available to you because of .... wait for it... scientific discoveries!!! (Electricity, plastics, semiconductors, EM radiation, materials science, electrons.... oh I really could go on.)
Science has made me (and billions of others) happier, safer and more aware of what is happening around us.
If you think you will find all the answers in a holy book, I honestly, HONESTLY, pity you. :-(
I have a great deal of respect for nice people. I just don't think that being a believer makes the slightest bit of difference. - - - - - So, you mean you consider yourself no nicer than the average ignorant ****wit? You shouldn't be so hard on yourself. The truth is, you think you are better because you can be just as nice with no extra help from God...isn't that right?
Sorry, did you want me to explain (again!) Anyone who does nice things BECAUSE they believe in a god is a ****wit. I am a nice person (well enough people tell me anyway) and I will recieve NO benefit from some supernatural power who can mystically weigh up all my deeds.
Simple version: An altruistic person is nicer than someone who expects a reward for their actions.
Hope that clears things up. Thanks, as always for taking the time to respond to my blog. :-)