I deliberated for a while before writing this post, In fact as I write it is only Monday and so I was going to schedule this post to go live as the Friday "controversial" post. I am aware that there are subjects or subscribers of different religions who read this blog and I do not wish to offend, alienate or otherwise any particular religion or reader.
I do hope however for some interesting and thought provoking replies.
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND ANY RELIGION, PERSON OR BELIEF - IT IS BEEN WRITTEN PURELY TO PROVOKE THOUGHT
Ok, so God, What is God? According to Wikipedia, "God is a deity in theistic and deistic religions and other belief systems, representing either the sole deity inmonotheism, or a principal deity in polytheism."
At this point it starts to get confusing so rather than discuss topics such as Monothesim and polytheism we'll just stick to the basics and discuss how God or the belief /disbelief in God or a God affects us personally and the world we live in.
I will at this juncture disclose that although I do not like labels, I suppose my belief/disbelief would put me somewhere between the atheist and agnostic camp therefore I have no bias towards any religion.
So to explain my standing a little, at age ten I lost my Mother to cancer, Ovarian Cancer that had spread to her lungs before she even knew that she was ill. She was just 34. So, at the age of ten I simultaneously lost my belief in Father Christmas and God. There was no other reason for Mum to die other than she had Cancer, that was it. It wasn't her time, she hadn't committed a crime. The simple fact was, she had cancer and it had taken her life.
And that event formed my belief. I couldn't accept that a creator of such outstanding talent could build in a flaw into mankind such a cancer without correcting his mistake. If Ford make a car with a steering defect then they issue a recall notice and all the defects are repaired. Why wasn't this the case with God? I could only work on facts from that point onwards. And the facts as I saw them age 10 were :
1) Father Christmas couldn't possibly have visited every kid in the world in one evening. Where was his factory / warehousing situated? Father Christmas it seemed was an imaginary character used to keep kids "in check".
2) God simply cannot exist (If Father Christmas couldn't be everywhere in one night then nor could God) Where is heaven? We have been to the moon, surely we should have found it? God was an imaginary "concept" used to keep society "in check"
3) Cancer kills
So since the age of 10 I have lived without any influence from the church or religion of any kind. I'm aware that there are Christians and Mormons and followers of other religions who read this blog and who have blogs that I follow. I wont pretend to understand the differences between religion. Nor will I attempt to understand what religion offers people. I guess it offers strength and focus certainly in times of trouble. I suppose that I understand that although I had to find the strength within, I suppose there is little difference.
I know in general that most religions believe in an afterlife. It is this one point that prevents me from saying I am an atheist. I certainly believe in spirits. I was having this conversation with a friend the other evening. When a person dies and you see the body then that is all you are a looking at, a body that the person used whilst on this earth. But where has the life gone? The spirit that gave this person a unique personality, a sense of humour, a set of beliefs, an education. So I believe an energy, a spirit, call it what you will, does exist and that is what gives us life. A body will decompose after death but what becomes of this life force? Does it go to earth as electricity would? Does it go to heaven? if so where is this heaven?
As a race we have developed so much over the past 2000 years that we are able to prove and disprove pretty much any theory. 2010 years ago Somebody died named Jesus. I actually do believe this bit. Well I believe he actually lived. I'm not sure how we would know either way if he was born in a manger to a married Virgin. (I may have gotten this bit wrong so please correct me) I do believe however that there is a strong possibility that Jesus was not dissimilar to David Blane for instance in so far as theatricals were concerned. I believe he had good intentions however and that his legend was created by fanatical followers.
Anyone who follows Motorsport will have heard of the late Fangio. You will hear stories of his driving abilities that portray him as a racing god. Yes he was good, yes he won some races but he got infinitely better once he had died. And the more years that pass the more legendary he has become. If truth be known he wasn't that good at all, not by modern standards. Schumacher has surpassed all Fangios achievements against much stiffer competition. But legend, and myth has created a racing god by whom all others who follow are judged.
King Arthur is another classic example. A Mythical tale of King Arthur and the knights of the round table were made even more potent by stories of a sword named Excalibur. A 12th Century fanciful book tells how King Arthur led the defence of Britain in the 6th Century against invading Saxons. It is widely believed that although King Arthur didn't actually exist per se, the character was based an an actual Romano-British leader.
I would dearly love proof that King Arthur existed all those years ago. Truly I would. The recent movie "King Arthur" starring Kiera Knightly and Clive Owen is a fantastic story of bravado and gallant actions. The chances are however that he didn't exist. At least not as King.
Regardless of if he did or he didn't it wouldn't change my life today. I'd still have bills to pay, I'd still worry over my Fathers health.
So back to religion. As far as I am aware the main cause for war and terrorist acts around the world today is differences in religious beliefs. This is where it gets really difficult for me to understand. In the UK there are many churches/places of worship. These are still relatively popular although numbers have waned over the years. The people who frequent these establishments strike me as being caring, sensible and upright citizens. Why then are there followers of religion around the world who are willing to pilot an aircraft filled with other humans into a building? Why are there faithful subjects who are willing to strap explosives to themselves in the name of religion?
If someone could provide me with something concrete then it would change my perspective. I've looked at different religions at various times in my life with curiosity. The one that appeals to me most is Buddhism as it seems to rely more on inner beliefs and strengths rather than external beliefs. It is more a philosophy than a religion.
So what place does religion have in a modern society? Which religion is right? They obviously all can't be right. What does the church mean to you? Is it a security blanket? A social centre? Why can't subjects of each religion just coexist in peace? Do you have blind or absolute faith or do you have no doubts at all to the existence of your God?