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Archive for September 6th, 2013

Religion and what-not

September 06th, 2013 | Category: Life

A reader, dave, commented,

Your thoughts on atheism and religion. Is the world becoming more (or less) atheist? Have your views on this changed over time? Why or why not?

I think people who are raised “religious” often hit a rebellious phase, they question why they should believe completely, blindly, in something without having any proof that it’s real. Their world-view shifts, they want to experience things their religion denied them, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, often to a self-destructive degree if their religion is strict enough. Maybe they swing back, all the way, part way, maybe not at all. They experience shifts toward and away from Atheism.

I was raised slightly Catholic. I was raised Catholic enough to think that the movie, Dogma, is hysterical. I was raised Catholic enough to be scared of Hell. I’m not “religious,” nor is my family. I’m in a church once a year, Midnight Mass. I know the Our Father, not the Hail Mary. I’ve never rebelled against any of it because, really, I have nothing to rebel against. I’m a Catholic without all the denial. Nobody’s ever said to me, “You can’t have sex with your girlfriend, you’re a Catholic and you’ll go to Hell if you do!” If I was gay, my mom would probably like me more. My grandma actually once told me, “You’re disabled, God doesn’t make you do Lent, you don’t have to give up anything.” I was like, nine. I’ve come to believe what I believe and none of it has changed since… I started believing in things. Some of my views have expanded with age, thoughts on sex, vices, Atheism. You can’t really have opinions on things you haven’t experienced, not sound opinions at least.

Generally, I think religion is alive and kicking, often too hard. I believe that organized religion is dangerous. Far too often, religion is used as an excuse to exclude, control, and hurt people, to kill people. Today’s Republicans say, “The government’s too big, get the government out of our lives!” Except when it comes to women’s health and gay rights, in those cases religion apparently gives government the right to tell people EXACTLY how to live. A part of our government is using religion to write policy and legislation to discriminate against “sinners.” It’s not what our founding fathers intended, not what Christ intended.

I’m a fan of Jesus, I try to follow His example, be loving, kind, don’t hurt people. I’m absolutely not perfect, but I try to follow those three ideals. It astounds me when “Christians” hate gay people in the name of Christ. Hating someone, treating them as less than, is as far from Christ-like as it gets. Christ taught us love, compassion, forgiveness, He didn’t hate anybody. I know Atheists who are more “Christian” than some “Christians.” Whether you believe that Christ died, was resurrected, and ascended to Heaven, or not, I think that if people followed His teachings, really followed, even just as an historical figure, the world would be a much better place.

I don’t think the world is turning toward Atheism, not that that would be bad. I mean, there are good Atheists and bad Atheists. There are Good Catholics and bad Catholics. Any religion or belief system has good and bad practitioners. Believing in God doesn’t necessarily make you a good person, just like non-belief doesn’t automatically make you a bad person. I don’t think Atheism is bad at all, the Atheists I know are kind, compassionate, good people. I have faith that it’s ultimately our actions that matter, not what we say we believe. I don’t see how a loving God could deny good people from Heaven just because they don’t believe in Him. If God’s that unjust, well, I’ll get to hang out in Hell with all my favorite people.

dave, I think I kind of hopefully maybe possibly wrote what you wanted.

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