The majority of the worlds population believe in Gods, Deities, Devils, eternal afterlife, prayer, miracles and angles on no credible evidence.
NONE AT ALL!
It truly is an amazing time to be alive. New discoveries seemingly happen daily. Each one adding to our understanding of the natural world. For example, the rock we live on is vary old. At some point in our distant past a convergence of elements and conditions combined to foster life on our planet. We aren’t sure how this happened but it did. It must have been like Goldie Locks’s stolen porridge, just right. Anyway, once it started, Earth seems to be something of a perpetual motion, organic life, machine. All this was happening over hundreds of millions of years. We, Homo Sapiens, are a product of those conditions. Earth is figuratively our “mother” but she takes no interest in our survival. Indeed, somewhere in the neighborhood of 99% of all species that have ever existed on Earth are extinct. GONE! Only their fossils remain.
Our species is a relative newcomer to the party. About 200,000 years ago our species differentiated from other primates and began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago. (Behavioral modernity is a suite of behavioral and cognitive traits that distinguishes current Homo sapiens from anatomically modern humans, hominids, and other primates. The consensus is that modern human behavior can be characterized by abstract thinking, planning depth, symbolic behavior (e.g. art, ornamentation, music), exploitation of large game, and blade technology, among others (cut and pasted from Wikipedia)).
So, how are these fabulous attributes working for us so far? Well, if nature holds true, there won’t be another sentient being to evolve and note our passing. There is no disputing that humans have treated our planet as a birth right to use in any way we want. And why not? A different mined set a different paradigm. Today we can investigate our natural world like never before. We have the ability to reliably predict our future. We also display questionable judgment. It will be touch and go until the bitter end. No matter what we do, eventually the Sun will swell to engulf the earth. Here’s the deal; until that happens, if we do not modify our thinking regarding our relationship with our own kind (news flash: We are all the same species not races) and the other life forms on the planet we will surely accelerate our extinction. As a species the end may be inevitable. Doesn’t it make good sense to maximize our survival for as long as possible? Our minds are either going to be the vehicle for survival or a form of genocide.
With the majority of humanity still holding to primitive notions of our natural world, codes of behavior, gender roles, political constructs, environmental health, animal husbandry, conflict resolutions, crime, punishment and the existence of the supernatural, we will have a nearly impossible task of improving our chance for long term survival. Isn’t it obvious. Tribalism, theology/sectarianism and the notion of nation states are antithetical to our species survival. These concepts need to be relegated to the scrap heap of history. It is the fear of the unknown that prevents people from even a fleeting glimpse of reality when it comes to their beliefs.
The number of religions that have ever existed is unknown and unknowable. According to the people who keep tract of these things there are more than 700 established Religions in the world today. They can be further branched out into up to 4000 distinct sects. This presumes they are all false but the one you believe in if you are a Theist. Do most faiths have a God that only communicates through one person at a time? A person that was solely selected for that purpose? Ya betcha. Covert in the extreme don’t you think.
What you believe is largely determined by the dominate culture of your birth place. It is true that people experience both conversion and de-conversion later in life but that is clearly the exceptions to the norm. I mean, “when you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way”. Interestingly the major religions claim that their God decided to communicate with humanity through it’s magical intermediary to a select individual. These individuals supposedly recorded the dictated messages and were compelled to enlighten their peeps. The glaring exception is Christianity whose books were written decades after their messenger died and therefore are technically hearsay and not on the seen reporting. This form of communication has presented us with a problem. It seems that god is a less than ordinary communicator. People have been left to interpret their gods messages. The result is a mess of conflicting world views. Really? A God.
Without exception, all the worlds religions have nothing coherent to say about our natural world. Nothing! How the universe was formed. It’s age. The age of our planet. The physical nature of the universe. Where we are in the universe. How and when life evolved on Earth. As a result adherents must suspend with reason or evidence and accept claims of the supernatural on faith because evidence for these claims does not exist. Oh ya, sourcing holy books as evidence ain’t evidence.
Now let us get to the foundational bedrock of the three Abrahamic religions. Morality. In their Gods own voice come pronouncements that would shame a psychopath. I can smell the brimstone. Slavery, mass murder, filicide, genocide, pedophilia, sexism and sex organ mutilation. Entire populations of people have been scapegoated, demonized, ostracized or marginalized. The faithful are given their marching orders. God declaring that blasphemy, apostasy, adultery, homosexuality, imaginary attributes like witchcraft and other behaviors shall require you to kill the person. These are the easy picks. Make no mistakes, I am being judgmental and I am profoundly disappointed in humanities blind spots. Objective morality coming from Religious pronouncements and the notion of free will are demonstrably wrong. It is our mortality and the promise of life after death that accounts for this blind spot to reason.
We are communal animals. Our ability to cooperate for mutual benefit and trust form our foundation for morality. A morality that is based on evidence and is adaptable to new information about your physical world. Examples of this occur frequently, such as, our thinking on the subjects of segregation, slavery, gender equity, sexual identity and on and on. In a reason and knowledge based society nothing is grander than to learn you have been wrong and get the opportunity to learn.
The survival of any species depends on it’s members mutual cooperation. We are hard wired by our genetics to have visceral responses to visual, auditory and tactual stimuli. We share common responses to fight or flight. We know to avoid things that cause pain or worse. We enjoy things that bring pleasure. These attributes and the needs of the group to prosper are the origins of a natural organic moral code. We are capable of teaching our children concepts of right and wrong, how to work cooperatively with others, compassion and charity….. We need not be rigidly attached to any dogma. Religion is imprisoned by dogma.
The worlds religions moral pronouncements are stuck in the era they were founded. They have primitive notions of mans relationship to others and the environment. Most employ terror tactics such as unimaginable suffering in an afterlife, being expelled/ouster-sized, excommunicated and death for apostasy to assure unconditional acceptance of doctrine. Seems fair. The faithful say “well sure there are some bad things in their texts and in their past but there are many good things too”. BFD. A group of ten year olds could to come up with a better codes to live by than the ones in the Bible, Koran or Torah. The books are said to be the words of God and they are clearly and unnervingly pathological.
History is replete with groups of people who do inexplicable things in the name of religion. There are examples of Religious groups that participate in mass suicide. Presumably to be with their God. This behavior should be approved of, admired, yes, envied by all people of faith. Ok, this may be a little extreme for most people. The vast majority of people think their faith is a test for entry to their Gods happy place after they die. Wishful thinking, YOU CAN’T CHEAT DEATH!
A world view based on evidence and reason alone is disturbing to the people’s of the “book”. I get that and knowing it chills me to the bone. A god that controls the universe and apparently prefers to remain hidden. Really? Not a peep, not a sign, nothing, nada. The only way to know a this god is with your imagination. Your only access is the reality you create with the guidance of a trained practitioner of a book indisputably written by men 2000 years ago. Wow.
We are all together on this journey through time. The natural world is all there is. Magical thinking has been a factor that has accompanied us through our sojourn. We should pay homage to it and move on. To insist on asking WHY the universe is the way it is, is not a question that will move us forward. There’s only one question for us to consider. That question is HOW! We either evolve to plot a future for our survival or slip away into oblivion like all the other hominids that came before us. 🌏🌍🌎
Source: Musing of an antitheist