Religious imagery and the word of god have been in my face all of my life. Religious themes and symbols are everywhere. You see them in movies, television, social networks, schools, government buildings, bumper stickers, and fish-emblems on cars. Folks dress in religious clothing such as yarmulkes, turbans, robes, veils and burkas. All year long, there are religious holidays with religious music and even religious toys and candy for the kids. I am forced to slow down for church-zones, have to listen to ringing church bells, and my local voting place is even inside a church.
Religion shapes our social behavior and sways our politics. You hear it at the start of ball games, and at the end of political speeches. It wields enough power over our government to be printed on our money. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get away from it. Religion literally comes knocking on my front door. I can’t even sneeze without hearing “God bless you“.
Since the age of ten, I’ve been an avid reader of science fiction novels and short stories. The concept of ’life in the future’ is very familiar to a science fiction reader. Inspired by some of the most visionary sci-fi writers ever published, my young heart would soar as I thought of the potential marvels of the future. I would daydream of the future and imagine a better world to come. I imagined a better people to come as well.
In the future, I imagined humans would surely evolve into more peaceful beings, more sensible and supportive of their fellow-humans than we are now. In my young vision of the future, there would be no starving or homeless people anywhere. Medical discoveries would reduce disease and illness to a mere fraction of what it is today. All the people of the world would live healthier, happier lives without oppression or war.
Lofty aspirations, you say? Maybe. All I knew then was my vision of the future looked much better than the world I saw around me. The world I saw was full of unhappy people, disease, murder and war. Not knowing what to do, I just had to hope that something or someone, sometime in the future, would change the world for the better.
I’d always felt sure that one day in the future, common sense and reason would replace the sustained ignorance and absurdity of religion. Dragging religion around with its ancient stories and traditions has inhibited the entire race from progressing as it should have. Religion has been the major cause of pain and suffering for all of mankind from its beginning.
I used to tell myself, “One day, all this foolish religion will go away!” But now as an adult, I know more of how people think and how the world works. It’s past time for me to be honest with myself. I have to accept the harsh truth no matter how much is saddens me.
The truth is, Religion will always be a part of life on this planet. Man will never be free of it. No matter what is learned, reasoned, or discovered; no matter what questions are answered, what myths are shattered, or what truth is told; the smothering-weight, the stench, the lies, the rapes, the murders, the lust for wealth and power, the infantile stories of gods and demons, the childish longing for an afterlife will always be interwoven throughout the fabric of human life on Earth.
Realizing that this is true simply makes me feel, disappointed.