A Deep Conversation
I was chatting with a friend of mine who is religious. Not religious in the orthodox, hard-line type of way but believed there is a God that created the world, praying to God to achieve a specific outcome actually works and that there is a heaven and hell in the afterlife. She believes these things with absolute certainty and refused to even admit that there is a possibility that none of it was true. What she told me her denomination was is irrelevant – the criteria I listed above apply to just about every religion out there.
I am agnostic. I am proud to admit that I do not know or have the answers to the big questions surrounding humanity and our beginning. Part of being human is the unknown however the critical need for us to have the answers is completely understandable. There are many historical artifacts and writings (the Bible or Quran for example) that many believe are writings from a God or by men filled with the ‘power of God’ or both. These same believers often pick and choose what is considered relevant or applicable in modern day life. This is mainly because these writings were in fact written by humans, for humans. They are riddled with hypocrisy, contradiction and in many instances, absolute nonsensical instruction.
The Chicken, Or The Egg?
To say that a God created us poses the question: how did God get there? or who created god? Well, according to my friend, God just ‘always was’. I’m sorry, what? God was just always there? What an insightful explanation. Many other believers in God will tell you that God has a plan for everyone’s life. Ok, let’s say that is true and I got angry one day and murdered my neighbor in cold blood. Was that God’s plan? No – the explanation from believers is that God gave us all free will. So, if I understand this correctly, God is controlling the outcome but so do we. Sounds like a contradiction as that same God is touted as all-knowing, omnipotent and the one who is, well, running shit.
There are a lot of preventable and unnecessary things that happen on planet Earth. Abuse, theft, cheating, torture, starvation, mutilation, bombings, war, murder etc. – well you get the picture. Would an all-loving creator of something as magnificent as our planet and human life allow such things to occur? Certainly not if you are a believer. It is humans at fault. Free will, remember? Ironically, when something good happens, a lot of people thank God first. Or if a coincidence that prevents a death or has a good outcome, it’s a miracle from God.
I Pray For $1,000,000,000
Another interesting part of our conversation revolved around prayer. She claimed that she prayed for someone’s safety while they were driving in a storm. That person made it home safe and sound and my friend gave all the credit to the prayer she made to God. She refused to admit that it could have possibly been a coincidence and that even if she didn’t pray, her friend would have arrived home in one piece anyways. I asked her about prayers that do not get answered the way she would have wanted. The answer I received was that “it’s God’s plan not to answer my prayer”. Interesting. I thought to myself that if she prayed for an end to world hunger tomorrow and it didn’t happen, would that excuse hold any weight? God would then be allowing the tremendous and vile suffering of millions of men, women and children, all for some plan that no one knows about.
There wasn’t much to talk about when it came to heaven or hell. Apparently God will judge us when we die and decide where we go. I asked why, if God is the creator and most powerful, did he not just eliminate hell altogether. Why punish the evil in the afterlife when he has the power to do so in real life? And just where exactly is heaven and hell? These were questions she admitted she could not answer and while I admired her honesty on that, I looked at her with incredulity that she just blindly believes it.
The Santa “Clause”
Santa Claus is not real just because I say he is. He is not any more alive just because I have faith that he brings children gifts every 25th of December. Many historical writings talk of him and I do not read and hold them to be completely true and accurate. It is difficult to understand why an intelligent person, such as my friend, would choose to entertain this same way of thinking when it comes to something as significant and far-reaching as God, Prayer and heaven and hell. Like I said before, I am Agnostic. I am humble enough to admit that I do not know the answers and inquisitive enough to try and find them. As it stands, all of this rests on the balance of probabilities. The question of whether there is a God ranks very low on that probability list. As much so as the Big Bang Theory. I genuinely feel sorry for people who are too arrogant to admit that their belief in an invisible being that allows so much death and destruction on his own creation and the story behind it, could possibly not be true. That arrogance will not benefit you but only blind you to reality.