I am not religious.
Nor am I agnostic or atheist.
Like so many others, I describe my beliefs in terms of what we know about the universe…or the multi-verse, if you will. I believe that we are all born of source energy, the same energy that created the universe after the theory of the Big Bang and beyond. As society continues to grow, we learn more and more about our actual beginnings…that it was a lot more coincidental than a “creator” who designed and gave us life in its own image. But we humans do not like loose ends. That is a truth that has been carried down through the centuries. Like many more primitive cultures, we tend to prescribe definitions to ideas and concepts rather than wait for the slow progression of science to teach us the reality.
The human mind is capable of so much…yet we insist on using the translated writing of those so much different than our current population, whose thoughts and ideals were informed by the world they lived in thousands of years ago.
Where I differ from agnostics and atheists is that I understand that science cannot provide accurate information about everything. Not yet. Science itself is an evolutionary process. It understands all that it does not yet know, and does not pretend to influence our lives with stories of what might be, or what could have been. Religion, on the other hand, does just that. It provides parables and fables that its practitioners are expected to live by, whether they’re relevant in the 21st century or not. Religion, in my thinking, is simply another form of control; control over what we do, what we think, and even what we feel.
As indicated in previous posts, I prefer to think for myself. That’s not to say that there aren’t incredibly intelligent people involved in religion, but I choose not to allow that form of indoctrination make my decisions for me.
We were loosely raised Irish Catholic in the family home. We went to mass on the major holidays: Easter and Christmas. We were not expected to go through catechism, for our parents thoughts on the matter was that they would provide the availability of religion, but if we wanted to pursue it ourselves, we would have to do it alone. Because of this, and perhaps in spite of it, I wasn’t satisfied with the dogma and rituals of the church. I had questions. Lots and lots of questions. So I explored. I barmitzvahed with my best childhood friend. I was baptized as Seventh Day Adventist. I attended sermons in baptist and episcopalian churches. I studied Muslim thoroughly while living among a group of international students attending the local university. I read up on Buddhism, on Indian beliefs, east Asian religions, and African traditions. I looked far and wide in my quest for answers. And what I learned informed my current belief system.
When we learn to question what we’re told, we come up with some pretty amazing answers. However, if we blindly accept it as Truth without having done our own research and digging, then we become part of the sheeple mentality, and follow merrily along.
Religion does not have the answers. What it has is a belief system developed due to the lack of answers. Atheism does not have the answers. What it has is a belief system developed due to the lack of evidence. And what atheistic thinking does is leave out the possibility of alternate answers, leaving its entire thought structure debatable and difficult to subscribe to.
However, neither do I have the answers. All I can do is state what is true to me, based solely on the information I’ve been able to find. I cannot get on board with the idea of “faith.” Faith may be confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief not based on proof. Yet the concept of “proof” is also suspect. I cannot simply discard an idea just because there’s no “proof.” To do so is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are no absolutes. Every day, science is learning more about what they eschewed before citing lack of evidence. As a society, we’re beginning to understand that there very well may be alternate realities, and that the human spirit or soul does change to a different form of energy at death. That perhaps our bodies are very likely infused with this “source energy,” and that we have only begun to understand our thinking is limited; that we must be more open to the possibilities of the things we have not been able to show evidence of.
To sum up: I don’t disbelieve in deities, nor do I believe in them. I don’t believe religion is healthy for our minds to blindly follow like lemmings over a cliff. However, it is healthy to have some sort of belief system that works for us. I don’t need a church or a bishop or a pope to teach me right from wrong. I know the difference. At the same time, I know what morality is and apply it daily…and it is not borne from religion, but from a concept of “first do no harm.” I do subscribe to the idea of “live and let live.” Who am I to interfere with the beliefs of others? I do push back against the idea of “one religion,” of religion’s involvement in politics, of religion being the default response we tend to fall back on when challenged.
You don’t need my permission to believe in your god. No one does. Nor do I require permission to believe as I believe.
I do see religion — organized religion — as a dying belief system. There is far too much evidence against the stories translated from an allegedly 2,000 year old book. Frankly, I question its outdated and outmoded ideals, that 21st century humans cannot live by the moral codes of humanity as developed twenty centuries or more ago. I cannot be “converted,” as many religions try to do. Why? Because my beliefs stem from my own education and research. Education and research that I trust because I did my own heavy lifting, my own deep thinking. Does that mean I’m right? Not at all. But it does mean that I’m right for me.