I found a Facebook group tonight that posts quotes about the intelligence of science and the stupidity (or worse) of religious people. I kind of agreed with a bunch of things they said. For example, I do believe that the universe has been around for billions of years, and was not created in a single week by some omnipotent being less than 10,000 years ago. But I won’t go into the rest.
Generally, I don’t put energy into trying to prove or disprove the existence of God in any particular form. I have a conscience that tells me what’s right and wrong, and when I follow my conscience, I feel better. So I try to do what feels good. I figure, if there is a god who created me and created my conscience, then this is the best course of action anyway. And if there is no god, then what better life than doing what feels good to me and feels good for the people around me? I can’t imagine that any sane god would have created people that feel bad when they do something right. And if god is insane, then there’s no point in doing what that god wants.
At the same time, I have lots of friends and family members who believe very strongly in God and in Jesus Christ. I no longer share their beliefs, but we love and respect each other anyway. I’m fine with that. They don’t need to convert me, and I don’t need to convert them. Besides, I suspect there is some kind of Spirit out there, some kind of God, although I don’t know what that Spirit looks like. So I have nothing substantial to convert anyone to even if I wanted to.
And the religious people I know are still good people. They are kind, and try to do the right thing. They try to live good lives with good morals. We’re kind of the same that way. They aren’t hurting anyone with their beliefs, so I don’t need to tease them or argue with them or make them forsake their beliefs. It’s a free country, and if their religion inspires them to be good, kind and generous, then that’s fine. Let them follow the teachings of Jesus, who wanted everyone to be kind and loving and generous and nonjudgmental. There’s no harm in that.
I think when atheists loudly proclaim how stupid religious people are, they are thinking of the minority of Christians who like to picket funerals and protest in the streets and go knocking on doors trying to convert their neighbours. It seems to me that the majority of Christians are just like the ones I know personally, who quietly and humbly seek to do what their consciences tell them to do, to live lives of gratitude and love. If they are wrong about where they are going after their lives are over, well, at least they tried to make the world a better place while they were alive.
I’m not saying that militant atheists are wrong for calling out the idiocy of unchecked dogma. As I said in an earlier post, we need that thoughtful voice of opposition, the voice of reason in a world where so many people are unreasonable.
I guess we’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got.