You were warned in my tagline.
The inspiration for many of my beliefs, my idol of sorts, Christopher Hitchens, posed this question in many of his debates:
Why is faith good?
It’s one that I think is a fair and justified question, and one that we ought to ask ourselves. I think there are a lot of people who take all of religion on faith, thinking this will earn them bonus points when they die and get judged by how blindly faithful they were.
This is a sinister concept and an utter slap in the face to our freedom of thought. Just because we are a chromosome away from a chimp doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be utilizing the powers of reason and investigation that evolution has bred into us. What if we ran the rest of our lives like this? What if we demanded the same standard of evidence for our medicines, our healthcare, or our schooling? We would still be teaching that sickness is a curse for behaving badly or burning people for being witches. You want to run your life based on something you’re told or something you’ve read in an ancient book wherein it is blasphemy to question or doubt it under pain of going to hell? You can have it, but be accountable for what you believe, and don’t expect to go into a debate with the argument of pure faith and not to be laughed off.
I like to think that I live my life and make my decisions as a result of previous study and weighing of evidence from either side. I believe it’s very important to get as much information as you possibly can as I strongly believe you can never be too informed. I usually take a relatively long time to reach a decision about something. I am largely indecisive so that contributes as well, but I also like to look at each side and take time to weigh my options and information. Once I have gathered this information and have come to a decision, it can be difficult to convince me otherwise unless I am given substantial evidence to the contrary.
For me to believe in something that cannot be proven, that cannot be measured or quantified, is alien and, to me, no way to base important opinions and decisions on. However, it is impossible for religion to be proven, so I guess that lessens my chances of believing even further.
One cannot disprove the existence of god in any reasonable or scientific way any more than one can prove it in this manner. The way I see it, even though I can’t prove god doesn’t exist, the impossibility of it being proven that it does by any scientific means is enough for me. I don’t need it. I don’t need to believe in heaven or hell, or that if I am really good I am going to go to a place that is all sunshine, lollipops, and other such bullshit. On the flip side, if I do something negative or “evil”, I am not going to rot or burn in the depths of some fiery underground place of evil. Perhaps if you metaphorically meant my conscience, but not everyone seems to own one of those. I believe that if I am a good person, if I do good things, and continue on my quest for continual self-improvement, that I will just continue to be. I will continue to be, and I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I have done a good thing, and made another life better or easier or whatever the case may be. That is enough for me. I don’t need unfounded promises about what’s going to happen after I die. Like Bill Maher said, “…and anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die; I promise you, you don’t. How can I be so sure? Because I don’t know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not. The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble and that’s what man needs to be considering that human history is just a litany getting shit dead wrong”
It’s easy to claim that you know what happens in the after life because let’s be honest – who is going to prove you wrong? Anyone who doesn’t like to question or reason will just go along with it because what else are they going to believe? The fact that we sit in the ground and rot isn’t romantic enough, I guess. Let’s follow these rules just in case there is in fact something on the other side waiting to punish me. People will do all kinds of silly things to avoid such punishment as they believe they’ll find in the afterlife. Let me tell you, your brain is the instrument through which you feel everything. Pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness, etc. When you die, your brain does not function anymore. You brain will decompose. Logically, then, how is one to feel either the rapture of heaven or the eternal misery of hell without the brain the interpret this?
This is where the freedom of thought bit comes in. You can apparently go to “hell” for merely thinking something that is against the rules. In the words of Hitchens, “this is disgraceful”. Progress cannot be made if we continue to believe that we will be judged and eventually persecuted for something that crosses our mind. Freedom of thought is a right which I cherish and personally, I would rather there weren’t some “Big Brother” entity out there making sure I kept my thoughts to his liking, thank you very much. “…However, let no-one say there is no cure, salvation is offered! Redemption indeed, is promised at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties” – Hitchens
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1ESU0xu4Zc&feature=youtu.be – The part which supports my point can be found from about 3:50 – 4:30