Religion Poisons Everything ·(FaceBook friend post)
23 minutes ago ·
The vacuous nature of religious and spiritual faith
People often misunderstand my atheism and its origins. When I talk to theists or debate with them, they seem to think that it was some horrible event that made me an atheist or that I became angry with God. All I did was take my pursuit of the truth seriously. It started when I had been debating apologetics as a Christian and was seeking to strengthen my faith and understanding of God’s Word. I had been reading a passage from Acts 17 about the Boreans and how they did not just accept Paul’s teachings but researched Scripture and affirmed the truth for themselves. I sat down that night and prayed to God asking him for the wisdom to find the truth. I determined that I would challenge everything I believed in to the very core of my beliefs and if it was worth believing in, I would come out a stronger Christian.
I entered into this exercise fully expecting to come out on the other side more firmly rooted in my faith and in my relationship with God. Not far into this endeavor I encountered growing problems with Scripture and the inconsistencies I began to see not only in the Bible, but in reality itself. As I began to study history, theology, and other religions, this journey to find the truth became a little more complicated than I had anticipated. I was falling headlong into a sea of doubt that I was not prepared for.
Slowly my eyes began to open and I started to see the world and my own beliefs in a new light. Every bit of knowledge I was now consuming which I had been sheltered from as a child, was like the rung on a ladder leading up to the top of the wall I had been surrounded by all my life: the confines of indoctrination. This perspective is what finally destroyed my faith, not an angry bitterness toward Christianity. That anger came later when I started to realize what had been done to me by religion. I don’t blame my parents or anyone who was part of my indoctrination. They only did what they could do as victims of the same process. I still have a strong dislike for those who use religion to take advantage of others and I think that is a valid emotional response to such individuals.
In my journey for truth I have not really rejected my religion as much as I have come to reject the concept of religious or spiritual faith. This is the crutch upon which religion rests. It is the crux of the entire problem. Faith as it is applied to belief creates an environment where all possibilities and probabilities exist in a state of virtual equality. The problem with faith is that it can be used to justify any number of good and bad actions based solely on the subjectivity of the person asserting their belief. Whether the faithful want to admit it or not, as a qualifier, faith provides anyone with an excuse to do or believe anything they want. Contrary to the assertions of many religious individuals, assertions made by faith do not provide a moral compass, but rather an arbitrary set of rules that mean nothing because anyone can counter that claim with their own equally baseless claim.
Reason demands evidence and qualifies its assertions with a context based in reality. It looks at an idea for its practical purpose or whether it is beneficial, not because some guy a few thousand years ago wrote it down in a book. This is the core of my disbelief and it is why I find religion and spiritual faith to be a vacuous chasm for the human mind. If we are ever to reach the next stage in our development as a species, I believe faith must die as a human virtue and be replaced with reason. Despite what apologists may tell you, they are not compatible and are doomed to conflict. This is not a false dichotomy; it is a reality that we all must face for the sake of our future and our children’s future.