A few blog posts ago I mentioned Richard Feynman’s famous quote; “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
From what limited research I have time to do, I cannot find any source or reference to Feynman actually saying this, though he seems to have expressed similar thoughts without using the famous sentence mentioned above. This quote can be found everywhere though, strange how easy it is to put words into someone’s mouth.
Anyway, Daniel Dennett in the first chapter of his book ‘Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon‘, has this to say; ‘Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned‘. He doesn’t attribute this to Feynman, and it is definitely different when delivered with Dennett’s philosophy spin, but it does sound as if it is from the same fold as the Feynman quote.
It seems that a lot of people have said similar things about religion. Religion seems to distribute answers to life’s massive questions, answers that appear watertight at first but over time if you prod and poke, the cracks begin to appear.
I have said it repeatedly, like a battle cry. Just because you want something to be true does not mean that it is true. Even if it provides possible answers to the questions you direct at the world around you.
Could religion have been created to provide a constructive narrative upon which we can build in the answers to the questions we have about the world in which we find ourselves?
If we step back and ask the questions that religion claims to have answers for, but remove the unfounded spiritual claims from our lips, we find a whole host of the questions we thought we had settled appear to be unanswered and leave a whole host of uncomfortable gaps before us.
What we do with the uncomfortable gaps says it all.
I found these uncomfortable gaps because the answers given to me from Christians began to crumble when I asked tough questions of them. Now, I can turn a blind eye, skim over the crumbling answers and pretend as if nothing is wrong, thus filling in the gaps. But that just proves that when put to the question, faith in Christ doesn’t stand up to the world around us, at least not in the naively simple way presented to us on a Sunday morning at church.
I am not going to be that person. I want to question, and I want to push in and allow reason and physical evidence (the only evidence we have by the way), to determine the questions and the answers and in the end, my worldview.
We are striving to explain morality, reason, consciousness, life from nothing and similarly massive subjects, but it isn’t as simple as making up a story to keep us happy as we live life. It is going to take work, work that we may not see complete in our lifetimes but work that is essential regardless of the results of this work landing whilst we are alive.
We need to wake up and see the construction of religion for what it is, something we have painted across the canvas of reality and which we use to dictate and live our lives through. There is a host of evidence to back up the claim that we are random chances living on an unimportant planet within a remarkably boring galaxy in the universe.
Does that make you uneasy? This uneasy feeling seems to swell and then retreat within me moment by moment when I stop and think about it.
‘Moreover, if you accept the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course: it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions of temperature and so forth which are suitable to protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon the sort of thing to which the earth is tending – – something dead, cold, and lifeless. I am told that that sort of view is depressing, and people will sometimes tell you that if they believed that, they would not be able to go on living. Do not believe it; it is all nonsense. Nobody really worries much about what is going to happen millions of years hence. Even if they think they are worrying much about that, they are really deceiving themselves. They are worried about something much more mundane, or it may merely be a bad digestion; but nobody is really seriously rendered unhappy by the thought of something that is going to happen to this world millions and millions of years hence.’
Russell, Bertrand. Why I Am Not a Christian (Kindle Locations 102-110). Lulu.com. Kindle Edition.
The chances of you being here right now are infinitesimally minute. But you are here. You have the capacity to comprehend the very thing (the universe) that gave you the ability to be here and comprehend at all. Yes, that should blow the mind and wake you up to how incredible the life you have available to you right now really is.
We need to question everything, to learn, grow and reason. If you have answers that are not allowed to be questioned, then you are not actually living on anything more than a hope in a dream. It could be due to fear of deconstruction that you refuse to question the answers told to you. Or maybe someone has told you that the deeper you go, the more likely you are to lose your faith and will end up in Hell. Or maybe you are doubting after asking questions and you fear you will lead others down the rabbit hole as they realise you are questioning and themselves begin to ask why they just accept what they are told are the answers.
But you are not alone. As I have mentioned before, we can journey this with other people. We don’t have to be alone; we can begin to question together. Life is not meant to be a destination; it was always meant to be a journey.
So, start taking small steps forwards and ask the tough questions.
It is time to rip the bandage that is a religion from the presupposed wound of reality and allow time, thought and actual reality to draw us along as it has always done. This needs to be done without allowing the canvas we have painted to dictate its religious ‘truths’ that our forefathers created, and we have expounded. They did this all to explain the questions that this universe was (possibly) never intended to provide answers to in the first place.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
Time Frame: This blog is roughly six to nine months behind where I currently am at in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
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I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂