Human beings are very inquisitive creatures by nature. Since the dawn of mankind, the basis for existence has been relentlessly sought. Everyone has differing views and everyone is “right” according to him or herself. So, what does that mean? Why do people believe the things they do?
My Agnostic religion is a very large part of who I am, and that is why I have decided to focus my paper on this aspect of my life. Unlike the majority of the people on this earth (estimated at somewhere around 95% I believe), I do not necessarily believe in “God” or a higher creature. I was not raised to worship an invisible, omnipotent being and I believe this is the main reason I think the way I do now. I was raised to have a very liberal mind towards everything and I have come to the realization that this is the best way to live.
Curiosity has guided my mind through countless hours of contemplation over certain beliefs and flaws in these beliefs. I will be making a few generalizations in this paper. This is wholly for the sake of argument. As a rule, I invite criticism because it gives me more to think about and I will undoubtedly gain insight, which is the ultimate goal.
First of all, how can a person decide without doubt that they are “right” without even understanding all the other ideas. It is my opinion that most people are not educated on all the other hundreds of thousands of differing beliefs on the subject of creation and religion. It seems to me that many people know a great deal about their own religion, but are completely in the dark about anything else. It also occurred to me that many people are simply born into a religion, and never stray from it. How can you make a decision before you know all the facts and all the choices? It is like taking a multiple-choice test, and automatically picking A because it is the first thing you read and it looks right. It doesn’t matter what the others choices are, because A has to be right.
Obviously there is not much logic to this method, yet it is what happens all the time. If you are born Christian and raised Christian and know about Christian and only Christian then a Christian belief system is comforting to you. Humans like comfort. Humans like to be assured that they are right. They get this assurance from attending church.
Observation the second: is there one Absolute Truth? Many people argue that the afterlife is different for everyone, and therefore, everyone can be right. Is this conceivable? So, does that mean I can believe whatever I want about the afterlife and that will come true? I am eliminating this possibility for, to me it is merely the “easy way out”, therefore there can only be one other option; that there IS only one Absolute Truth. In that case, that must mean someone is right. Wait, no it doesn’t! One religion could be the “right” one, but not necessarily. Maybe no one has actually stumbled upon the real truth yet…this is a possibility. Either way, in either of those cases, it means there are literally billions of people who are dedicating their entire lives to a belief that, for all intents and purposes, is completely false. That’s discouraging. Does this mean they are all destined for an afterlife of damnation in “hell”? According to many religions, that is true. That’s even more discouraging.
Alarming observation number three: How can someone stick so ardently to something that they were merely by chance born into, when there are so many other possibilities and such a high chance of being “wrong”? Does everyone just happen to be lucky and have been born into the “right” religion? Apparently.
History has already proven that masses of people can be wrong. I will revert to that good old example of the flat earth idea. Of course the world isn’t flat. We know that now because we have the scientific capabilities of determining that it’s not. Hundreds of years ago, when this flat earth idea was born, they had no way of knowing for sure, but it seemed to make sense (everything they were told supported it) so that is what they believed. This line of logic seems eerily familiar to why people believe in certain religions. To me, this means that as our society progresses, we will eventually be able to
(hopefully) understand more of how our world works, and correct some of our current false ideas.
There is also an idea that Robert Pursig brought up in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; just because an idea hasn’t been formed or discovered yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For example, before gravity was understood and given a name, it still existed. It’s forces act on everyone and everything on this planet. It has always been around, even when it was never a thought in anyone’s head. Therefore, this leads me to believe that there are other things that are still unknown to us as of yet. We assume we know everything…but is that possible? Of course, the main hole in this belief is that if we assume we don’t know everything, how can we trust anything? If we continue in this train of thought, it means we can’t be sure about anything, and actually know nothing. Back to religion, if we don’t know everything, and we know we don’t know everything, how can we think we know how we were created?
I am in no way trying to convince anyone that there is no God. I am not an atheist. In fact, when people mistakenly label me as one, it makes me angry, simply because the atheist title means I believe in something. It assumes I “know” the truth. In reality, I do not know what the truth is. I don’t know what is right. I don’t know what will happen to me after I die. I don’t know exactly how we were created. And I refuse to form an opinion on any of these topics, purely for the fact that humans currently have no way of knowing the answers to any of these questions beyond a reasonable doubt. We simply are not as advanced enough or intelligent enough to know. I simply cannot have blind faith in something that has no reason to back it up. I simply encourage the pursuit of knowledge (for myself as well as the population as a whole), because with this comes insight and understanding—two crucial concepts that will bolster the moral and intellectual progression of mankind. The answer really might not be A.
“Most concepts that you hold dear are precious to you, not because they are true, but because you wished they were true.”