(You know what would be fabulous? If this blog (and therefore my life) had taken a nice, linear trajectory of ‘Oh! Somethings missing, what is it?’ ‘Hmmm, ultimate purpose and meaning’, ‘Oh look, here is is!’ Discuss. And the kind reader could enjoy the satisfaction of a joyful ‘transformation of the individual’ type scenario. But, unfortunately (for all of us), that doesn’t seem to be happening. We have a kind of ‘two-step-forward, three-step-back’ kind of look going on at the moment. Believe me, it irritates me more than it does you).
I’ve discussed my deep-down love for John Shore in the past; when I was just starting the whole ‘surely there must be more to this Christianity caper than the literalist bigots that get so much press’ caper, there he was. Advocating genuine neighbourly love-idge and just getting on board being nice to people, dammit. He had a conversion experience that irritates me, quite frankly (basically because he had it and I didn’t) but I’m learning not to hold that kind of thing against people (You can read about it here).
He has written several books; short and pitchy, with plenty of food for though and perfectly designed for a kindle download.
In his book ‘Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang’ which is basically a book dictated by God, to John (told you he was a bloody lucky chosen one) with 9 arguments that are often used against religion addressed. The problem of evil, which is a popular one (and oddly enough not something that I have a huge issue with) to why it’s the Christian God, in particular, rather than just a ‘God’ in general (this is something I’m going to have to come back to).
There was one particular quote that really struck me, though;
“…..not believing in a God means that you’re stuck being as alone in this world as anyone can be- or at least feeling you are, which amounts to the same thing. Nobody is lonelier than an atheist.”
Which, when it comes down to it, probably sums up the reason why people search for religion in the first place. Is this how my personal journey started? Hell yes it most certainly is.
But is the fact a person is simple lonely enough to base an entire system of belief on? Well, no, of course not and that’s when my brain starts the little ‘faith lemming dance’ of sabotage and I start with the ‘buts’.
It’s not as if I’m not inventing a belief system though, is it?. I’m trying to jump on the bandwagon of a belief system that the majority of people during the history of the world have found fairly convincing and fulfilling. And one of the things that I really hate about the ‘new athiest’ wave is the superior and arrogant stance that is so often taken; the paternalistic ‘pat-patting’ on the head of believers.
If it was honestly about just making ourselves feel better about infinity, life, the Universe and all that, would faith have the sustained richness that it obviously does? How can we explain the transcendental experiences that have defined so many lives?
Meh. I really should rename this blog ‘Woman Asks Too Many Rhetorical Questions’.
Why do you think that we have religion? Because it makes us feel good, or because it defines an ultimate reality, and therefore could not have been avoided in our evolution?