I am not religious. I feel happy, fulfilled, and enriched. I love my fellow man and strive every day to be a creature of compassion and to be giving and selfless. I want to change the world for the better.
You know the saying it’s not about the destination, but the journey? We all know of one thing for certain: each and every one of us will die. So then why are we here? That is the question that religion assumes an answer to. I believe we are not meant to know that answer yet, that’s why we have science. Science is the journey. Humanity’s never ending thirst for knowledge is proof to me, that we do not and cannot know. It’s like getting to know someone, you can read a paragraph about a person but do you truly know that person? Are you guaranteed that the paragraph is honest and truthful? Could you, yourself, completely introduce yourself, the complexities of your emotion, the pains and joys of your past, your insecurities and your pride, your knowledge, on paper? We don’t read manuals to gain friends; it’s a journey that takes place internally so we learn about ourselves. We shouldn’t be reading manuals to live life. Do you really believe that life is so small its whole purpose can be explained in a book?
The bible is a great teacher. It encourages good morals and hope and determination. However all of these things can be taught out of the context of religion. If you remove god and satan from of the story of Job the message still stands: hang in there, don’t give up, etc. It’s a lesson of perseverance and triumph, and it can be interpreted and applied outside of religion, as can many of the lessons of Islam, Buddhism and Judaism, I’m sure. The obvious and blatant flaw of the bible to me is that it uses fear of hellfire to enforce its teachings. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Again and again in history it is taught that fear is a barrier. Fear will keep you from doing and when you limit yourself you do not learn.
Religion divides people where we are not naturally divided. I can be great friends with anyone from any religion, religion does not have to ever enter into conversation and I can relate to a person and feel compassion for them. It seems to me that so many people feel the need to be grouped under something. Why? I believe it is because we are afraid of each other and ourselves. We are afraid to accept ourselves as individuals because there is no army to defend the independence of one. People group themselves for protection and security. Again, fear. Why can’t we all accept that we really don’t know the meaning of life? Why must we make up truths and criticize those who don’t follow suit? A person cannot choose their skin color, but you can choose religion. Why would you choose to add another element to your life for which you can be judged and judge others? We are all equal, is that not the message our past (and science) has been telling us again and again?
So what do I believe? I believe there is a lot in life that is unexplainable. I like having mystery in my life; it gives me something to look forward to when I die. I find awe and appreciation for life in science. We are discovering amazing things every day and there is only more to be revealed through science. As long as I am constantly seeking answers I am confronting fear of the unknown. To not fear and to be not feared can never truly be accomplished in our natural world, but it is something we can all strive for. Life is curious, we all have questions, and we are all united in the absence of answers.
Related content of my choosing: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_militant_atheism.html