Who is really more arrogant – the believer who is oblivious to science or the atheist cynical of faith? It’s undoubtedly a tie.
Many spiritual leaders and likely an equal number of scientists look forward to the day when science and religion will meet and achieve consensus. Although I would welcome that possibility, the likelihood appears elusive, at least for now. Religion seems to require too much dogma and blind obedience to appeal a rational, scientific mind. And science seems to be too quick to discount that spiritual things must be discerned on the spiritual level.
Note: Forgive the self-plagiarism here, but I’m going to lift a section from my book Radical Rebirth book here, to set the stage from the discussion that follows.
I get asked frequently why I’m so hard on organized religion. Most who ask the question believe I’m on a crusade to convert the world to atheism. In actuality, that’s the last thing I want to do. There are many people whose faith nourishes their lives and souls in wondrous ways, and that’s a beautiful thing to behold. Years ago, I was attending a Christmas Eve service at the Unity on the Bay church in Miami. The lights were off, with the only illumination provided by the candles 800 of us were holding while singing “Silent Night.” I remember thinking at that moment that if religion was just some crazy shit made up by humans – it’s was some pretty good shit.
I don’t have the slightest idea whether god exists. No one does. It's an issue I think about a lot because it meets some of my criteria for favorite questions:
So, I have zero issues whether you believe in a supernatural entity or don’t. The rational, logical, analytical, compulsive, addictive, controlling aspects of me rebel against the idea of giving away my power. I fiercely protect and defend the power to choose my thoughts and create my future. But truth is, there are moments for each of us when we desperately need to give away our power. Many former addicts point to the moment they recognized a power greater than themselves as the turning point in their recovery. At some point, all of us need to choose powerlessness – to voluntarily surrender our power and break down sobbing in the arms of another, allowing them to be powerful for us. For many people religion provides this outlet.
My fight is not with god but organized religion. The fight is driven by my desire to combat the two most destructive and dangerous beliefs religions propagate:
It’s like your mom promising if you eat your broccoli, you’ll get ice cream, so you choke down the green stuff only to discover there is no Ben & Jerry’s. Millions of people are unconsciously rushing through what they believe is a prologue to their life but is actually a prologue to their death. And there aren’t many situations more tragic than a life not lived.
If you have a faith that enhances and enriches your life, you are most certainly blessed. But if your faith causes you to hold back, limit yourself, or shower judgement upon others, it isn’t serving you.
A belief that views humankind as poor, weak, and afraid is a negative belief. A belief that the person you can become has already been predetermined is a toxic belief. A belief that you have a creator that created you in bondage to remain there, is an extremely destructive belief. Beliefs like these come from a combination of brainwashing, lazy thinking, and low self-esteem. They are born from blind obedience to doctrines and dogma.
Doctrines and dogma should never be worshiped but meticulously, thoroughly, and methodically questioned.
What kind of god would create humankind in a predetermined bondage and for what purpose? If you believe in that type of god, you forsake the greatest gift humanity has been blessed with. The human right (whether god-given or inherent) to learn and grow; to discover oneself. One of the religious parables which has survived for 2,000 years is that of the prodigal son. And what is the lesson of that, if not that we must make our own discoveries?
Please. Take responsibility for your own life. And live it with the prosperity that is your birthright.
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