If you speak about yours, I’ll tell you about mine

If you speak about yours, I’ll tell you about mine

It is well known to those who know me and those who read this blog that I oppose religion. Especially Catholocism because of the pain it inflicted upon me and others. But my opposition is to all religions. And because of that I regularly get asked why I can’t accept that religion might be good for some people?

Firstly because I don’t believe that. Plain and simple, I believe that religion is one of the greatest harms to society both historically and presently. I believe that the illusion that religion offers prevents people from truly experiencing life and they themselves are meant to experience it.

I could offer many examples of this, but I will offer this one for clarity. The illusion of an afterlife offers people both hope and fear. It offers them the hope of immortality in a paradise as long as they follow certain rules and guidelines set out in ancient texts, decided over by other humans. If they don’t follow those rules, that hope turns to fear as they are threatened with a version of hell that will condemn them to pain for eternity.

And whilst that all sounds awful, that illusion sold by most major religions is stronger than the truth. The truth that we have a single life and at the end, we will die permanently.

Death Anxiety

Death anxiety is one of the building blocks of religion and is one of the most powerful weapons. Instead of people embracing the reality of death and therefore embracing the full potential of life, they lock themselves into the illusions that faith and religion have to offer.

They reject the effort to self-actualise and instead focus on living a life under the rules of their chosen or enforced religion.

That is just one example as to why I believe religion is bad for society and humanity (just wait till I get onto their use of shame!)

I have done my work on this…

My second point is that I accept that people believe religion may be good for them in their lives. I know people like my family and certain friends who believe that religion is a true benefit in their lives.

How can I tell someone that they are wrong about that?

You may try to point out that my first point does that very thing. If you think that the first point contradicts that second statement, I would say you have missed a fundamental point.

My first point is my personal belief. A belief crafted both by personal experience, pain and trauma as well as over a decade of reading, research and discussion. I have done my work on this topic and my conclusion is that religion in varying severities around the world is a stain on humanity.

People believe differently

If someone believes differently then that is their business. It only ever becomes my issues when one of two things occur.

Folk either pity me or convert me. Despite the apparent unspoken rule that you do not discuss religion when you first meet someone, I experience religion in the public arena constantly.

In fact, religions often use the public arena to spread their message whether it be in legislation, schools, public events or door knocking sermons. They stand on the street handing out flyers and pamphlets. They rule entire countries and have positions of power and respect in our societies. Religions are not oppressed. They often oppress each other and everyone in between but overall you will find religion is not oppressed.

And yet when I express my opinion, I am called narrow-minded. I am pitied because I no longer believe in the illusions offered by faith and religion. People want to. convert me to their chosen religion.

If you do that, I will give you my unvarnished opinion

I do not need your pity. It is not sad that I don’t agree with any of your illusions. It is not ‘awe’ that I believe that this is my only life. I am content. I am happy to understand that because I can focus on living this one life properly instead of concerning myself with a fictional next one.

And if you are foolish enough to try and convert me, especially if you are aware of my pain, then you deserve the reply you receive.

Religion, in my case Catholicism, and their doctrines on homosexuality almost drove me to suicide on two occasions. there is deep-rooted pain involving religion that reemerges when converters come calling.

That is the point. I am not trying to convert anyone. Atheism is literally the absence of belief in a higher power and religion. You cannot convert someone to that. It is a journey each atheist has made because you shed the belief rather than gain a new one.

I am not telling you not to believe in god, I am stating why I don’t.

My journey

Irvin Yalom wrote that we should “never take away anything if you have nothing better to offer.”

That means that people are at different stages in their life and it is their personal choice what direction they take. My journey out of religion took almost a decade. That began with a genuine catalyst to change which was religions opposition to who I was naturally. It took a huge amount of work and I cannot force anyone to depart their religious faith if they are not ready to do so.

It is they who must make that choice if they ever reach a. point to do so. Maybe the religious and. their apologists could learn a thing or two about that.

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