what's your stance on religion? do you think it's helpful or hurtful to humans generally? i feel that it made more sense to be religious in the past when our knowledge of the way the world works was quite murky, and many of the tales central to most religions are very outdated to say the least. on the other hand though, many people say religion gives them comfort and a sense of purpose.
Religion and science occupy the same place in the human consciousness. They both are human attempts to answer the question “why?” They are both inadequate. The difference being, that science is a method that modifies perception of data. Science allows for external change, for inconsistency, for new data. Religion has an inherent statement of fact, that is then altered over time to disastrous effect in that the necessary changes -adaptations that allow that faith to continue to survive in a modern or hostile context - become hypocritical and self-defeating. I’ve witnessed it myself. Seen men spend their lives attempting to rectify the discrepancy between observable data and religious dogma. A modern example would be the bones of dinosaurs. There are countless christians who believe that the bones were put there by the devil, because the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs. There are men who try to prove that dinosaurs are mentioned. There are people who overlook that the biblical origin tale of the world omits dinosaurs. And many variations in between. All of those variations allow the faith to continue, despite the inherent inconsistency that an omnipotent, omniscient deity would forget to mention that man was not the first creation to dominate the earth.
I also find religion unbelievably arrogant. I dislike when humans organize under such a pretext as having literally all the questions of the universe solved and answered for them, that they hold the answers, that they then can offer them to whomever they goose. It’s arrogant to even claim
Half the answers. It’s stupid to use those answers to argue with someone with their own answers. The modern world gives us the convenient example of Christian Extremism vs. Muslim extremism. I find their dialogue insane. Especially since they both have the biblical god. They both have the same deity! And here they are killing each other over the human interpretation of said deity! And they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years! I know! I was there! What sense does that make? None! It feeds the human ego to believe that they alone have the answer, the security, the love. I am sorry, but if an omnipotent and omniscient deity existed, and had as serious a desire to be worshiped and adored as the biblical god does…then methinks he would
Make sure that his ways would be completely clear and impossible to misconstrue. One would think he’d be less obscure.
And as you say, purpose, friendship, meaning. All useless. The things you do in order to earn the respect and acceptance of your deity…you could do without it if you so chose. You can be an atheist and be generous. Morality and kindness are not attached to deities. They’re attached to intelligence. Anything with empathy can choose to be kind, or not. My purpose is mine, and mine alone. I owe it to no one. I give it to no one. I am responsible for it and accept the consequences. The other day, I was pulled into a discussion at a bar about god. I said I was an atheist. The person said “You’re too nice to be an atheist.” “What does that mean?” I said. “Well, let me ask you something. What if you’re wrong?”
“It is simple. I am wrong. And I will take my consequences. A loving, empathic deity would
Look into my heart and mind and see precisely why I chose that path. That deity would either decide to take pity or not. If not, then it wasn’t a deity I cared to serve anyway.”
Consequences are the only punishment. Sin is not real. Shame is not real. Consequences are real. Some of them are internal, some external. But you ultimately choose them.
Now, all that aside, I know for a fact that there is more “going on” in this universe than humans are capable of seeing with their meager senses. Sometimes people can detect them, and they chalk it up to miracle, to wonderment, to the simplistic and arrogant assumptions they make about god.
Whatever you think you know, imagine that you’re wrong. Be skeptical of your own thoughts. Never let anyone tell you how the universe works. Go and look into it yourself. Go dig up a dinosaur bone, and ask why a god that came about after humans crafted civilization, forgot about them.
Man invented god. Man attempts to mimic order. Man must organize to survive and so sees organization in everything.
For me it is very simple: be kind, always improve, always challenge yourself, keep your integrity intact. And finally, it is fine to take lessons from religions. Recall that hundreds of men and women devoted their minds and experiences to those faith-collectives. There is bound to be useful and lovely information there to be learned, but that does not prove or construct the whole of the faith. For every wise person in the faith, who focuses on philosophy and learning, good deeds and meditation, there are at least a hundred persons who are idiots or direct blasphemers. That’s the same percentage as any other population.
There are terrible people everywhere, of every walk of life, in every field, of every faith or lack thereof. Never use statistics to talk about God. That is a stupid thing.