September 01, 2004

TWGT ctd.

I'm back to continue my whole religious thing, As I stated in the previous post, these are my own observations, and are not meant to cause harm or angst to anyone. This is something I've got to get out of my system, and I have no idea how many more posts it will take.

Once again I will put my thoughts into the extended entry. If you're not interested, just check out the links to your right.

The Bible

As we all know, it's the best selling book of all time. With good reason too. I've read it several times, but not very recently (I need to fix that). I think that everyone can agree that the Bible was not written by God, but by people. Most of them very, very, wise people, or maybe just a couple thousand years of good editing makes them look that way.

Allow me to point you to a story by the Reverend Joe McKeever. Good story, plenty of examples of real world scenario's, and backing up his point with quotes from the Bible. This book is chock full of sayings and stories that apply to life, in general. It is also full of things that contradict one another. I'm no Bible scholar, so I'm not going to go into specifics about what verses and where they are in the book, but that is a really good indicator to me that the book was written by several authors over a period of time. The lessons ain't bad, but they didn't come from God.

God as a basic human need

I find it interesting that every different society 9talking olden days here) each arrived at their own concept of a higher being. Whether it be Paganistic (This statue or rock or mountain holds the power of our future.) or Mystic (The all seeing all knowing Diety or Dieties), each community came up with something to explain things that they didn't understand, and give them justification for being. Even the most primitive of society's seem to find a need for a higher power.

Nearly every person I meet, always looks at me askance when they learn that I am an atheist. The expression that crosses their faces says to me "How in the world can you not believe in God?". Is there something in the human psyche that makes us just have to have a higher power above us? If so, then I am an aberration, as I need no such power to get me through my day.

In General

As should be obvious by now, I contend that God is a creation of man. Is there absolute proof of this? Well no. However, everything I have seen and read about religion and history points to God as a means to an end. Essentially, a way to control a populace. "Because it's wrong to do that" or "Because you should act in this manner" do not carry as much weight as "God says it is wrong" or "God wants you to act this way". Human beings are generally contrary towards one another. If someone comes up and starts to tell you how to act or live your life, then (for the most part) the first thing you will do is ask him who they think they are to tell you what to do. If someone in a ceremonial garment comes up and says the exact same thing to you, but adds God as the justification, it's a whole lot easier to swallow. Kind of a "don't hate the messenger" dynamic. The message is no longer coming from some guy, it's coming from a diety that is much wiser, stronger, even better than any of us lowly human's could ever be.

I didn't have any kind of "defining moment" that caused me to decide that there wasn't a God. As I outlined in my first insallment, I have been a doubter since I was very young, and I described myself as an agnostic for year's. About five year's ago, I realized that by calling myself agnostic, I was selling myself short. I was providing myself an "easy out" as it were. At least I was allowing for the possibilty of God in case I was wrong. I changed over to "athiest" due to the fact that I don't believe in God, and haven't for at least twenty years. According to my own philisophy, there isn't even a chance that there's a God, so I stopped referring to myself as a "could be" believer. It was hypocritical to call myself an agnostic, and once I realized what I was doing, I quit it.

I've made quite a few sweeping generalization's here, and I haven't covered every angle, but I've been as honest as I can be. If anyone out there would like to get a clarification on any of my points, or would like my take on a point that I didn't cover, just leave me a comment, and I'll get to it in another post.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at September 1, 2004 02:22 PM

"Bible" means "Library". It's a collection of writings, or rather, a SELECTION of writings spanning a thousand year period. I studied it at University from an academic i.e non-religious point of view, and the fact that the literature included in the Bible was SELECTED says it all. Social Control, pure and simple. It's amazing how many things are lost in context/translation. For instance, "thou shalt not kill". In the original Aramaic, the "kill" meant "murder for no reason". Revenge killings and Just Wars were perfectly acceptable. As they should be.

And to think I was brought up to believe that one doesn't discuss politics or religion in polite society! Sorry, Mom, but I can't spend my life debating which shade of lip-gloss to wear ;-)

Posted by: Sally at September 1, 2004 05:32 PM

Steven Den Beste explains atheism about as well as I've seen it done:

Me, well, being none of the above leaves me with one question I can't answer: How did life start up from non-living matter?

Flat out... I don't know.

But everything else makes sense.

However, if I stuff God in the "I don't know" spot, I get an infinite plethora of questions about the nature, function and purpose of God, to which I must respond... I don't know.

Occam's Razor kicks in right about here, and I go back to pondering my one mysterious little question.

Posted by: Harvey at September 1, 2004 06:30 PM

Sally: I must admit that I was raised similarly. Religion and politics are things that aren't to be discussed outside the family unit. That's why it took me three day's to finish this thing. It's not an "easy" subject, but I think that it should be discussed, because it is a "taboo" subject. Thanks much for your input.

Harvey: Steve says it much better than I ever could. This issue is more encompassing than I could ever articulate.

Check Harv's link, then come back and talk.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at September 2, 2004 12:24 AM

Thanks for your thoughts Johnny, i need to digest them some more, but let me start with this one:

If every society throughout history has come up with its own religion, and its own concept of a Higher Being, then this should point us to something innately human that longs to fill a spiritual void inside us.

On the other hand, if religion is merely a way to control the populace, isn't it something of a coincidence that every society throughout history settled on religion, and a concept of a Higher Being to do so? Surely there are other means of controlling the populace, and surely, some societies would have independently created something other than a supernatural ideology? But it just didn't happen.

For me, this contradiction proves that which separates us from the animal kingdom: that we DO have something spiritual and eternal inside each of us -- something that by its very nature looks very much like the Higher Being who claims to have created us in His own image.

Claiming that humans created God instead of the other way around always makes me think of a man standing in front of a mirror arguing with his own reflection:

Man: "I'm the real one, you're just my reflection"
Mirror: "No, I'M the real one, and you're just MY reflection"

Posted by: Marty at September 2, 2004 10:24 AM

Hmmm Marty. I can't say that I don't believe in a Higher Power, or the human soul. I just have issues with organised religion. And I think that there is a lot of truth in the Bible. Especially in Genesis, when Adam passes the buck TWICE, by saying that the woman, who YOU created made him eat the fruit. That's human nature alright ;-)

Posted by: Sally at September 2, 2004 01:40 PM

Just had to comment on this one. I agree with your views basically, but a part of me wants to believe in a God or higher being. One part of me believes that that higher being may not even be from earth :) I think I watch too many movies, lol. Anyway, all thru my life, religion has felt more like a cult than anything and I hate cults. It's funny to find out you think like that, and you have been under my nose for a long time, and I never knew it, lol.

Posted by: Bluegenie2 at October 13, 2004 11:16 PM

Yeah Kathy it's a tough subject, but I've never been shy about tackling tough subjects. Thanks for stopping by. :^)

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at October 14, 2004 08:27 PM
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