O God, The Aftermath

Take your pick

Ah, religion…

I’m going to preface this article by explicity stating I’m an atheist. Not an agnostic. And don’t start on that ‘Well you can’t ever know whether or not god does exist’ bullshit. I find the idea of religion silly, childish, and akin to believing in fairy tales. The idea of an omniscient being pretty much offends me. Actually, I would say I am an antitheist more than anything. I’m not going to apologise for my views, but I certainly don’t force them on anyone. And that is certainly not what I am doing here. I am more just thinking aloud.

Here’s a thought: The four largest religious groups by population, estimated to account for between 5 and 6 billion people, are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. They (the internet goes to the World Bank first off) reckon that there’s about 6.7 billion people in the world. So these four religions account for between 75% to 90% of the population of the entire world in some way shape or form. While in and of itself that is a scary enough thought to a non-believer (talk about outbumbered – beware the righteous), if you were to split those numbers up evenly that’d give you about 1.25 billion to each of the four leading belief systems. Obviously that’s in broad terms – you then have to take into account different denominations. But the main branches of these religions don’t even have much in common other than the bare bones of them. So what gives?

The main problem I have with this (at least it’s my main problem with it today) is who the hell in their right mind thinks that they get to be right. Actually for the sake of this argument I am going to throw out Buddhists (and add the smaller religions in) because Buddhism has two things going in favour of it that the others don’t. While Buddha is technically deified, there is no god(s) like the other three, and as such much more philosophical (I would even go as far pretty chilled if it weren’t for that pesky vegetarianism). Also you don’t so often hear too much about a bunch of Buddhists getting together to beat down some Hari Krishnas too often. Basically it’s not the proselytising type of religion, nor does it have much to say about apostasy – the others… well not so much.

Now, religions are often touted as overall good things in light of all the bad things they’ve done or not done. Really? Is that justified? Mother Teresa was certainly not a nice person, let alone a saint. I find it repulsive that all the good things that religions have done have pretty much only really  been in the last 150 odd years or so when charity really took hold of people. Islam is usually defended for it’s ideas of tolerance it had a long long time ago, and the fact that the Caliphate brought scientific advance to Europe. But these are small mercies in the light of a good couple of millenia of warmongering and pretty much what constitutes as crimes against humanity. Blah blah blah, you’ve probably  heard these arguments before. The short and sweet is that I find these excuses not enough to make up for a lot of wrongdoing.

But going back to my main gripe, with so many religions in the world, what the hell is the point in choosing one? What is so wrong with being a good person for the sake of it, rather than having some ancient book that has no relevance on the modern world tell you what to do. As a book of apocryphal stories, the bible has a lot of things that are patently ridiculous that people conveniently ignore, it’s like it should come with a disclaimer or something. Why do people feel that they can adequately state with such conviction that their very specific belief system is right over another? I mean, can people really believe this? It’s fucking stupid is what it is.

The greatest misconception of all is that you are required to have an antiquated belief system and set of arbitary rules handed down to from who knows where, and only following this set of rules will lead you into supermagicland because someone else told you so, because someone else told them and someone else told them and someone else told them and someone else told them and someone else told them and someone else told them and someone else told them. It’s the biggest game of Chinese whispers ever, and a lot of people clearly haven’t got the end result quite right. And why oh why do you need these things to make you a ‘good’ person? Is it not enough to conduct yourself in a way in which you like to be treated? To do unto others, as it were, regardless of some big scary man in the sky watching you masturbate? Because at the end of the day if you’re a dick, the people that will care are the people you’re a dick to. Particularly if you’re wrong about which fairy being you happen to spend your money on. I strongly recommend the Atheist’s Wager. Be nice, regardless of god’s existance, you’ll sooner get into heaven on that basis, than shouting ‘god hates fags’.

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