Thursday, August 12, 2010

Religion - my experience

The very word RELIGION makes my skin crawl. I suppose I am an Atheist/Pantheist (whatever, I don't really like 'isms') and have been since my early teens when I "lost my faith". I personally feel that I found reason when I rejected my parents religion and started making my own decisions about the nature of the world around me.

I was raised as a Christian, went to Christian schools and on the whole bought into the whole story of the bible. I lived a happy existence shielded from the pain and suffering that a large portion of the world go through on an every day basis.

I had always liked to involve myself in philosophical and religious debates with my church friends and my teachers about the bible and nature of god. Although this had always just been a form of recreational verbal jousting. I just like arguing and deep down I still considered myself Christian.

I first began to question my beliefs after the death of my grandmother when I was 12. I felt so upset about what I had lost and looked to the Church for answers. There were many that came and I found comfort in their support and love and the belief that she was "in a better place". As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months I slowly returned to my normal old self.

Next it was my grandfathers turn to die. He had cancer and fought a brave battle against it which he eventually lost. I looked to the church for answers once again - and those familiar words were repeated to me again. After continually asking why? why me? why them? the only answer I seemed to be left with was "It is gods will"... This answer was, for me, woefully inadequate. I prayed to god for answers - but no one responded. A bit like when I last emailed a complaint to Virgin Media. But hey maybe God was busy or deemed my prayer too trivial to respond to.

My school exams would be upon me in a few years time and one of the subjects I chose to study for my GCSE's was history where I was able to learn about the Crusades. With further study I was able find out much more about the bloody past of the Christian church and was shocked at how people who subscribed to a book that teaches love and tolerance (on the whole - we can all find that odd fire and brimstone passage) felt that such behavior was acceptable. It wasn't only the followers of the faith that I began to question. After all if God is all loving why does he kill first born sons and send floods to destroy people? I was explained that God didn't do that anymore after the "new covenant". A new covenant? What's that? Surely an Omnipotent being exacted justice in the same way for eternity as he transcends time and space?

The more I questioned the more I got confused. God made everything, including evil - why would you bother with that one? Why didn't God make more things edible to stave off famine. If God performs miracles including healing and resurrecting, why hasn't anyones arm or leg ever grown back? Does god not have time for amputees?

The evidence that God wasn't there, wasn't capable or wasn't bothered was growing by the minute. The only evidence I could find to suggest God did exist was all the people who claimed to have a relationship with him themselves. Initially I was jealous and wondered why God didn't bother talking to me. I'm told two thirds of the world hold religious beliefs, surely all these people can't be wrong? Then I remembered how the world was flat until it was round. Hmm, could it all really be bullshit? really? It took me a good few years to work out that all these (mostly good) people we're mistaken.

In my opinion the need for religious beliefs comes from the ways our brains are hard wired. We are programmed to be cared for and looked after by a parent.

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