Tag Archives: religion

Between Religion and a Hard Place, Part 2: God doesn’t care.

Whatever religion it is you hold yourself to, there is one thing that is universal pin that combines them all: If you don’t behave, things won’t work out the best.

In Christianity, there is hell (for the misbehaver) not to mention purgatory. In Buddhism, there is ‘Bad Karma.’ Islam also teaches of a hell, Jahannam I believe it’s called. The Hindu’s have Naraka. I mean, I could go on and on but you get the point. Religion, all of them, teach that if you mess up in this life, you’ll pay for it in the next.

Although I have many issues with organised religion, this is one of the ones that really gets my goat. Continue reading

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Between Religion and a Hard Place, Part 1: God Without Religion.

In almost every single way, I am identical to atheists. Almost. In a moment I’ll go into our similarities but just for this second let me tell you the one irreconcilable difference between us.

I BELIEVE IN GOD!

Yes, you heard me. I said it in cap-locks and ended with a exclamation point so there could be no confusion about what I just said. I BELIEVE IN GOD! True, you may have read some of my previous posts with regards religion and such and wonder have I ‘turned a corner’ or ‘seen the light.’ The answer to that is no. However, it’s not quite that simple (or in fact it’s very simple but the world has been taken over by people who don’t like simplicity, therefore it is now ‘simplicity’ which must be explained).

I, just like the atheists, detest religion and cast it aside as nothing more than a human myth that has gotten out of hand and has caused so much suffering in this world out ours. Continue reading

Religion in schools.

A big debate going on today in the Irish media and social media, is the role of religion and the church in schools, and whether schools here in Ireland should be non-denominational.

Before I give my two cents, here’s a quick rundown of the situation. 96% of all primary schools are run by the Catholic Church. And 90% of ALL schools, are under the remit of the Catholic Church. What does this mean exactly? Basically it means that although the state supplies the teachers (for the most part) and the syllabus, the property, the land, the schools, belongs to the Church. (There may be some variants in this) And one of the main staples of the Primary School diet, is the teachers being responsible for a ‘Catholic Education’.

For those of you reading this who did not have the pleasure of attending an Irish primary school, Continue reading

Questions of God

So, this is more of a question I need to ask of you, than something I want to get off my chest. I’m beginning work on a little side project that I need some help with. Firstly, I’m hoping that anyone who sees this will please re-blog it, add the link to your twitter page, your facebook page, your tumblr, wherever. What I’m looking for are questions. (Please leave all questions in the comment section of this post) To put it simply, if you had one question to ask God, what would it be. Now think carefully before you ask. Just imagine that you had just one question. Just imagine that God showed ‘himself’ to you and gave you the power to have one question answered that would set aside all rumours and stories about said question from now on. Think outside the box on this one as well. I’m sure there are ten or fifteen questions that will always come up. Questions like, ‘Why are we here?’ ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Although they are valid questions, they will be asked, so try to think outside the box a bit. Now, it is not important what your religion is, whether you believe in God or not. So, atheists and people of all different persuasions, please feel free to ask your question. This is by no means a ‘Christian’ question. Rather a humanity question. So, please ask your question, please reblog this if you can, add the link to twitter, facebook, wherever. With much thanks. I look forward to seeing what questions come up.

Stories

I have been giving quite a bit of thought lately to stories. I am not talking about plot, structure, character development or anything else that might bore you to death. No, I have been thinking of the power of stories, and how, no matter how you might try to avoid it, they manage to take a life of their own and become something more than what you had intended. As I thought along in this fashion, I ended up back at ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’… Yes, that of Jesus.

Let me give you an example first. Hell, let me give you two.

First, let’s start from personal experience. A few years back, before the release of the final Harry Potter book, I happened to mention to a guy I wouldn’t usually strike up a conversation with that I was looking forward to the book coming out. A few months later I met that guy again and he asked me, with complete seriousness, if I had waited in line with a bunch of children at midnight, outside a bookshop, dressed as Dumbledore, awaiting the final book to be released. It’s amazing, how in a few short weeks, a casual comment could somehow have wound it’s way around to the falsehood that I had dressed as Dumbledore.

Secondly, I want to refer you back to Star Wars. One of the most famous movie quotes of all time, often quoted by children and drunk men on a night out. ‘Luke, I am your father.’ In fact there is no such quote. The actual line is ‘No, I am your father.’

And so brings me to the point I am trying to get to. The story of Jesus. The story itself is two thousand years old. Now, my Harry Potter story managed to warp itself into something ridiculous in the space of a few weeks. This is understandable. Everyone loves a rumour or a good piece of gossip. Especially ones where the protagonist is left looking foolish, even if in their heart of hearts they know it to not be true. Truth has little power in a juicy piece of gossip.

But, the Star Wars story is far more interesting. Here we have a story that should not be manipulated. With the written word, there is room for interpretation and visualising a character in your own fashion. Yet, with a movie, it does your imaginations work for you. Yet still, a movie quote that has worked its way into popular culture, is a quote that never existed. What does this say of the human condition. That although the movie is there for us to see anytime we want (any many of us have watched it countless times) how is it that ‘Luke, I am your father’ has not only survived, but flourished? Simple. It fits better. It feels better. It’s more comfortable. It falls off the tongue better. Basically, if we don’t like the story, we change it to suit the shape we want it to take.

And that is the important point. We change the story to suit the shape we want it to take. With the story of Jesus, two thousand years old and with humankind’s obvious need to change, shift, manipulate our stories, we cannot take the story of Jesus as we know it today as, pardon the pun, ‘gospel.’ To do so would be the greatest fallacy of all. It is blatantly obvious that the story of Jesus was polished, changed, changed again and probably a hundred more times in the past two thousand years to suit the world we lived in at each time period. This is not a condemnation, just a statement. Yet, I also think to discount the story completely is an equal fallacy. Yes I believe there was a person, in that part of the world, in that period of history, who did something that was worth writing down for future generations to know about. Was his name even Jesus? More than likely. The rest is impossible to know for sure. For the world loves a story, yet sometimes, making the story fit to how you might like it to sound is a more outstanding trait of out race than preserving historical accuracy.

Stories have the power to change and to alter the reader(s). They are wonderful things. Beautiful things. Sacred even. However, to take ANY story as ‘truth’ is a very, very dangerous thing indeed. Stories are personal. We all take our own meanings from any story we read or tell. The story of Jesus is no different. Yet it holds a special and sometimes fanatical place in peoples hearts and minds. So much so, that people have gone to war over it. People have died because of it. People have killed because of it. This is where things get crazy. Stories should inspire, ignite and make people think. It is when we ourselves make the fallacy of confusing story with truth or fact (even history is written by the surviviors, usually the winners of a war) that things become dangerous. In the case of religious stories, dangerous on a global scale.

So for the love of stories everywhere, please don’t hold them up to be something they are not.