Religion had been around longer than history, its been around since the beginning of man. It came about from a desire to understand that which wasn’t understood at the time, tornadoes, lightning, etc… once man started evolving and grew smarter, religion should’ve been thrown away because of its lack of use. Yet it was held onto to the point of smothering. God is a father-figure, he is one that you can look to when times are hard and when you need a friend. But he is also someone you can blame for the wrongs in your life, he is someone you could follow or hate. Darwin believed that gods were invented to give explanations for things that were unexplainable at the time. Freud believed that god was a father-figure whom you could blame your shitty life on. Hell, Marx believed that god was used by the upper class to keep the lower class from rebelling; if you believe that you’ll have a better life after you die, then you are less likely to fight for a better life right now. Religion had started and finished many wars, has killed and saved many lives, and has hurt and helped its fair share of people.
That is why I am an atheist.
I don’t believe in god, however, it’s far from a choice. I don’t like the thought of a religion where others get to control you, but religion is very far removed from faith and a belief in god or gods. With the world falling apart around people, especially me it seems, I’m sure being able to turn to god would be an amazing gift, I’m sure that the faith and understanding that things will definitely get better is a wonderful thing in people’s lives. I don’t have that, though I do believe that things will end up working out (though not from a god or from any divine intervention). I believe only that there is a now and a past, you can look to the past for guidance and live now. The future will come; there is no need to worry about that. That is my philosophy, that is my religion.
My parents are very religious; it must have skipped a generation or something. But that wouldn’t explain my sister, so I don’t know. My dad is even a religion teacher at the catholic high school that I attended. I’ve gone to catholic schools all my life, I‘ve gone to mass every Sunday that my parents decided I should go. Then one day I just realized that I didn’t believe any of the crap that I was learning. It wasn’t that I refused, it wasn’t that I was rebelling (which I’ve heard many times), it’s just that I didn’t have any faith. I choose to not be a part of an organized religion, because it’s nothing but evil and materialistic (Roman Catholic Church throughout the middle ages). But my not believing in god is a different thing, and no matter how much I think about it I can’t decide if I want to believe or not. I mean I can see all of the positives in believing, but there are also so many negatives that it doesn’t make sense logically.
Enough about me, let’s talk about the implications of religion. I’m an atheist, but I like to think that I am a good person, and because of my religious status it’s clear that I am choosing to be a good person. But if I were religious, let’s say catholic, and I’m still a good person, it could be just who I am, or it could be that I am only a good person because I am afraid of going to hell. And there are two ways to think about that, one is to be happy that there is a bad person acting good instead of being bad, or to be mad that there is someone having to fake being happy (how could you know who is legitimately good and who isn’t now?). Sure religion makes more people act nicer, but with atheists you know that they are being who they really are, and isn’t that so much better than liars? And since there are no theocracies anymore and the ‘separation of church and state’ clause, religion has no say on governments where it could at least do a little good. If the American government were acting like a catholic then they would give more money to the poor and use their money on education and developing cures rather than war and armies. They would be working on their international policies and be making peace instead of the hostility and hate that surrounds the US like smog. But no, religion only has a real effect on individuals and communities, which isn’t a terrible thing today.
Now let’s talk more about me. As an act of not having a religion and of trying to build a warmer community, one that isn’t segregated by religion (cuz that still actually happens) I will be celebrating as many holidays as I can. There are the big ones, Christmas, Ramadan, Chanukah, etc… but I will also be celebrating the other holidays (most of which I haven’t even heard of). I’ll write about them and try to spread awareness in 2009, but I might just forget, so I dunno.
This is my new year’s resolution. To be more open to everyone of every religion, to try to bring everyone together under the same roof that is humanity. And I celebrate you to join me, to try this little experiment with me as an act of brotherhood (or sisterhood?) and to show that we aren’t many races and nationalities, we are one humanity.
P.S. there are a ton of holidays, like right now we are in one about new years and celebrating it with cats (I am just as confused as you), so I am deciding to do the ones based on a few select religions: Christianity, Islam, Jewish, Wiccan, Pagan, and Baha’i.
Have a good, festive year.