Last post I created quite a ruckus when I said that organized religion provides hope to many, but it is false hope based on superstitions from the Stone Age. And the inspiration it brings doesn’t help you build internal worth and self-esteem, but instead involves out-sourcing your belief to a sky god, in the hopes he/she/it will protect you. I promised to explore the subject deeper with this post.
Julia wrote asking me what I meant by false hopes. This is actually a loaded question, because you can’t disprove a negative. And I have no desire, to “prove” that the hopes believers have are delusional. My reason to mention them in the previous posts is that many of these beliefs are self-destructive or otherwise harmful to your prosperity.
Each religion promises its followers certain perks and benefits. (These are the hopes that believers have for their faith.) Basically these religions are operating unregulated Cosmic Frequent Flier Programs. If you acquire enough points (for the stuff you do or don’t, in this lifetime), you win the free award trip (salvation, nirvana, reincarnation, 72 virgins, eternal life, heaven, etc.). I’d rather take my chances trading in my miles to Delta for an award trip to Hawaii, than hoping for eternal life in a promise from Jerry Falwell, Jr. But that’s just me.
There are people who believe Noah carried two dinosaurs on the ark, Indra was born fully grown from his mother’s side (though they can’t agree if he had two or four arms), Buddha was born and instantly took seven steps to proclaim, “I alone am the World-Honored One!,” or that Jonah swam around in the belly of a large fish for three days before popping out and buying a timeshare in Key West.
The problem with all of these captivating myths is they can’t keep the story straight, and so they don’t stand the test of reason and critical thinking.
Buddhist scholars acknowledge that story of Buddha’s birth may have borrowed from Hindu texts of the birth of Indra from the Rig Veda. After Alexander the Great conquered central Asia there was extensive intermixing of Buddhism with Hellenic ideas. There is also speculation that the tale of the Buddha’s childbirth was “upgraded” when traders returned from the Middle East with stories of the birth of the baby Jesus.
The Buddha birth myth certainly sounds like a story about the birth of a God. But even Buddhism says the Buddha was not a god. And the bold pronouncement, “I alone am the World-Honored One” is in direct conflict with the Buddhist teachings on nontheism and anatman.
There are about 1.5 billion people who believe the Bible is the literal word of God, even though there is no evidence to support this, and is in fact, great evidence to disprove this – even in the Bible itself. Of course there are about 1.5 billion other people who know the Koran to be the perfect word of the creator of the universe. And the Prophet Mohammad explicitly stated that Jesus was not divine. So one thing is certain: of these three billion people who are certain about their truth – at least half have to be wrong. Likewise, the Veda, which many believe is sanctified, is the product of many authors and shows numerous signs of having undergone considerable revisions over time.
As we can see, the hopes and inspiration that most of these faiths promise, are in conflict with the other faiths. So as far as Julia’s question, by simple deduction we can assume most of them are false. And if we do much critical thinking, can posit that perhaps all of them are.
Of course, the fervent believers are not daunted by all these conflicting beliefs. Each religion believes they have discovered the one true god and all of the others are deceived. Certainly there will be many who believe that the fact that I am raising these questions, actually reveals me to be Satan in disguise. The thought that I would be so powerful is hysterical to me, since I’ve been trying to work a sesame seed stuck in my teeth for the last 30 minutes. (Of course, if I really am Satan, that’s exactly what I would say…)
I certainly have no problem with anyone believing any of the beliefs above. Just as I have no problem with the people who believe Elvis is alive, we didn’t really land on the moon, or that the earth is flat. Likewise, the people who still believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, or the Easter Bunny. But can we agree that a rational person in control of their mental faculties couldn’t believe any of these things? Depending on the specific myth, they can only be believed by someone who is somewhere on the scale between irrational and psychologically disordered.
However, as I stated in the original post, if people find comfort in their beliefs, I’m happy for them, and not on a mission to change them...
I only opine on the subject when people ask why they aren’t healthy, happy, and/or prosperous. In these cases, I am compelled to point out the cause and effect relationship between their foundational beliefs and the results they are manifesting in life.
I believe that organized religion is the most powerful anti-prosperity force on earth.
And that’s where we’ll pick up on the next post. Until then, would love to see your thoughts below.