Life Choice # 3 : God or no God?

Because other people might say some interesting things as well.

Next year, a very Catholic girl will move in with us in the house we share with some students. Apparently, she’s from a quite strict family. For example, her sister can’t live together with her boyfriend until they get married. They’re that kind of believers.
It will be surely interesting to live together with her, because I’m not a believer. My family has never been that Catholic, and I haven’t been to church often. In Belgian schools, you often get a course called ‘religion’ though, so I do know some things about the Catholic faith. But as I grew up in a society that believes in science above all, I never really believed in a god.

One of my closest friends is a believer too, but she’s a more subtle one. And I really have no problems with that – I think faith can be a good reason to do good things, and it can be a great support in hard times too. Some people just go to far. All those rules and limits, because of what after all? How can you know for sure that God (seeing the fact you are sure he exists) wants you to not drink alcohol, or anything? Do those limits really make you a better human being?

I highly doubt that. It’s not just Catholic faith, every religion has these strict rules I couldn’t live by. My inner rebel always questions them. You won’t help the world if you lock yourself away to just meditate for 13 hours each and every day. That’s just a fact. There’s a border between believing in something and doing stupid things because of that. Never cross that border. Only take the good things of religion, like helping other people.

After all, you cannot prove that you are not doing it in vain. Helping people is good anyways, but blowing up yourself – will it bring you to a god? How can you be so sure there is a god? I wonder what it feels like to be sure of the existence of this ‘something’. Perhaps it’s there, perhaps it isn’t. I can’t say there is no god at all, but I just see no prove of that. Just like we can prove evolution is real, and there’s no point in saying it isn’t. Creationism really pisses me off. Yes please, deny everything we can prove and replace it with something you can’t prove at all – without listening to other people! As I said before, I think this has a lot to do with the environment you’ve grown up in. Perhaps I had been a believer if my family went to church every week. If there would be a ‘something’, by the way, I think it would rather be a thing that doesn’t resemble human beings as much as God is supposed to do. It would probably be something we can’t imagine. But that’s only my thoughts on the subject.

So I’d go for the no God, though I obviously cannot be sure. What do you think? Do you believe?

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  1. Nope, I’m an atheist. A very smug atheist in fact.

    Creationism is just bizarre.

  2. It’s a philosophical question, for sure! There are those who are religious, those who are spiritual, and those who are both or neither. Major religions in the world follow similar tenets and that, to me, is a sure sign that there’s a life force beyond our puny existence. If you do not believe in God, then that means we humans are random acts of being, with no purpose, we are just a fluke and all there was, and is, and will be without a divine orchestrator in some fashion? It is harder NOT to believe in His existence. The roads (organized religion) to God are many and it matters not which road one takes to get there as long as you head His way. That is, while breathing, why wouldn’t one try to be a good human being? An ethical, good person? Maybe we humans need religion. After all, nothingness after our final breath on earth is a pretty scary concept. I’d like to believe I will meet up with those dearly departed. I want to believe our souls our joined in some cosmic fish bowl.

    I am Catholic, and a very sloppy one at that, and I enjoy believing in God and giving thanks. For me, to be humble and giving is an important part of my life. It’s a goal I try to live every day. I see the positive and negative, the good and the bad, the dark and the light, the ebb and flow of our days and I marvel at this thing called life and think it’s a blessing, and I aim for the light.

    • Interesting comment you left here!
      I do believe though that we are random acts of being as you say. I don’t think there’s a purpose, at least, I vane’t found one. This doesn’t mean I think there’s no point in being good to other people- I just don’t think I have to be kind because there’s a God watching me.
      Nothingness after death is not scary to me (at this moment, being alive and kicking). Life after death would kind of scare me. It means you will forever, somehow, even when it’s not on Earth, and forever is too long for me. Next to that, science has got me to the point of not believing in such ‘concepts’ as the soul that will live on. I’m having a hard time understanding how we could possibly live on.

      But all of this doens’t mean I don’t respect your belief (I really do) or that I don’t try to be a kind person :). There’s certainly a point in being good to others. Regardless religion.

  3. I wouldn’t say it was harder NOT to believe at all. Harder not to believe there is an invisible being that just poof made us out of thin air and cares about us but never shows himself and never intervenes during crisis and in fact never prevents them in the first place because . . . we’re being tested? With child abuse? Murder? Rape? Genocide? Cancer? Exactly how big a sinner are most people to deserve that? Is a baby or child a sinner? Cause they die all the time in the most horrible of circumstances. I just don’t understand it. I wasn’t raised with religion, but I grew up in the Bible Belt so it’s been all around me. I went to church with my husband for years, and now the girls go with him mostly. I’d like to give them a chance to believe, but I always make them think. I’ll go sometimes to an evening service for support. But no matter what, I can’t make myself believe in such a cruel, uncaring mythical being.

    To say we have no meaning without God is strange to me. We have meaning because we make meaning – we don’t have someone do it for us. I’m not against believers. I mean, I’m married to one. But I don’t get it and I don’t think I ever will. I question far too much. Would I have believed if I had been raised that way? I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’d be happier if I could believe it, but it just seems like a fairy tale to me.

    • This is also a very interesting comment!
      As you say you don’t have to be a believer even when you grow up in a religious family – the chances are somewhat bigger, I guess.
      I understand your point. If there’s a god, he is not being that kind to us. Why would he test us though? With all of these things? Sometimes, it seems more like an evil freak controlling our lives. Or just a careless someone.
      I agree on you when you say you might have been happier if you could believe. Perhaps because you start to feel like suffering isn’t that pointless as it seems. Perhaps because you can close your eyes to it more? ‘Cause you believe prayers, or believeing, or doing good deeds makes up for it?
      I don’t know.
      But I surely get your point very, very well.

  4. Addie

     /  May 25, 2013

    I was raised in a faith I call Catholic Lite, and I believe in God/the Universe. I think we use the various faiths as a way to get there, so, whatever floats your boat there. I’m not a believe in religion…confining, rule bound and created by man. I can say, however, that the tenets of Sikhism would lead me to take up that faith, should I ever decide to embrace a religion again–which I doubt will happen.

    • I had to google Sikhism, but it sounds quite good – no discrimination at all (in theory at least). That is somewhat different that most other religions!
      There are porbably many people who believe in God or the Universe, or something in general, but who call it God just to give it a name. I don’t think it always refers to the Catholic faith and I’ve go the impression that you are one of those people.

  5. The older I get, the less I believe.
    I also think that too many believe in “convenient” religion, cherry picking the bits that suit them and ignore the rest.
    I’m also amused (and disgusted) that some of the loudest mouthpieces are the least charitable people I’ve ever come across.

    In the end, I like to think that I live a considered life, without all the strings that dogma attaches.

    • I should agree on you. The ones who say they believe the most, are the ones who will doubt the least to get where they want to get, even at the cost of other people’s happiness.
      Dogma’s are certainly not required for a good life. I don’t doubt you are a good man even without a religion!

  6. I wouldn’t call myself an atheist – I’m more a highly sceptical agnostic and supremely apathetic. I just don’t see the need for a god. And if there is a god, what good is it? It would seem to be to be a vicious and malevolent creature if there were one. So I don’t believe in a god without proof and I don’t worship a good who does nothing in the face of evil (in fact, one who, if you believe the believers, has a pretty extensive track record of committing atrocities itself)

    • Well said, especially that last sentence – I totally get you your point!
      Agnostic is also a good term by the way. Perhaps all atheists are in fact agnostic. There is no way we can find out while being alive, can we? As long as there’s no proof though, you and I and many other people will simply see no reason to believe in a god. I think that’s just fair.

  7. I don’t have any problem with religion, so long as it isn’t forced upon me. Everybody has to figure their way through life in the manner that best suits them. For some that means religion. For others, not. Most are somewhere in the middle in my personal estimation. I find Creationism and Intelligent Design to be irritating. If people are in to religion, that’s perfectly cool with me, but don’t try to force it down my throat with Creationism. The inner workings of Nature are complicated enough to understand without people muddying the waters.

    • Indeed. I respect all religions, as long as they respect me and everyone else as well. Forcing it upon someone will most likely not work. That’s no longer believeing, that’s just fearing. And fear will eventually get in your way.

  8. I’m agnostic—I can’t say I believe there’s a god, I can’t say I believe there is no god. But to me it makes sense to respect everyone’s feelings, religious or atheist or whatever. Smugness or arrogance on either side is really not helpful. Smug Christians are just as bad as smug atheists and vice versa.

  9. I think peoples definition of god, and the rules that go with those definitions are thousands of variations of what God intended. Those “rules” and religious laws have come to serve man and not God. They have prevented many people from understanding the simplicity of what Christians were asked to believe. Believe in that Jesus is the one true savior, you are a sinner and you can be saved and have ever-lasting life beyond the life here on Earth. That’s it. No degrees of goodness (human’s measure) – no earning your way. No making payment in order to be saved.
    I don’t hit anyone over the head with my “religion” but I just feel badly that so many people want to make something more out of it. It’s not about me, its not about you- it is about eternity.
    Sorry if I sound smug (or something). Not trying to be. I too feel like many people use their religion as a weapon, or as a defense.

    • I’m glad to hear your opinion on this matter.
      As you say, religion is too often used as a weapon. That is not good. Religion should be something personal I believe. That way I can totally deal with believers.
      I do have trouble though in seeing myself as a sinner. What exactly makes all of us sinners? Okay, we aren’t always kind and good to others, but still. What makes a baby a sinner? Why should we always feel guilty? I don’t think you need that to do good things.
      Don’t get me wrong, this is not an attack, but I would really like to hear an answer.

  10. I used to be a religious child. That is no more. I understand the dilemma. I now try to stay away from these sorts of debates because people might think my views are very unforgiving.

    I do love a good documentary about cults though – YouTube is full of them! It’s interesting to see how people get lured into these “communities”.

    • These ‘phenomens’ tend to be interesting indeed!
      Unforgiving views? Feel free to share though, because I think I can handle them. It’s probably better to be strict for whatever rules they try to impose.

  11. It’s funny because I was raised in a strict religion, but my parents weren’t strict about it. I had my own morals, but I liked to have fun. I believed in the gospel and all the wonderful things that come with it, but I didn’t want it forced on me. I think there’s a fine balance. She might be really fun. You never know. If not, you have to give her props for being so devout!

    • It’s a good thing your parents weren’t strict about it, I believe. And I guess you would have protested if it ahd been forced upon you ;).
      Agree on the balance!

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