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The two reasons I don't believe but its still good

Posted by walkinginthepark on Wednesday, January 24 2018 at 03:52:43AM
In reply to Atheist because... posted by GL_in_lyrics on Monday, January 22 2018 at 11:39:43PM

That just about sums up where I'm at with religion.

I don't have any problem with people believing in any god they want. Everybody believes in some things that they would struggle to put a mathematical proof to whether it's god or the love of friend or family or why they always wear a blue jockstrap whenever playing baseball because it brings them luck.

My own problem with belief really breaks down into two strands.

Firstly, faith needs to be earned. The world is full of people asking others to believe on faith whether it's believe in my god or believe I'll pay you back $100,000 is you lend it to me. I wouldn't lend the person $100,000 without something to lead me to have faith in him/her like knowing how motivated and honest the person is or that he/she has a great idea I've dug into and can believe in.

The trouble with godly faith is that the promise is so blatantly flawed that it makes faith extremely difficult. The stories themselves don't make sense. Adam and Eve have two sons, so there are 4 people in the world then one gets killed and the other heads off and finds a city full of people....wait, where did all these people suddenly come from? The book continues with plot flaw after plot flaw until Joseph and Mary are heading back to Bethlehem for a census. Hang on, that defeats the whole point of a census, a census is to record where people are and their lives so if everyone has to return to the birthplace it invalidates the census. Love or hate the Romans they did keep good records and there wasn't any census then, they didn't really start doing them until a later period. I know a geologist who teaches at university about how the world is billions of years old and yet in private he believes the world is just thousands of years old because the bible says so. Or the fossil record, all those marsupial's down in Australia that someone made it to the ark then back again without any dropping dead and leaving evidence in Africa.

OK, I could go on but it comes down to these problems with logic where we've come so far and found so much out about the world which doesn't match what the bible says. When my kids are in a museum looking at dinosaurs I can't reasonably say they don't exist or then are just a few thousand years old. That's dishonest and telling my kids something I can't prove or have any real reason to believe in.

Now I'm not saying science can explain everything or is right about all things. A couple of hundred years ago the idea of rocks falling from the sky was crazy because there are no rocks in space. Science is at best a collection of models and ideas that are useful for making sense of the world. Light is a packet and a wave, actually it's likely neither but saying that isn't helpful while modelling it as packets and waves is incredibly useful. In another 100 years we'll probably have moved on to much better models again and maybe impossible ideas like worm holes and even faster than light travel will be permissible under some new breakthough ideas. I don't think we can use science to say anything is impossible, I don't think that's the purpose of science but we can use science to say these things we can be confident about for now while these other things we just can't be certain about at all. You might believe rocks fall from the sky but there's no models to explain that so at best it's a belief until a model comes along to explain it.

Then there's the second strand of my problem with religion and that's whether I like the god being described and consider him/her a good god to follow. Let's assume god is real, why should I worship him?

One argument is that he made me so that gives him the right to expect to be worshipped and I have no right to expect anything from him in return. Is that right though? If I have a child, create new life in the womb then as that babies creator is it right that the baby should worship me and that I have no responsibility towards the baby? Or if I'm a scientist or animal breeder and I create a new animal, lets say a new kind of cat, does that mean the cat must worship me to be considered worthy of live and do I have no responsibility back? I can leave it to starve to death in a box or drown it or do whatever I want to it because I made it. That may have been an acceptable world view thousands of years ago but it isn't today.

Or if I know someone is hurting or starving should I not be moved to compassion and help them even if the person isn't grovelling to me for help?

Or some of the terrible acts like demanding that people slaughter whole cities, children and all because they're guilty of not worshiping god. When ISIS would do that to a town we'd call them monsters, when the tribes of Israel did it we call it a glorious demonstration of submission to a good god, glory be to the murderer of babes. God is angry, I get that, he's not getting the respect he demands but is this really the act of a stable and good entity? Just saying god moves in mysterious ways and we have to accept that it's for good isn't right, that's how we allow terrible things to happen. At least Roman/Greek, Norse, Celtic and other old gods admitted they screwed up a lot and often weren't very nice.

But that's my take on religion. Thankfully we've largely moved beyond genocide and now we're just clinging on to stories like the world is younger than that fossil on my table. BUT, if someone is suffering and belief in a god brings them comfort and hope and doesn't hurt anyone else then I don't see the harm. It's like a placebo, if its doing good then take it but don't expect everyone else to be healed the same way by it. And I know lots of Christian's who are really nice people so keep on believing. I also know lots of Muslims and atheists the same so keep on doing what works for you.

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