- Og Mandino
I try my best to conclude what drives a person's faith. The abstruseness of the universe -- its complexity and incomprehension -- seems to be a channeling element of the ignorance (and fear) that stops a person from looking up. I'll never come to a defining explanation, because the human mind, in my lifetime, will not have the drive to care about the Universe and what it has to teach us. The broader problem here is why there are so little people looking up, one of the most degrading and troubling queries I can think of.
What I find to be most intriguing is the kind of response I get in reference to my beliefs, my inability to believe in a God and a complete and utter hatred for religion and the stranglehold it has on this planet. But is it what stops people from looking up? If so, why do people have such a passionate, sometimes even obsessive belief in something so trivial, unsatisfying and troublesome? Is it really religion, the belief in a God and an afterlife that defines our ideals, that fuels our lifestyle and has shaped us into the society we are today?
Of course it's not. Religion and God has contributed no more to peace and functioning ideals than it has to conflict and war. Was the human race not intelligent enough to conclude that murder, theft and adultery were wrong and not welcome in any potential functioning and peaceful society?
I think we could argue that we don't abide by laws because of religious pacification, but rather because it's common sense. We can say that Western law was based on the bible, but wouldn't we have come to the conclusion that murd er and rape and theft were wrong? We are intelligent species - to say no would be a pretty big insult to our existence.
The foundation of our legal system was based on a religious book, but that book may as well have been called "what NOT to do". Thomas Jefferson actually rewrote the bible to include parts that he understood -- that is, include parts that don't need to rely on religious pacification to be implemented into a functioning society.
Western laws are based on a holy book, but they don't abide by that book anymore. They abide by what is deemed to be acceptable behavior and punishment; I don't obey the law because it's my religious duty. I obey it because it's the law and I respect society. Islamic Law very strictly adheres to the Koran; I can't have faith in an Islamic legal system without having faith in the Koran.
The questions keep flowing. Over and over again. The difference between questions of religion and questions of science is that science relies on theory, something to precede it in order to counter it. Every single scientific theory is preceded by something; you can't have a new theory without an old one. Whereas religion and the existence of God relies on faith, something that insinuates the lack of evidence and forces one to believe on nothing more than word of mouth.
Because that is what religion is -- word of mouth. As is God, something created by man, an intelligent species that is only defined by its very ability to query its own existence, which fuels the very existence of religion in our society. Its faith is also driven by the love of something that doesn't exist, cannot be seen or communicated with, and to which society is driven to fear if the rules are not obeyed. It's textbook sadomasochism.
I don't mean to degrade a person's faith. I understand and appreciate a person's inability to accept their own irrelevance, because we are often so caught up in what happens here, on this planet, that we totally forget what's happening above and around us. What troubles me is that people think our insignificance in the broader scheme of things is a negative when it's not, nor does it highlight our vulnerability. Instead, our insignificance helps define our beauty, the fact that we were probably a 1-in-a-trillion chance of even having happened.
But a number like "trillion" is not something easily comprehended by the human mind, and I think this is where religion and God enters into the fold. An incomprehension fuels doubt and fear, because the uncertainty makes us feel vulnerable. Enter the creator, something that can put a definite definition on the universe and why we are here. That's a shame, because the Universe, or "everything", is something that is waiting to be explored, and yet so many of us bury our heads because we fear its mystery and infiniteness.
The questions I want answered most are: Do you genuinely believe in a God and have an uncompromisable love and passion for God, or do you believe in God because you want God to exist? Is it love or fear that drives your faith? And why don't you look up?
"Look up at the stars and not down at your feet."
- Stephen Hawking