Chapter 3. Religion and Spirituality
You already know that I don’t believe in god. Not the Catholics’ god, the Jews’ god, or any other god. I don’t believe in souls, ghosts, heaven, hell, spirits, or anything supernatural. I also don’t believe in Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny – or – as a side note – that there is any such thing as leftover bacon. All of these things – I firmly believe, to be myths. At least to me.
You – of course – are welcome to believe whatever you wish. Whatever that is or ends up being, please just do this one thing – regardless of what the teachings of your belief tell you to do:
Do not under any circumstance try to “convert” people to your beliefs.
The Catholics and other Christians reading this will say otherwise. So will the Muslims. They all believe that they are supposed to pass on the word of their god because that’s what their teachings and religious leaders tell them to do.
The truth (as I see it) is: All religions are man made groups of people. We are not born knowing that there is a god or a heaven. We are born of people who convince us of these things, solely because THEY were convinced of these things by people who were previously convinced of these things. No child, generally speaking, is really given all the options and told “hey, some people believe in this god, and others believe in these gods, and others believe in no god – what do you think is the truth?” We’re taught to believe based COMPLETELY on the family we were born into. It’s a bit like the way you cheer for Clemson Football. Did you really have a choice? If Mom and I had gone to Auburn, do you think you’d watch Clemson every chance you got? Of course not.
To me, that’s where religious beliefs originate – and it’s not good enough. I don’t understand, and never will, believing in something simply because my parents want me to.
So do the research. Investigate the different beliefs out there – as well as the different organized religions. And then trust your heart and your head.
Please keep in mind that the “church” – any church – has two goals: To further the “word” – and to collect money so they can afford to further the word.
People who know I am atheist almost always confront that fact with questions like:
“How can you not believe in god?”
“Where do you think we came from?”
“What happens when you die?”
“I’ve never met an atheist on his deathbed!”
They truly think that my beliefs – or in their mind “lack of belief” – is ridiculous and unbelievable. They can’t comprehend how I DON’T believe in god – and especially in their god. What they don’t ever seem to understand is that, TO ME, their beliefs are just as ridiculous – if not more.
But I bite my tongue and I avoid the conversation. Why? For two reasons:
1) I don’t intend to, nor do I believe I ever could, convince them that I’m right. I’m as firm in my belief that I am correct about this issue as they are. So since I know they can never convince me that there is a superior being, I know that I can’t convince them that there isn’t.
2) They almost always, without fault, attempt to make me feel stupid or silly for not believing what they believe. They don’t always do this intentionally – but their reaction is almost always that it’s ridiculous. I try to take the high road. I’m not so concerned with what they believe that I feel I have to belittle their beliefs. It’s simply not worth it.
I believe that there are things we don’t know about where we came from – what happened before the “big bang”, for instance – that we never will know. I’m perfectly ok with that. Many people are not. They feel they need to know all of the answers of where we came from, why we’re here, and what happens when we die. This is kinda the curse of the human cognitive brain.
The point of all of this is:
1) don’t ever let people tell you what you should or shouldn’t believe. (this has to do with religion or anything else really – like don’t let someone tell you that bacon tastes bad – make up your own mind. Except maybe punch the person that talks bad about bacon)
2) trust your brain and trust your heart – they’re both big and powerful and right.