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I have presented some of my views on religion already, and thus have mentioned that I find atheism illogical; however, I will not condemn rational dismissal and will not try to alter another person’s mindset. One thing that makes me very angry, though, is when people reject god because something bad happened to them. That is the most pathetic excuse ever; all that says is that god didn’t live up to your standards because he didn’t tend to your every whim like your own personal miracle worker. That is not logical atheism, since that doesn’t prove that god does not exit, rather, it proves that you are so self-centered that you want even the most powerful being in existence to act on your command. You are not an atheist, you are a greedy priss that deserves a slap in the face.
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I was watching the news the other day, and the newscasters were talking about weather safety. One of the reporters stated a reminder to do something that should be completely obvious, and the other reporter replied to that saying it was “very smart.” While most people probably didn’t think twice about that little comment, it irritated me, particularly because it demonstrated just how far society has deviated from common sense. The reminder the reporter made was not smart, but to do otherwise would simply be stupid. The fact that the comment was made in the first place shows that people have become so used to thinking what others tell them to think rather than thinking for themselves that they can’t be relied on to use common sense. This of course doesn’t apply to all people, but the amount of people it does apply to is staggering. Seriously, it’s called “common” sense for a reason, so use it.
Previously I made a charge against organized religion, now I wish to clarify what I meant. It is not the beliefs of any one religion or the practices thereof that are objectionable, but rather the either-or attitude behind them. If you don’t accept Christ as the savior and son of God, then you are not Christian, if you do not follow the Eightfold Path, you are not Buddhist, etc. Any organized religion has its own moral, spiritual, and social code, and this is not an issue, should they be found rational; the issue that arises it the universal idea found in each religion that it is the right one. Many wars have been fought under the banners of many religions, each in a conquest to spread “the truth.” Such firmness against the legitimacy of any religion that is not their own is what makes them objectionable, for it creates hostility towards deviation and new, perhaps conflicting, ideas.
Let us now catch this thought before it leads to the seemingly obvious concept of theological existentialism. The reason that an existential view on theology is not proper is because it implies full control of the individual over their moral, spiritual, and social codes. Such a buffet-style system of do-it-yourself theology is improper because it is irrational if left unrestricted. Consider a theological view that supports the concept of man before his neighbor; such would surly appeal to a great percentage of mankind. If every man were left to devise his own values, the afore stated situation would find itself to be a highly followed view, and with society under the intoxication of every man for themselves, there would be no society, rather, there would be utter chaos with every man fighting to be on top. Assuming the same situation, even once the “fittest” achieves their highest place, there would be no loyalty to make such a position meaningful, as everyone else would be looking to tear them down. While the danger this presents to society is evident, there is also a theological flaw in such a mindset: the individual makes himself god. The concept of god in itself is the being that is the cause of all things that are, a being of perfection and unlimited power. By causing a man to become the figure of god, this concept is utterly destroyed, as man does not have the ability to control his surroundings and is generally imperfect by his nature, for if man were perfect, there would be no conflict among mankind. It should thus be clear that reason must support the belief, whether or not it suits the desires of the individual.
With the idea of man as a god figure still fresh, let us look back at the concept of pride and see, once again, why man would not rationally see himself as god. As has been stated, man will naturally take comfort in the idea of there being something out there infinitely greater than them, as it takes away much of the responsibility of acting properly: they are imperfect. Again remember that this is a utilitarian use of the concept of god and is thus improper, for man is made by and thus for god, not god for man. However, it is irrational even on a prideful level for man to place themselves as god, for such a man seeks god to eliminate his responsibility as a flawed being, and thus placing himself as his own god would logically mean that he considers himself perfect, a view that is narcissistic beyond all reason; such a man to truly believe himself perfect would need to be mad; the only other alternatives for such a belief would be atheism, which is conceptually irrational, or the “Clock-maker” view of god, which would argue that god is non-interactive with creation. If this were the case, however, then why are there religions in the first place? The answer is simple, because they make sense. As Aristotle so simply put it “Man is a social animal,” we act in a relatively similar way, with reasonably coherent morals. Such a development is irrational considering the distance and diversity among mankind if left to chance. The concept of Natural Law, being that every man has within himself a natural code of moral conduct, thus exposes itself, and it must therefore have been part of our creative design. Therefore, the interaction of god with creation is not obvious in day to day life, for that would make god self evident, but rather implanted within our actions towards the rest of mankind and towards whatever being we call god.
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“Man by nature gravitates towards a god figure, though this is not to say that God is self-evident, for if it were, than only a madman could deny his existence, and surely there are those of sound mind that do so.”
This idea is based on the fact that all over the world, there are religions of all varieties, each presenting gods that are superior to man. Now, based on the concept behind religion, that is, god(s) provide for our existence and we should thus worship them, can be derives by three main thought processes: pride, desperation, and reason.
The first is based on mans natural desire to be in control; since we can’t control many aspects of our lives, the idea of a being infinitely greater than us helps alleviate a wounded ego by letting us feel that, since we can’t be perfect, we are as good as we are expected to be as-is. Such faith is self-serving and utilitarian.
The second can be seen in two types of circumstances. The most common instance of faith by desperation is seen in those who are faced with death, either their own or that of one they care for. The idea is that they take the “just in case” approach to there being a god and hope to be saved because of their so-called new found faith. The less commonly seen cause for desperate faith is the need for love. Those who can’t seem to fit in to society and are rejected for who they are can take comfort in the idea of an all-loving god, so faith has a utilitarian purpose for them as well.
Lastly, we have reason. This is where the search for god becomes legitimate, as we are not using him for our own purposes, but rather have found him in our world and have acknowledged him. We can reason to god in sheer existence; what other rational means can be devised to explain being? The big bang? Such an explanation still comes with the issue of something previous, a driving force; this is what must reasonably be called god.
Now, some would perhaps argue a fourth drive for religion, that being blind faith. Such people have been exposed to religion all their life and have never questioned what they are told to believe. The most likely argument for such “believers,” this instance being directly pointed towards those of the Catholic faith, is a well-known Bible passage: “Trust me when I tell you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a child will not enter into it.” (Luke 19:17) I respond as follows: children often believe whatever they are told, especially when it comes from their parents. Thus, a childish acceptance can be linked to such things as Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny; the point being that the facts are simply wrong. I do not speak against religion, I find it inseparable from our being, but I say that blind faith is incomplete faith. You must understand and confirm your beliefs without discretion towards ideas that may be core to a particular denomination. This is not a process of existentialism in which you customize your own religion, for then it becomes utilitarian, but you must deem rational what you can truly claim to believe. Thus the proper conclusion can be drawn that organized religion stifles the freedom that the faithful can feel towards questioning and rationalizing their beliefs, for by changing the ideas, you no longer fit the mold; same can be said for the issue of the pressure of society and the same arguments can be presented against it.
Though I’m pretty carefree and laidback, Let’s hope I don’t snap.
Your hope, or mine?
and the luckiest find happiness in itself.
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I was recently informed that, though I am a nice person and admired by some, I am also hard to approach and perhaps even frightening. While I know this isn’t what they were getting at, I leave this as proof that, in the end, working in the shadows and being unafraid of others’ opinions will gain you more respect than those who like to stand up on stage and say “Look at my good deed.” Trust me, I’ve seen those kind and hear what is said about them; forget the crowd, forget the reward, forget everything you think that you have to gain, because what you will gain in your silence is infinitely more valuable:trust, respect, maybe an under the table deal here and there, but most importantly, your personal attention to something or someone will carry much more weight when you’re known for the deeds you do and the nod “your welcome” as you leave rather than the speech you make about how important it is that you did whatever it is you did. When someone is unsure whether or not to approach you and you approach them, then you can be sure that whatever it is that you say or do will mean so much more because of not who, but how you are.
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As time has passed, people have advanced in technology and social networking, yet the ability to think has declined rapidly. As society attempts to become more accommodating for all of its people and provides ways for them to feed off of the system we have created, we find that humanity’s natural rationale has steeply declined. The Japanese raised children to wield swords to grow up as warriors, and if they cut off a hand, it was a learning experience; now we have warnings on virtually every product and produce that we provide as a disclaimer so that people can’t be held accountable for not knowing that they shouldn’t eat the plastic bag the chips come in. Its pathetic. So in an attempt to keep rational thinking as widely spread as possible, I challenge you to question everything you know and see if you find that 90% of what people tell you to be lies.