Does belief in any god bring anything to anyone? Certainly it brings a feeling of community, that you belong to something, but does it do anything else? That’s a question I had even as a Christian when I would attend church regularly, pray and read the bible the same. Even though I was very attended to my belief, today, years later, now an atheist, I can’t see why for so long I believed that anything I believed would affect my life. It may have; In fact, I actually think it did, at one point or another. But overall? No. Belief in any god doesn’t do anything for anyone other than the possibility that it makes them feel better about themselves. Not just their successes, but their failures as well.
The lesson, at least from Christianity, is that God will have you fail in some enterprise, to teach you a lesson about humility, or greed, or whatever. It has nothing to do with your own incompetence in whatever you’ve entered into, it’s simply God. That, to me seems a bit of hubris in that there are so may preachers out there that specifically say that God wants you to be prosperous, and even quote [the bible] there, hoping , that if you do become successful, you’ll give the glory, not to yourself, or your employees, but to some mysterious god that desired you, specifically, to become a winner over your competitors.
What does belief do for human kind? Well, all we have to do is look around the world we live in to determine those facts. Starving people in East Africa? Nope. No god has intervened. Wars around the world whether they are in the Middle East or anywhere else where innocents may be slaughtered by the thousands? Again, no. Is it really about “Free Will” as though of us that were or are Christians, or any other religious belief, are taught? That seems to be the excuse for the horrors that we experience on almost a daily basis. God (whatever god) will never intervene in the matters of its creation.
If a supernatural being (or beings) will never intervene the the matters of humanity, why spend time worshipping them? Who wins or loses seems, at least to me, to be inconsequential to those same beings. Why would I want to worship something that doesn’t care about me? that’s actually a question I had, as a teenager, a believer and placed me on the road to eventually discovering, for myself, that maybe, just maybe, there was no God looking out for me, or anyone else.
I had a reader that recently commented thus:
My daughters definitely have experience with church. Both were baptized and both will make first communion
I dont think its as simple as saying, “Either youre an atheist or youre not.” On Dawkins scale of belief Im a 5. Sometimes shifts to 4 and rarely to 3. Lately its been steady; maybe 5.5.
I think that for most people, this is absolutely true. There are people that will identify in a religious belief but not practice it, as it is laid out in whatever text is accepted. Some will want their children to be baptized, as my parents did when I was young, but only to show that I had been accepted in the family of God. We weren’t religious but it was accepted that we believed. I did. For a while. Somedays, on that same scale, I consider myself a 7 – being that I know for a fact that no gods exist, but being honest? I would place myself on that same scale as a 6. I’m not positive, but until I see some proof, here’s where I am.
Why people won’t believe in themselves, instead of some god, has been for a long time now, curious to me. We make of our lives what we invest in it and no god or pantheon of gods, whether they exist or not, seems to care. It’s time for humanity to move beyond superstition, to reality.
4 thoughts on “Why Believe in “God”?”
No god “seems to care.”
That’s exactly right. I’ve looked back at my own life, and really have been lucky, regarding upbringing, family, education, health, etc. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were blessings. It’s absurd though. The same god who ensured I had two loving parents didn’t care about the kid down the street with an absent father and a crackhead mother?
Check out cbs news this morning for a picture of a migrant girl and her dad who died while trying to cross the Rio Grande into the U.S.
Why do people continue to believe, all evidence to the contrary, that a loving god is watching over them? I think it’s because the alternative is worse for them. They can’t bear the thought that we really are on our own, or that life really is over after death. There is no “better place” and most people can’t stomach that.
As soon as someone starts talking about what’s possible in the supernatural realm, they have departed from reasonable conversation. Because they’re talking about something they can’t possibly investigate. They’re talking about something that they know nothing about and something that may not even be real. It may be that the natural world is all there is. And that the supernatural is a fictitious invention developed from our own ignorance and fear of not being able to explain everything.
All I can say is that in different parts of the world and in different sections of the US, religion is life to believers and faith is their guidance. Deity belief is for many, whom I know, an intimate relationship without which they could not live. I accept that faith, belief and religion are absolutely subjective traits in a believer, as they should be. True belief and faith is a personal relationship with one’s choice of deities.
Deity belief and the religion that support it (let’s say Christianity) bind communities together and support the family units (all family units) in those communities. If this is not the case in your area of the world or in your range of knowledge of religions and believers, then it does not mean that these cases do not exist.
All the negative things you each mention is also true, but to deny what I am trying to explain is not thoughtful of the many positive things that religion, faith and deity belief bring to individuals and communities.
I cannot say that the world would be better off without all deity beliefs and religion, although I would certainly agree that the world would be better without some religions. People would be better if they practiced being better human beings without threat and/or reward from a deity and it would be better for human beings to accept failure and success as the result of their own doing, but that is not the case.
Much of the world is ignorant and superstitious and people are child-like in their desire to be comforted, whether they are ignorant or not.
Why, if a person’s faith, belief and religion is fairly benign, would we deny them that comfort. I don’t know, but I do not. It could be that a Dark Age will once again come upon humanity, and certainly Islam has that potential, but then again some of our best allies would be Christians and Jews and other believers, who seek harmony more than discord.
Lest you think that I am pro-religion or an apologetic for Christianity, I want to tell you that I am not. But, I am a realist and I do not refuse to accept the human behavior of most of the world nor condemn that, which is currently benign in the entire scheme of all things human.
It would be my desire that all humans realized that life is worth living and that they can live in harmony with others, without the superstitions and fears of deity belief. And, that this need would fade away for all the rest of humanity’s time. But, I don’t think that is ever going to happen, just as I don’t think atheists will cease to exist.