I don’t think I have ever really talked about religion on this blog. Largely because once I do talk about religion, I’m afraid its not just the religious who believe me to be soul-less. You see, there is atheism, and then there is skepticism. I don’t know the exact definition of skepticism, and I have literally two and a half hours in which I can write and post this, I’m not about to google it.
What I believe in, is unfortunately nothing. I don’t believe in any abstract concept in the way in which other people believe. I realize this makes me sound like an automaton, and perhaps that would just be a good folder to put me in. But it’s a little more complicated, and in light of recent events, i.e. godman being a real fucking asshole and raping someone, perhaps the question of belief needs to be considered. As I said, it’s a little hard to encapsulate how far my disbelief carries, so bear with me as I try and explain what and why.
I read Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens as much as the next rabid atheist. Well, I don’t read them that much, but I have read two of each of their books and listened to them talk at lectures on youtube and shit. However, I don’t really prescribe to Dawkins’ need to point out that every person who follows a religion may need some lessons in science and the social effects of religion. I think most people are fundamentally not huge dicks and they have people they care about that they don’t want to have ravaged by anything, including religion. And most people are aware of pedophile priests, corrupt mullahs (I say corrupt because I have no idea what nasty thing mullahs are known for doing, though I’m sure there’s something), rapist gurus and so on and so forth. Nobody likes it when they realize someone of their faith used it to justify horrifying acts. To presume that just pointing to these awful incidents would make people question their faith is presumptuous. Having said that, Mr. Dawkins, I still want to meet you so I can fangirl. She says as though Dawkins reads her pathetic hack of a blog.
So what exactly does make someone still follow a religion despite these failings? Well, I’ve tried to ask a few people, but as of now, there haven’t really been any satisfactory answers. And now that I’m in art haven college, I doubt I’ll be meeting many believers. I’ll have to get in touch with some old friends, get drunk with them and proceed to ask questions. I don’t know if I want to put that much effort into anything. Definitely not right now.
But presumably, it has something to do with a sense of community, order and perhaps a connection with a world which people hope is better than this one. Now, whether or not that world involves virgins or another life or whores or endless champagne depends on the person who believes.
The only experience I have with actually believing in any god is related to this very after-life thing. I wanted there to be a heaven and a hell. The heaven would involve a room for myself, with clothes, nice walls, and internet connection, where sexually pleasing men would be sent in any time I wanted them. I didn’t like the idea that I would die and not find out what goes on in the world afterwards. The hell would involve a rape room for people like Hitler and people who had rape rooms on earth. Yes, my perceived heaven was mildly vengeful. The rub came when I had cause to examine why I believed in an almighty power. I realized that a vengeful heaven/hell is a silly reason to believe in anything that is not evident.
And since I deconstructed that methodically, I have systematically understood most other abstract concepts. The only one I’m not entirely sure of is the feeling that parents seem to have for their children. But the fact that many parents exist who are horrid to their children makes me think there is probably a practical reason for that as well.
So, is there such a thing as love? Well, yes, for those who want to see it that way. The way I see it, people are social animals and since self-awareness is our poisoned gift, we can’t all be friends with each other. We can’t all like each other because self awareness, our life experiences and our extremely developed brains give us a personality, which may or may not work well with other personalities. When you find people who have compatible personalities/ characters to yours, you tend to enjoy spending time with them. When you spend enough time with someone, you get used to them and start needing them and wanting them and liking them. And when you need and want and like them a LOT, they become important in your life and they become friends. This intense needing, wanting, liking combination is given the term ‘love’.
As for romantic love, sometimes you go through the above process with someone while simultaneously finding yourself wanting to fuck them. And if the other person wants to fuck you too, and you guys do fuck and find that fucking is really enjoyable with each other; your need/want/like for each other may intensify because you have shared a little bit more with each other. This may make you need and want and like them even more, to the extent that you may feel the need to make an official promise to each other that you will be in each others lives till you are both dead. Some people call this romantic love.
God? Well…. I guess since you don’t how the improperly named Big Bang started, or what the universe was made of before it, or exactly why the laws of physics are as they are, maybe a sentient being is responsible. But you see, that’s the problem – it’s a maybe, and more importantly, the sentient being is, to use a phrase from Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “the god of gaps”. A few hundred years ago, people didn’t know how the sun worked, so god was responsible. Once people figured the sun out, they didn’t know how the universe was expanding, so god became responsible for that. Once that was figured out, people couldn’t figure out the Big Bang… Science is eventually going to find more and more answers (evolution, topography, physics, brain functions, neurology, anything) and the list of things you don’t know is going to change, which makes your god… a little less godly, and a little more your own creation.
I realize that this highly unromantic (?) and methodical (?) thought process is something only someone with some free time, access to the internet, and a rudimentary interest in physics and biology will be bothered with. I don’t expect everyone to do the same.
However, a healthy amount of skepticism and critical questioning of social “truths” should be part of what we teach children, and not just about gods and godmen, but about people in general. Would it really be that terrible if we taught children that their parents don’t always have it right, that if you think your parents shouldn’t be beating you with a belt or coming into your room at night, you should tell someone and not hide it? That if you start feeling things for someone of the same sex, it doesn’t mean you will go to hell or that your honor is lost or that you are not a man or a woman, and that you shouldn’t blindly believe someone if they say so? That if you don’t want to get married at any point of time, you have the right to defy anyone and everyone because its your life and your body? That if the faith you were taught and that you follow makes you feel bad about any part of your personality that is not actually hurting anyone, you have the right to ignore that aspect of your religion or even to leave it entirely? That if your parents tell you one day that someone is to be respected and revered, and that person turns out to be a shit of the lowest order, you should tell your parents, and if for some godforsaken reason, they don’t believe you, you should be questioning whether your parents deserve the privilege of being part of your life?
Or you know, we could have yearly surprise raids on every religious space/ cult, ban religion altogether, have less corrupt and more efficient law and order, have more sex education and less misogynistic and sexist officials/ political leaders and judges.
Although I don’t believe any of that is actually, realistically possible. I am a skeptic.
P.S. – I didn’t post the week before last because it was my birthday week and fuck you guys. No punishment.
Also, here’s some stuff for funsies.