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[personal profile] dreamingfifi
I wrote this back in June of 2011, when I had a Livejournal account. I was asked about it recently, so I decided to repost it in a place that I put my rants on such topics.

Why the hell am I writing this? Of all the self-centered, self-righteous, pig-headed crap I've done, why am I adding this to the pile? Why am I writing this shit when I know no one will listen, and no one wants to listen?

I think that I need to sort these things out in my head, and being a slightly visual person, putting the thoughts onto the screen will make it easier to organize them in some fashion. Or maybe, I just want to read my own words again.

Good God

I, as a five year old with messy hair, snotty nose, and a pretty blonde best friend who seemed to best me at every turn, was explaining an idea that I had just had. "My fingers aren't really touching," I said, pinching my forefinger and thumb together. "There's something invisible between them that's holding them together. Nothing actually touches anything else, you see, because invisible bonds hold everything together."

I might have been repeating something my Dad had told me about chemistry, but I recall it as though it was my idea. This is evidence of the way that my ... faith? religion? World View? POV? would develop to be quite different than that of my friends or acquaintances.

I grew up in a godless house. I don't mean that we had no morals, for rather, it was quite the opposite. My parents' moral standards were higher than many pious Christian family's of my friends whom I visited. It seemed to me that religion was used as an excuse for poor behavior, as if it could excuse one for all of the dishonesty and spite one laid upon the world. Our, and in turn, my moral code was so strict that many of my school friends and classmates believed that I was very pious and religious.

Much of my early analysis of the morals of religious people was based on two things. The first being that when my religious peers on the school bus discovered that I didn't have a religion; they were nasty little shitheads to me. At one point, they cornered me on the playground and threw big woodchips and their shoes at me shouting, "Witch! Burn the witch!" The other was that my nonna, an otherwise very gentle and wonderful woman, would follow any cursing or mean comment with "God bless them", as though it erased the malcontent in her words.

My later analysis only supported my earlier analysis. There only was more added to it. When I learned about the crusades and other such religious wars, I even came to fear it, despise it and the people who associated themselves with it. I couldn't see why people found so much solace in an excuse to hurt other people.

From my understanding…. And not being a historian or cultural anthropologist, what made three religions that worship the same god so prosperous is a very destructive, but very powerful and binding idea: us versus them. I’ve read the bible. I read it as a teenager, to find out what all of the hubbub was about. I found a consistent theme: WE fought THEM, and WE won. WE fought THEM, and THEY won, but WE persevered! Then WE snuck into THEIR houses in the middle of the night and slaughtered every man woman and child. It’s okay because THEY weren’t US. Oh yeah, and because WE won, obviously god was on OUR side! You’ll note that that’s the reason that Christianity was adopted as the state religion of Rome. But I digress. Most of the us versus them stuff comes from the Old Testament. The New Testament would be better, right?

Jesus reminds me of Buddha. He had great ideas, but his followers mucked it up. I liked Jesus until it got to the cannibalism. Yuck. And didn’t God say, “No more human sacrifices?” Wasn’t that a REALLY big point back in the Old Testament?

Islam also starts with some really good ideas on Muhammad’s part… then they decided to conquer the Middle East. Actually, in comparison, Islam is pretty sane. If you like Zoroaster’s god so much, Islam is a good way to go. Not to say that politicians haven’t found ways to twist Islam for their own uses… they have. Just like those nutcases who try to tell us that Leviticus is still relevant.

Recently I took a class in Japanese religions, and came upon a fascinating idea. Why couldn’t all of these religions just coexist? They cover the same ground over and over: fear of death, disease, strangers, the unknown; moral guidelines to deal with the few unscrupulous members of society, rules for keeping society running smoothly, and lastly and most importantly: how to keep adding to and protecting the ranks of followers. (The last part is where most of the conflict comes from.)

So far, all I’ve done is ramble about the problems I have with various organized religions. That isn’t helpful, or useful. And it all boils down to one thing: what do I believe? From all of this confusion and vague rage towards the ignorant brats that tried to stone me on the playground, how do I find the answer?

I have realized one very important thing: I am ill equipped to find the answer. I have never experienced a religious or even a supernatural phenomenon. I am not a brilliant mathematician or philosopher. But, there are some basic ideas that I have formed, through looking at the world and organizing and categorizing it in a typical linguistic fashion, with a touch of literary analysis.

The characterization of God(s), no matter the religion, are ridiculous as Santa Claus getting down every chimney on Christmas Eve. The God that I saw in The Old Testament was an asshole. He was violent and insecure and controlling as an abusive father, at best nothing more than a thug that you could bribe to fight for you, by giving him freshly slaughtered lambs. Because, you know, God is always hungry, and he particularly savors the taste of mutton. Joking aside, the beginning of the Old Testament and the other parts are incongruous. Why would one who made creatures who would not love him unconditionally, who would seek knowledge and question their surroundings (and him), and then force these people, by use of horrible, gruesome acts, to pledge loyalty to him, to make them ignore and beat down that part of their nature? Then to slaughter those who didn’t do exactly as he ordered? And later, all of a sudden he’s a loving God, who just needs a man to be put to death in order to forgive humanity for being exactly as he made them.

That is what I mean when I say the Bible is contradictory.

But, looking critically at a document that was obviously constructed by men who wanted power is kinda useless in trying to discern the existence, or non-existence of deities. How can we tell if there isn’t some sort of god(s) out there?

Looking at how prayers are completely useless, I can safely say that if god(s) exist, they don’t care about the trials and tribulations of individual humans. Looking at how humanity is aiming itself towards destroying itself and the planet it dwells on, it’s safe to say that these creators don’t care about what happens to humanity, or the rest of life on this little rock. We are alone, and the only ones who can help us is ourselves.

Could there have been a creator though? A creator that made the big bang and sat back and watched? Or perhaps, god simply is all of the matter in the universe; lacking what we think of as intelligence? But now, I am describing not something that could be called god, I’m describing the universe. The fact that we exist isn’t holy, it just is.

So, what do I believe? I don’t believe that god(s) exist as described in the multitudes of sacred texts and stories. In comparison to the many religions out there, I’d say that I am an Atheist. But, that’s not a description of what I believe, it’s a description of what I don’t believe. I don’t believe in god(s).

I have been asked before, “If you don’t believe in God, where do you get your moral compass? How can you live without a set of rules telling you what is and isn’t moral, and without serious consequences to you or your soul for breaking these moral codes?”

Again, the answer is simple. I want to leave the world that I live in a better place. Not just for my future children, but for everyone. Guilt is all the punishment that I need. If I do believe something, it is that humans don’t need Hellfire to be good people, and to make the world a better place. Humans are fundamentally good, and we want to live in peace. There are exceptions, but why should the few bad eggs make the rest of us rotten?

I wish there were some sort of all powerful bad-ass who would fight for my personal safety and well-being. Pity there isn’t. I guess I’ll just have to do that for myself.

My father told me that linguists should never stick their noses into philosophy. Sorry Dad. This is for you.
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