All the potential harmful aspects of organized religion far outweigh all the potential beneficial aspects. This is not a statement I make halfheartedly. I am fully aware of the implications. And no, this isn’t a recent discovery. My questioning of religion started at age four-teen. Mostly, basic questions concerning morality and the stories of the Bible; throughout high school I dedicated my time to knowing everything there was to know about the Bible. Once I hit Grace College at age eight-teen things got messy. I was exposed to all the contradictions, loop holes and complicated doctrines of the Christian Faith; and differing worldviews (and yes other religions) that came with serious cultural inconsistencies. While I enjoyed the challenge of rectifying my current worldview to the new information being presented I was never satisfied. Religion, was a hot sticky complicated mess of goo that I spent a lot of time diving into. After leaving Grace in the Fall of 2010 the problem grew. My mind was not satisfied. My questions were only answered with more questions. My heart was willing to ignore the inconsistencies of Christianity while pointing out the loop holes in other religions (looking back I realize the bigotry). Needless to say, it didn’t work.
Let’s take a look at how corrupt organized religion really is. The beneficial aspects of comfort/ certainty alone are proof enough. Blind faith offers this through a total disregard for intellectual reasoning. We are constantly told that once we hit that point where things just don’t make sense that it’s because God is just too high and lofty to understand and if we want to be good Christians then we need to stop. Just stop right there. Don’t question. Stop everything and just trust that God has all that crazy shit together.
Uhhh? Excuse me? If God is so freaking great then shouldn’t He be able to make himself easy to understand? Shouldn’t the rational inconsistencies…not exist? Wouldn’t he welcome questioning of reality? What does God have to hide? Hmmmmmmm.
Blind faith is only comforting to those who are uncomfortable with the responsibility of finding the truth. Let’s just call it what it is and be done. When you and I stop thinking, send up a prayer “giving it to God” who are we really helping? No one. Blind faith is a pretty little intellectual band-aid.
That being said
Who really benefits from this irrational process for decision making? Ironically, a lot of blind faith believers advocate that God does. God benefits from your stupidity? Uhhh okay. I would think that shows a lack of intelligence on God’s part if his own people give up trying to understand what is real.
Another popular answer to this question is that the believers benefit. Maybe temporarily; but what happens when the band-aid is gone and you start questioning things again? You just whip out another band-aid. The problem never is solved. Eventually, you’ll just stop trying to think altogether. Don’t believe me? Get on facebook. Okay, all joking aside…I’ll tell you who seemingly benefits from this- corrupt authority. Church leaders, a select few who use religion to guilt people into their belief system based on their position and empty promises concerning: wealth, “God’s will”, direction in life and more. The sad thing is that most of this unintentional. These people honestly think they are doing you and I a favor. By forcing their beliefs down your throat it’s a win-win. You get a get out of hell free card and they get warm fuzzy feelings all over. See the problem? Religion has nothing to do with bettering humanity. Instead it creates ignorant flocks that either are not capable or believe themselves incapable of rational thought. Reason is presented as secular; while blind faith is held in the highest regard.
Religion is thus built upon a premise of fear. Fear of a God that can and will condemn you to everlasting torment in hell; all the while claiming that he loves you unconditionally. I will give modern Christianity props for taking God’s approval deeper than a “deeds” based mentality which so many religions propagate. At least Christianity tries to rectify this irrational system by making salvation based on a set of specific beliefs concerning Jesus Christ. So it’s not what you do that saves you it’s what you believe. God will save you just as long as you believe in him; thus STILL making Christian salvation conditional. Hold up. If God loves me unconditionally then why do I have to believe in him to receive the benefits of his love if it is truly unconditional? Hmmmmmmm. Yup. Stillborn babies, those folks in Africa, all the Jehovah Witnesses (because we know how messed up they are) and well every other person outside of MY belief system is doomed.
I’m sorry but my understanding of God is sooooooooooooooo much bigger than that. God is the supreme reality, truth, love. And my morality is not dependent on the existence of any biblical contradicting God that sets mankind up for failure, calling it “free will” (or did we come up with that part?) then time and time again condemns us for not doing what he wants ( Before you try to refute that statement please educate yourself here). You can’t have it both ways. There is NO love in that; only cruelty. Why would we worship such a god? Why should we have to make excuses in his name? Why explain away his contradictions?
I refuse. There cannot be a god if that’s what God is. Yet, I believe there is something. A cosmic understanding. A supreme reality. Balance. Love without conditions. Something that I am not comfortable giving such a constricting name of “God” because my understanding of it changes daily. Religious people love their certainty; but the world become clearer when you remove the fog of certainty. After all, the only constant is change & the only certainty is uncertainty. Why wouldn’t our “God” be big enough to handle those realities? Why can’t we be brave enough to say we don’t know; perhaps only know what isn’t/shouldn’t/couldn’t and work our way from there?
I say all this, not as an attack on Christianity or any other belief system. No. This is a painfully honest evaluation of everything I’ve been seriously questioning for five years. There is no moment that I can pin-point that this change in my worldview took place. Rather, this has been a gradual opening of my eyes, mind and heart to all the inconsistent B.S. that we like to call faith and religion. There is no room for it in a healthy world. We’ve screwed up. All of us (religious organizations). Myself included. Goodness, I spent a good four years of my life teaching this stuff to little children. I am the first to blame; and the most able to point fingers because I am pointing to myself.
How about instead of indoctrinating others we focus on teaching others how to think. Rationally and logically- placing trust in that which is true. Have eyes-wide-open faith; if you must. An understanding of the rational free thinking mind is the greatest gift that can be given. The giver must see the benefit of uncertainty; because free thought walks on unknown territory seeking truth. An element of trust is at place. Trust that the free thinker will come to the truth.
That gift is what I had been longing for in my searching; yet denied over and over again. It came from the most unlikely and diverse of sources. The first being an atheist who found my belief system completely based on irrational argumentation (I might add that I wholeheartedly agree) yet chose to be my friend and to enter into my world even if he didn’t agree with it. The second, being an old catholic man who took the time to understand the evident pain and confusion in my life as a result of spiritual abuse. And thirdly, by theists, who are among the handful of “Christians” I’ve met that did not have a selfish bone in their body. When my family abandoned me (because of disagreeing worldviews) these “Christians” dropped everything, met me where I was and loved me unconditionally, supported me – they walked through my hell on earth. All without ANY personal gain or interest; simply doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. These three, enter into my realm of questioning wholeheartedly and fearlessly. They discuss, question (both sides) and respectfully disagree.
I’ve learned a lot about people from learning about myself. Those who stick around are those who truly love me. Because, as we discussed, love isn’t conditional upon how a person lives their life, nor upon their belief system. No- true love is based in the simple commitment to care for another person: wherever, whomever and why ever. Just because they are.
I understand that now. I also understand the consequences of voicing this reality because I’ve already experienced a taste:
- Defamation of character
- Hostility from my family
- Attacks on my reputation
- Accusations concerning my mental stability as a person (*gasp* thinking for yourself?! Must be contagious!)
- Spiritual manipulation and abuse
- Judgment from religious circles (shocker there)
However, there is so much more to gain. This way of thinking and forming beliefs is more solid of a foundation than any religion/faith can provide. And I’d much rather be ostracized for speaking the truth then be popular for blindly accepting lies. I’m just ashamed that it took me this long to see the light of truth and grateful that it wasn’t any longer than this.
Slightly Over Dramatic Girly Optimist