Of course there is a magical being in the sky who gives us life. Not something you’ll hear often from an atheist.
But we figured it out tens of thousands of years ago. At some point, human beings developed enough intelligence to notice that something in the sky gave us life. They could even see it. A yellow circle.
When it was around, it gave warmth and light. Two things essential to survival (yes, light included, because we depend on eyesight to find food and avoid predators).
But it wasn’t always there. Sometimes it would be obscured by clouds, and cold rain would fall from the sky. Humans were worried on those days. Perhaps they were superstitious, thinking they had done something to upset the magical yellow circle in the sky.
They would have loved to have known more about it, but they didn’t have a way to learn. So they prayed to it to always be there for them, and even sacrificed to it. They argued over which acts angered the circle, and in groups decided what not to do, for of course, the circle was always watching them from the sky.
For ages these practices continued. Many peoples started worshiping other natural elements, like rain for crops, and wind for calm seas. They had no idea why these things happened. They were like magic, and if prayer made a difference, even for peace of mind, what was the harm in that?
Eventually, humans did figure out how to learn about these “magics”. We learned that the sun is a ball of fire, it comes and goes by the rotation of the earth, and about its effects of heat and light and even vitamin D. We learned what causes wind, about the water cycle that causes rain, why we have seasons, what makes certain plants grow, and many more things. These discoveries fall under the umbrella of “science”.
But by then, worship of the circle in the sky and other natural beings had taken other forms, as mythology evolved. Mystical forces were called “gods”. Some were anthropomorphized; others had the forms of animals. Great stories were written about these deities, and groups argued and fought with others who believed in different gods, just like how people would have argued over how to please (and not to anger) the all-powerful sun for giving us life, which is itself related to different systems of morals and ethics and lists of what thou shalt not do. Peoples’ superstitions remained with us, and though sacrifice is uncommon, prayer is a daily part of life for many people.
I believe this is how religion developed.
Say you’re engaged, and because you’re religious, you and your partner are virgins. Then your financee tells you she’s pregnant. Not only that, but the father is some sort of “holy spirit”, rather than another man. So she’s still technically a virgin. Oh, and even though you’ll be married before then, she won’t have sex with you until after the baby’s born. Right, and he’s the son of God.
I would love to know what would go through a Christian or Muslim guy’s mind if that happened to him today.
Some things that haven’t added up in my eyes:
Say I was good but my wife was not. So I would go to heaven but she would go to hell. But I love my wife. It just wouldn’t be heaven if she wasn’t there. Now what? Does her soul get copied, and some android controls the part in my heaven, but she doesn’t know, and just suffers in hell? I imagine her soul would have to get copied a lot of times. Her friends and family would want her in their heavens too.
Wow a religious person might freak out at the thought of their soul being copied and used to make other people happy while they themselves rot in hell. They would probably feel that that was unjust. I heard that some serious criminals don’t believe they’re doing anything immoral. I wonder how many of them would have cause for alarm. There are some ridiculous things that are considered sins, like the one about wearing two different fabrics together. That this discredits the Bible’s reliability of what would actually get you sent to hell makes sense, but then they really ought to change those ridiculous laws (example, the Toronto law that forbids dragging a dead horse down Yonge St. on a Sunday). If that actually exists (I’m skeptical) then doesn’t that discredit our laws in a similar way to the Bible?
Ok, the debate could continue because we could just remove those sorts of laws. But because the Bible is 2000 years old, nobody would agree to change it. And different sects already interpret the Bible differently. And what if the Pope thinks that mixing fabrics is demonic?
If they did think about one silly Bible passage, they might scour the book for other outdated notions. But if someone asked for the horse law to be repealed, the legal authorities would not read through every other law to see what others might be outdated.
“Why not?” Is that even feasible?
Wow, I got sidetracked. I don’t believe in souls, but the notion seems that they would be too precious to copy. Another issue I have: what age is someone in heaven? If I died now, I would hope to be my age. But if I was 93, I would probably rather be younger than that in heaven. And what if I’d had cancer, or broken all my ribs, or had a leg amputated? Who’s even to say?
But heaven is probably beyond the physical form. Though I don’t even think that could happen.
OK, so it’s metaphorical. Your soul is happy, but we really mean the memory of you. Which I do agree with, but it has nothing to do with religion. You’re still in the ground, but because you were a good person, we think fondly of you after you’re gone. Can this be the new standard?
It seems that some woman complained to senior government about a line in “O Canada” for being sexist. The line is “in all thy sons command”. I can understand where she’s coming from, and it does help that they would actually be changing it to an older version, where they had some similar, gender-neutral line. Anyway, this got front-page attention in the newspaper, which I can again understand, but with a couple comments:
First, if they’re going to change the anthem, can they also change the line “God keep our land glorious and free”? Like many people in this day and age, I don’t believe in God, so this seems like a waste of breath to me. It could be “Let’s keep our land glorious and free”, even though I know Harper’s not pulling his weight on the environment or human empowerment fronts. How unpatriotic of him.
And speaking of Mr. Smug, don’t forget it was his government that decided to go to the media with this story, at the precise time that Parliament is finally getting back to work in Ottawa, having to address* all sorts of other real issues**, like the Afghanistan-torture problem that inspired Harper to prorogue in the first place. How very convenient.
* He won’t.
** I really hope the opposition parties remember them all.
How does the Toronto Catholic District School Board still exist? After all this corruption among the trustees, and the ridiculous and unfair concept of one religion getting a publicly-funded school board while others do not, why doesn’t the world’s most multicultural city just assimilate the two public boards into one? Score one for diversity, by exposing more students to various backgrounds and religions. Score another for added efficiency, because having more schools means more students will live closer to a school they can go to, and resources can be distributed as necessary.
It would probably be wise to grandfather everyone, so students continue the program in their current school, but going to a new school means changing programs. After a few years, the system will be assimilated and the kinks mostly resolved.
Some people would be outraged, but most of these people would be Christians/Catholics, who should at least accept that they’ve been getting a lucrative deal this whole time. You can get a religious education at church. There is no other significant difference except the racial backgrounds of these schools. So if you’re saying the Catholic publicly-funded board is better than the secular one, it almost amounts to saying “You get a better education when you’re in school with all white Catholic kids.” I don’t think they have a leg to stand on, do they?
The private schools would probably get some questionably race-motivated enrolments. That’s all good, you can get any education you want if you’re willing to pay for it. But the Catholic school board should not continue to receive public funding.
As for the trustees… I guess they thought they were created in god’s image?
Link: National Post
EDIT: Later read an article about how some people put their kids in French Immersion programs for similar superficial reasons.
Also, this post is not anti-religion, rather, in support of fairness amongst religions and creating more diverse schools.