Since my early days I have had a propensity to question why things are the way they are. This included having doubts about my country's government and their motivations. As a youth when relating my concerns to my mother she would get a look of consternation if I asked why our country does what it does. The mistreatment of blacks in the sixties by law enforcement, the out of control arms race with the Soviets, our involvement in Vietnam, etc. I got the impression that we knew something was wrong but we continued to walk lockstep with those who governed us. Finally, and thankfully, the youth of the sixties forced the hand of Big Government and, through peaceful demonstration, demanded some accountability. With the increasing speed at which the removal of barriers placed upon the LGBT members of our society is occurring, those who harbor bigotry & prejudice must eventually stop and question the validity of their own belief system. If they choose to stop and reflect on the origins of their morality they will be forced to question their religious convictions. And in a sense they will be be questioning the authority of the god they claim to worship. That is a huge step of personal honesty. In so doing they are also admitting doubt as to the demands of their god and the tenets by which they are required to follow. Can a theist continue to call themselves an adherent if they believe it is necessary to modify their belief system? If they decide to pick and choose the aspects of their religion that fits into the constraints of a modern society are they also, in a way, invalidating the religion in it's entirety? Does this become the point where cognitive dissonance takes over? Most theists will tell you that doubt, in the spiritual sense, in and of itself is an evil thing. It seems to be a kind of 'catch 22' situation for them. If their inner self is telling them that they have reason to entertain these doubts how can they do it without sacrificing their allegiance to their god(s)? It would seem to be a very unsettling experience if they reach this moment of realization. For me having a disposition from an early age to question authority I did not suffer a great amount of angst in reaching this point of personal reflection. For anyone that does decide to take those initial steps it often becomes the beginning of a transformation to the atheist mindset. It takes courage and is necessary if someone desires to be at peace with who they truly are. Your thoughts?
>It takes courage and is necessary if someone desires to be at peace with who they truly are
I agree with this thought but I don't think that questioning authority is necessary step in self realization or questioning of one's belief system, just questioning in general. I'll take an example out of myself, i have always followed my authority figures' demands with little to no questioning, the stepping stone stone of my deconversion was questioning of the world around me not the leaders, the actions of those around me and even after abandoning all belief it took time before i felt at ease about questioning authority and i still have troubles with it. My point being that there isn't a single path to becoming an atheist or developing a questioning mind, you can ask anyone in TA and there will be clear differences in methods and circumstances.
PD: I apologize for any error in the text, it's 1:00 am and just got home from work.
One can question the authority of the established church and the documents they were founded upon but it would be understandably unsettling at first. As you commented even today you still have troubles with it. For myself after coming to the realization that all religion is made by the hand/mind of mere mortals it no longer bothers me to question the veracity of the established church.
My church always has had a bit different take towards authority than some. We're historically a peace church, so we tend to pray for our enemies. We do not just jump behind whatever war the Republicans promote as "part of God's will", and we don't elevate America to "holy" status. So in that sense I've always been taught by my religious upbringing to question authority.
And for the most part I've gotten the sense from church that it's good to think and question. But they really don't mean it. They're young earth creationists, they're anti-gay, they believe in all kinds of miracles and Holy Spirit wonders...and if I spoke up and questioned those things I know I'd get thrown out.
For me, I followed exactly what you're saying there, where questioning a few little things led me to question the rest. I've also seen people who are perfectly willing to question a little bit but then stop short, and their questions don't seem to lead them any further. I wonder why this is.
"For me, I followed exactly what you're saying there, where questioning a few little things led me to question the rest. I've also seen people who are perfectly willing to question a little bit but then stop short, and their questions don't seem to lead them any further. I wonder why this is."
One reason would be if they actually voice their suspicions to other members they will surely be told that the doubts they are experiencing are evil in nature and should not be entertained. Instead, if one were to take their doubts outside the realm of the church's control they have a better chance to put "one plus one" together and see the folly of religion.
Jesus was a radical anarchist. Fundamentalist Christians can be too in my experience. The morality project I'm working on was inspired by an evangelical Christian lady whom I fell in love with. I realised that our values were the same, and how come?
As for the authority of God - if I believed in a Creator God, I would submit to His authority. I don't, but if I did, I would be forced to. What I submit to now is my own version: the Healing Principle / Heal the Situation.
Surely, anti-authoritarian though you are, Ed, you submit to something.
"Surely, anti-authoritarian though you are, Ed, you submit to something."
Or through one of many lenses, none of which seems to get the job done comfortably, LOL
I will keep try to help with out that in the future, Strega. But paragraph indentations will not be obeyed! :^ )
I have meet very few worthy authorities. Not all of them will place you in prison should you ignore their personal, but 'enlightened' opinions.
Recently I automatically 'corrected' a supervisor by suggesting that the word 'epoxey' does not have an 'e'! This ended badly for me since that was my first day.
Suggesting during a philosophy of religion class that 'the communion waffer could be considered a form of symbolic consumption of human flesh', was meet with immediate gaffaws from the class theists, and never meet with a proper airing.