Ugo Cei asks “Is all religion moronic?“
Not usually a topic for this blog, but I’ve been thinking about this recently myself and wanted to comment. And not because I’m a South Park fan (it’s been many years since I watched it and I was a little surprised they were still trotting out new episodes 🙂
I actually agree with the original viewpoint that it’s hypocritical to have different standards. People shouldn’t be judged by other people for their beliefs, and they all deserve respect no matter how much they disagree with your own.
Ugo goes on to say, “But then I started wondering: Is there any difference between believing that we are inhabited by the souls of billions of aliens who were murdered 75 millions of years ago and believing that Jesus’s mother was a virgin when she gave birth to him? Both are clearly made up stories…”
I wondered what makes them “clearly made up”? Is it a lack of any evidence? In the case of Jesus, is it simply that the evidence relies on the miraculous?
I definitely think that faith is required in any religion. However, I’d disagree that religion is always “based on unproven statements that must be believed on faith alone, suspending all rational discussions”. Religions dramatically affect the way people live their lives, and should be held up equally to close scrutiny. There should be no room for blind faith. It’s true, God’s existence can only be proven by starting with the assumption that he exists. That certainly requires a leap of faith to believe! But I think it’s important that faith has a basis in real evidence.
So, I’m a Christian, yet I agree with the blog title – does that mean I’m a moron? I sure hope not, but perhaps I should explain why, just to be sure.
For me, Christianity explains the world I see around me. Yes, faith is required, but it’s backed up by the Bible and historical evidence, and by evidence from the natural world – some things that you “just know” to be true from your birth without being given an explanation, such as the existence of good and evil. Most of all, it’s evident in the difference it has made in my own life and the lives of those around me.
It still seems like a big leap. But contrast that to the leap of faith required to assume that there is no God at all. Which is the greater miracle – a virgin birth from a God that created the whole process, or an ordered universe that came into existence from nothingness by chance? In either case the evidence will only get you so far before you need to stretch your boundaries.
Now, to the point of the blog title, yes – all religion is moronic. This, of course, depends on how “religion” is defined, but I find it is commonly used to represent people trying to get to God, or otherwise doing something themselves. However, if a powerful God exists (or another supreme being), to think that there is anything we could do to reach out and affect them is completely self-absorbed, and just plain stupidity. Tradition, ceremonies, rules, gifts – all would be completely insufficient to really have any effect.
Religious activity is usually a means of disciplined self improvement. In that regard, it always fails! There are countless examples to be seen in the world today. They were always destined to fail, though – a powerful God that wants justice can demand no less than perfection. Now, I’ve always known I should be doing good, but still manage to mess it up daily. I know that I can never be perfect. But there’s no such thing as “good enough” on a scale of good and evil. Otherwise, where would the line possibly be drawn?
This affirms my belief in Christianity – it’s really not about “religion”, or anything I can do. An endless pursuit of trying to become perfect would be hopeless. But, if the Bible is to be believed, then admitting that I can’t do it myself and asking forgiveness is all I have to do – and in fact, all I can do. God wants honesty, integrity, fairness, and a relationship. Everything else (ceremonies, tradition, obedience to rules) should only be our expression of thanks, not a chore only tolerated to score points or receive some blessing. That, to me, seems real – it’s an appropriate response to a powerful God rather than a half-baked attempt at trying to do more good things.
There’ll be no reward for the quantity or quality of a person’s religiousness. Rather, by admitting fault and having faith, the reward is that God will never turn his back on you. The alternative? To turn my back on God, and eventually get exactly what I want – a lonely world without God, stripped of anything that was good. Nothing beautiful, nothing fun, nothing satisfying. Or worse, complete non-existence. I know which I’d prefer.
If that’s not the truth, then I may well be a moron. Just another 28 year old with an imaginary friend. But in my opinion, it would have been far more moronic to pass up a chance at that free gift of forgiveness, to risk ending up spending eternity completely alone, kicking myself for being so stubborn.
What do you think?