Recently, I have become absolutely enthralled with the comedic and political antics of Bill Maher. How I completely missed just how in tune this guy is with the American people’s heartbeat, I’ll never know. But, that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because something he said in one of his many hilarious and informative segments on “Real Time with Bill Maher” aroused in me something that I thought long-since gone. Bill Maher doesn’t believe in god. (Notice the lower-case, please, it’s there for a reason)
Now, this simple fact alone shouldn’t be enough to convert the enslaved masses to atheism and if it, indeed, converted you then shame on you for letting it. But, what I’m about to say just might do the trick and, if it does, congratulations for taking time to do what most Americans seem incapable of doing in this pundit age…thinking.
More now than a few days back, a man named Richard Dawkins released a book entitled “The God Delusion”. In this book, the author so carefully and cautiously took the reader through the jumbled bog that is atheism. He explained the advantages it possessed over organized religion and went even farther to explain the detrimental effect religion has had on this world of ours. I read that book and found it to be ridiculously boring.
So, it was on that great day of boredom and confusion that I put all thoughts of where I stood on the religious spectrum on the back-burner of self discovery.
And then, I saw Bill Maher.
Which leads me to right now. I will not, in this column preach to you about the reasons you should not believe in god. I will not do this because, I don’t know why YOU shouldn’t believe in god. I can merely tell you why I don’t believe in god.
As a child, I was implanted with religion very early. But, somehow, it never stuck. All the fairy tales of arcs and exoduses, sacrifices and stone tablets, prophets and followers, deaths and resurrections just seemed a little…foolish. And it is in that spirit that I must refer again to Mr. Maher. You see, I never understood why these stories that everyone else lived their lives by just didn’t work for me. And now, thanks to Bill, I know.
The reason they didn’t sink in and the reason religion is inherently flawed, in my humble opinion, is one in the same.
It’s not the religion itself I don’t want to believe in, it’s the people telling me the religion that I can’t believe in.
How could I? We live in a world where next door’s calm and sensitive Mr. Smith shows up on Dateline trying to seduce our kids into sexual deviancy. And the worst part of it is, Mr. Smith is actually Priest Smith or Rabbi Smith or Reverend Smith. They have told us all of our lives that this truth they have discovered is absolute and incontrovertible. Yet, at every turn, they seek to tarnish that truth themselves, all the while begging for the masses swarming around them like pagan moths to believe in their self-corrupted truths.
But, let’s take people out of it, for just a moment, shall we?
One cannot merely assume that a reasonable alternative to religion is no religion without sufficient proof, the consequences could be dire. Unfortunately, however, truth and religion don’t mix. Even the most devout, pious, faithful people of any religion will tell you that they can’t actually PROVE that their god exists, much less that he/she/it/they/the artist formally known as god, is superior to all other he/she/it/they/the other artists formally known as god. So, the lack of, not merely sufficient proof, but any proof whatsoever should deter you from the path of the “righteous” just a bit.
No? Well, then, how about this?
God wrote a book. And in that book, he told a wonderful tale about reaching a plane of existence much higher than previously thought to be possible/he told of a war-mongering prophet who was superior to all other prophets and all who disagree should be slaughtered/he told of giving birth to his own son in human flesh and then sending him on a suicide mission so that 2,000 years after his death his followers could fight against more people trying to go on more suicide missions et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Now, then, if the obvious glare of sheer ridiculousness doesn’t strike a chord, think about this. God does not, has not and will probably never write a book. Even if he did, how could he possibly ever beat the best selling book of all time, the bible? Now, I know a lot of people are going to say something about god being the one who wrote the bible, to which I retort, you’re a moron and stop reading now.
We all know that humanity has done some horrid things to itself in the name of something that it cannot prove, but that point has been talked about time and time again and I do not wish to feed that pointless flame.
The only positive on religion, the only upside in the onslaught of metaphorically indecipherable rhetoric is that it gives people hope. But, at what price?
Would it not be much simpler and much more productive to have hope in and believe in something that you can see, touch, hear, smell and actually prove the existence of?
I know a thing like that would be hard to find, but let’s try together. Let’s see…something productive…something that would benefit each individual…something tangible and accessible…something provable…hmmm…how about yourself?
And so, in this great age of scientific and cultural discovery all I ask is what Bill Maher asks, what Oprah asks, what even the Pope asks. I ask that you question. If you find, as I have, that in a logical argument religion cannot win, then good for you. However, if you chose to keep adopting the philosophies which history tells us only end up with more war and more deaths and more suffering and more pain and more lies, all in the name of a deity which no one can prove the existence of, then I’m sorry, but there is no hope for you. All I ask is that you try to spread the influence of not peace, nor war within your fruitless little worship buildings. Instead, spread the word of knowledge and understanding. All of humanity would benefit from such an overwhelmingly inclusive message. And with a new understanding, those of us who are not blind will inevitably continue to lead those of us who are into a prosperous, peaceful and decidedly continual godless age.