Losing my religion
I grew up Southern Baptist believing that to be a “good person,” you were supposed to go church and follow the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you would want done to you. Yet during the week, I witnessed my white relatives as they treated people of color as “less than.” (Luckily, my parents were more inclusive and did not act this way).
At age 12, I distinctly remember learning at Church that the Earth is only 4,000 years old. I recall thinking, “this whole Sunday school thing is a lie.” The indoctrination is an absolute fairy tale, as I have come to understand even better later in life. Consider an adult who has an imaginary friend. Wouldn’t you think they are mentally ill? And if they burn people at the stake based on stuff that was written about their imaginary friend, they might be criminals?
Organized religion is trying to get you to believe that without the grace of God you are lost and will go to Hell. The opposite of faith is any organized religion, especially the Catholic and Protestant brands of organized religion. Religions define how you should live instead of you living and having faith in a higher being and maybe some guidance. The boundaries of being a good Baptist or good Catholic or Episcopalian are constrained by shame. This is why I became an atheist.
All of us are born without hate or gile; yet, religion is trying to teach us that we are not enough and that we do not have purity without their brand of religion.
To be a good person
Being a good person has nothing to do with organized religion or even faith. We can simply appreciate our amazing third rock from the sun. Our blue planet. Our piece of the universe is incredible. We are so rare to even have made it to be alive. We can appreciate what we do have. We can appreciate breath and can thank troglobites for their waste, our air. They brought our Earth from being anaerobic to our being aerobic.
Richard Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene talks about how we are temporary stewards of our genes. Our genes fight to continue on to the next generation. We should appreciate that we are even here.
Being a good person means tolerance and acceptance, not following one dogmatic set of rules.
One of the primary reasons I lost my religion is that I want to protect our democracy. The Christian Nationalists are trying to turn this country into something it is not. They can’t have it! We need to keep Church and State separate as our founders established. We need to make some changes: get rid of the electoral college, change the Supreme Court to make it look more like the population of the United States, and take In God We Trust off our currency, and One Nation Under God out of our Pledge of Allegiance.
Letting emotions rule
The people in the late 50s had the communism scare. This is where emotions come into play. They thought, If we don’t separate ourselves somehow, we will succumb to communism. We added “in God we trust” on our currency and “One Nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance in an effort to delineate ourselves from the secular Soviet Union.
The problem I have with this is that religion/God is based on a fairy tale and while I know the God delusion permeates our society, it is striving to delineate ourselves as something that is better than secular society. Yet it is weak and self defeating. It is not better, it is worse. I under that emotions led people astray, but where does that leave us?
Your emotions, like your inner ear, will lie to you. If you fly by the seats of your pants / your inner ear (you will think you’re flying level when you’re not). When flying you need to rely on your instruments (ie science) to keep your plane level and/or to have correct bearings to reach your designation alive. Since we’ve had reliable instruments the chances of you dying in flight are the same as you being hit by an asteroid which is 1:100,000,000.
As a rational optimist, I want us to use science. Let’s move forward and make life better for everyone.
I would like to change our national language to “In science we trust!”