More thoughts on religion

Spirits, beings or ideas worshipped as gods commonly get this title based on, mainly, politics. For anyone with any knowledge on Egyptology, the contentions of Horus and Set is a classic example. The Horus devotees won out, which is why Horus has such a prominent place in the pantheon, and Set that of the chaotic trickster-antagonist. Judaism and Christianity were founded on many hundreds of years of inter-tribal political warfare. The winner of the battle wins the right to tout their religion as dominant, while the losers are resigned to the scrap heap of history. In the end, it all boils down to tribal politics, and even the personal politics of those who are invested in the transmission of sacred texts throughout the ages.

“Gods” are those spirits, beings or ideas that people choose to bend knee to. People forget that myths aren’t literal interpretations of events, that these myths are colored quite heavily by the politics of the times and, like everyone else, these spirits are still just as subject to the machinations of the greater universe/multiverse. There is no such thing as an omniscient, omnipotent being, and there are no such things as gods. Some spirits just have bigger fandoms than others. Granted, some of these greater spirits may interact with their fanbase to many varying degrees. But to relinquish freewill is to relinquish personal responsibility, and to see any entity as beyond or greater than what any other universal principle we are subject to is a dangerous thought process.

That said, I do not think theism or spirituality is ultimately destructive. The relationships one has with spirits is and can be like the relationships one has with anyone else, which is very diverse. Some good and some bad. Some healthy and some not so much. My rule of thumb is that as long as said beliefs do not promote abuse (to self or others), or the propagation of bad science (of which creationists are infamous), then it really isn’t a concern of mine. I personally feel that the tack some atheists take of aggressively belittling and slandering theists and those of a spiritual persuasion only serve to create more harm than good. Ecumenical approaches can be taken, especially if one falls in the realm of the spiritual that only theists themselves seem to navigate (in my case, minus the gods, religion, devotion and worship).

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under atheism, spirituality

One response to “More thoughts on religion

  1. “Judaism and Christianity were founded on many hundreds of years of inter-tribal political warfare. The winner of the battle wins the right to tout their religion as dominant, while the losers are resigned to the scrap heap of history.”

    This pattern you described, is no doubt the common pattern for humanly created religions. As a Christian, however, I have one quick observation to make. The Old Testament often breaks from the normal “winner takes all” attitude that you often find in religion. For instance, the book is full of scathing attacks on the prominent kings and leaders of the Jewish people: Moses, David, Solomon, Jehosaphat, to name a few. In fact, this is the rule rather than the exception. In most religions, these belittling stories about the victors are left out. The authors of the Old Testament display a very clear desire to honor God rather than the victorious king. This desire does not in and of itself prove that they are right, but it shows that they were genuine believers rather than deliberate tricksters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s