Interesting isn’t it.
My last blog in which I openly discussed my beliefs, ie: my conviction in my understanding that there is no one true god, or collection/selection of Gods, or a creator/supreme being; has created more response than any other blog to date.
It’s a subject that can divides Nations and drive people to war. For me it creates interesting discussion. Well interesting discussion amongst mainly amongst Atheists but generally, from those with a ‘God’, almost no discussion at all. It truly is ‘blind faith’. A ll the conflicting and hypocritical bits in their respective ‘book of rules’; changes in which God; number of different Gods; choices of which bits of the ‘rule book’ to ignore because they no longer suit modern society, etc, become non-issues and are points of zero discussion in the eyes of the ‘faithful’. The Bible, Koran, Torah; in huge chunks (although I accept I have not read all of any of them) will openly marginalise women, oppose homosexuality, encourage the harsh punishment of children and rule breakers etc etc. Ancient religions (which the current faithful dismiss now as ridiculous) encouraged sacrifice, multiple god worship etc.
I find the ability to believe , irrespective of education , science, and the continuous changing and bending of the order of the faith, absolutely fascinating. I have friends who are Buddhist, Creationist, Catholic, Baptist, Pagan, Wicca, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanist. Those I have known since young generally, if they have a ‘God’, have the one indoctrinated in them by their family or school. Many lost their belief about the same time as they realised that Father Christmas was a sentiment rather than a reality.
I don’t ever remember believing in a God; I do remember the pain of Jewish Sunday School and the conflicts in our household to keep up the pretense to avoid confrontation with grandparents/aunts/uncles. My parents may remember differently. I do remember believing in Santa. And the Tooth Fairy. I believed in them because my parents told me they were real and society collectively kept the illusion alive. Then, as I grew older I realised that it wasn’t a ‘lie’ as such but a ‘fable’, a ‘sentiment’ and it retained and still retains a ‘magic’ for the joining together and joy it brings within the western world. But the ‘individual’ , ie: the actual ‘Santa’ is not real. the stories are based around folk-lore and stories passed down the generations as a way to promote a certain behaviour within society.
When our son was a child we raised him to have an open mind. We told him that different people believed in different things and they couldn’t possibly all be ‘right’; that he should listen to all the different views and make his own choice. Whatever choice he made would be the right choice.
One of his main adult contacts was a family with whom we were very close friends. they are a devout family of Creationists and Baptist church goers with two children around the same age as Jason. Jason would learn their beliefs from them. Plus, his school taught him theirs. John and I, being Atheists, generally kept our views to ourselves. Until he asked.
At about aged seven I remember him being very emotional and fearing for us. He asked us if we believed in God and Heaven, we both said ‘no’ , he cried “you’ll see I’m right when you die!”. I guess we will!
Today he is, I believe, an Atheist, but like us he has friends from different and often opposing faiths , all of whom believe blindly that theirs is the only true and righteous path. I enjoy hearing him and his friends ‘philosophise’ (to quote Bill & Ted) on the subject.
I have friends who ‘ pray for me’. Great. It is of no consequence to me or my sense of well-being, but, if it makes them happier, safer or gives them a feeling of being helpful, then that’s great. If it turns out that I’ve got it wrong on the God front, they have my back covered !
I don’t mind what people believe as long as they act morally, and considerately and treat others as they would like to be treated themselves, irrespective of their gender, race, sexuality, colour, age and the like. I love all my friends, family and acquaintances for their individuality irrespective of which set of indoctrinations they follow. I don’t care (unless it affects their happiness negatively) what their sexuality is, their social standing, their wealth, their age, their race. So why would I would I worry about which God. I love them for the way they behave, their actions and their interactions.
To quote Albert Einstein, “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”