Well, this might be a thorny subject but here goes anyway. Blame it on the fact that I’m currently still sponsored by ibuprofen and Deep Heat pain relief for my screaming back. That and a lack of sleep last night as a result of said back.
Anyway, if you’ve read any of my previous
content work word vomit on this blog, you will know the score. I don’t like to pander or apologise. Maybe I come off as being tactless and bullish but as far as I’m concerned, it’s far better to be honest. It’s also a luxury that we have here in the West and I’m well aware of that. HOWEVER…in the case of this specific post, I feel that I must open by saying that what follows is not an attack on any religion or indeed anybody who believes in a god. Your views and your beliefs are yours and regardless of what you might believe about me, I would certainly not ridicule or insult somebody else for holding those beliefs. We would still get along in real life because people aren’t just opinions and beliefs on legs, as difficult as that is for the militant and zealous amongst us to accept.
I do believe that everything should be open to challenge or analysis however. Denying that points to insecurity or the fear of having something disproven. In my (unfiltered) opinion of course.
I’m not going to make a meal out of this or attempt to forge an in-depth thesis so I will simply list off the reasons I have for not believing in a religion. I also want to take a quick second to say that this post was inspired by a post on belief systems written by Black Sheep over at Not Sheep Minded. Check his blog out if you have a moment as I’m really enjoying his content right now. Anyway, my reasons.
- There is no proof. As far as I can see, there is no proof or hard evidence of any religion’s deities or figures of importance actually ever having existed. True, we can look back at historical evidence and sometimes tie religious events down to a likely date. We can also safely assume that some of the figures described in religious texts may have lived in some capacity. But as for the miracles, magical events and omnipotent beings? There is no hard evidence at all. Further, we have to ask the question of why the appearances of and interactions with deities no longer occur. Where are the unbelievable miracles and incredible acts such as Moses parting the ocean?
- A lot of believers (not ALL I must stress) believe what they believe because they were told to. Maybe they grew up in a traditionally religious family and religion was drilled into them from a young, impressionable age. Maybe they live in a country where religion is as commonplace and widely accepted as breathing air. Regardless, there are millions of believers who probably didn’t actively choose to follow their religion but were raised to believe in it without ever questioning the authenticity or facts. In my mind, this is the same as voting for a particular political party just because your parents or the majority of your neighbours always have done. It’s the same as harbouring a hatred towards a neighbouring country for no rational reason other than because your ancestors did so. It’s like only buying Nike trainers because all of your friends do. In all cases, there are gaping flaws in such behaviour and an ignorance towards alternatives. There is no willingness to ask questions or challenge what you have been told is correct.
- Blind belief. Tying in with the above two points, I simply cannot accept that it is healthy to believe so strongly in something and re-order your life around said belief without any evidence. In one way, I genuinely admire people who can do this but for me, I just think of all the other things in this world that I would put zero stock in without any proof or at least prior experience that it works. Perhaps this last point can be countered by those who believe they have had certain experiences that simply aren’t explicable by scientific or earthly means. That much, I will concede.
- Contradictions. We are told to respect the beliefs of others and different religions attempt to co-exist in peace. However, the teachings and lifestyles of different belief systems often contradict one another. So if we are all to accept the beliefs of others, how can we accept that multiple religions have conflicting endgames? Does this mean that only one religion is right? THAT is a path of questioning that nobody wants to venture down.
- Wars. Religion – alongside power, greed and lust – has been one of the standout motivators for bloody, senseless wars. From Islamic terrorism to the Christian Crusades, countless wars have been fought due to the other “side” holding separate beliefs or because one side wants to force their teachings onto others. Considering that peace and love is often preached, this strikes me as highly ironic. Those with a deep convinction in their chosen religion are prepared to put that above all else and go much further than non-believers. It’s a scary and cold-blooded notion.
- It is a form of control. Don’t do X because you will be denied heaven. Don’t do Y because you will be punished for it. DO keep doing Z because it will be thought well of in the next life. Order is necessary in society and while nobody enjoys being ruled over by office managers, politicians or the police, there are at least usually legitimate reasons for this form of control. You have to get the work done at the office to keep your job and to keep the gears of your company greased for example. You have to obey the law because murder, theft et al are wrong and bring suffering to others. But spending your life submitting to another form of control because you are taught to on the basis of no hard evidence (see Point 1) is not for me. It is all done on the promise that you will be rewarded later on but there is no proof of that and no way of knowing what will happen when you die. So again, it goes back to believing something simply because somebody else tells you that it is so.
Now I do realise that I have probably hammered all of that out in a crude and ignorant-sounding fashion but those points are simply how I see the situation. Obviously, I am open to having my points challenged and having a reasonable discussion. What I’m not open to are those who relentlessly push, push, push their beliefs without showing me some hard facts as to why I should make a decision to believe in what I cannot see. A discussion cannot exist in that format.
It isn’t just religion either. I don’t believe in ghosts, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster or anything else that has no concrete evidence. With all of these things (religion included) I like to think that I keep the door open just a crack i.e. I am open to new evidence and open to the fact that someday, I might witness something that will change my views. I am not closed-minded. I just don’t see the reasoning in accepting anything without sound argument or proof. And it’s too easy to play the “well if your mind isn’t open then you won’t see it” card because that’s the cheapest trick in the book as far as I’m concerned. It takes us down a dangerous path where anything at all is possible if it can’t be solidly disproved. It’s a way for anybody to promote anything as the truth and while I do enjoy looking at out-there theories and possibilities, it is still with an sceptical and analytical mindset.
As I have said before though, one thing I do believe in is remembering that we can always be wrong about anything. It keeps us questioning things and prevents us from becoming too ignorant or sheep-like.