Figured I would post this writing from college, since it kind of applies.
We live in an artificial reality. The world around us is the result of thousands of years of culture and beliefs being abstracted over generations. There is little we "believe" and "feel" that makes any rational sense, but our actions usually can be traced directly to our basic instincts of survival. We hunger for more, both in ways that are necessities to our success as a species and in ways that are strangely self-destructive. We are, however, an amazingly simple animal. Sure, we like to think of ourselves as being more than that, but there is little evidence to support that rational. Often one defines our supposed superiority by arguing that we are the only beings on our planet that are self-aware, that know right and wrong, and that can feel love.
In general, people believe whatever is convenient to believe. When people have trouble understanding something, they have to create an explanation for it. This placeholder for the truth is passed on through generations and eventually, unless proven wrong, becomes an absolute that people do not think to question. They simply can't. Eventually there are certain bits of information that we absorb which become fact in our own mind, whether it is merited or not. The human mind is trouble by the gray areas in life and must seek explanation and purpose, creating lines between black and white and disposing of that in between. We cannot accept the unknown, and this has driven us to great things as well as horrible atrocities. I will not make this about ethics. (Because ethics are arbitrary) Instead, let's stick the pure mechanics of the subject.
We must agree, whether religious or not, that human beings have existed for many generations. Thus, all parts of our present day society have been altered throughout time. People have made new customs and disposed of those that are outmoded. This is why I say the world we live in has been abstracted over generations. I truly doubt that anyone can rationally argue against this, so let us accept it as "fact." (Noting that the term "fact" is quite dangerous as it creates a black and white division where one should not rightfully exist)
Since all things change and are altered over time, one must accept that the scriptures and writings of any and all religions have been altered as well. Those who deny such logical conclusions about the Bible, and analyze it directly, perceiving it as God's direct words are being wholly irrational. How could a book come into the hands of hundreds of generations of corrupt leaders and followers, and not be altered in any way? It couldn't be.
Theists are quite often not stupid people. These people either grew up with beliefs being injected into their heads from childhood or have accepted a religion in order to fill some sort of void within themselves. People need meaning and religions have the wonderfully dangerous power to explain all things and alleviate any mystery that may be haunting a person. It does this by appealing to what we want most; immortality and meaning for our short existence. It makes wonderful and beautiful promises. Who wouldn't want to go to a wonderful place called heaven? What child wouldn't be scared into accepting moral obligations and political structures at the threat of eternal damnation?
Religion fills in the blanks, patching in the holes that science can not yet fill. Think of early man sitting next to a fire warming himself as a thunderstorm roars in the distance. He has no way to understand the world around him. He desperately needs to know where the thunder comes from and what lightning is. From this wonder he invents the God Zeus. Now he no longer has to concern himself with this mystery and his life is given more perceived meaning, albeit artificial.
This is how religion was invented throughout human existence. It is a lie that explains, organizes, sets rules and regulations, and absolutely controls its believers. Each religion promises a reward which resolves man's greatest fear of all, death. We all want to believe in something more than ourselves, and some of us seemingly need to.
Organized religion has been responsible for great atrocities throughout time. Although there are millions of good people following a religion, who want only to do what is right, they make an enormous mistake. They let someone/something/somegod tell them what is right and wrong, and unquestioningly follow. This is what the ever popular word "faith" is. It is a word which has been deconstructed (much like patriotism, freedom, communism, etc) and now defines a belief in God. Faith is the willful ignorance of reality. You may get lucky within your faith and be right, but if you are wrong you will never know. And would a God appreciate a blind follower? What if you are absent mindfully following the Antichrist as he parades himself as a follower of Christ? Whether you are religious or not, you must question all of your beliefs always.
Would you walk down a path and, upon seeing your going the right direction, close your eyes while you walk the rest of the way? Faith is closing your eyes to your intended path, and letting yourself walk blindly down a road...Or are you on the road anymore at all?
Grant D. Miller
- Some Guy You Don't Know