I am “non-religious”, not an atheist as some suppose, since after reading what I have written many wonder if I believe in “God”. I just don’t have a name for the concept, “God”, nor do I have an origination story or theological mystery tour to stretch your faith. (I have no proof of what I believe and I wonder if my belief in “God” is supportable as I have increasing doubts.) I just can’t accept an inflexible point of view that says, “I know what you need, and I know what you should know and here it is, you can have it too.” Religionists present yet another obstacle to finding “truth” as they claim to have succeeded exclusively in finding it.
Tag Archives: religious
Most people assume that what they were taught as children is true, particularly religion. After all, it was taught them by parent figures, and who could one trust more than Mom and Dad? What one learned as a child, assuming authority figures have told the truth, is accepted as true. It is difficult to question ideas of parent figures and people we trust who taught us the basics of living, loving and learning since by doing so we are questioning whether or not we really believe what they taught us is truth.
Religious ideas come primarily from the culture and geography we have been born into. We do not generally seek out the truth in other faiths or religious expressions, no matter how “true” they may appear. Most rely on “authorities.” Many of us trust without so much as checking sources or credibility. This is supposed to explain the common questions that inevitably come up over a lifetime. And, most of us have never checked the potential veracity of foreign faith expressions. After all, they are foreign and are not of our culture, how wrong can one be, we conclude in superior tones.
Assuming there is waning interest in religion, especially Christianity, conservative types are feeling threatened and appear to be plotting to take away the freedom of speech and expression we have enjoyed in this country. This is due, in part, to the fact that much of what is being accepted by the general public is contrary to a Christian worldview. Many Christians give the impression they are threatened by the many changes to law, lifestyle and religion. Many of the general public have accepted the ways of Christianity while not having much investment in it and expecting the Christian core to capably defend their position.
But, have you noticed? Many Christians are feeling they need to go underground. They sense they are not wanted nor believed. And so, to protect themselves, their families and friends, they have disappeared, away from the prying words of people like myself who question the very foundations of their faith. Can’t be questioning one’s faith. After all, the proof is with them. Or, is it? I call this cowardice. Believe but will not defend. Make statements that presuppose one has the truth but when pushed to defend those statements become defensive or disappear altogether. I call that cowardice. I see nowhere in Scripture where the Christian is to cut and run. Doesn’t that cut across the grain? If it is truth and the Bible says to defend it then where are the stalwarts of the Christian faith? Hiding under ground?
Where, in any of the Scriptures cited above does it say to cut and run? Is there a citation I missed? Could you fill me in and put me right with a Scripture or two? If you have chosen to go underground with your faith, how is that defending the faith? If not, I call it what it is, cowardice! You can run from cowardice. You can be a defender of the faith. Why aren’t you? Isn’t that your job as a Christian?
Truth is hard to come by. There seem to be those who believe the truth they espouse is the only truth and that attempting to understand one’s faith from a different perspective is somehow worth insulting with little understanding. Though the above is mild by comparison to several others I have received from “friends”, I find it interesting that one would be inclined to distance themselves from my perspective without asking why or attempting to understand. I can only conclude there is little or no interest in exploring faith’s foundations, except as taught within the system. “It must be so because I have been told it was so”, and if one has always been told one thing there cannot be another.
Where does religion come from? If not from God, as most religions seem to think of other religions as wrong and not from God, then it is from the people. Or, unless you deem yourself fortunate enough to be born in the right place and to the right people to have the right religion that God designed just for you. Wow! What unbelievable luck to be born to the right people and the right religion at the right time and in the right country. Can you believe it? Seems a bit far-fetched don’t you agree?
For some time I have observed security to be described in terms of either black or white. Feeling safe is a right most contend they have been given while feeling unsafe is a threat few would desire. What we think about is either safe or not safe. Often it is in between. We gravitate toward those places and thoughts that make us feel safe and do our best to avoid the discomfort of little or no security.
Many ideas about the world come to us from our parents and those we respect. These ideas become “grafted” into our unconscious. We make assumptions about these truths and live, for a time, without questioning them. The existence of Santa Claus and his reindeer are one of the first “facts” we are told. And, for most of us, that reality was as sure as anything else we have ever been told. That is, until someone, perhaps an older sibling, said there was no Santa Claus. That revealing statement became a troubling thought. At first, we denied it. Couldn’t be. No, Mom and Dad would not tell a lie. But then little things gnawed at our suspicions causing them to open like a festering wound that would not heal. The truth was unwelcome and inconvenient.
Truth works like that especially when a respected person, usually a parent, shares the “truth” with you. It becomes very difficult to give up the “truth” when it comes from such high authority as an all-knowing and invincible parent. Giving up Santa is like giving up a parent, a very difficult proposition.
Given the fact that other cultures have alternative Santa Claus figures best fitting their belief systems, one begins to wonder if a universal truth exists. There is no doubt that many believe in a universal truth but proof is difficult to produce. One accepts Santa Claus stories on faith since the persons promoting the idea have a credible role as parent or adult.
If I were born in Utah chances are I would be a Mormon. If I was raised in Egypt I might be Islamic, and if I was born in Thailand I would probably be convinced Buddhism was my religious identity. Much of our religious identity has to do with where we were born and to whom we were born.
So, when someone questions religious identities people begin to feel insecure. Their protection and security is threatened. People fear there might be a mistake and so to protect their beliefs they tend to lash out in defense. Some religions will even threaten anyone who believes differently. Some even threaten death. Some are in danger of losing their reputation or even their life over a belief system as an agnostic, atheist or unbeliever. It is true that many pin their hopes on religion to assist them through some of the darkest people experiences. It doesn’t matter where their hope comes from it just matters that they are given something to believe. If one doesn’t believe as the predominating culture does those threatening ideas are subject to being crushed and the person is excluded from the group. The person who does not believe as others do is made to pay for independent thinking.
Is it better to shut down those who question the “truth” than to find cogent arguments to preserve a way of living? One can feel secure because the person who has questioned a belief system is presumed to have been intellectually and spiritually vanquished. After all, if you have faith you have all you need. Or, do you?