In my usual peregrinations, I came upon Julia Sweeney and her Letting Go of God monologue excerpt, it’s even on TEDTalks.
And then, in retrospect, her take on what she has learned after rejecting God publicly for 3 years.
Number one: People want to be good. People want to sacrifice for the common good. This is just part of our heritage as human beings.
I believe we have evolved to have this feeling. We all know how good it feels to help your neighbor do something or contribute, or make some self-sacrifice to do something. Everybody wants that feeling. This is where religion can sneak right in and hand this feeling over to people. All this good will that we’ve evolved to have can be just sucked up by an organization that is really doing things that are probably not for the greater common good. Yet they can deliver that hit to people of feeling like they’re doing something good.
Religion indeed has been playing on my mind although I have not played with religion in a long time now. I was lucky enough to have been born in one of the more non-secular religious-zealot-filled countries and yet have a liberal family that never forced me to believe or chase a particular God. They chased so many themselves, they figured eventually I would make a choice out of the pantheon- they weren’t particularly attached to any one God – so not believing in any one of them does not upset them.
On the other hand, I come to the most advanced nation on earth and find so many of the people I interacted with on a personal level deeply affected and hurt by what God might think of them if they did THIS or THAT.
It’s very amazing how big religion here is considering it’s a monotheism. And how big atheism by default becomes. More on that soon.