In his song, “Imagine,” John Lennon wrote:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Well, leave it to none other than Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, to pose a bunch of questions about one of my favorite topics: Religion.
Warning. I’m an atheist and I have some strong views about religion. If you are one who tends to get offended when someone questions your believe system, I suggest you stop reading here.
With that out of the way, here are the provocative questions about religion that Rory posed, along with my answers:
Would our world be any different to today [if religion just simply never existed]?
I believe it would be different…and better, with one big caveat. The planet would be seriously overpopulated — even more than it already is — because millions of people who, over the ages, were killed in the name of God and religion would not have perished.
Would the world have begun without some kind of belief system in place?
Of course it would have begun. The world (i.e., the planet Earth) is four and a half billion years old and modern human beings have only existed for only about 200,000 years. So, since humans are relatively new compared to the planet, and it’s humans who have “belief systems,” the planet did just fine without any kind of belief system for billions of years. You’re welcome.
Is religion really needed?
As an atheist, my answer is no. Not for me, anyway. But for some, religion or faith or belief in something bigger than themselves provides comfort and solace. My philosophy on religion and belief in God is “whatever floats your boat.” Just don’t try to sink my boat because it doesn’t look like yours.
Many already say that ‘something’ would have been created to fill that void and if that is the case, what would that have been?
Humans are always seeking answers to questions, some of which, even given present knowledge, may be unanswerable. Hence, throughout human history, humans have invented gods and supernatural beings to fill in the blanks and to answer the unanswerable. So yes, based upon human nature and the need for answers and to belong, some sort of belief system would have been created.
Organized religion, as it exists today, though, is designed to control, manage, and manipulate their flocks, and to create and promote group-think built around superstitions and mythologies. It also tends to divide us based upon our specific set of beliefs, rituals, and practices, rather than unite us based upon our commonalities as human beings.
Organized religion also reinforces the notion of “the other” with respect to those who don’t share the same superstitions and mythologies that they do. That is why so many religions have as their mission converting “the other” to their own beliefs, rituals, and dogma. And those efforts to convert the “heretics” and “infidels” can be violent and deadly. And, to me, that’s not a good thing. In fact, I think it’s the most negative and destructive aspect of organized religion.
Okay, rant over. But this is what you get when you ask an atheist about religion. What are your thoughts?