Why I will never believe in God or Heaven

Why I will never believe in God or Heaven

A Story by Ben
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my ramblings on religion

"

I hope you’ll get something out of this even if you disagree with me.

 

I don’t believe in God or heaven and never will. Why?  Well...

 

I was raised in a somewhat religious family, but it was never pressed upon me. I've been exposed mostly to Buddhist culture, so I know a little bit about spirituality.  But the fact remains that if you asked me what religion I am, I'd say...none.  Except that I do agree with many Buddhist teachings and beliefs.  Though I'm not sure I believe in all of them enough to really call myself a Buddhist.  More on that later (maybe another article about it).

Now on to why I don't believe in the concept of God in general. 

 

I'm going to argue my point on principles and values rather than logic.  Why? First of all, the logic argument has been beaten to death.  More than once.  And second, I don't think it’s fair, OR logical to argue against religion using logic.  Now that wasn’t an insult to religion.  I mean that religion exists in a dimension separate from physical logic.  Science can neither prove nor disprove religion.  They exist in mutually exclusive dimensions.  Science occupies the physical and tangible.  Religion occupies the mental and spiritual.  Science is empirically based (observable by the senses), while religion is non-empirically based. Can science prove that God exists or did exist?  No.  But can it prove that God does not exist?  Nope, can't do that either.  Just because there is no tangible evidence of something does not mean that it never existed.  And the argument goes on in circles. 

 

We cannot prove whether God exists or not, and I believe only the foolish try to disprove religion using science, or discredit science using religion. Again, they exist in mutually exclusive dimensions, and therefore cannot be reasonably applied to one another. That being said, I’m going to argue my point with the assumption that God may or may not exist. In other words I’m not trying to prove whether there is a God or not. So if you believe in a God or Gods, you can still read this article within the context of your beliefs.  You can read this article and still assume God exists.  But I’m going to show you why, even if a God and heaven exists (and for all I or anybody else knows know there may be one), I cannot and will not believe in him/her. 

 

I believe in spirituality. I believe in the value of introspection through the exploration of one’s relation to the living world. In this respect, religion is a great thing. It can reawaken us to a purpose outside of our own, and cause use to realize that we are part of a much larger picture. This is why religion is such an indelible part of human culture and everyday life. It lets us shed our earthly differences and feel a connection through the one thing that every one of us shares: existence, life, consciousness, and inevitable mortality.  That is the underlying appeal of religion, and it’s a great thing.

 

So what don’t I believe in? God and heaven. Now, I have no problem with the belief that there is a higher being (again, it can’t be proven or disproven). I have a problem with the general Christian (there are many varieties) and Roman Catholic image of a God and heaven.

 

The first point I’m going to address is the concept and nature of sin. Original Sin is usually defined as Adam and Eve being tempted to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. From this they became conscious of their guilt, emotions, right and wrong, etc, and were expelled from the Garden. Assuming that the fall was true, I fail to see why the knowledge of right from wrong is a bad thing. It was in effect, the death of ignorance. With conscience and awareness then comes the act of choosing between right or wrong. Again, assuming that such a fall did happen, it did mankind a great service by giving us the gift of choice.  The choice to do wrong as well as right, but choice nonetheless. And if we have choice, then we also have freedom. 

 

Now, what’s the big deal? You can still do good things even if you don’t know good from bad, right? Yes, you can do good things, even if you don’t know that they are good.  However, blissful and ignorant good deeds that happen at chance are different from willfully good deeds. The freedom to choose between right and wrong gives our actions weight and meaning. Our choices are therefore not just random: they have a purpose; they are an attempt to do right, wrong, or something in between. i.e. I gave that starving man man food because he has a right to life, just as I do. And the fact that our choices have purpose implies that our lives have a purpose, because our lives are defined by the choices we make. So if such a thing as sin exists, I believe that it above all, gives our life purpose and meaning. 

 

Now for my problem with worship. In most religions, the highest being (usually God) is said to have created mankind and the world as we know it. And so, as a result, we are to love and worship God. If I love God and do good by him, I will go to heaven. However, if I don’t believe in him or love him, I won’t. So I don’t have a choice if I want to go to heaven.  Unfortunately, I’ve always had a problem with not having choice or freedom.  I have an even bigger problem with servitude. I have a problem loving a being that created us, gave us the freedom to know right from wrong…but forbade us to use it. You can reason by saying “sure you have choice, nothing’s going to stop you from choosing the wrong thing.” Unfortunately, something does stop us from making the other choice. It’s the fear of eternal damnation. Fear is what rules us. It’s easy to believe just in case there really is a hell, and the writer of this article really is going there. But what if you don’t want to believe in God? Do you want to take that risk? Probably not, considering that if it wasn’t just a bluff, you’re going to be damned for all eternity. So you see, we aren’t really given any choice at all, because who in their right mind would choose to be in hell? That’s like asking for a person to choose between life and death and telling them they have a choice. No they don’t, because nobody wants to die. When one of two options is so unappealing that it is out of the question, then there is no freedom of choice, only the illusion of it. 

 

Now, one very valid and significant argument for religions such as Christianity and Catholicism is that it spreads care and love for our fellow man. The basic premise is that we should love our fellow human beings because God does. And because if we don’t, we could go to hell. So we have the notion of love, but in the context of serving and following God’s example. In other words, we should love others because that’s what God has taught us to do in one of his commandments.

 

My problem with this is the lack of meaning that this kind of love gives. We are supposed to love all people, even sinners, because God told us to. But what if he didn’t tell us to? Would you still love the homeless guy on the street, the thief who broke into your house, or the mujahid who flew a plane into a skyscraper if God didn’t tell you that they’re just misguided by Satan and that they should be loved anyway? Most people probably wouldn’t.  They wouldn’t love these individuals if they weren’t told that they should. In fact, most don’t love them anyway.  And thus, the love that is so strongly professed is only artificial. Real love exists apart from external influence. You do not love because you are told to. You love because you feel a connection and kinship with someone.

 

I believe in the capacity for people to love for the sake of love and to do good for the sake of good. This stands in contrast to loving because we are told to, or doing good so that we get insurance in the form of heaven.  So my basic problem isn’t with the deeds of Christianity or Catholicism, or even Christians and Catholics themselves: it’s with the principles guiding the actions. 

 

I believe in the immense capacity of mankind to do good for the sake of good without having to be promised a reward.  Doing good out of the wish to go to heaven is an inherent and inevitably selfish act of self preservation. It is like putting credit into an account that you know you will cash out at the end. Only when you let go of that need to be rewarded by heaven, and do something that does not benefit yourself at all can you really measure your capacity for self sacrifice.

 

The fact that we can choose to hurt is what gives our good deeds their meaning.  The fact that we can choose to hate is what gives love its real power.  And this power to choose one or the other is what gives our lives meaning at all.

 

I refuse to believe in God or heaven because I want my actions to have meaning and weight, and that they were carried out not in service of myself, but for others. I want to be able to do good without promise of reward. I want to be able to know that the deeds I did were solely to help that that person, that child, that man or woman, and not to help myself in any way. I want to know that I was selfless, and that what I did on this earth mattered to someone other than myself. I want to know this because only then can I believe that I am truly a good person.

 

© 2008 Ben


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Very well done.

I am Pagan, and very Spiritual myself actually. I like your statement, and you make valid points. My main concern is that it was Forged into this world by Catholics who took bits and pieces from other religions, then fought those religions saying those were wrong.

It makes me sick more then anything.

Posted 13 Years Ago


This is one of my favorite topics.
I consider myself "agnostic" at the moment... but not because i think "God" in the traditional judeo-christian sense may exist. I just don't feel that makes any sense.

I believe in a collective consciousness, which is a Buddhist concept as well. I've practiced meditation, and even learned to do so from Buddhist monks at the national temple here in Portland, OR where i live.
but, i don't consider myself a Buddhist.
i have ideals and such that conflict with it too much.

I will say, that fundamentalists make all other Christians look like idiots.
and I know, not all Christians are... but the idiots often have the loudest voices.

I think moderation is a good thing to keep in mind....

I think my main problem with the Christian myth is that, the preachers all talk about Satan or The Devil or Lucifer or whatever... but the bible doesn't really say much of anything about any of that.

and they use it soooo often to instill fear in the hearts of people.

Christianity has both the biggest bribe and the biggest threat in all of history, often times in 1 sentence.

"if you accept jesus as your lord and savior you will go to heaven and be in eternal bliss forever and ever and ever until the end of time, and if you don't... God sends you to a pit of suffering and agony where you will burn in the lake of fire and be tortured etc... forever and ever until the end of time."

another of my main problems.
"the divine plan"

if there is a "divine plan"
what's up with the fall of adam and eve?

if god knew they were gonna take the apple when he created the universe... or even when he created them or the serpent.... why did he let it happen and then banish them?

why did he create lucifer knowing that he would betray him and lead armies of other angels in a rebellion against him?

did God make a mistake?

and if he did that on purpose... why?

and why, when lucifer turned on him in heaven, did he not simply snap his fingers and make him disappear, instead of leaving him to tempt mankind on earth?
what a jerk.

just some basic stuff that all Christians should question.

and I'll leave you with a quote i find that sums up alot of my feeling on the subject

""Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" -Epicurus

Posted 13 Years Ago



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Added on July 1, 2008

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