J. Allen wrote:
[...] That same week that this became a major issue, I purchased a copy of "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins.
I read it from beginning to end in one night, and I was surprised, because Richard was answering questions I had, and was giving me a different perspective on what I was experiencing; an outside perspective; one I desperately needed if I was to balance myself.
Finally, I had drawn my conclusions, that when it came to religion, I no longer believed. I was not a Christian, I was not a theist, I was an atheist, and at the moment, everything turned upside down, and a split second later became right side up. It felt completely natural. I am an atheist today, though I am also a secular humanist.
Life is about many things, and one of the more important aspects is building your perspective. The best way to build it is to keep an open mind and not be afraid to question anything you've learned before, to treat nothing as absolute (except for maybe a few fundamental things--we do after all need a rock bed of mental security; the Earth will continue to spin and bring the sun back to our land one more day!).
Generally speaking, religion is the antithesis to this way of thinking. There are some denominations that are more flexible than others, but for the most part the predominant ones hold hard and fast to certain beliefs and will not tolerate questioning or reconsideration. That means they are stunted--they cannot grow.
Life is a thing in motion. It changes. It grows. A series of ideas, thoughts, stories, and edicts laid down in a written work is a fixed thing. It's fine for stories not to change. But thoughts and edicts most certainly can. In the Western world, our understanding of Earth sciences (especially biology and physics) was next to nothing some 2000 years ago (there were Asians who understood it much better). So when various premises were laid down in religious texts, they were framed with that limited understanding.
It is now clear with human biology that sexual orientation is not a choice. It is a physical manifestation. We are not exclusively heterosexual. But try to explain that to anyone 2000 years ago, and you would've been proclaimed a follower of Satan. I still cannot get over how backward certain religions are, all in the face of the public eye. And some of them wonder why they are gradually losing more followers every year...
I have changed my mind about a number of things.
- I used to believe in Christianity as it is written, but then I found the holes... and watched people change the way they interpreted the words to suit their own life situations, rather than doing it for truth. I saw a Pastor beloved by many say that grass was the devil's work, because it bears no fruit only taking the soil's nutrients for its own selfish needs and not giving back. WTF?
- I grew up believing that the USA was all about doing good in the world, that it was keeping the Earth's countries from tearing each other up. Now I see it for what it is... and I'm deeply saddened by it, astounded at the corruption that lies within.
- Society is far more primitive than most people care to believe. They are masked by an illusion of technological comforts that makes it seem more civilized than it is. They do not see what is really afoot, and usually because their lives are so full of personal stress and issues that they just don't want to think about it.
- I used to be more optimistic. I'm not a die hard pessimist, but I'm not so certain we're going to make it as a species. I wish there was something I could do to help, but it seems about the only thing that has any real effect is to just try helping others whenever you can.
- Anger and regret are the emotions that should be felt for a moment then discarded quickly thereafter. DO NOT HOLD ONTO THEM for they are emotional poison.