Honestly I am really surprised at some of the reaction to my breaking apart of the hypocrisy of religion (especially Christianity). Several unfriendings on facebook later (and actually not sad at all about that) I think I need to reiterate, unlike my wife, I am not an atheist. My problem with religion lies not in their belief that there is something more, but their refusal to adapt their outlook based on what we have discovered. The whole head in the sand avoidance of science is where I have the issue. Most of my problems are with Christianity because that is the dominate religion of my area, and the religion I see the most hypocrisy in.
Here is a very brief list of 3 of my issues with Christianity (and not even close to all of them):
- That the bible was direct from god to man. Let’s be serious about this, it was written by man. They have already shown dozens of books from the bible are missing and were kept out due to politics. This doesn’t even count the fact it was written be sheep herders from two thousand years ago without the knowledge of any science or rational explanation. Also not including the issue that a lot of the stories were copied wholesale from other cultures that the hebrews traveled through. I am not saying that there may be something to it, rather that its possible that the authors misunderstood things, and the explanations were wrong. So its the literal belief that is wrong for me.
- That there is any rational reason from the outside to believe Christianity over another religion. There is no proof or reason an outside person should believe Christianity is more accurate then Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or the worship of the Greek Gods. It is a paradigm that isn’t even understood by most of its adherents. I would like someone to show me a reason to believe in Christianity over even the Greek gods that doesn’t involve “read the bible” or “faith”. What rational example can be used to show that the bible is any more accurate than what Homer wrote about the Trojan War (and to be honest the same story that Homer wrote about Greek gods actually helped archeologists discover the city of Troy, not sure the bible can claim to help archeologists find things that wouldn’t be found elsewhere).
- The hypocrisy of the believers. This is the absolute worst part of Christainity for me. From everything I read, the Quakers are by far the most adherent to Christian principles as spoken by Jesus. For some reason the right has decided to forget that Jesus was a socialist hippy (take care of the poor, give your goods away, render unto Ceasar and turn the other cheek). How a Christian can be pro-military, pro-capitalism and anti-help the poor makes it so mind twisting it hurts. People will try and point at either old testament or what Paul wrote but in my opinion neither works. Old Testament was superceded by Jesus (and if it wasn’t, then why aren’t those same Christians following the other Old Testament requirements) and the writings of Paul were from a man who claimed to be an apostle, but who never met Jesus (and none of the Apostles witnessed the whole scales over his eyes) and who had a dispute with Peter (whom Jesus is quoted as making the rock of Christianity). Everything I read about Paul makes him a mysoginistic rabble rouser who was in it for power and who never met Jesus, especially since a lot of what he wrote seemed to go against the words of Jesus.
- Ok, the whole Paul thing is probably a bias. Most of the catholic families I grew up with actually didn’t acknowledge Paul. I realize that isn’t the Church’s doctrine, which is why I claim to be from Pagan Catholics (also believed in Purgatory when that wasn’t sanctified by the Vatican). Our group of Catholics definitely were not traditional catholics.
I realize this all makes me sound exactly like an atheist, but it isn’t true. In the end I do think something is out there. Do I believe the adherents of Chrstianity are correct? Not at all, but it doesn’t make them totally wrong. Part of me hopes there is something after we pass on. Whether its a heaven/hell paradigm or a reincarnation situation I don’t know.
However, with that belief there are things that I think still qualify me as a skeptic:
- I am willing to admit part of my belief in something else is probably fueled by a fear that my family is mortal and only here for such a short time. Because of this I have to keep an open mind and not just stick my head in the sand in fear.
- I believe science is impartial, and my belief in anything must be subject to revision depending on what we learn about our world.
- I don’t believe any governmental or society decision should be based on religion. Government should at all times be secular in its outlook and not push religious doctrine. One god is no more provable as real then the others, and even if they were people should not be forced to follow religion.
- Morals are not based on a specific religion. Cultures learn naturally that murder is wrong, rape is wrong and theft hurts society. We don’t learn how to be a civilization because a “god” writes it on some tablets. Hell, the Code of Hammurabi (from Babylon) predates the hebrews by a thousand years and had no influence from the Zorastrian/Hebrew paradigm.
- Oh, and back to science, I firmly think science should be the most funded aspect of our society. Our quest to understand the world cannot be confirmed in religious texts, it can only be confirmed in science. So I will take science over religion anytime.
So, evidently I stepped away to handle something and have lost my train of thought when I came back. I thought I had something to wrap this up. I guess mostly I just wanted to reiterate that while I am not religious, I am not a stone cold atheist (which makes for some uncomfortable interactions at the atheist meetups as well for me).