Of course this is a sensitive topic and I do not wish to be a Richard Dawkins assaulting the beliefs of others. However I am of the opinion that religion is nothing more than nonsensical historical diatribe! As a History student my work constantly revolves around the changing nature of religion through time, as well as its many atrocities. Maybe History has given me a blinkered view of religion, I certainly see it as a more divisive and aggressive force than a force for good. So for those that say it is a benign power and forms the basis for modern morality… really? Is it not intrinsic that we see it as bad to kill one another, that kindness is good, that it is better to love than to hate! From the Crusades to modern Jihads, there is little worse in my opinion than to kill people for a hypothesis. For this piece I will focus on just a few things that irritate me, as I simply cannot cover all of the polemics in this short article.
Maybe I will begin with one thing that irritates me beyond ‘belief’, using the old testament as an example. Dating from when the text first came in to being is limited in its accuracy, scholars do however view it to be between 500-300 BC. There is no problem with this, why should a written canon of texts not have been produced around this time? What really gets me is that Humans had been around from around 40 000 BC, thus what was God doing during all this time? Was he flying around the billions of galaxies on a 40,000 year vacation? Was he pondering how he should finally reveal himself to the world, coming up with brilliance such as the burning bush? Or was he simply scratching his behind? To be quite honest if I were a believer I would be asking myself why did God abandon Humanity for so long?
And then there’s Jesus….. well. I’ve been mulling this over for a while and come to the conclusion that the best way to save the Human race from sin is simple. All that I need to do is rape a random woman to get her pregnant, make people believe it was magic and didn’t involve sexual intercourse (although maybe God’s a fan of IVF), get the child to proclaim he is my son, walk on water (because that happened) and then practically commit suicide to somehow save everyone. To be quite honest I haven’t got time. Surely though there was a more elegant solution that could have removed our sin.
Next there’s Hell, a concept which most of the major faiths share. Again I’m afraid I will be picking mostly on Christianity, though the fact that their God is all loving I find crushing in its paucity of reason. I once had a debate with a teacher of theology, he told me ‘God is all loving and has no pride’, so I asked him as a none believer would I burn in Hell for all eternity? At first he would not commit to the answer to which I knew he must give, after 10 minutes of dancing around the point he eventually told me I would burn in Hell, without the belief in Jesus Christ, to this I replied ‘so how is he all loving?’ ‘We are borne with sin’ just because in the garden of Eden an apple was stolen! God expects us to worship him or be consigned to hell, how ridiculous, what a convenient story this was for the church to gain a following, great power and wealth. Throughout history the church has been a political power focused on gaining more wealth and controlling the masses through Biblical stories of terror, only recently has there been any strong focus on helping the poor and the community. But even now if you do not believe, there is no place for you in paradise. It has been calculated that in the History of our planet there have been around 107 billion Human deaths, it has also been estimated that around 20% these were Christian. Assuming this to be accurate, 87 billion people are currently burning in Hell. I wish I had such an all loving father.
Conjointly if God has no pride, why is he worshiped? Surely being praised just for being a brilliant creator is a form of pride? It seems ridiculous that God would go to the trouble of creating such a magnificently complex world and not be proud of it. Why then did he do it? If God wants to be praised by millions of people I’d say that makes his policies exceedingly egocentric, billions of hours are spent simply praising God, if they were devoted to helping others or developing technology, what a better place we would abide in.
Furthermore at least some of the Bible is the ‘Word of God’, I would assume then that its script is finite. But no, lo and behold it is all interpretive. To some then it is a conglomeration of various moral allegories, to others history, ethics, fables and moral guidance all rolled in to one, now the fundamentalists who hold it to be exact and unwavering are in the minority and seen as a radical religious fringe. To be quite honest I would rather there were more fundamentalists, at least you know where you stand with them. Unfortunately for hundreds of years myriad groups have been interpreting the text to suit their own needs and personal agendas. If the text is no longer relevant, why not simply re-write the Bible? It’s not like it’s actually ‘the word of God’!
‘Our God is the one true God’, what anguish this has caused over the centuries. How is this possibly acceptable? Even before the notion of an Abrahamic God appeared, there was a huge pantheon of other worshiped deities around the globe. Fertility Gods, Gods of the hunt, Gods of the sea, Gods to sacrifice humans, even a God of tattooers (of course I’m talking of Acat)! To me it is far more likely that Gods are a simple Human construct, designed to fill gaps in our knowledge, help us fathom and interpret our own death to negate our fear of it. There have been thousands before yours, everyone get over yourselves none of them are real!!!
Speaking briefly about Buddhism and Hinduism, two religions which I like to view as passive, they certainly have their merits. The ethical stances they take regarding the sanctity of life and care for nature I find all very appealing. Though I confess sacred cows and rebirth as miscellaneous animals is perhaps too much for me. Indeed I think after this article many may wish me reborn as a slug. If this were the case I would make it my priority to devour the Popes prize-winning vegetables; better to be a slug than a hypocrite.