Some Thoughts on Religious Beliefs
by C. M. Albrecht
This little commentary is not intended to promote any particular religion or atheism either. I’m not making judgments, but rather a little commentary on the subject of religious belief, or lack thereof.
Many find great comfort in their beliefs and church attendance, and I have no quarrel with that. This is overall a pretty cold world and most churches of all faiths offer us hope of a better life ahead. If we can believe and take comfort from that, then I’m all for it.
However, I look around me, after more years than I’m willing to admit (since I can’t understand why I’m still here), I see very disturbing signs. Not that this is new. I started feeling the way I feel many many years ago, and the feeling has grown, but I’ve kept silent, not wanting to argue or hurt anyone’s feelings.
Since the beginning, I believe religious beliefs have caused more war, intolerance, strife, hatred and lack of empathy or understanding than all the other man-made and or natural causes put together.
That’s very sad, because every religion I’ve ever heard of seems to promote brotherly love, peace, tolerance, and love for our fellow man. I don’t know of any of our great religious leaders, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, and so on who has told us to hate any non-believers, kill the unfaithful unless they can be brought into the fold. And here I’m not targeting only people like ISIS. We’ve had inquisitions, witch hunts and general intolerance in every church of which I’m aware, since the very beginning. Even today different denominations, be they Muslim, Christian or Jew, are at best quietly intolerant of other offshoots of the same religions, and at worst…well, we know where that leads.
But aside from all that. No matter who we choose for a God, be it Thor, Ares, Allah, Ra…Whoever, I really wonder. Do we honestly believe this God, in our case, a benevolent Santa Claus lookalike without the red suit (which Satan copped early on), do we honestly believe this God wants us on our knees groveling night and day, thanking him for food we had to struggle to get, begging for our child’s health or a better job?
As parents, we raise our children and to them, up until a certain age at least, we are their Gods. Now they are grown and does any one of us want these grown children on their groveling before us every day to thank us for not killing them the day they spilled a gallon of milk all over the kitchen floor, or the time they casually tossed a dirty sock on the lamp starting a fire? Of course not. Nor do we expect them to thank us every time they put food into their mouths. As we all know, we’re lucky to get a thank you even when we do something extra nice. Our kids love us, but they take us for granted. We’re the parent and we know they love us and they know we know they love us. They see no reason why they should reassure us at least once every day.
I know the world we see around us is a sort of illusion. Nothing is what it appears to be, because if we could look deeply into it, we’d see that all the atoms that make up our bodies, our trees, our scorpions and worms and chickens, etc. are basically identical. And the atoms are made up of particles and the particles really have no substance, therefore no shape, no color, and the entire world, including us, is made from a gigantic collection of them. So in the end, we are nothing, made from nothing, and in my opinion, that’s a piece of work in itself. So I’ll give a God a pass on that. If the world was only what we can see and touch with the naked eye and ungloved hand, I’d say no God. No nothing.
But knowing that it’s much more complex than that, and now we’re talking of infinite universes and black holes and wormholes and space-time, and that tells me there may just be some sort of intelligence behind and beyond all this. If so, I doubt that this intelligence looks anything like a benevolent Santa Claus in a long white robe with a gilded shepherd’s staff in his hand.
So I’m not saying we shouldn’t bother to go to church, if that brings us any comfort. But too many I’ve seen remind me of Jesus’ comments on the Pharisees, feeling holier than people who don’t spend as much time in church as they do. I do wish we could be a lot more tolerant of others, no matter what their religion or faith. If we could do just that, the world would be a much better place for all, and perhaps bring us a lot closer to God as well.