Existence, Religion, and God

When I say or write that I do not believe there are any gods (or God), I try to keep the subject of religion at least in the margin, if not totally separate. Without belief in a god, the concept of religion becomes moot. Besides, religions are all over the place in what they claim. While related, god and religion are not the same topics to me. There is no chicken or the egg mystery. God first.

However, in philosophical beliefs like Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and in new age, nature-based belief systems like Wiccan, Pagan, or Druidism, attitudes and practices could continue because their god concept does not have the same core personification and monotheistic faith requirements.

Merriam-Webster claims that religion is “the service and worship of God or the supernatural,” or “a commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.” Religion can also be “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” So, godless religion is conceivable. But their status as religions is arguable. Christians, Muslims, and Jews need God. Wiccans, not so much.

Some atheists say religion is the reason why they don’t believe. They may point to (or blame) people who are religious hypocrites for their atheism. Even the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church claims that the way many people practice Christianity is responsible for the rise of atheism.

Indeed, the weaknesses, silliness, and irrationality of religions, many who practice them, and the associated beliefs, serve to reinforce my conclusion that there are no gods. That includes the Catholic Church. But they did not cause it.

When believers present their case for why they believe in God, and why they think I should, they always use religion to support their rationale. They may quote scripture to me, or they’ll tell me I’ll die and go to hell, or that some god will punish me because I decline to agree with them. Health and wealth believers think they get that way because of what they believe. That is religion. Beyond all that, religious believers only have our existence as proof of God.

World views and philosophy aside, for religion to be valid there must be a god. I will discuss the existence of a deity, or some supernatural supreme being, or nature, or the universe. But when someone injects that discussion with religious beliefs, it moves the goal posts and changes the subject. It’s not even the same playing field. They become the home team and that’s not fair to me and my views.

Bill

16 thoughts on “Existence, Religion, and God

  1. Always an interesting read and I’m with you and Hawking. I actually like the use of “probably” because it doesn’t leave things closed. We are open for more discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would imagine Stephen Hawking meant “probably not” as in only if, per chance, in some sort of quantum mechanics or multiverse way. Something purely scientific…no mumbo jumbo fantasyland.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find it rather interesting in Hawking’s comment he states “there is no God.” YET … he uses the word “probably” when mentioning heaven and/or an afterlife.

    By all indications, don’t the two go hand-in-hand?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would think so.
      But I know folks who claim “there must be something” and who would argue in favor of each human spirit living on after physical death. There is no evidence to support any of it.
      Hawking would have known.
      Even one of the Popes relented that Heaven and Hell are “states of being,” not places.
      I suppose I’ll find out when I am forced to cross that bridge. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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