Oh My God
While being a very strong advocate for atheism, I am starting to understand the reasoning behind religion. Although for many people the idea of God is completely irrational, irrelevant and unjustifiable, I even have to admit that without religion a very large void would be left in the world.
I would like to start by saying that I personally cannot believe an intelligent, objective and rational person would genuinely believe in God. To do so, is to discount the overwhelming proof of evolution, disregard the morbidity of the religions that currently dominate the world and ignore the obvious fact that God doesn’t look like he’s stepping in to cure AIDS any time soon. The bible, if examined like any other piece of evidence is quite simply a joke. Stories of rape, incest, ethnic cleansing, even the idea that the messiah submitted to his death to save the human race from the original sin of eve eating the wrong fruit is an absolute joke. Muhammad killed thousands, yet he preaches love and peace. These scriptures DO NOT offer any form of relevant guidance for the human race. Some may argue that the bible still does provide a solid moral backbone for society, although I would say that the messages of “do not murder, “love thy neighbour” are fairly common sense and aren’t the great wisdom of the world that preachers would have you believe. There is also the disconcerting dilemna for believers that with no god offering any substantive proof over another, how do you know that Yahweh is the pick of the bunch, over Allah, Zeus and the Rainbow Serpeant? In this sense the only thing keeping religion from being laughed at is how highly regarded this institution truly is and it’s entrenchment in society.
In light of this, I find it increasingly difficult not to be cynical about religion. However, if every single culture on earth has some form of religious belief system, surely there is a psychological reason for it. Religion adds purpose to the futility of day to day life, gives hope for those who are wronged and solace to those who have lost loved ones. It engenders hope that world poverty will be ended, conflict in the middle east will eventually cease and that being a good person will yield dividends when your time on earth comes to an end. As an atheist, this reassurance, however false the pretext it is derived from, is virtually non-existant. You aren’t able to assure yourself that your Grandma is looking down on you, or that justice will be served to those who have wronged you. I think people need religion because it’s vague ambiguity allows it to be adapted to almost any real life scenario, providing sound answers to the ceaseless curiosity of the human condition. This flexibility allows for the vicarious regulation of society, giving genuine deterrent to those who commit wrongs through the threat of eternal damnation, providing a profoundly certain answer as to why you should just do the right thing.
Despite this, I cannot even begin to justify the belief in any form of God, or at least until there is concrete evidence able to substantiate the existence of such a thing. I guess me and others like myself have to live with the knowledge that the world is a cruel harsh place, that saying a 30 second prayer at night won’t fix Global Warming nor solve third world poverty. What we do live with however, is the knowledge that as humans it is our sole responsibility to rectify these issues as opposed to shifting the onus onto some elusive ghost who you read about in a book called the bible.