Let me start this off with my religious background. I was raised by a close-lipped agnostic father (who kept his opinion to himself at all costs) and an openly religious mother. Although she did not attend church, her faith was sealed at a young age when she "allowed the 'holy spirit' to enter her body" when she welcomed Christ into her life. The feeling had moved her and she was often very vocal about the experience during my childhood. I, on the other hand, was questioning the existence of God at an early age. I was even asked not to return to my neighbor's Sunday School in the summer between first and second grade. True story. My mother was told I wouldn't quit disrupting class with my constant questions and insistent allegations to the validity of what was being taught. That being said, my lack of faith eventually blossomed into teen angst sprinkled with a downright disposition to all aspects of religion and the church in general.
As I grew older, my feelings of anger tapered to apathy. If it didn't affect me, I didn't really put much thought into it either way. I am, for all intents and purposes, an atheist and I have, to a large degree, a higher than average knowledge base and education in all aspects of most of the world's religions. I don' think you can possibly argue against or for something unless you have a true understanding of both sides of the fence.
Why am I an atheist? I could go on for days about the obvious flaws and holes in religion (which I will, no doubt, eventually do given the life of this blog), but instead I'll hit the few main points. First up, there are so many religious belief systems, often contradicting each other. This means that most of them are based on false information and inconsistencies passed down and distorted over centuries of bastardized word of mouth and poorly recorded history. Everyone can't be right. Next, most religions are based on rhetoric that is centuries old at the very least. When these religions were established our basic understanding of the world around us was skewed by our inability to see the bigger picture. Now, we know the earth is round, we are not the center of the universe and most miracles are explained through science rather than divine intervention. Last religion can be broken down to it's basic purpose - control. It controls what you do, say, feel, and in some cases eat. Control is always a tool for a means to power. Power gives way to Corruption. Giving yourself over to a power structure where you are the bottom of the barrel just seems unintelligent to me. Color me crazy, but I'd rather keep my options open. Why can't people see that religion was initially created to answer the unexplainable questions about the world around us (now explained in every seventh graders Earth Science textbook) and later harnessed to keep the peasants and slaves from rising up and destroying the class structure.
Besides the obvious problems with the validity of religion, my main question seems to be, "why do people buy into the hype?" I have over the years narrowed the possible reasons to a list I like to refer to as the "7 Deadly ReaSins".
- Self Esteem
Over the next week or so, I'm going to explore each of these "7 Deadly ReaSins". Stay tuned and see what develops. I'm sure the sparks are gonna fly.