OK so having eased myself in to life as a blogger, I feel the need to digress once again from my usual subject matter.
This is a touchy subject and I want to be clear from the start that whatever my own views are, I firmly believe in the right of an individual to hold whatever beliefs he/she wishes to, so long as they don’t harm anyone else. Nothing I go into here is intended to cause any upset or offence to anyone. I suppose if anything, in writing this I’m examining my own stance on this issue.
I’ve been watching a number of short programmes and debates online recently and doing a fair bit of reading in-between. The subject? Is there a god or not (nothing major then). Many of these involved the prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, who talks an awful lot of sense, even if I am a little concerned by his status as something of a celebrity atheist, there’s no denying the logic behind a lot of what he has to say.
I was raised as quite a strict Catholic. I’ll summarise this simply by saying we were taught that God was good and all good things were his doing, we had to go to confession and mass each week and observe all customs and holy days of obligation (fasting an hour before communion and only one meal on a Good Friday, preferably fish) as a child I’ll freely admit I found this a complete pain. But it was only late into my teens that I began to truly question what it was I was doing each Sunday and that has developed into a much deeper consideration of what, if anything, is out there.
I’ve been through some tough times in the past and there’ve certainly been moments where I feel I’ve leaned on religion, hoping there was something out there looking out for me. That I’ve come through those, how much is thanks to religion and how much simple chance?
My Dad has a saying when he can’t find something, let’s use the example of a screwdriver that has gone missing right before a job. “If I can’t find it when I need it, I may as well not have it”, can this be applied to a deity? If we ask for help and it never comes, why do we go on asking? There are many out in the world who pray each day for basic needs, safety and freedom from awful situations, yet their plights are seemingly ignored and there continues to be suffering in the world. And yet these people don’t all lose faith en-masse.
It might be argued that whilst religion would have us believe mankind is a godly construct, in a modern secular world, god is a man-made construct, in that god is something there is no evidence for and that man is approaching other men asking them to believe in this god they know about through word of mouth and man-authored scripture. There is literally nothing else in the world that so many are prepared to believe in with so little evidence.
At my core, I wish and hope there is a god, that there is something after this life and that I’m not just writing this as worm food in-waiting, I find it profoundly disappointing that it seems less and less likely as I get older, so I suppose you could say what I’m becoming is a reluctant atheist. An involuntary realist.
What do you think when reading this? Do we owe it to ourselves to examine our consciences as to how it was we feel we got here and where it is we are going? I may write more on this in future, I want to do a piece on war too, so more light reading on the way!