Wherefore art thou, God?

January 18, 2006

Someone asked me why I don’t believe in God. Here’s the shorter answer I gave them:

The reason why I don’t believe in God are numerous, but it boils down to this: in junior high, I was severely depressed (rather than extremely frustrated like I am now). I was going through confirmation classes at the church, and realized that my thoughts on religion were completely different. Besides that, I would pray at night in hopes of finding a cure for myself, but nothing ever worked out for me. I know you’re supposed to live for yourself and you can’t rely on other people, but I kept asking why would God allow people to suffer so much?

Another thing, I was into archaeology and anthropology back then (still interested now). I read and watched a lot about ancient civilizations and began to wonder, why is it so important to discover the true God(s)? Why didn’t people respect the other practices and think they were worshipping the same God? Why were only priests the ones who had access to religious texts? I started to think that religion was a way of keeping the order, keeping the power in a select few rather than the people at large. It was the practice of land ownership over people’s minds and money.

In high school, one of my teachers said something while we were studying western Civilizations: the reason religion was created was to come up with answers for the unanswerable. For instance, why the sky was blue, why the sun rises and falls, why women get pregnant and not men, etc. They didn’t have science back then, so religions were created to answer the questions. You look at all the religions that have existed and still do exist and I bet you find as many creation stories as religions. If there was a common God(s), shouldn’t there be some similarities between the creation myths?

The biggest problem for me is that most religions speak of the grandeur of death. Christianity has heaven with golden roads, eternal youth, etc; Islam has their 72 virgins; Hindus are reincarnated continuously, etc. A large belief in Christianity is that they are required to atone for the sins of man, that everyone is a sinner, and you live life so God will forgive you and let you into heaven. Whatever happened to living for today and enjoying your life as much as you can?

Humans need to become more respectful of each other, and no matter how much relgions say we should respect thy neighbour, or give to the poor, we don’t. It’s as simple as that. We all fail to live up to the ideal standards set out in these holy texts (not entirely sure how something becomes holy when it was written by men). It seems rather selfish for us to be working towards getting ourselves into heaven and not working on improving the lives around us.

I think it’s time that we forget about the after-life and focus on this-life. Build a stronger community, a better world, better lives for anyone and don’t worry about being judged by a higher power. Wouldn’t you rather die happy than to die thinking, “My life sucked- at least there’s always heaven!” ?

[Note: If there is a Hell, I’m going there. If I’m to be reincarnated after going through the many levels of Hell, I’m going to get rejected at the end of the process and become a slug. The only 72 virgins I may receive will be men who are straight- where do those 72 virgins come from, anyways?

And yes, I know, I’m a heathen.]

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