I’m a former Evangelical. It’s been a long time since I rejected what I thought was a belief that would not only provide for me in this life, but in the next as well. When I was older, in my early 20’s, I began to question that same belief. I worked hard to believe, I wanted to believe, but after a time, not overnight, I came to the conclusion that I just could not accept what I had been told all my life was the truth.
Why I had held on to that belief for so long, even after starting to question it, I cannot explain. But I did question, and I continued to look not only at the belief but myself as well, wanting to know what it is that compels me to believe in something that I cannot, in any way, show to be true. Yes, it made me feel good, But other than that, what does it provide? Yes, I had friends, a community that was always there for me. Or so it appeared.
When I started expressing those doubts is when those same friends started falling away. They couldn’t understand how I could not just accept the faith and ignore all of the inconsistencies. It was a painful transition. To find some that I had considered close for so long to turn there back on me because I questioned what they took as absolute, I know I’m not alone here, as I’ve heard similar stories from other atheists, but it doesn’t stop the pain any of us have felt in losing lifelong friends.
I, as others, are over it, and so I started questioning what makes people continue to believe in something that is inherently unprovable. Of course the answer is Faith . Of course faith is a belief without proof, but when confronted with that definition, most believers that I’ve encountered reject the idea that there is no proof for their god. Why then, do they continue to profess what they believe as faith? Why does their holy text instruct them in the same way? Seems a bit dysfunctional to me.
Why, as humans, do we have this need to believe in something that is, more mythology than fact? How any today believe in the Nordic gods? How about the Greek? Yet there was a time when they were prevalent in the lives of those peoples. And when it came time for them to make a choice, under threat of the sword, of course they decided to believe in a god that many had never heard of before.
And so, the rise of religion, Not because people wanted to believe; they were forced and over generations, became part of their daily lives. Most people think that Muslims have a certain look: meaning brown skin and dark eyes. Go to Eastern Europe: you’ll find plenty of Muslims there with blond hair and blue eyes. I’ve been there. You can also find, in the Middle East, brown skinned Christians. Religion has no ethnicity.
None of this begins to explain why people continue to believe. In some countries, it’s forced, in others, like the U.S., it’s a choice. So, removing those countries that compel their citizens to believe in a certain religion, why do people continue to believe in something that everything they know tells them is nothing more than a myth?