I’ve never been religious, let me get that out straight away. When I think back to my upbringing and the way in which my parents’ views inevitably shaped mine, I’m thankful that my Dad tended towards the idea that he would rather teach me how to think, than what to think.
There’s something that really confuses me about religion, and waking up this Easter Sunday and seeing various tweets and facebook updates from religious friends and acquaintances has inspired me to blog about it.
I pride myself, as many non believers do I suppose, in having an approach to thinking which is based on a scientific model. Physical evidence and reasoned logic seem to be intuitively the best way forward, to people like us. If idea A seems crazy, and there’s lots of evidence for alternative idea B, then B is more likely to be right. And the real beauty of this framework is that we are free to change our minds if better, more compelling evidence comes to light. Wonderful. This is how we make progress.
But we seem to be missing something.
I have a few friends and colleagues who are quite deeply religious. I genuinely think of many of them as some of the nicest people I know. I admire the sense of loving community which they seem to enjoy through their extended church related “family”. As an outsider, it seems awesome to me that in this materialistic, consumer driven selfish society, people can still access groups where they are accepted, supported, celebrated. Reading all the messages this morning about love conquering death, and light prevailing over darkness and such like, you can’t help but agree with the basic human warmth of those sentiments. It’s life affirming positivity can be healthy and useful.
So, what’s my problem?
The big difficulty I have with all this is the suspension of reason and logic that is required to have a religious belief at all. To me, it is pure nonsense. We eventually admit to our kids that the tooth fairy and Santa are not real. Gods and other sky fairies should be on that list too. The friends and colleagues I mentioned earlier are all very intelligent, professional people and I simply do not know how they rationalise what they believe. It’s almost as if they are willing to “park” their reasoning, thinking abilities, casting them aside in order to maintain some (to me) very odd beliefs which grant them access to a friendly club.
My wish is that we could all enjoy the friendly club without having to resort to fictitious omnipotent, overseeing creator type superbeings. We’ve all grown up a bit over the last two thousand years and it’s time to drop the act.
In the God Delusion, Richard Dawkins shares the idea that people who believe in a specific God have an essentially atheistic view towards the other Gods of other religions. Like Dawkins, I just go one God further.
The community cohesiveness enjoyed by many religious groups is often quite introspective, and hostile to others. This seems to be an intrinsic part of each religion. We’re right, you’re wrong. Massive intolerance, to the point of killing people. Insane.
I have an intolerant view towards this kind of division and exclusion, on a global level.
The human race needs to grow up, start thinking straight and take care of each other.
Wherever you are, whatever you believe, you’re amazing and you can do great things.
Have a peaceful day :-)