I have been told my whole life that believing in God brings peace. I don’t know about you, but life can be fairly full-on at times and finding a little spot of peace sounds like a really good thing!
When you believe you are protected, fully understood, divinely appointed to be alive and on the earth, saved for an eternal destiny and have the ability to interact with a divine being, you will probably get a sense of comfort and peace.
Alpha has been running at the church I attend (yes, I know I should leave, and I will eventually – one thing at a time) and it has really annoyed me to see how emotionally manipulating all of the official content is. Pulling on people sense of worth, regret, purpose and hopes.
The issue I have, if there is no God, no matter what fables we kid ourselves with, we ultimately don’t have worth, purpose, hopes and regret. But that doesn’t mean we can’t craft those things for our life and the lives of those around us. I think we should probably even have regrets because regrets enable us to try new things, to evaluate the decisions and actions we took and to realise there was another way or at least other possible outcomes that would have been better. Sam Harris touches on this in his book ‘The Moral Landscape‘, which I am currently reading and will be reviewing in a few weeks’ time.
I wonder if it is impossible to live in the reality of a fully hardened atheistic outlook, sometimes referred to as ‘nihilism’. We can say things like, ‘I don’t care’, or ‘I do what I want’, and we see psychopaths and others literally do this, but for most of us, we need hope, purpose and worth to push forwards from today into tomorrow.
We find these things all over our life. Partners, jobs, children, hobbies, friendships – these kinds of things give us the nuggets we need to live full lives. We can also take steps to improve the lives of our fellow humans, which again we know will feed into the lives of those yet to come and hopefully make things better for all future generations. But this doesn’t mitigate the fact that one-day humanity will stop being, and everything we have strived and longed for will come to an end. But I still think right now is worth living to the fullest we can live it to.
It is interesting to see how an evolved species, such as us, has risen to the position it is within today. This process has been one where humanity has driven countless species to extinction. Which just re-affirms the fable that we are special and that we are the only living things on this planet who are worthy of this planet. You might not think that you think you are the most important person or are in the most important species on this planet, but more often than not humanity, or an individuals’ actions show that we do think in fact think this.
We find ourselves consciously aware of our consciousness. We are in a privileged position to see where we have come from and where we could be going to, and therefore we are in a privileged position to make positive movements for all life we find upon the Earth.
Christianity says this is because God created us to be this for the world, but evolution shows we got to this position through death, meaninglessness, genocide and purposeless dead ends (I use the term ‘we’ here to denote everything brought about by evolution). Say for instances some of the human-like ape creatures that were similar to us, but that humans didn’t evolve from – they share a common ancestry sure, but they branch off. What level of consciousness did they have? We don’t know – they were here, they had communities, they had tools, they had families, they breathed, they lived, and they all died. Did they understand they were conscious? Are they also created in the image of God? Did they know about God? If God is real, did He give a damn?
Christianity grants peace, and it is very comfortable to rest within religious peace because as a religion it provides answers that grant security, worth and purpose. Evolution doesn’t give us peace; it gives us scientific theories & facts. The human story is filled with horror, but through it we can stand in awe of the path things have taken. A path no one thing had control over.
I find it far more amazing to believe we have come about by chance, rather than a divine being clicking their fingers and creating us. You see if a divine being has created humans through intelligent design (ID) along the path of evolution. Then as far as I can tell, they are an evil and monstrous horror, and the greatest one that could possibly exist. Sure, go and enjoy worshipping them on Sunday…
Christianity grants peace, but if you scratch the surface you begin to see it is founded on a heap of hopes and raging emotional manipulation. I am yet to find someone who has come to Christ because of hard scientific theories and/or facts. I can forgive the previous generations for being unable to have scientific reasoning, but we have science today, we have for the last few hundred years. We use science to explain – everything. Why do we so willingly suspend science for the eternal truths that our ancestors claimed to be true? Why can’t we see it is just a claim?
The best we have are philosophical arguments for a deity starting things off, but as Christopher Hitchens says in most of his debates with theists, ‘all the work is still ahead of you to prove the Christian God is real’. You need faith to believe in anything in life, but the levels of faith required to believe in a specific deity are astronomical.
Here’s a thought experiment for you: If God was real, He could write it on every human heart, and He could still give us free will.
Rather we have no proof He exists, and probably no free will anyway.
Peace is a short-lived feeling, it doesn’t last. You see nothing was created to last because nothing was created.
I can’t prove a God didn’t create the universe, but I can assess a lot from that moment on and all I can see is a godless reality where human peace lasts but a moment in the timeline that is the cosmos. We will be gone tomorrow, and our peace goes away with us.
I will write more on this in the future because I do think we can, in fact, find peace when we begin to understand all we are as humans are the ‘contents of consciousness and our experience of this’. That’s another thing that Sam Harris looks at in his Waking Up app – something I use every day and feel so fortunate to live in a time when it’s available to all.
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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.
Podcast: If you like what you read then you could always check out the podcast ‘When Belief Dies’, it is available on all major podcasting platforms or you can listen via YouTube. Dave and I upload and publish via Anchor FM each Wednesday at 7 am.
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 🙂