“How can your life have any meaning if you don’t believe in Heaven”?
“What purpose is there to your life if you don’t believe anything comes after”?
“It would be anarchy if everyone believed this was it”.
Have you ever been asked any of these questions or comments? Or others similar in nature? Has anyone questioned you on whether you believe in God, Jesus, heaven or any other deity, belief? Of course you have. We all have. Many of us have asked those questions of ourselves. Most, if not all, of us I expect.
I am an agnostic. An atheist who allows for the fact we really don’t know yet how all of this came to be. I don’t believe in the biblical God of any religion. I can’t. Hell, I’ve tried. My brain won’t let me take the leap beyond reality into ‘faith’.
I’ve been asked what meaning my life has if it all ends here. Without the reward at the end, why do good?
Isn’t that an interesting choice of words? if I don’t get paid, why be good? The capitalism of religion in one sentence. The fallacy around all this is that people believe we, as human beings, have no morality without faith. That Jesus lights the way and all else is madness. Of course morality and goodness and love existed long before Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Did you really think there was nothing but evil and hate in the world before that?
So. Are you someone who believes that there can be no good in the world without faith? If so, do you believe that every religion that is different from yours is wrong? Do you understand that believers in every other religion think you are wrong as well?
So. Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God? Do you realize that book was put together and edited by men? It didn’t magically appear. It was put together and what books it contains chosen by men. Remember that as you peruse the pages. Never mind the list of contradictions.
And when it comes to living life on this Earth, the afterlife should not colour your choices. There is one thing I know without fear of reprisal. All you people of faith have different ideas based on your religious choice, how you were raised and some conscious decisions made in adulthood. And that means you are all wrong. Because you all have biased ideas based on manmade books and ideas planted in you from youth. One reason religions try to ‘stick with their own’ is because the issue is unresolvable. You all have unprovable ideas. They are all different and none of them has any basis in truth. Think about this. We are all human, all the same despite our individual differences. The rules apply to all of us. So how can all your different versions be true? They don’t apply to all. We are not Catholic nor Muslim nor Jew. We are not American, Canadian, Iraqi, Japanese nor Israeli. What we all are is human. The common thread. What holds us together, here and now.
You all think you know the unknowable. Many of you ignore facts, proven scientifically. I make no claims on superior knowledge of the basest origins but I do know what’s been proven. And faith does not bring enlightenment. It is a life choice. Some do it for good. Some don’t. Many claim their faith and religion but how many live the life? Think carefully before you say ‘I do’. Do you? Do you follow all the tenets? Eat only the foods prescribed? How many rules actually hurt some people because of archaic ideas? How many people choose to interpret those words for their own benefit. You all pick and choose what it means. God does not come down from on high to tell you what you should do. Do you live a life of poverty, caring for the poor, always turning the other cheek?
If I make choices to do good, it is because it is because that’s my choice. God isn’t whispering in my ear. I am responsible to myself and others. Just as you are. I truly believe we are better off being fully responsible to ourselves and each other. And thinking there is some sort of ‘just reward’ becomes somewhat arrogant in view. Like you get heaven and I don’t nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!!
All I know is that in many ways it seems easier for me. I only have to answer to myself and to my version of right and wrong. Laws are there to protect us from the people who think it’s okay to hurt each other. But I don’t have an invisible, all-knowing who judges me each day. Nor do I have 16 different churches telling me that ‘this is what God means by right’.
Listen, I am not against any of you who have faith. If it helps you make it through some very hard days, good. I’m glad. I’d rather you lived this life like it is your only life to live. Would you do more if that was so? But for those of you who would judge. For those of you who look down. For those of you who think you are better. You are not. You are judging when your supposed God is supposed to be judge. And who is more evil for that? Me for living my best life? Or you for judging others for their differences. I welcome discussion and disagreement. Keep it civil and fair and I’ll engage. Just don’t tell me you know. Because you want to know, but you don’t.
And guess what? In that, we are all the same.