I've just read 'God is not Great' by Christopher Hitchens and I think it should be compulsory reading for every high school student being educated in a religious school. Just to balance out the argument. When it comes to religious debate, I am astounded that people in this day and age still buy all the mumbo jumbo clap-trap that churches of the world promote. And then Biff came down from the sky with his magic, golden wand........
Don't we have enough problems with physical survival without messing up our minds with nonsense? Religion is such a huge distraction from mental wellness. It's actually quite evil when you think about it. Hitchens suggests that teaching children to adhere to some religious creed is actually a form of child abuse. He has a point!
Just look at the Catholic Church. If any other organisation was as corrupt, it would have been abolished and outlawed.
I don't think many of the people who call themselves Christians really believe in the Virgin birth, the star of Bethlehem, the resurrection. For most it is a social club where everyone can talk about being nice to one another. I am all for being nice to people. I think treating others as you would have them treat you is actually common sense and is a fundamental element of human survival. I reckon I could have thought of that all by myself. It really wasn't necessary for some celibate guy in a fancy dress with a silly hat to explain it to me. Almost every day I self evaluate and find ways to be a better person, wife, mother and friend. I like to do little kindnesses. It makes no sense to me that I should have to go to a special man-built church on a prescribed day of the week. I do not believe that fasting for one hour before eating a blessed bit of wafer is going to do anything at all for my soul.
Religion promotes 'otherness'. It divides people. It promotes racism, sexism, bigotry, hatred. It is dangerously judgmental and small minded. Religions teach intolerance.
When Ghandi was asked what he thought of Christianity, he answered quite smugly, 'I think it would be a good idea.' That sums it up. Christianity is a good idea. But I've yet to see someone pull it off perfectly.
We live in a world that struggles with the gay marriage debate, that still has women being stoned for adultery and that teaches children that contraception is evil....all in the name of religion. This world has also put a man on the moon and discovered how to make nuclear weapons. We have evolved and learned that the world is not flat, that the sun does not orbit the earth and that we are all genetically related despite the colour of our skin. Why are we still so archaically attached to mythical, fantastical fairy-tales? It's a hangover from our prehistoric days. We no longer need to create Gods of thunder and lightning to explain the weather.
It's as if we grew up to discover that the tooth fairy was not real but still check the glass of water with the tooth in it every day just in case it has been replaced with a golden coin. Humans would still like to believe in Heaven and Hell and immortality and a big loving Santa-like dude in the sky but we know that's silly, if we are really honest with ourselves. Unfortunately it's a bit like the Emperor's New Clothes. Until enough brave, intelligent people stand up and be counted as atheists the boat will not be completely capsized.
I don't doubt that there is more to this world than meets the eye and I believe in the beauty and depth of the human spirit. Perhaps we have a soul. I don't know why we are here. I don't know if we even need to know the answer to that. It's kind of irrelevant. Above all things, I believe in love. But I do not believe in God.
If anything God is a word that might describe life. God is life. Therefore we are all God.
But there is no more life in a church than there is in a forest and there is nothing more holy than a newborn baby. The Pope is just a political guy in a dress. No better or worse than the next fellow. Celibacy is stupid and imposing it is dangerous. Men are no better or worse than women. Children need to be taught truth and kindness. Chopping off bits of genitals in the name of religion is a form of mutilation and torture. The only real miracles are the ones we create by overcoming adversity. Life is pain and it wasn't meant to be easy.
When Kerry Packer had a heart attack in 1990, he was clinically dead for six minutes. When he was revived he famously said, 'I've been to the other side and there's fucking nothing there.' I'm with him. It would be nice to think we will all be reunited with the dear departed in a perfectly wondrous magical spirit land or that we'll be reincarnated as another person or that we'll be taken to a palace and be presented with 40, 000 virgins...but I don't think so.
I may be wrong. It's happened before. Maybe babies really will burn in hell if they die before they have some water that has been made magic by an incantation by a magic man, sprinkled over their heads. Maybe only 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses will inherit the new earth. Maybe pigs or cows are sacred. Or maybe the pig is evil. Who can say? Apparently such things make perfect sense to millions of people. Just not to me.
The fact that the story of Jesus had already done the rounds in previous cultures is purely coincidental I'm sure. He probably was a God who came to earth and he was also his own father. He probably did die on a cross to give us eternal life. We might be immortal and just don't know it. Purgatory might be a faraway planet and it is perhaps a good idea to wear undergarments with velcro crotches when married to be symbolic of Adam and Eve. Perhaps God really does check to see that the end of a penis has been hacked off before letting blokes into heaven.
But until I have evidence I will continue to believe that we are organic and yet lovely. We can create opera and fall in love. Heaven is snuggling my family under a warm blanket. Hell is losing loved ones and war and racism. But in the end I believe that we really do just end up as fertilizer. No psalms or hymns or swinging incense can conjure up a pantheon of magical creatures. We are made up of particles and atoms and that is actually quite miraculous enough for me.
God Bless. Peace out.