Posts Tagged ‘The Bible’

My theory and many others on why religion was created is because the fear of death and the unknown. Ever since man developed complex emotions, and were then confronted with the realization of death and the knowledge of what a hardship is; they needed to construct something that would ease their fears and give them peace of mind in a chaotic world. These forefathers of religion created sun gods and moon gods. They worshipped these things because they had no concept of what they were; all they knew is somehow these two things had massive affects on their daily lives. I would also like to quickly point out that many civilizations did rituals and prayed for rain. They had no concept of how rain worked so they tacked it on to their religious beliefs. Not only did the earliest man need explanations for things they didn’t understand; they also needed to find something to ease their fears of what happens to you when you die. This fear of the ultimate unknown is the sole reason we have religion today.

It takes a strong individual to live their lives knowing they will somehow cease to exist. I know all to well this is a heavy burden to bear. We all want something more to believe in. We all want to somehow feel special. We all want to know somehow we will live on. These are the key driving points for the construction of faith. To illustrate this point I would like to quote a comment from my post “Religion and Anxiety-Reduction Theories.”

“If God and religion are all man-made constructs and there is nothing after this life, then why bother?”

I think this comment illustrates my point perfectly. I have grown to admire this reader’s thoughts and opinions and in no way am I saying she is weak. She was most likely raised to believe this. I do however think this shows a small chip in the armor of her faith. I have heard this comment before, and usually follow with “Is this your driving force to believe?” I tend to stump people on this point because it forces them to re-evaluate their beliefs. If they believe simply because this is the only way to give life meaning, or the only way to quell their fears of death then their faith is flawed. In essence their belief acts as a band-aid to cover up the deeper fears they have inside. We bother because it is our moral and ethical duty to improve the lives of our fellow man. We are here to cultivate a positive way of life for other generations to come. We do not need religion to dictate us to achieve these things; we only need to look into our hearts.

Religion has evolved over time, but every religion is built upon one another. With each new version declaring they are the only version. The concept of a virgin birth was described well before Christianity was created. For example the birth of Buddha was described as a virgin birth in the “Nidanakatha”

“The Brahmans said, ‘Be not anxious, O king! Your queen has conceived: and the fruit of her womb will be a man-child; it will not be a woman-child. You will have a son. And he, if he adopts a householder’s life, will become a king, a Universal Monarch; but if, leaving his home, he adopt the religious life, he will become a Buddha, who will remove from the world the veils of ignorance and sin.'”

This is but one example;virgin births were also described in Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Mithra, Mithras, and the Greco-Roman Mythology. This is by no means the complete list I am sure it goes on and on. In addition to this Muslim, Hinduism, and Taoism also have stories of a miraculous births. The one I find most interesting is one that precedes Christianity and Judaism the ancient religion of Persia “Zoroastrianism.” In this religion it not only describes a virgin birth, but it also has the messiah, death and resurrection, a final battle between good and evil, and the resurrection of the dead to stand judgment. This and others are perfect examples to describe the evolution of religion.

Creation stories, miraculous births, the death and resurrection of a messiah, and end times are all parts of every religion past and present. Each and every religion is just built upon one another. With each new edition religion evolves into something different than what it was before. Religion is like a fable passed on from generation to generation. In a sense it is like playing telephone, with each new generation the original concept gets changed and turned into what we have today. I feel there have been no new changes to religion because we live in a society that does not allow a change to happen. Everything is set as is, and everyone knows what is on the table. Trying to change a religious concept via word of mouth is simply just not possible. Those who try ultimately end up being defined as cults. In the end the purposes to believe in religion are all the same. We ask the exact same questions are ancestors asked, and we share their same fears. We cling onto religion because it just makes sense. We tend to look at other religions and judge them compared to our beliefs. We turn our nose to them claiming we are right, and their beliefs are silly. I am just as guilty of this as they are.

I came up with the quote “conceived in the weak” not because I am calling the religious weak. I am illustrating how our beliefs at their core are because of our fears. I think I am the perfect example of this. Right now I consider myself as being weak, because I have lost the strength to accept the reality of nothingness. Once this fear crept into my conscience I immediately sought out religion to ease my fears. I am searching for answers to questions which cannot be answered. If I were to latch on to Christianity to make myself feel better I really wouldn’t be a Christian because the only reason I am a Christian is because I fear the great unknown. I would be a fake; a liar, and a coward. I desperately need to find faith, but I am hindered by my reasoning and logic. Perhaps all my new religious readers who have offered me guidance are the sign from God I have always asked for, but perhaps it is all just a coincidence. These are the questions I ask myself. I ask them because of the intense fear inside of me. Perhaps God is placing this fear inside of me, and delivered me my readers to bring me to God, but perhaps the fear is there because death is really f’ing scary.

If we did not fear death, if we did not fear the unknown, if we didn’t need to see the light within chaos there would be no need for religion.

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“The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages – as if the savages weren’t dangerous enough already.”
Edward Abbey

This quote always makes me chuckle, but then I realize the truth behind this statement. I think one of the greatest achievements of any empire, individual, or institution is the Christian movement. The Christians have successfully spread the Word to every inch of this world, and not always peacefully. It is truly amazing if you think about it, but is this necessarily a good thing? If you look back through history you will find many religions snuffed out by the Christian movement. Many of these religions were taken out during the various inquisitions. I remember reading this large encyclopedia on the world religions past and present. I kept on finding a common theme for why these religions are still not around today. Catholicism and Christianity converted them and like I said before not always peacefully.

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
Edward Abbey

When I read this quote and ponder on it I think of the show Star Trek. In Star Trek one of their major rules is to not interfere with lesser civilizations. They would go through great pains to not make themselves known. They did this because as a civilization these primitive people were not ready for such knowledge. If you were flying through space and came across a world where they just invented fire well then these people are not ready to have the knowledge of knowing there are people with giant ships and death rays. They did this because they did not want to interfere with the natural progression of these people. I think the same can be said about tribes in the heart of Africa, or small civilizations in the rain forest. They are content with their own little niche in this world. I understand the Christians motives; part of their belief is they are responsible for spreading the Word of God. I think the Christians could have learned a few things from Star Trek. The “savages” have their beliefs and who are we to try and take that from them. Imagine for a second that the Taliban went out as the Christians did to the savages and preached their beliefs. Within a very short order you would have a tribes of people armed with the most deadly of tools… wayward religion. Instead of hunting and dancing by a fire they would have a new directive; they would go forth and kill the infidels.

 “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
Desmond Tutu

Like children I believe the “savages” need to discover “advanced” religion on their own time and their own terms. I do not agree with sending missionaries out to teach them of a “better” religion. How pompous are we to tell these people that our beliefs are better than theirs, and if they believe what we tell them to believe then we will bring them cool shit from America. The Muslim extremists are currently doing this, but are not just limiting themselves to savages they are trying to infiltrate as many places as they can to further their cause. I suppose I am appreciative that the Christians beat the Muslims in vastly spreading their faith. In the end I am 100% against any religion trying to manipulate their way into “converting” people. This is one of my biggest disputes when it comes to Christianity.

To end this I would like to add one final quote by Annie Dillard, which is humorous in a way yet very true. It is funny how the purpose of missionaries is to “save” the souls of those who not only don’t believe, but are not even aware of these beliefs. Gaining the knowledge of a higher power which can condemn your soul to an eternal damnation is scary shit for the “savages” to deal with. Yesterday these people where worshiping the Polar Bear God, and the Ice Princess. The missionaries awe these people with our advancements in life, and they just follow suit. Not because they are now magically saved, they are simply just gullible.   

Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” Priest: “No, not if you did not know.” Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?”
Annie Dillard