Okay, let's talk.
As a Christian I believed in GOD, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, in angels and demons, in prophesy, in coming judgement, in heaven and hell. I believed in creation, in a 6000-year-old earth, in Adam and Eve, in Noah and his ark, in Elijah and in Elisha. I believed I was chosen by God for eternal life, in supernatural healings, in words of knowledge, in speaking in tongues, in predestination, in freewill, in the Bible, and in so many other things that this list could go on, and on, and on.
I believed in all these things and thought anyone who did not believe in them was a fool. I pitied them. When I met others who believed in other religions, or in no religion, I was mystified as to how they could not see the truth of my CHRISTIANITY. In my mind, Christianity was so unique and so superior to all other religions that demon possession, or GOD having blinded their eyes, were the only explanations as to why others could not see clearly on the issue.
When I read mythology I would wonder how those other people could believe such bizarre stories. How could a rational person believe in such odd things? Somehow I wouldn't see that the stories I believed were pretty damn odd as well.
When I would see a bag-lady or some burn-out walking down the street, talking to themselves, I would judge them as mentally ill. When I would overhear children talking to imaginary friends, I would think they were cute, but very immature. When I heard people in church, including me, talking to invisible JESUS, I thought that was perfectly normal.
I thought that way because I was taught by my religion to think that way. Usually I was told that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship — a relationship with Jesus Christ, the invisible god-man.
Well I haven't seen HIM yet and as far as I can tell I was only talking to myself all those times I was on my knees.
The mind is powerful and the power of belief is quite persuasive. People who believe in themselves are generally more successful then people who do not believe in themselves. People who believe they are going to survive a surgery have a much better chance then those who believe they are going to die on the operation table.
Believing there is a GOD gives a certain strength not available to the existentialist. In a similar way, believing in Santa Claus gives a certain magic to Christmas morning not available to the non-Santa-believing child. It may be a certain strength or magic to believe in something, but believing in something does not make that something true or real.
It is a terrifying thought to many people to think that the universe is a cold impersonal place with no real plan for the future. If there is no GOD then we are just as likely to become extinct someday as the dinosaurs did ages ago. If there is no eternal plan for the residents on this planet, then one day the sun will die, and along with it, all life here on Earth.
Believing in GOD might be more comforting, giving the believer a certain worldview that is full of eternal hopes and possibilities, but again, believing in things doesn't make those things true.
Just as a child eventually has to leave behind his fantasies of Santa and the Easter Bunny, eventually we humans must abandon the pretend world of gods, heaven, hell and so on.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)