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The Death Of Religion

The Death Of Religion

Humans, for whatever reason, seem to have an innate yearning for a spiritual dimension to their lives. I am not immune either. I love the idea of an afterlife. The idea that you spend an eternity (that’s a VERY long time) in a blissful, euphoric state is one of the best advertising campaigns ever invented.

There is no one alive who wouldn’t find such promises seductive. We are animals who know that we are going to die one day. I’m not sure if anyone actually is certain, but it’s a fairly common belief that we are the only animals who know this. Since we have a survival instinct, this knowledge is entirely unacceptable to us. It does not compute. It’s not possible that we could actually die, is it?

Well, says the man with the shiny top hat and cane. Have I got news for you. If you follow my religion, your body may die, but your spirit will live on in heaven for ever more. Really? Can you prove that? Oh no, you just have to trust me on that one. And of course because people want.. perhaps even need.. to believe a story like that, so it’s easy to convince people, especially in pre scientific days.

But along comes pesky science, and God starts to shrink. It was a lot easier back in the old days. Thunder? Oh that’s Thor with his hammer fighting ice giants. Mental illness? Demonic possession. The sun rising? That’s RA riding his chariot through the sky.  God and gods were answers to the mysteries of life.

Unfortunately though, once science started telling us the real reason behind things, god became a god of the gaps; that is god (or gods) explains only the things we have no explanation for and the more explanations we have, the smaller those gaps are.

So we end up getting to the point where the only people who believe the bullshit are Americans. Why? Because they’re batshit crazy it would appear. The psyche of the American people is reflected in the choice of their president.

But what is the problem if people want to believe something that give them comfort? Well lots really. Because this belief is an old belief. It offered explanations before there were explanations.

If you don’t now accept the scientific explanations for things you are gullible. If you believe on faith, without evidence because you want to believe something, and then in fact ignore all evidence of something to the contrary, it is easier to convince you of other things either without evidence or evidence to the contrary. Every time Donald Trump lies and his supporters believe him, it is a triumph of a segment of the population choosing to believe what they want to believe rather than accepting the evidence.

It is no surprise then that the main support base of the Republican party is the Christian right. When you believe that the Earth is is between 6 and 10 thousand years old and that the Noah story is literally true, it is easier to convince you of other stuff that has flimsy evidence. I mean come on. The Noah story? Really? Were there kangaroos on the ark? How did they get from Australia? And what did the lions eat for 150 days while they were on the ark? There were only 2 fucking zebras!

And in Australia, every time some lobby group like the Australian Christian Lobby argues against something like gay marriage on the grounds of THEIR beliefs, they impact on people who don’t share their beliefs and that is not on.

My personal creed is straight from the pages of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings – “Do nothing that is of no use”. In my world, worshipping a god that doesn’t exist is of no use. Worshipping a god that does exist is also of no use, since the paradoxical nature of the situation; a god that desires worship is not worthy of worship.

Anyway I digress, as is my tendency. The thing is I don’t really like organised religion, never have. It has always had an air of falsehood to me. As a result as time goes by I tend to become more atheistic. I have for a long time described myself as agnostic but the more I looked into the stories told, the more I looked upon them as being entirely improbable.

So what to do? Well nothing really. In fact, by saying to others I don’t believe that rubbish, I am doing something. I am saying it’s OK to not believe, because I don’t either.

The death of religion is inevitable. Fewer and fewer people believe each year. In the Netherlands close to 70% of people are non religious. In every developed nation in the world religion is on the decline. Even, at long last, America.

So all I have to do is fast forward 20 years and see something that I see as negative in this life die. And good riddance to it.

Image Source: Harry Metcalfe. https://www.flickr.com/photos/15438012@N00/5885459060/

About The Author

Shaun

A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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