Posted by MikeT23 on 4/30/2012 10:31:00 AM (view original):
I almost fear a discussion on theology with almost anyone because I assume they're more knowledgable and "committed" to religion than I am.
I have a bit of a problem with organized religion and the Bible. It would be easy to rattle off a laundry list of people who claimed to have "spoken to God" or, at the very least, have been spoken to by God who didn't turn out to be very good people. So, for me, the "inventors" of organized religion and the writers of the Bible could have been cut from the same cloth. It's difficult for me to not be skeptical when man gets involved. Man is greedy and self-serving. Religion is a good way to better yourself. Scare the common folk, they'll fall in line and help you accomplish your own personal goals. Which is, quite frankly, why I somewhat doubt the vengeful god.
Perhaps it comes from the little "scare pamphlets" they'd pass out from time to time in elementary school. Dressed up as cartoons but meant to put the fear of Jesus in you. Of course, that was before any mention of God in school was the devil's work.
A discussion on theology would be a long one, and one that would be difficult to keep on topic. Your skepticism is entirely understandable. FWIW, if I considered religion as something of a cafeteria to "make my life better", so to speak, I certainly would not choose the God of the Bible. There are many religions out there that do not require you to admit there's not a shred of real goodness you get any credit for yourself, that don't require that you give of yourself sacrificially, that don't require you to give up many of life's carnal pleasures and submit yourself to judgement based on the words of a teacher who was killed by his own society. New Age, feel-good stuff would work far better for me if I chose to look at things from that perspective. If there is no God, a comfortable religion that makes your life better has definite pragmatic benefits, such as a healthier, happier life - in general.
The problem is that something about why we are here is true. Either stuff just appeared out of no stuff and mixed together over time to create the start of life all on it's own (with more information that what it would take to build a city - and enough to somehow replicate itself), or there was a cause to it. If there was a cause to it, it would make sense to find out what that cause was, if we can. Outside of faith, reasonable people can rationally discuss these things.
It does sadden me that many things have been done in the name of God, or in the name of religion, and that it tends to lump all the belief systems togetther as irrational. Because if one of them happens to be true, those that have used the name wrongly have done irreperable damage to many lives.
There are many pitfalls with "organized religion"; there are many pitfalls with organized Christianity. My wife worked as the office manager for one of the larger churches in the city before our kids came along. We've seen many of those pitfalls from the inside. But, the fact that we, who cannot hold to the standards of God, are those that do the organizing, it's bound to have its problems.
A discussion can be rational on the subject, but it's not always easy. Especially on internet forums - as I've noticed from time to time.