velessa: (Religion - Dark Ages)
[personal profile] velessa
Yeah yeah, controversial topic and all, but this seems like an appropriate day to put it out there. Skip if you don't care/don't want to get offended. Icon gives you a good idea of my feelings about it.

I did not grow up religious. My parents don't practice anything and never went to church. We have fun at Christmas and Easter and decorate a tree and get presents and dye eggs and get chocolate, but just because that's what you do, no deeper meaning to it. I'm actually rather baffled as to why I was baptized as a baby; must have been the wishes of grandparents. I went to a Christian kindergarten and Catholic high school, and I was occasionally dragged to church (St. Paul's Methodist) by my grandmother, mainly on Easter, but that was the extent of my religious exposure. I remember some of the sermons and ideas being nice, but nothing terribly interesting or earth-shattering.

I find it absolutely ludicrous that something as insignificant as a mere *human being* would dare have the gall to claim to know jack shit about the true nature of the universe/possible higher powers. I'm agnostic. I would never have the sheer audacity to say I know the truth of the matter of things, and that's that. The bottom line is I DON'T KNOW AND NEITHER DO YOU.

No one knows! Could there be a God? Absolutely. Could there be a thousand gods? Sure. Could any religious mythology, from the Egyptians all the way up to today have guessed at what, if anything, is really lording over us? Could there be nothing at all, and everything can be explained by laws of nature if only we understood them? Again, yes, these are all possibilities. WE. DON'T. KNOW. And anyone who claims to have all the answers is just fooling themselves, along with all the poor saps who believe them.

And that's the crux of the problem right there. I've always felt that religion is the bane of human existence. Would the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, witch hunts, and 9/11 have happened if it weren't for the religious fervor driving them? Highly unlikely. Would Andrea Yates still have drowned her five children if she hadn't thought she was saving them from Satan? Would Matthew Shepherd still be alive if he hadn't lived in a community that preached hatred of those who were different? Who knows, but I think there's a damn good chance that without religion at work in those places, those people would still be alive. I'm sure that, human nature being what it is, people will always find *something* to fight about, but I think there'd be a hell of a lot less of it if they weren't dying for their deeply ingrained (faulty) beliefs.

Religion is unnecessary. It's been proven that people innately know right from wrong; no one has to threaten them with the possibility of eternity in Hell in order to keep them from doing terrible things. Those threats don't work, anyway! People are well aware when they do bad things that they're wrong, but they make the choice to do them anyway. The only ones who don't innately understand this are sociopaths who were born with no chance to begin with.

Worse, though, is that religion has a nasty habit of breeding intolerance and hatred of anything or anyone that doesn't agree with it. This has been proven again and again and again throughout history...when will it end? Religion divides people into "us" and "them," rather than bringing people together.

And the people it DOES bring together within any given sect are those who don't want to or don't know how to think for themselves. They merrily blindly follow the preaching of any old lunatic that appeals to them, happy to have someone else do their thinking for them. Then they raise their kids to follow the same tripe, brainwashing them from birth and never giving them the chance to figure out the world for themselves; only the lucky few eventually question their surroundings and manage to break free.

Perhaps the one thing religion does for people is makes them feel safe, like someone else is in charge and is guiding their lives, that they're not just here going it alone, and at the end they have some wonderful magical place to go to, so they are not so fearful of death. I suppose that's nice and all and some people need that kind of reassurance, but really I just feel like it's a rather cruel joke to fill their heads with hopes and lies, when in reality none of us know the truth of the matter. If it makes you feel better to believe in a Heaven and afterlife and all that (and I'd be lying if I said that I myself didn't hope for the existence of such a thing), go for it.

As I've said, my main problems with religion are 1) all the horrible things people do in the name of their beliefs, and 2) the fact that some people are pompous enough to claim that they know what the deal is and then try to tell others how they should live their lives according to their rules.

My feeling is that people are welcome to believe whatever they like, however silly I personally may find it, as long as their beliefs don't result in harm to anyone or anything else. I rather like the saying "An it harm none, do as ye will."
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