Life and Religion

I never quite found the perfect way to start this entry. Life and religion aren’t exactly the most organized topics. There’s so much we don’t know, so little people agree on, and talking about it doesn’t accomplish anything other than offend those people who have more conviction in their beliefs than you do in yours. So why do this? I guess when you have something in print, it makes you feel like there’s something sound to what you believe in – like you’re not just talking out of your ass, like there’s some logic and reason behind why you are the way you are.

I originally wanted to write purely about religion, but realized I can’t do it as a separate entity… religion is in every way interconnected with life. After all, religion gives people something to believe in, something to rely on. It exists to make people feel significant. That’s what it’s all about. It’s the idea that every person is equal, that God or whatever deity doesn’t differentiate between the rich and poor, that everyone has a chance to join ‘His’ kingdom or whatnot. It’s the belief that this life, the life we’re living, is a part of something more. That is not to say that this life is meaningless; rather, it is a justification for why things are the way they are in this world… why we have to live with the cards we have been dealt. Life here might be unfair, but it is how we live that determines our fate in eternity.

Religion is fueled by the need for people to find the existence of order, to believe in their own significance. When people pray, when they confess, their motivation includes a desperation of sorts. They seek reaffirmation that they matter. That a higher power cares. Religion is fueled by the fear that life might be a series of random occurrences with no particular meaning. It is fueled by the fear of absolute and utter insignificance – that when you die, there might be no heaven, no afterlife, no eternity. Death could truly be the end of everything, and thus, nothing we do on this world matters except for its own sake. Religion explains the unexplainable, gives mankind a beginning and an end. In a way, it peddles answers. Not necessarily easy ones, but it provides answers.

Of course, it is not religion alone that perpetuates this search for significance… far from it. It’s the reason we have these online journals, isn’t it? People talk about what’s going on, what matters to them – in the hope that someone cares. In the hope that someone understands. Even if there wasn’t some kind of higher power that exists as control in all this chaos, there’s a comfort in believing that there are people like you in this same experience. That you matter – maybe not always to some higher power, but to those who inhabit this world with you, to those who know what living this existence is about. It’s beyond family, beyond friends… it’s about something more. We search for something that gives this life meaning, and we cling desperately onto it. For some of us, it’s religion. For others, it remains elusive.

It is a basic tenet of Christianity that non-Christians will go to hell. That’s the easiest way for me to express why religion simply doesn’t appeal to me, nor will it ever. People are so condescending… they assume because you’re asking questions that you seek their answers, that conviction equates to credibility. I don’t relish the fact that I don’t know the answers. And maybe I’m too ignorant, or too stubborn, but I’d rather never find any answers than accept what someone else tells me. I’d rather live my whole life without meaning, without purpose or reason… burdened by the possibility that I might not matter at all in any scope. Maybe there is a God out there, a greater power – and I’ll be dead wrong. I can deal with that. But maybe there isn’t. No big picture, no kingdom of God, no salvation or redemption, no nothing. Maybe existence ends in all forms when life does, that we are utterly insignificant to everyone but ourselves, that this is all we have, and all we’ll ever have.

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