Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Mar 15, 2011

Questions To My Religious Friends

Believing in a God and following a religion may be related, but they are two very different things. I can understand to a certain extent why someone would choose to believe in a God or in an afterlife, but it is a little bit harder for me to understand why as fantastic and contradictory as religions can be, people choose to believe in sometimes completely irrational things, things that they learned from other people. 

The following is a set of questions I'd like to ask religious people. Depending on your beliefs, some of the questions may not apply to you, if this is the case, then just ignore the question.

Because I'm much more familiar with Christianity than with any of the many other religions around the world, most of my questions will be Christian oriented, but it may be very possible that they can apply to a different religion if it shares similar characteristics or if it has evolved in a similar way than Christianity. 

You may reply with your answers if you like, but that's not the point, these questions are for you to answer to yourself. Furthermore, even when you may have never had to answer some of the questions I ask here, I doubt there's anything that hasn't been asked before, so I'm sure if you don't have the answer, you might be able to do some research and find some sort of answer somewhere. If this is the case, then try to ask yourself if those answers honestly make any sense to you or if it feels like you're trying to block the sun with a finger.

1. Why is your faith the true one and the other ones aren't? People with different religious beliefs than yours have faith as strong as yours, even when they have been exposed to other faiths, including yours, which is clearly the true one, or so you say. Other religions have similar reasons, proofs, (questionable) historical references, and even a book or a collection of books that were supposedly written by God or through divine intervention or by a prophet or an enlightened person(s). Isn't it a little arrogant for you to say that your faith is true and that other religions are based on made up facts or things that are not true? Don't you think that if God was as powerful and as involved with humans and everyone's lives as you say it is, it would have made a much better effort to make really clear which religion to follow? I know that to you it is obvious that your religion is the religion, but if the strength of your faith proofs your religion is the true one, then you must be assuming that people from other religions don't have faith as strong as yours.

2. Assuming you believe your faith gives you an advantage over other faiths regarding going to heaven/achieving enlightenment/etc, what kind of God makes things so confusing and unfair? Even if it's obvious to you that your faith is the one, it's clear that it's not as obvious as you may think, otherwise there wouldn't be so many religions and sub-religions, disagreements within religions, cults, atheism, and confusion. Being born and raised in another country will usually determine what kind of beliefs a person adopts. Why would God punish someone just because he or she was born at the wrong place, in the wrong family, or at the wrong time? If your God wouldn't let someone enter heaven (or whatever you believe you go after you die), or even worse, if your God will send someone to suffer in hell forever for not following the right religion, even when he or she is a really good person, then I'm sorry, but your God is a piece of shit.

3. Who told you your faith is the correct one? How was that fact proven? If your reply makes reference to the sacred book of your liking, then how do you know what's written there is true? All the sacred books were (supposedly) written either by God or through divine intervention, what makes yours so special? Where is the seal of approval from God or God's signature? How do you know it wasn't written by men and without divine intervention like... hmmm, those other sacred books out there? Please explain or point to the evidence that make those other books scams or fairy tales and the book you believe in the direct word of God. You should notice that if you do know of such evidence, it doesn't seem to be that convincing. If you present irrefutable evidence to a believer (or even a non-believer) that a book was written by God, wouldn't it be a no-brainer for this person to convert to the true religion? Wouldn't you just do that if you had a really strong evidence that you made a mistake regarding your beliefs? (Actually, I know that the answer to this last question is no).
4. If you think gay sex is wrong because it's not natural, then what about oral and anal sex? The mouth wasn't "designed" to suck cock and the ass wasn't "designed" to be penetrated, therefore they could be considered as perverted and wrong as gay sex. Even tongue kissing isn't natural.

5. If you're a Christian, you probably have noticed that Christianity is divided into many branches or denominations, being the Catholic the largest and one of the oldest ones. Sometimes these branches are so different from each other that the only thing in common they have is that they believe there was someone called Jesus that God sent a while back. Why is your denomination the correct one? Why your version the Bible the correct or most accurate one? How come your God not only made it confusing and unfair world wide, but so confusing that even within Its people there are very drastic discrepancies? Isn't it a little alarming that from its very beginnings Christianity has been divided and believed different things about Jesus?

6. Why is your interpretation of the Bible correct and other Christian or non-Christians interpretations of the Bible wrong? And why such an important book can be interpreted in so many ways? Why does it have so many contradictions? Shouldn't a Book written by God be rather clear? To everyone equally and not only to your church?

7. Why the books included in the Bible were written by God and the ones the church decided not to include in the Bible weren't? Did some of the books (or copies of copies of the books) come with God's seal or signature? Do you interpret the Bible the same way that the Christian denomination who curated the Bible does? If you use the Bible as a fundamental authority book, why do you such thing when this only started happening a few hundred years ago, even when the Bible has been around for way longer?

 8. As far as I know, there was only one time when (the Christian and Jewish) God gave humans a set of rules to follow, the Ten Commandants. Everything else in the Bible are just stories, and regardless if these stories are based on real events or not, what happened in these stories, their lessons, the morals displayed, the punishments that took place, etc, only describe the culture and mindset of the time and location where the events took place. Many times the events and actions that take place in one book contradict what happened in another book. So why sometimes Christians quote sections of these stories as if they were absolute laws to be followed? Not only that, but the sections the Bible-heads love to quote are carefully selected, while they prefer ignoring many other things that took place in the Bible or even things that were said by the same people they are quoting, including God. Wouldn't it make more sense for you to follow literally the whole thing, if you're going to be literal about it? Why aren't you stoning women who choose to have sex before marriage, for example? If you're going to quote the Bible, do it as you would quote any other book, not as proof that [insert action, idea or fact you dislike here] is wrong.

9. Since you think abortion is premeditated murder, do you think the people responsible of an abortion should be sent to jail for life or get a death sentence?

10. Some of you think there must be a God because the universe is so perfect and follow certain laws, and things like the human eye or sense of hearing are so impressively complex that it seems there must be some sort of "designer" behind all of this. "Every painting has a painter, therefore the universe must have had a creator", right? While neither you or I have all the answers to all the mysteries in the universe, why do you think God is the only possible way to explain the world that surrounds us? It could be a number of things, thousands of things, crazy and never imagined things that have nothing to do with a God. Why would you decide that a God is the only explanation and why the lack of imagination?

11. Back when many religions started, thousands of years ago, people's knowledge was very very limited. If you went back in time and talked to someone from that era, I'm sure you would probably disagree in a million things, since you know so much more than that person. Then why do you think that people thousands of years ago were experts in theology or the origin of the universe? How can you even think that some of the things described by the people from that time are accurate descriptions, when they can't even understand many of the natural events that happened around them, including things from their daily lives? When God (supposedly) created the universe, light, earth, etc, there were no humans to see what was going on, have you thought about that?

12. Are you a good person or a better person because of your religion? Do you think someone who doesn't believe in God or follows your religion is more likely to be a bad person? Would you be a bad person if you were an atheist? If so, please let me know, because I need to watch my back around you. I don't need to fear a God or to follow any religion to be good. Incidentally, the percentage of atheist in the US is 10% while the percentage of atheist in jail is 0.2%. Most people in jail are Christians (check here).

13. A religion is a moral guideline based on the interpretation of a number of things, and general common sense (sometimes). It's happened a number of times that a religion has accepted being wrong and changed or adapted its views drastically. At one point in time saying that earth was not the center of the universe was considered heresy and you could have been sentenced to die, for example. It wasn't until recently that Christians (most of them, at least), accepted evolution as the truth (I mean, it's a fact, not accepting it would simply make you look ignorant, and I'm sorry if you don't agree), and even more recently, the Catholic church accepted the possibility of the existence of alien life. At some point in time adultery, homosexuality, witchery, and many other things were punished with death in some parts of Europe, which was related to the religion's view at he time, and now they aren't even considered crimes in most places, even if they are seen as sin or whatever. If you compare the moral guidelines of most religions today to the ones they had thousands of years ago, you can see that they are very different. They will probably continue changing. Then why follow a religion at all? Wouldn't it make more sense if you just believed in God and were a good person based on your own moral views? Why would you let an organization dictate what morals you should follow, even when they have accepted being wrong so many times? Following the rules that your religion imposes means that just a few hundred years ago you would have done things that now you consider completely wrong, wouldn't God prefer for you to be a good person even if that meant not approving things that your religion says it's OK at the time?

14. Did you know that the basic story of Jesus has a striking similarity to the basic story of many other gods from other religions that precede Jesus by hundreds or thousands of years? Birth, Virgin, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection. You can check this and this, but you're welcome to do your own research. Once again, try not to only reference Christian biased opinions, research both sides.

15. If you get a soul (from God) at the moment of conception, then what happens with identical twins, where the zygote splits in two after the moment of conception?

16. You could say that you are who you are because of the things you have lived, your experiences, your memories. If all your memories were wiped out from your brain, you would be a different person. This is something that has actually happened many times, people have lost all or most of his or her memories due to an accident or an illness, and as a result the person is very different from the one they were before that incident, from personality and clothing style to taste in food and sense of humor, it has all changed. What happened to the souls of these people? This example can also be asked if you believe in reincarnation, because re-incarnation makes no sense whatsoever if you can't remember the lessons you learned in your previous lives. But a much more important question is the following: if your memories, personality, tastes, etc, belong to this world and not the spiritual world where you say you will go after you die, then this means that after you die you won't even know who you are, which is almost the same thing as if there was no afterlife. Or does God have a backup hardrive with all your info? If so, and if you were one of the unfortunate persons who lost all memories and became a completely different person, which of the two is the one you will, somehow, be able to remember in the afterlife?

That's it. Now think about it. Or not.

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