Religion – does it have a place in the 21st century?

Religion. It’s 2017 and we’re still telling our imaginary friend that we’re not worthy of him, that we’d die for him, that our children are born imperfect (sometimes to the point of mutilation at birth) and need his help. Seriously, what’s wrong with us?! It’s a long one this (there’s a vicar joke in there somewhere).

I will be writing a second part to this, answering any questions people have (as best I can), so please comment below if you have anything to contribute!

Religion: preface

Ok let me just get this part out of the way first. If anything in here offends you then it’s not my intention, and it’s not my fault. If you believe in something so vehemently but you grow angry when someone questions you, then take a long look at yourself and ask yourself why you’re scared of the questions. Is it because you have no real-world answer? I respect everyone (until they give me a reason not to) but I do not respect religion, why would I? Concepts have to earn respect.

It’s very common for people to voice their differences in opinion on politics and I see this as no different. So…

Religion as a concept

I’m an atheist. I’m not a hipster militant elitist atheist, but I’ve actually thought about it and this is where I’ve ended up after careful consideration. Contrast that to religious folk who were just brought up that way and have an intrinsic doubt that they will deny with all of their being. It’s uncomfortable.

There is no other option for me when the alternative is to believe unconditionally without any reason or evidence – why would anyone do that? Saying this usually invites a shake of the head and a roll of the eyes from believers, as if I’m the unreasonable one. As if I’m bringing up an old tired cliché (which, by the way, would disappear if you would just provide an answer to it).

A big ask

If I’m to believe in an idea of this magnitude then I’m going to need some proof. Anything, no matter how small. To simply say “you have to have faith” is weak, and means nothing. I’ve had countless conversations with people about this. At the very first sign of questions, religious people would get angry, defensive, hostile even. “YOU WON’T SHAKE MY FAITH” they cry. Calm down mate, I’m not trying to. I simply asked you what you mean when you say “you should open your eyes and let the light of God in”. It’s a pretty ambiguous statement to make, don’t you think? It doesn’t have any actual meaning.

The indefensible nature of religion is what causes religious people to be offended in the first place. If an idea can’t stand up to the most fundamental of questions (like “why?”) then is it really an idea worth considering? If someone were to question my belief that water was two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen then I’d point them in the direction of where to confirm it. I certainly wouldn’t get offended.

“Billions of people can’t be wrong”

With over 4,000 religions, each believing they’re right, it stands to reason that at least 3,999 are wrong in any religious person’s eyes. I simply think that all 4,000 are wrong. There is 0.025% difference between me and the most devout of religious people where beliefs are concerned.

We indoctrinate our children at an early impressionable age with our religious ideologies. That’s chiefly how it’s propagated. They ask fewer questions and the undeveloped mind leaves them open to crystallising the beliefs before they get a chance to doubt it (Santa Claus, easter bunny, tooth fairy etc…).

I’ve often, out of genuine interest, asked people why they follow the religion that they do. “But why that God?” I ask. “Why not Thor, or Zeus, Valhalla?”. I’m usually met with “Oh don’t be stupid”, which is an incredible response really – what makes their god any more probable? They’ve blindly followed that one god and dismissed thousands of other religions – probably without exploring their ethos or reading their scriptures. That’s hypocritical. It’s myopic.

So, yes, billions of people can indeed be wrong. If you’re a follower of any religion at all then you’re literally saying that billions of people are wrong.

If you don’t believe in God, where do you get your morals?

Certainly not from subscribing to a system that would have me tell my daughter she is anything but perfect. I refuse to tell her that she was born a sinner and must thank God, constantly and tirelessly for everything. She can marvel in her successes when she tries hard, and learn from her failures when she fails. It’s all on her – there is no divine intervention.

I mean – God, why bother setting all of this up if we just have to praise you all the time?! To be honest, you’ve done a bit of a shit job anyway, all things considered. There’s disease, famine, poverty, war, terrorism, murder. All this because Eve took a metaphorical bite from that bloody apple. Get a grip son, you’re no Steve Jobs.

I find it ironic that religious people ask this question about morals. It’s as if they only have morals out of fear of punishment come judgement day. I have morals because I know right from wrong, and I act on that. If you want a blatant lack of morals then read religious scripture. We have a 50 year old Mohammed marrying a six year old Aisha, we have Moses ordering the killing of men, non-virgin women and male children (sparing the virgin girls – Numbers 31:17-18 “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man”. Top bloke, I’m glad they named a basket after you).

But THE POWER OF PRAYER, MARK!

Prayer never has and never will work. I’m willing to be proved wrong here, but there’s that word again, PROOF. Prove to me that it’s worked and I’ll admit it, until then I’ll put it down to chance and entropy.

I tweeted this recently, and was met with a lot of replies saying how prayer had worked for them. They claimed that I’d probably see it as luck, or coincidence. Well, yes – I would. Someone replied saying that prayer helped her and her son through an abusive relationship – possibly on a psychological level it did, but I don’t think God had a hand in that. I think her courage did that.

I was told to try it and see for myself. “Ok” I said, “I will. I will vehemently pray for the cure of all cancer overnight”.

“That’s unrealistic” I was told. Right then, at least we’ve set some expectations here for what He’s capable of. For someone who has control over the universe, from every unfathomable subatomic particle to the vast distances of space where light itself can take billions of years to permeate, I don’t think curing cancer is that much of an ask. I mean, look what he did in 6 days. Cancer is a glitch in the matrix for this guy.

Just because someone won a fridge in a competition a month after hers had broken, it doesn’t mean there’s an omnipresent creator with a plan for us and her frozen foods.

The issue is, religious people go to church each week and sit in an echo chamber, reinforcing the belief.

religious people go to church each week and sit in an echo chamber, reinforcing the belief. Click To Tweet

The divine (housing) plan

Earlier this year someone on my facebook feed was asking people to pray that her housing application would be accepted. Wow – I’m pretty sure God, if he existed, wouldn’t meddle with such small fish. Would he? I’d rather he clicked his fingers and fed a starving family in Africa first. Maybe eliminated AIDS between tuning in to see masses of people begging him for attention.

A few days later I saw this:

Children and religion
Statements like this strike me as unintelligent at best

So they prayed and her housing application was approved. Ergo – there is a god, and he works in the council offices, apparently.

What about other people that prayed for theirs to be accepted but were denied? Perhaps they called when he was on a toilet break.

Beyond a reasonable doubt

The judicial system in civilised countries (so not including unspecified-istan) works on a system of evidence. If someone is to be convicted of something, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s logically and morally the right course of action.

Why, then, do people believe in a creator when “reasonable doubt” isn’t even part of the equation? It comes down to that faith issue again, but that’s a cop out. If someone wants to convince me that there is a God then the burden of proof is on them.

If someone wants to convince me that there is a God then the burden of proof is on them. Click To Tweet

People say “I don’t have to prove anything to you” and it’s clear they can’t justify it. And yes, they do need to justify it. Otherwise it’s a bit mental. They’re talking about a magic man in the sky. They absolutely have to justify believing in him.

If belief were founded on the absence of proof of the contrary, then ANYONE could claim ANYTHING. I could invent my own god and nobody could prove he didn’t exist. They literally could not prove he was fabricated. It must be true, right? What if I had a book that said it, and kids were taught it in school? See where I’m going with this?

Amen to that

I’ve already gone over 1,600 words so I’ll end it here with this one suggestion:

Leave religion out of everyones’ life until their 21st birthday.

How long do you think religion would last? My guess is that it’d last a generation, two at most. Try telling an adult about making humans from clay, woman from a rib, talking snakes, zombie messiahs and magic apples and see how long it lasts…

Let me know what you think in the comments. As mentioned – I’ll be responding to comments via another post – so please do leave a comment if you feel you have something too say. If you’re a believer then steer away from the typical “Christ is our creator and shall be worshipped, I am not worthy, leave people to believe what they want” remarks.

Hit me with actual tangible evidence to substantiate your beliefs.

35 thoughts on “Religion – does it have a place in the 21st century?

  1. This is ACE!
    It’s a bit like me telling people I have a massive penis. Some people believe it and some people don’t but the reality is it’s a load of baloney.

    Love this though Mark

  2. Religion is something that fascinates me.
    I was raised by a catholic mum and an atheist dad, a very confusing time. Whilst I don’t buy in to any religion in particular, I have seen the comfort that people gain from praying or having others pray for them, perhaps that’s all some folk need when all other hope is lost. And so long as they aren’t trying force any of that on me or anyone else, I don’t care what or who they pray to. It does me no harm when they conduct their religious practices in a peaceful way and they have no need to prove anything to me.

    I do agree that religion should wait until a person is of age to actually understand and formulate their own ideas, my twins are 8 and having learnt something about God at school, now go round cursing God and Jesus for causing all the worlds problems and not fixing them. I don’t even know where to start on correcting that when they still believe in Santa.

    Religion will last for as long as humans do, people will always need someone or something else to blame or beg to when times get tough.

    1. Thanks Amanda – very good response!

      I do like the comfort it gives people at times, but I kind of think of it like an antidepressant. It’s just covering the issue up behind a false pretense.

      Having said that, it would be difficult for me to tell a recent widow that her prayers for recently deceased husband were fruitless, granted!

    2. I dont agree that people practicing religion and keeping it to themselves does no harm. Religion holds the human race back. People who believe in god don’t ask questions because the answer is always, “god did it” or “it’s god’s will”. If you stop a song questions, you stop discovering the truth. If it wasn’t for religion, the human race would be hundreds, possibly thousands of years more advanced. Region is simply humanity’s shame. It does zero good and countless harm.

  3. Totally agree with all of this. Well done for saying it. I’d go a step further too, and say – there is nothing else in society that causes more damage yet is so protected. What’s that quote, Never is evil more gleefully done than when it’s in the name of religion. Religious fanatics and extremists do all sorts of heinous things – genital mutilations, terrorist acts and literal wars but religion is held up and protected. Yes, most religious people get comfort from it and are ok BUT because it’s all based on faith and isn’t evidence based it lends itself to extremism. And aside from the violent aspects, religions are controlling school admissions and influencing education. I think religion is a very dangerous thing indeed.

  4. I am mostly with you on this. I have always had a big problem with the ‘my gods the right one, youre all wrong’ attitude of religion. And even if you have the right god then you can still kill each other over the right way to worship him.

    I understand the appeals of religion though, and I’m not so sure I agree with you that it would die out if we stopped teaching it to kids. Firstly it offers a scape goat to people. We all know people in this world who never accept responsibility for anything that goes on in their lives. Blaming stuff on fate or gods will is another example of this and makes things so much easier for some people.

    Secondly is the whole concept of our mortality. Death is scary. The idea of suddenly no longer existing is scary. It is also a bit of a personal afront to some people. “I am important, significant, I cannot suddenly just stop being”. And obviously the grief and loss of loved ones means that people (including me if im honest) want there to be something more than just this life.

    So although I am not religeous in the slightest, I cant quite (or dont want to) give up the idea that there is something beyond death. I really cant offer any evidence for this. It is 100% based on my fear of the alternative.
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  5. I am not against religion – each to their own, I am against anything being used to justify actions such as with many Gods. In the 12th centuries whole villages were wiped out in the name of christianity – how do they then justify that to themselves now as it was propigated by the church? And what about paedophile priests…if god is so wonderful how does someone who practices his religion commit such acts? Small questiobs in the grand scheme if things but it just has to many flaws for my liking. And i cant help but wonder how so many intelligent brains can believe…honestly? It baffles me. Love your thought of waiting until everyone is 21, it would last two generations max. Great post always

  6. I like this post a lot and I agree with you. But actually, it’s a bigger issue to me. I find it utterly immoral. Religion ranks some people as more important than others. It disapproves of the way certain people live their lives when they are harming nobody. It gives people an excuse for hurting and killing each other. It brainwashes people into wasting thousands of hours of their lives for nothing. Life is short enough, we should be making the most of the time we have rather than wasting it trying to secure a ‘better future’ for a time when we will in fact be turning to dust.
    Nat.x
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  7. Fair points throughout, and yes, it all boils down to believing something without proof. Unfortunately it does end on a bit of a shitter.

    “They absolutely have to justify believing in him.”
    “Hit me with actual tangible evidence to substantiate your beliefs.”

    What do you want from these lines, do you actually want convincing or do you want others to convince themselves in the hope that they’ll go “well I can’t produce actual proof for all of my beliefs so I must believe the wrong thing”? Unfortunately these lines are no better than the preachers that stand in the middle of the town centre going on about everyone is going to hell. They naturally invite the criticism.

    If someone wants to convince you, then fair enough, ask them a hundred times to show proof, but why should the average person need to justify their personal experiences/beliefs?

    A big part of a religious belief is that something better will happen to you after you die, not just that you end up as worm food. This is the part that no one can ever prove either way and is where belief is the only answer.
    Imagine that someone has lost their partner/child, and then have faith to believe that they’re in a better place and can enjoy and new experience of a version of life without illness, disability, or something else, to give them comfort that something else than just their body is feeding maggots is happening, then it can give them a great deal of happiness and comfort.

    Would you start believing in ghosts, aliens, random conspiracy theories if people showed you their proof? I could point you to plenty of websites with evidence for all of them.

    1. I’ll address this more fully in part 2, but I think you’re trying to pick at nuances.

      If someone were to convince me, it would take some convincing. Somewhere on that path they’d realise they were going in circles and that they didn’t have a reason to believe, they’d probably end up convincing themselves. Think what you will of the lines, I stand by them 🙂

      The average person should definitely have to justify it. To themselves, for their own sanity and state of mind surely they have to have a reason for believing something. I believe if I turn a light switch on, the light will come on. It happens. They believe there’s a guy in the sky running things, but why? Because someone told them that? Of course they need to justify it.

      Your comments on “worm food” and “feeding maggots” is laced with some kind of personal anger there – I’m not sure why. But so what if that’s it? Why should we believe in an afterlife just to make ourselves feel better – isn’t this the way we treat children? They panic about their teeth falling out, so we make up some shit about a fairy coming for them.

      For your last point – I would believe them if the proof was conclusive, yes. Sadly though, they’re not.

      Thanks for reading.

      1. Lets be clear, I’m not trying to change your view on the matter either way, I’m trying to help you see reasons why someone would believe something without proof. This is where your curiosity on the subject stems from. How do you define where inspiration or talent comes from? What gives an artist inspiration to work on a specific design? No, I’m not saying that as a religious argument, I’m pointing out that no one knows. Yes, this is the big sticking point for both sides of the religion debate and ends up with people butting heads non stop.

        Just because someone can justify something to themselves, doesn’t mean that justification will always make sense to someone else. One person could prefer one variety of spag bol to another and not have a justification other than “it just tastes nicer”. No real justification sure, but they feel strong enough for a certain decision.

        No personal anger, was just pointing out what happens, no matter what you believe, your body decomposes. People believe in what happens afterwards for a variety of reasons, comfort, hope that this isn’t it, etc.

        There was a saying in the war that there are no atheists in foxholes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_no_atheists_in_foxholes). Some people turn to religion in times of extreme stress.

        1. “Help you see reasons why someone would believe something without proof” – that comment in itself is crazy. Inspiration and talent has nothing to do with it, it’s not every worth considering that line or argument. We can see the results of them instantly, and we KNOW where it comes from. It’s just chemistry.

          You’re right – no one knows. So why believe something no one knows? It’s the chocolate teapot theory again, No one can prove there isn’t one orbiting Mars so should we believe that there is one? No, don’t be ridiculous.

          Spag bol – seriously?

          Comfort and hope have very little to do with fact, in fact they don’t influence fact at all. So it boils down to whether you want to be willingly fooled for your own comfort or live the truth and make the most of what’s happening now.

          Again, nothing tangible Joe.

      2. You say you turn the light switch on and the light come on. So you believe in electricity. Even though you can’t see it? Doesn’t that moot your argument in not believing in something you can’t see? “Oh wait” you believe in electricity because you can see it’s power. Hmm. I believe in god even though I can’t see him but because I can see his power in everything around us. This amazing planet we call home. Our bodies. The various species of plants and animals. Absolutely stunningly amazing in all their glory. How about the vast galaxy with billions of stars and planets. Rainbows. Shall I go on? No of course not. You already said you don’t believe. There are none so blind as those that will not see. Probably because the alternative doesn’t bare thinking about. By the way, I do agree that religion is the problem. Religion and belief in god are not the same. Excellent debate.

        1. Thanks for your comment, unfortunately the whole comment is based on something I did not say. I wouldn’t say I don’t believe in anything I can’t see. I’m breathing air right now that I can’t see, I’m connected to WiFi that I can’t see.

          So no, my argument isn’t moot. It’s lack of proof I have an issue with, not lack of sight.

          The power of god is all around us? This is the type of statement that turns people away from religion, so I’m happy for you to say it, but it doesn’t mean anything. The planet we call home is one of possibly trillions like it. How are our bodies are proof of God? Plants? Rainbows? They’re all explained through science. Science can’t explain everything, but I’m happy to say “I don’t know” rather than attribute things to god.

          Peace!

  8. This is good Mark, very good. I don’t know what to say other than the fact that I still believe in the power of prayer!! And yes, I do think you need to have faith to believe in God because He is invisible but my experience tells me that He has a power to change things and does. Not everything we want is necessarily good for us (we won’t ever understand that bit fully – back to faith again) and for everyone to be cured of disease isn’t going to happen because we all need to die of something or we will inevitably be crushed by the amount of people on this earth. Personally, I think it takes more faith for anyone to profess that there ISN’T a God so you clearly have it by the bucket load. I like to think that there’s an after-life and there’s a point to living on this earth. I also don’t think that God has anything to do with religion. In fact Jesus abhors religiosity in the bible, that’s a man-made thing. And yes I was brought up as a Christian and would definitely attribute much of my upbringing to my faith now but not all of it. By contrast, my husband went on an Alpha course (aged 27) and made up his mind himself. Much like you have. I respect that you’ve thought about this and made your mind up, I wouldn’t try to change that.

    1. I notice (when reading your post again as you’ve yet to write part 2!) that you mentioned my comment about cancer and God healing all cases as being unrealistic. I know that He has the power to do anything and I do know people who have been unexplainably healed. He might cure all cancer sufferers and no doubt there will be another deadly illness about by then. I guess what I meant (in 140 characters) is that asking for all people to be healed everywhere is probably not going to happen. We do die, I believe our souls go to live with Him for eternity (as that’s what the Bible says) so we have to die somehow. Our world is not big enough to take us all forever and ever. However I will continue to pray for healing and hope to see God miraculously heal some of those people. God is a mystery to us and therefore how He works is a mystery. Who He heals and why is a mystery. But I’m willing to exercise faith and believe in something I don’t 100% understand. As Martyn said above, it’s about faith and not religion for me. God never called us to religion, He called us to have faith and to believe.

  9. Honestly I don’t know how an educated person living in the twenty first century can have blind faith. In days of yore it was used to control us. Surely anybody with an ounce of intelligence can see that?

    1. I absolutely agree. I can understand in centuries prior but in todays day we have so much tangible empirical evidence to counter the blind faith. In not against people who have their beliefs but those who push it onto others as fact over faith. I actually wrote a chapter in one of my pending books called the refining of agnosticism which debates each biblical or spiritual assertion as fact against myth in a socratic method. My favorite argument is that of different variations of beliefs through 3000 years. People used to be polytheists and then what monotheism proved some groundbreaking point and millions of peoples beliefs instantly became false while the new “revelation” became fact? Too many holes in the religious story to believe in.

  10. I agree with you to be honest. I’m very much let people be, but I don’t think that religion has a place in modern day society. It horrified me to learn that Christianity is still part of the schools ciriculum (prayers in assembly, hymns etc) even in non-religious schools, because apparently without it kids can’t grow up to be good moral humans of society. Whilst I’m all for kids learning that religion exists for some people and gaining cultural insight I don’t know why they need to pray and sing about it everyday. I was pressured to have my daughter christened after she was born but didn’t want to, it’s hypocritical of me and unfair of me to push something on her that she can’t comprehend!

  11. I did theology at uni and I saw all sides in that (and all religious). I think it can be used as a weapon but I also think it can be a huge comfort. If something happens that you can’t understand, praying gives you a focus and I personally don’t see any harm in that.
    It does beg the question though if Christmas and Easter are Christian holidays, then atheists should’ve take part in any of it-trees, present giving, anything.
    There is also an argument that atheism itself is a religion of sorts because of what you don’t believe in. I send my kids to a religious school because I find them more tolerant of differences and I think we could all do with a bit of that

  12. Very good points. This made me actually think. For two years now, I consider myself as a non-religious person. And to think that I am emotional and clings to things that make me feel safe like religion– before…

    Im just glad I found you on Facebook!

  13. Totally agree. Except what did you mean about the whole Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth fairy part. They aren’t in an way religious. You’re not trying to put them in the same bracket because I have tangible proof of each of them. (See: presents, eggs and money)

  14. First of all I need to say that this is a great post! I feel like this is needed to be said as I have really enjoyed reading it and have several times today; I know you won’t mind just for the views 😉

    As you know, I am a Christian and I will never shy away or feel bad about that fact.
    I say that because it might be a bit weird when I say that I agree with you and what you have said in this post. Well, 98% of it.

    You have written about religion. I HATE religion. Religion, for me, is exactly what you have said. I have seen religion as a tool to beat the weak into submission and make one person better than anyone else. I have seen religion mutilate body parts, allow body shaming and to use as permission to control bodily actions. I have also seen religion as a routine act that says “if you don’t do it this way then you are going to be damned to hell and you will be eternally tortured”. I have seen religion used on children as a discipline; children lose their childhood where they are left into servitude of life shaming and work. It is for that reason that I don’t like religion and find it a horrible thing.

    What you seem to have not spoken about is faith. And I don’t mean faith of something happening through prayer.
    I mean that there is a faith of something more. I see myself as a man of faith; that faith is somewhere within the many mountains of Christianity. I don’t “belong” to an organised church so I wouldn’t say I am CoE, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Brethren, Jehovah’s Witness, Roman Catholic (Because we always need more Catholicism) or Amish. Yet, I do attend one. That alone problem sounds complicated because they all differ in some way and many religious people will argue at which one is better. I, personally, find a bit of fault in them all but that has nothing to do with my faith in the higher power but more in human beings trying to outdo themselves, interpreting something written in 3 different languages and translating it differently. Yet, there is something, as a majority, that I do believe in and the stuff that we don’t know and bicker over is just plain stupid.

    You have also mentioned about the fact that people are brought up and raised to believe what they were told. This isn’t totally true. I chose to believe. I am an intelligent person, which I am aware doesn’t sound right in a context where I believe in something without proof, but I am. I grew up without being churched. I have a lovely certificate where I was IQ tested and I still came to this conclusion to believe in something. So I would be interested in your part 2 to hear your thoughts on someone who is intelligent but came without a church background as well as one who has faith and not religion.

    I was like you for a very long time. I needed proof. Yet, I know any reason or personal experience that I suggest could be spoken away with any logical argument of psychology so I won’t. I even tried for such a long time to argue it “Oh, maybe it was this or it was just down to that.” I can’t explain it and I wouldn’t try because it is something that has personally happened to me. But, we all have moments of unexplainable events that just happened and the majority of the time it is a good enough reason as any to explain it away. That doesn’t mean though that I believe everything is God. You are right; if I entered a competition to win a fridge, and then won, I wouldn’t think that is God but more luck that I entered off my own back and then luck that I won.

    As the saying goes “If you’ve eliminated all other possibilities whatever remains must be the truth”
    The truth must lie within the set of the possible, which is defined as everything that is not impossible. As an investigator you create a mental list of all potential explanations for a situation. You then systematically eliminate those explanations that you can demonstrate are impossible, either through logic or empirical evidence. Whatever you are left with is the solution – even if it may seem extremely improbable. For me, it was God and a faith to believe in Him. For you, that may seem more impossible and would be ignored. Which is fine; I did the same until I didn’t because the Math meant I may have been ruling out something I hadn’t considered as possible.

    I find it really interesting though. You mention the Tooth fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny and I am sure you celebrate those moments in something you don’t believe in. I get the grasp you had where the child will eventually grow up and realise that they don’t exist and I see the same with my children or even me later on in life! If either happened then I would see that, accept it and respect that choice. But where do you lay with Karma? Do you believe in a negative action can create another reaction and vice a versa with Good? Even if that is man-made? Ultimately Karma is an unprovable and measurable thing? Or, do you stand that you shouldn’t believe in anything without proof? If so, why do you allow your child to have that thought process?

    Then there is prayer. Well you are bloody right about that. I can’t argue that you are wrong even if I thought that you were but you’re not. I believe one thing and you believe another but you are right with what you say. Do you think it is easy being disabled and having the medical fate that I have and see and hear of God’s intervention and think “Why not me?” Of course I have, I don’t anymore though because, why not? I know I go through my health issues and know that Joe nobody would have crumbled under that too. Yet, for me, and this is on the non-explainable side of things, there is a level of comfort within prayer and I am not arrogant enough to question what the “plan may me” when nothing happens. I love that you said about praying for the cure to cancer! And I am saddened at the response because, as you say, for a power that may create “everything” then He has the power to do so. I have no idea why He doesn’t but if He did then maybe we wouldn’t have free will to believe (I know, such a cop out response!)

    I would love you to talk about the concept of an afterlife. For me, I can see that goes hand in hand with faith rather than the prescribed cloudy heaven and cupids that some religions believe in. Yet, what would you say to me? A guy that is in severe pain everything single day and a disability level where I can’t even lift a cup of liquid, and this is the least of what I have to come. That isn’t even mentioning the level of mental health either. Is this shitty shitty world and this shitty existents all that I deserve? Or is there a chance, even if improbable, that I could reach a better existence?

    This comment is getting ridiculously long now. There are a lot of personal reasons why I came to faith and I see that there is a lot of wrong with religion. I see religion like cocks. A lot of the world love cock. A lot of the world would have nothing to do with cock. But, even the ones who love cock would agree with the ones that don’t, that it isn’t pleasant having it waved in your face. I think religion is the same. I may go to church most weeks and do other faithful things but I don’t preach, don’t shun and definitely don’t do the things that you listed in the post that most people do, oh, and I love using the word c*nt. In fact, I usually enjoy debating with the people that do all those things and showing them up for the stupidity that they come out with when they are on a misquoting, out of context and judging unnecessarily. Yet, I feel a little grouped, unfairly, with the people who you suggest in religion and personally I see myself far from that. Can there be a middle ground or is that another copout?

    Great post but I know I am not alone in what I write here as I know many like me and just feel like you missed the idea of faith instead of the hatred religion. Anyway, hope you can pick some good bits out and reply with! Very thought provoking for sure!

    Oh and I do think you are wrong about there being no religion in two generations. Several religious groups do breed their religion through closed off communities and having many children. You may be right about some off branches of those groups though.

    1. I feel the same as Martyn, although he has put it much more eloquently that I could have (or maybe just saved me the time 😛 ) I came from a non religious background but found comfort from a young age (maybe it was the lollipops they used to give you for going to Sunday School, what bribery!) I found my faith (And I say faith, not religion for the same reasons as Martyn) most comforting when my Dad died. I didn’t apportion blame for him being taken away but found a connection through my grief. It’s difficult to explain. After losing many other members of my family over the years, and being struck by a debilitating illness, I still have my faith and my comfort. The only way I differ is that I don’t really believe there is more after life. The end just brings peace. No hell below us, above us only sky. It’s only the people here on earth that need the comfort of faith. Maybe there is a God maybe there isn’t, maybe he’s good, maybe he’s bad, maybe he’s not even a he!! It doesn’t really matter, just knowing that there is good somewhere, that there is a light and love that is so easily accessible, that there is something deep within our souls. That’s why people have such difficulty in explaining, it’s not so black and white as good and bad, heaven and earth or real or unreal. I hear you Mark, and I can even nod along with you through most of this. But some people can have faith and still not preach, or cast damnation on anyone who doesn’t think the same. We don’t need the proof you seek, we feel it within our souls. Peace Man xx (disclaimer – I can’t agree with Martyn on the word C*nt, never liked that word, and I’m not saying anything about the cock either.)
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  15. I mostly agree although I would say I do have a spirituality. My main problem with religion is that they are very good at saying ‘You must have faith, I don’t need to show you proof, how dare you etc’ but then demand and defame other religions with the same logic. It’s the same with all movements and cliques, whether it’s radfems, Christians, Muslims or football hooliganism, so much of it is ‘raah raah respect us, YOU musn’t do a,b.c but under no circumstances must you notice or point out that we don’t respect you either and also do ab.c. This is in no way hypocrisy to them and if you point it out, hellfire will be upon you. Sadly because of that cliquey behaviour, people lose sight of the beauty in these movement’s original intent. Instead most people use whatever movement or ‘religion’ they are a part of as a badge to justify their shitty behaviour.

  16. I bloody love this.
    I was brought up an atheist and I would probably say that is what I am. I don’t believe in God but I suppose I’m more agnostic as no-one knows really do they. That’s why religion is the cleverest lie ever to have been told. Noone can ever prove it because you wont know until you’re dead. Suckers!!!

  17. You are of course right in every respect in what you have said. You have applied logic to an illogical subject .
    I have no comprehension of how someone can kill , mutilate (young girls and boys) , or justify war in the name of religion.
    No matter how misguided people are having been bought up to believe that thier beliefs are right ,somone at some point must have said I think its a good idea to kill or maim people because of thier beliefs . Nowadays we would call those people mentally ill . If everyone applied logic as you have there would be no religion . But would anyone want to live in a completely logical world.? I am not making light if mental illness or religious beliefs just pointing out that
    Peoples beliefs could come from more than upbringing and no logic could alter that .

  18. I think religion does have a place in the 21st century for those who want it. Yes there will be people who do not want religion or faith and those who don’t believe in god but there are also those who do believe. My faith helps me to be my best self. I do not believe children are sinners, to me that is not right. However the values I am taught in my faith are good positive ones. Having said that I have many friends who are not religious who have wonderful values and morals and you don’t have to have religion to be a “good person” or to live a good life. But religion should be available to those who do want it.

  19. I’m an atheist & stuff, brought up that way. I think what is super fascinating here & even a little funny – those freaking prayers. No matter what you do, you’ll get it forgiven with a little pray like wtf.

  20. My husband believed all you have written above and then met God personally at age 26. I’m with Martyn. I would never try to convince someone else, it’s not my job. I understand why people don’t believe without a doubt, but I have seen too much personally to not believe. I’ve seen blind eyes see, deaf ears opened, people with incurable Parkinson’s restored to full health, I’ve also seen many die. I will never know why God heals some and not others but I’ve seen it. Full on miracles – not – I had a headache and now it’s gone – yay, I’ve personally seen limbs grow before my eyes. I can’t argue with that. You can think whatever you like of me but no-one can shake my faith because I was lucky to grow in a home filled with faith. I would see my Mum crying that she had no bread to feed her family behind closed doors and random neighbors from streets away knocking on the door with bread because they had too much. I saw my sisters snapped femur go back into place. Been on holiday in the middle of nowhere (pre Facebook) and had strangers turn up at the door with an envelope “with love from Jesus” and the exact amount of money my Mum prayed for so we didn’t have to go home early from our holiday. I will never understand how He works, or why He answers some and not others but I’ve had personal proof many times in my life I can never deny. I was raised in church, my siblings don’t always go but as much as some of them will say they hate “church”, none of them deny the existence of God. We have seen too much personally as a family. Do they question God’s goodness? I’m sure they do. My husband is a social worker on an emergency team and sees the worst of society every work day (or night), he questions EVERYTHING but he still believes because he has had a personal revelation of who Jesus is. Do I have all the answers, absolutely not, but I also would also think it strange if they created being understood all the facets of their Creator. I know one thing for sure His way of thinking is definitely nothing like mine.

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