If you know my work, you know I reject religion. Not “God” or possible “gods” but religion. I think not any of them are searching for god or found god or were contacted by god or deserve the arrogant claims on the “truth on/about god” and anything else.
This post is a summary of my thoughts, turning it around for a change, making it a bit more friendly by questions.
Might you be on the other side, already rejected the idea of God, do not waste your time and go here.
This specific post is mainly for the doubters among you.
Does your religion promote fear and/or hate?
If you are religious and when you decide this post is not for you: one simple question.
Does your religion promote fear and/or hate?
Are there messages of fear in your religion? For instance: are you expected to fear “the other” place you might go to in the afterlife? The judgement of god? Are others (who do not follow your specific branch of religion) supposed to fear the judgement of your god?
Are there messages of hate in your religion? Do you or others judge people based on hear-say? Do you go out and talk with the subjects of these rumors and stories to find out their side? And if so, is that appreciated by the others in your community? Do you (or others within your community) condemn other people? For instance because they do not believe or do not believe the same as you do?
Should fear and hate and condemnation be the basis of your religion?
If there is a God, it is in all the things around you
I have one single and strong belief: if there is a God, it is in the things around us. The works of god, the work of god is the reality we can touch, the body we have, the feelings we can feel. If there is an ultimate god or god-like creature, he/she/it created everything and anything without any exception and with fill awareness of all possible consequences.
Can a human being understand the full scope of god and gods creation?
If there is a god and that god created life, the universe and everything else, can a human understand the full scope of such a being and the intents an all-powerful being has with that creation? Especially when those beings only have a very limited understanding of the world around them and very limited powers of the mind.
Can anything humans invent be more important than God’s creation?
The idea that a book or an object, or the words of another human being is more important or has more weight that the reality around you is arrogance, I think. And I think it is moving you further away, rather than closer to that god. It is like having god all around you and then focus all your attention to a statue or a rude representation of that presence and try to get your answers from that.
God is in the things around you. Not in a book. Not in a building. Not in icons and idols. Not in the words and beliefs of other people.
Can any human claim to have found god?
When God is the universe, can a human claim to have found that God? Or did he or she only find one specific aspect? Or maybe nothing at all? Can a person understand god? Can you understand the whole of something when you only see a small part of it all? Can you claim to derive your “knowing” of the all when you only see or have that little fragment?
Think about this specifically when your religion makes all its claims on God, when you read your religious scriptures. Think about it when that claim includes “understanding” that god or having a special relationship with that god or with an embodiment of that god. Think about it when your religion and people of your religion claims specific behavior and specific things “are not gods will” or “are against gods will”.
Because a person tells you: “God said” does not mean God really talked to him or her, or that the basis of that text is from someone who really talked with God. Probably something else happened.
Love, fear and hate
What surprises me is how some branches of religion focus on the fear and the hate. In the united states we have churches condemning homosexuality and religious people threatening people with death when their opinions do not match.
When and if your prophet and when and if your god stands for love, there should be no place for hate at all. Not in the sermons. Not in your mind.
With fear the same thing. What should you have to fear? This is Gods world. Are we not are all god’s people and loved by god in the very same way?
Should you really fear gods judgement when you are dead? Is that what keeps you in your faith to begin with?
Consider this: if you love your children, if you love them really deeply and profoundly, would you condemn them to even deeper suffering when they come to you after a life of misery (for instance by not knowing you or not recognizing or acknowledging your existence?)
What god, only but a really wretched one would spit on its own children and say: “you were not good enough and now you will have to suffer”.
What god would allow powers of evil to take your soul and kidnap you. What god would leave you in that place of misery to rot and suffer for eternity?
Creating god in the image of people
At the time of the emerge of most religions, including Christianity and Judaism (from which the Christian religion is derived) we hardly knew anything about the universe, that immense and impressive creation that might be a creation of a god (and if and when it is, imagine how grand that god really is).
We knew mostly what we saw: the sun coming up in the east and going down in the west. A world that was mostly local. A set of standards that were hardly anything we know now.
The gods we created were gods to give us comfort or to explain things that were beyond our comprehension. Some of these gods were representing the Moon and the Sun and the Earth itself. Givers of live, and so on.
But each and all of these gods were people-centric. Representing our idea of the world and the universe. Limited.
Why science can be a threat
Science can be a threat because it looks at reality. It looks at the world and at reality and how that reality is constructed, has evolved. It looks at the universe and tries to figure out how all comes together.
And maybe in that work they will find something that is wonderful. If there is a god, it is probably hidden in the details and the bigger picture.
When religious people in your community try to tell you that science is doing the wrong things and the answer is in a book, your book, “The Book”, they deny reality. They follow a “truth” that is based on the opinion of people.
There is a reason for this. And that is that the basis of most religions is — to say the least — fragile. The moment you start questioning that basis, you will find a lot of contradictions. A lot of things that do not add up. Even within that same book.
You can say: “god moves in mysterious ways” but you can also apply more logic and draw outside of these boundaries. What if? What if religion itself is not what it says it is? What if it is your obligation to research, to find out?
Science tries to follow logic. It tries to find a kind of base set of facts about the world around you. Facts that can be reproduced. That can be proven in several ways. Facts that can be translated into formula’s. That can be used to build new things. Technology.
The main problem with science and facts is that they contradict certain “truths” you find in your religion. For instance: the age of the universe. Is it 5.000 years or 5.000.000.000 years? Science assumes it is the latter. Certain Christian movements believe it is the first.
The main problem with most religions is that the ideas in the books have not been updated with what we learned about reality itself: the creation of god (if you will). So while we understand more and more about human nature and the workings of reality from science, religion is still trying to hold on to old ideas about anything and everything. Ideas that are outdated, not scientific and most of the times in conflict with the reality around you.
Instead of updating these books and the insights, instead of embracing science and the tools to understand reality, religion often rejects them. As the people who are teaching you the religious “truth” are usually selected to contain those old beliefs: keep them intact. To prevent those old ideas from contamination. To keep the religion in its pure form.
Educated people are harder to manipulate
Once I start to become educated and learn a broader take on reality, I became harder to manipulate. People who know the truth about something are harder to lie to.
When your belief-system is based on magic and assumptions which can not be proven and even on cold hard lies, educated people are more prone to pin-point those lies and say: “this is a lie and if your belief system is based on that lie, the rest is suspect as well.”
It leads to people leaving that belief system, especially when that belief-system does not adapt and continues to spread the word based on concepts that no longer hold true according to new findings in science.
This is one of the reasons why religious groups can be very prone to be present in schooling systems and very prone to introduce “religious science” like creationism where God created the world and “Christian science has proof of this”.
Schizophrenia, punishment, lies and power
Religion and reality are two different worlds. The religious views are different from the scientific views. Religious “science” is completely different from what reality has to show you. Religion creates a world that is based on beliefs in things people once wrote invented and established as their “base reality”. Things to believe in and build your world-view on.
When and if reality itself differs from that religious world-view, you create a separation within the mind. One part is what you see, what you can touch, what actually happens. The other is what religion tells you to believe and see.
These two worlds do not match. Religious “reality” is mostly based on make-belief. Someone is telling you to believe something and forces you to accept that “truth” using several instruments based on fear and power within your community. Fear to be excluded from the group. Fear to be punished by some unknown entity (demons, god, the devil). Fear to be punished by your peers, by their harshness, their judgment about you.
This punishment can be very concrete: being called names (whore, slut, homo, bastard) or sabotage and harassment (being pushed, the vandalism of property, bullying that person and/or family, creating a hostile and unsafe environment for the targets by threats and violence).
The power that is used is the power of acceptance of certain deeds by the group at large. Punishment. People can be scolded in public, humiliated, without anyone standing up to defend that person. People can be judged and condemned based on no other proof but “because X, Y and Z say it happened”. This can be gossip and lies.
This power can be abused to tell a community lies about the world around them. To tell lies about certain people and certain groups, including women, homosexuals and people with a lot of imagination, curiosity and will to learn and grow.
If any of this is happening within your community, the question I ask you is this: how much do you think your community is serving God?
If lies, hate and hate-mongering are allowed by endorsement in your community, how true to the values of peace and love do you think that community is?
Serving an embodiment of hate
If your community has some sort of embodiment of evil, how much do you think a community that supports hate is serving that specific entity?
If your religion tells you to think in specific ways about specific people and those ways include loathing, and disdain, the idea that those others are doing it wrong somehow, how much of that is loving?
What if the world is exactly as god intended?
Look around you.
Do you really think the ultimate god made a mistake if and when he created the world and the universe in all its content and variety?
Do you really believe that when people do not believe in your specific version of a specific branch of religion they will end up badly in their afterlife? What if ALL and EVERYTHING is exactly as god intended? Including the disasters, the illness, the things your religion does not comply with?
What if you are trying to fix something with your religion that is not broken to begin with?
Why so much emphasis on suffering, fear and sin?
How much fear do you know in your life? How much emphasis is there on suffering? On the importance of suffering? How many things you would like to do are considered to be a sin?
How many of these things are base human traits? And why do you think sex and sexuality is such a big issue in all this?
For instance: does your religion tell you that masturbation and your (sexual) longing for someone else is wrong? What about homosexuality? Or sex with animals or the use of sexual objects? How much of that is related to teachings about human/mutual respect? How many times is the word concept of “mutual consent” used in these teachings?
What do you think fear and fear-mongering is so important? In some, if not most religions you should fear your own god. You should fear your own thoughts. You should fear your own feelings. You should fear your own ideas.
Why sex is “bad” and suspect
There are several reasons why sex is “bad”. One is clear and simple: when sex is not happening with mutual consent, there is violence. We call this rape. Rape is damaging for the one who is on the non-consensual side. The one who is forced to have sex.
Rape leaves mental scars.
Masturbation is another “suspect” act in many religions. When you masturbate, you usually release yourself from sexual tension. To come, to have an orgasm releases your body and mind from tension. By not masturbating you continue to build up tension. When I, as a leader, can bend this tension into fear, for instance by telling you it is bad and by condemning you, I am able to create a problem for you. I can even instigate fear in you that I can use for further manipulation.
The condemnment of sexual acts is one way to get inside your mind. The drive for sex is very powerful and when you can turn that sex-drive against the person it becomes a very powerful tool. To break you. To get inside of you and build an even stronger basis of power.
Why you call god for help and why problems do not get solved
Any religion could strive to solve several problems. To truly create peace on earth for all involved. To focus on freedom and systems of freedom here in this world. To serve god by practicality and problem-solving.
There is one problem with that. When you solve problems, when there is nothing to fear anymore, people become happy. Happy people start to do anything they like, including going to other places. Happy people (start to) make up their own mind. Happy people can walk away when they do not like things and when they are not satisfied with a solution.
Happy people usually are happy because they found ways to solve their own problems and found ways to avoid situations that create only bigger problems. They found ways to rely on their own smartness and on people they can trust. They found people they like and stopped going to places and stopped hanging around with people they did and they do not like.
Calling your god for help makes you helpless. It moves the point where you stand up and start finding solutions for yourself to the next day. It makes you lazy in problem-solving. It does not solve any problem. God — in most, if not all cases (and if it exists) — tells you: “solve your own problems, my child”.
The idea behind many things in your religion might be to keep certain problems alive. To make you avoid certain steps that can really improve your life. To take control over your life. Try to find out which those are. Especially the things “you do not talk about”. It might help you find some of the things that represent and explain the deeper workings within your specific groups.
Why not focus on freedom?
How do you think people are able to live together at all? Because they are religious? Or follow religious ideas? Or is there something deeper?
What if human nature — by nature — makes it possible for people to cooperate? What if they can do that without “knowing god”? Because it is an in-built trait?
What if we would trust this built-in traits? What if we would say — instead of “fear this, fear that” — respect your fellow people. Do things only when the other agrees. Do not do harm when doing harm is not needed. Find creative ways to achieve your goals. Follow a path of non-violence. Work together. Share your feelings. Be open. Be honest. Create a safe environment for you and your fellow people.
What if — instead of talking about “the wrath of god” or some other horrible future punishment — we focus on the reality of the now? Explore. Learn. Develop yourself. Make mistakes. Strive to be a good person: helpful to others. Strive to build a world that is safe for your children.
What if we would focus on the immediate rewards? A nice world is pleasant to live in. For instance: a world where people strive for good things will bring prosperity for everyone. It will create a world where poverty is not required. Where most diseases — that can be solved by medicine — will be solved by medicine. Where people do not have to live in streets where the toilet is ON that street.
Why not focus on freedom? Love? Working on methods of cooperation that work single-mindedly towards problem solving?
Why is it important to convert people?
Some religions more than others, find it important to convert non-believers to their concepts of the universe and the universal “truth”. The most common story is that people who do not believe in that specific branch are doomed. Either to end up in hell or in an eternal limbo or to be reborn as the lowest life-forms possible, taking eternity to reach heaven, nirvana or whatever place of ultimate bliss is there.
Here is why I think this is important.
Religions are based on concepts that include power-structures. Power is defined by people. The amount of people that are part of your group. The more people you have on your side, the more power you have.
This power is many. For instance: the power to overthrow governments. Or the power to collect a lot of money. The power to do what I want. The power to use and abuse people in my own little games. Sad example of this is the rape of children by Catholic priests. Something that is not new to this century or the past one. Something that is not exclusively to the Catholic Church.
You, as the converted person, as the follower of a specific religion are a subject to that religion. You give money to that religion. You give your time. You give your attention. As most of these actions are quite harmless and ceremonial, you do not that much harm. But you assist and aid a power-structure that can only exist by the grace of your belief and dedication.
The more people are added to that power-structure, the more power the ideas behind that power-structure get. Certain ideas about society. About family structures. About education and the continuation of certain ideas.
Why does god punish me/other people?
Here is the fun-part of religion. Things happen in nature, because it is quite complex and happening as it is supposed to (laws of nature and causality). Then there are people and then there are people living in specific places. Then things happen and people die.
These people moved there out of several reasons. And out of free will.
While God — if it exists — might tell these people: “do not live there!” or “move away!” this does not happen.
Why not? Why would God not warn for tornadoes and earthquakes and the likes? Several reasons might be possible:
- God does not give a shit — This is the cynical view
- It is all part of a bigger plan — This is less cynical. Basically, it was not a punishment. All people who died now are having a party elsewhere
- It is part of free will — This is a bit more of a modernistic view in — for instance — Christianity. God allows us to choose. And these cnhoices will define our destiny. Including death by natural disasters
- God hates us. Especially all non-true believers — This might be true as well, but the problem is that God exists a lot longer than the religions that claim this and a lot of people died before that as well, meaning that god must have hated us ALL back then. That is a lot of hate. And the question is then: why create something you hate? And also: why only love the followers that hate other people so much that they use a lot of hate in their ceremonies?
- God is not what we think it is — Maybe god simply is beyond our imagination. And when people die of horrible deaths, this only means something horrible to us, but something completely different to god. And maybe it is not a punishment at all.
- Maybe this is all a big experiment — Maybe everything happens as it is supposed to because this is what all of reality is about. Change. Variables. Possibilities. Challenges. Things that go wrong. Things that work out well.
Building a better world?
Are you and your religion really building a better world?
Do you think it is a good idea to repress certain things? To force people in one specific way of living? To reject people who do not? And do not speak about toleration. To tolerate has nothing to do with love or inclusion. It is reserved rejection.
How much of your view on others is mixed with consent or pity? Because they do not believe the same as you? Because they will not find the same bliss as you will once you are dead? And how much bliss is there now in your life? In your daily activities? In the way you treat other people and other people treat you? Even within your own community?
How much of the smiles and the help you receive from the people are true and genuine? Because people want to? How much judgement is there within your own community about others outside AND inside your community?
Are you really searching for god?
If you do, consider carefully how much of your religion is really teaching you about god and how much of that religion is about keeping you in a specific power-structure.
Listen carefully to your ceremonies. Count the times you are told how to love and respect people, how to deal with conflicts in a practical way: using a step by step process as you can learn on courses. How much is focused on working together and concrete problem solving. How much of your efforts in the name of your religion are about improving your streets your village, town or city in practical ways. (Not by creating more followers but by repairing stuff.) How many times do you go out with your spiritual leader to fix things that are broken?
How does your religion perceives science? Investigation? Critical questions?
If there is a God, then God is around you. In yourself. In everything you have to offer and everything you can do. It is in your feelings and your lack of feelings. It is in the complete freedom of actions you have and the possibilities to do bad and good. it is in the potential of the world. In all the richness there is. In discovering the nature of humans and animals. In study. In facts.
If there is a god, then that god is much more complex than most religions try to make you believe. If there is a god, it is encompassing the universe. It is the universe itself. It is time and the structure of time itself.
If there is a “will of god” than probably that “will of god” is more complex than any person might be able to understand.
If you want to do good, then do so. But follow your own bliss. Find your own truth.
Maybe someday you will find god. And maybe your religion will help you in some direction. It is possible some parts in your religion hold certain principles that can give you the feeling you are in contact with that god. That moment where light and a feeling of peace encompasses you. Keep that. It is really nice.