Reason and thinking are needed more than ever
This article might touch upon religions of all kinds, assuming that god(s) is(are) the essential foundation of humankind. If you happen to believe in a different god, one who is everywhere, similar to Spinoza’s concept, please bear with me on this piece as I discuss the god of the skies.
Disclaimer: I use Judeo-Christian religions as my argument’s base, considering they are a critical feature of Western society.
The whole idea that the world was created in six days in the Old Testament is fraudulent from a reality perspective — a fairy tale. Do we all agree with that? Otherwise, we may consistently touch upon a fantasy world incapable of any end, especially in the hands of believers.
My point here can be befuddling, inconsistent and sometimes confusing. But I will try to use reason and logical thinking as much as a human can do. And fundamentally understand why religion (leaving historical accuracy aside) can disturb our sense of belonging and identity. Also, mainly, to better understand the world.
Bringing science into action just for a wee bit, we may think that astrophysics tirelessly had shown us what our cosmos is made of. Life on Earth is composed of oxygen and carbon, and various other chemical molecules. The Universe that created Earth is also made of these molecules, allowing Planet Earth to be placed at an exact location. This concept can be deceitful if I go deep without expertise, so I shall leave it to the specialists.
However, the main point here is how we, humans, animals of this planet, are so heavily dependent on carbon. That’s why some astrophysicists are convinced that there are other life forms in the Universe. Saying there is no life in the Universe is the same as scooping a glass of water in the ocean and saying, “there are no whales in the Ocean” [DeGrasse Tyson, 2019].
Carl Sagan couldn’t be more precise in saying that Earth is a pale blue dot in the void of the Universe. Following this concept, I don’t know about you, but I feel a complete sense of humbleness and respect towards the extent of my ignorance.
You may think you need all the knowledge of the world to realize your self-imprisonment. I say you only need your mind (really), some knowledge (followed by critical thinking) and acceptance that things change.
These changes can be relative to your worldview and notion of quality of life on this planet. That said, I’d like to establish these simple concepts mentioned above as our foundation to start a conversation about why religion exists and its purpose.
Am I Part of Something? Is It Worthwhile?
If you are duelling with these questions, leaving you empty-handed as to whether god exists or not, I am confident enough to say do not worry; you are not alone.
We don’t know if god exists or not or if it will appear on Earth or not. This is not my point. But it’s essential to reject the idea of god for one moment, including how this concept flowered in your life.
For that to occur, you may happen to deliberately throw away old concepts or embedded norms done by your family (or whoever else), who convinced you otherwise. Hard, isn’t it?
Carl Jung, the creator of the Archetypes, affirmed that myths and religions share similar patterns, themes and symbols. His concept, following the archetypes, can be tedious but it explains certain things we consider “real” in this world of distinct realities.
According to Jung, humans possess items they have never acquired yet have inherited from their ancestors. It doesn’t include only objects but also bias.
He continues by saying that humans “aren’t born as a tabula rasa, he/she is merely born unconscious”. This means that we acquire early bias from others to function in a specific way.
If we pull this concept beyond Jung and follow his line of thought, we have the power to control others by any means.
Humans are the only animals who choose to serve voluntarily another human.
Allowing individuals to rise for their good based upon religion is the same as allowing another to enslave for the same sake of ignorance. Meaning, you are allowing a random dude with similar physical features to grab you for the sake of self-benefit and enslave you by convincing you that you will be better off with him.
This is insane. But why am I saying this? Well, when a man, a bunch of men, write verses and stories based on a specific context (beautifully written by the way), following a particular line of thought with reinterpretations that allow them to use others for their behalf, I don’t know about you but this smells like certain religions to me.
Now, please, let’s be clear. I am not talking specifically about Jesus and his teachings. He was (to our knowledge, the archaeological evidence is yet uncertain) a simple man with good (can I avoid dualistic cosmology?) intentions (is that what history tells?).
Remember: humans are great at hyperbole and distorting facts.
If we are talking about religion, we cannot forget the word “sin”. It brings into context an obligation to respect, based on weak arguments, god’s power over individuals, halting any contradiction that may appear.
I understand the consequences of defying such a power called Church back in the days. But these men, able to think by themselves and following their heart against such enslavement, were courageous enough to die for their justa causa.
Nowadays, you won’t be murdered or chased to death if you wisely dispute such terms unless you demonize specific prophets. That seems to be a common thing in certain parts of the world that adopt a similar monotheistic approach, apart from Christianity, since their power increased among their servants. Let’s not touch on this for now.
Back to the “sin”, it’s nothing more than a mechanism designed to control harmful actions. You might ask, “what is a bad action?”. Well, based on the concept of sin, it’s something that opposes a belief but isn’t necessarily physically bad for the individual. Tricky, isn’t it?
For instance, sex, drugs and pornography are sins, and religion uses guilt against people who do any of these things. Such a restriction, in my opinion, is preposterous. The word guilt means culpable, deserving blame, worthy of suffering. Humans use this word as a weapon to stop their natural actions of desire, likely causing a psychological dysfunction.
Though you might say, “that’s what the Bible says”. Well, who wrote the Bible in the first place? A bunch of men? Yes. So, who are these men to force you to blame other humans for simply trying to fulfil human desires?
Looking from one perspective, god’s purpose is to prevent people from thinking critically, halting them from understanding deep thoughts or even bad attitudes.
Sins can be superficial, allowing humans to reprogram their brains to follow religious rules accurately, resting their souls in “god’s hand”.
Without sins, humans could have been a bit more, let’s say, comprehensive critics of their soul instead of under control for their good (as the Church claims). I may sound optimistic, but we cannot deny the possibility of such a chance.
Before I go, I’d like to leave you with a satirical, funny and dark sense of humour extracted from “The Story of God”, written by Chris Matheson.
Chris takes “God” from the Old Testament and builds a script telling how “God” created the world and its creatures.
Based on this story, “God… was interested in one world. The earth creatures who would know him and obey him were the main things — the only things”.
Taking “God” as a tyrant may be offensive to a few but all too real to others.
Following this concept, Étienne de La Boétie wasn’t wrong when he says that tyrants “become naked and undone and as nothing, just as, when the root receives no nourishment, the branch withers and dies”.
If from one moment you stop and think who you are, what you want and who you want to be, religion and other herding activities may be finally rethought for the sake of your self-liberty.
We are not talking about freedom of speech and free will. These are very complex terms. Both are overused and poorly explained throughout society.
I am more inclined to invite you to self-acceptance of the world ahead, allowing you to face loneliness as your main ally to understand who you are without four walls blocking your peripheral vision of the world.
Everyone sees the world differently.
The minimum we can do as individuals living in society is to share our vision and follow what we believe is right, without disrupting someone’s life, whether we are spiritual or not. But sometimes, it isn’t easy to deconstruct old bias, I know.