The other day I received a religious e-mail from someone talking about being turned away at heavens gates for not believing in the Christian god. Now, she knows I am atheist, and I know that she is not a Christian per se, so I am not really sure why she sent it to me (maybe just looking for an atheists take on it)? At any rate, it ended with this question:
IF SOMEONE HAD A GUN HELD IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE, AND ASKED YOU IF YOU BELIEVED IN GOD, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
SAY NO AND FEEL ASHAMED THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
OR SAY YES, I DO, AND DIE
STANDING UP FOR GOD?
Here is how I responded:
I would say no, I do not believe in god or jesus, but I would not feel shame for the rest of my life. Where is the shame in thinking rationally? In requiring proof before believing in fairy tale stories that for 2000 years have absolutely not one shred of evidence to back them up, only hearsay from people who all believe the same thing and are too afraid to question for the truth lest they be cast into hell. Do you realize that 2000 years ago, when Christianity was rising, the general masses had no concept of science or rational thought to explain events in their lives? They would have believed anything the priests told them - they had no means of finding out the truth for themselves, the majority were even illiterate! We now have these options, and I choose to use rational thought and science to explain events in my life. There is nothing to fear in death, your biological brain simply stops and your "self" ends with it. I am not afraid of going to hell, I actually find some amusement in the concept. What I find most amusing is that Christians will tell you that God loves you but you will go to hell if you don’t believe, even though he doesn’t give you any sort of proof of his existence. That email illustrates my point perfectly. You may have spent your lifetime doing good unto others, but if you don’t believe in god, all bets are off and you’re going to hell!!! What kind of "loving father" would send his children to hell for not believing when HE did not offer any sort of evidence? What makes disbelief such a big sin that it matters more than how you actually behave in your life, the choices you make, the good or bad that you do? It is such a sin because without belief, the priests have no control over you - therefore if they tell you that you are going to hell if you don’t believe, you will believe and obey, even if you believe for no other reason than fear of hell. However, if you do NOT believe, the priests lose their ability to control you, you begin to think and question and suddenly your questioning things like slavery, societal status, government, equality, human rights. I think Christianity actually disgusts me more than any other religion because it is rife with hypocrisy and violence. Why do you think they call the dark ages the "dark" ages? It was a low point in the evolution of human society, where fear and demons and ghosts lurked around every corner, the masses were uneducated, and the priests were in control. That is what happens when religion is in control. Did you know that Leonardo DaVinci, who was one of the driving forces of the Renaissance (which pulled us out of the dark ages in the 1500's), and is still considered a genius, did not believe in god? Albert Einstein may have believed in an orderly universe with a creator, but he also did not believe in Christianity or Judaism (Einstein was actually a Jew). Many of our founding fathers, such as Ben Franklin, also did not believe in any god (were atheist), and that was their purpose of making this country free of religion.
Now, while I personally do not believe in any sort of Gods or Demons and have never seen any sort of evidence for them, I will not hold someone’s religion against them. In this country people are free to believe what they will, that is everyone’s prerogative. I don't think there is anything that could give me any sort of belief in any religion so I will leave you with one last thought on the subject of religion - throughout time, when humans have believed in a god or gods, they are convinced that their god is real, he really exists. But what makes the Christian god more real than the roman or Greek gods? What makes him more real than the Hindu gods? I propose that there is no difference, each is only as real as the other, and further, I concur with Carl Sagan that God is the creation of Man, rather than Man being the creation of God.