Sunday, January 11, 2015
First, consider that everyone has an idea of who and what God is. This includes everyone of every religion and even atheists. Everyone has an idea of what God is and almost all of them are certain they're right. A lot of people say their mind is open, but really only a few of them truly are. Most people have their beliefs and hold great confidence in their beliefs.
Second, consider that there are nearly as many different unique beliefs about who and what God is as there humans. I say this because it's rare for two individuals to agree, line for line, 100% about any belief. There are those who mostly agree, but very few who precisely agree.
So if we can agree that there are nearly 8 billion (it's really 7.3 billion, but 8 is a good, round number for math) ideas of what God is in this world and nearly all the 8 billion idea holders are confident they're right, then there are only four possibilities:
• Everyone is right
• Everyone is wrong
• Some random dude somewhere has all the answers and there's a 7.999 billion chance in 8 billion that it's NOT you
• Nobody REALLY knows what's going on for sure
Sure, there's also the possibility that roughly 25% of those have it mostly right. Those would be either Christians or Islamics. Those are the two largest religions, Christianity with just over 2 billion believers and Islam with just under 2 billion. BTW, atheists/agnostics are the #3 "religion" with just over a billion believers. And we all know that all non-Christians think Jesus is misrepresented as the savior and all non-Islamics think Mohammed is misrepresented as god's prophet and all non-atheists think atheists are wrong.
But when you see all the big numbers of people who believe in one direction or another, and when you consider all the different sects of Christianity alone, either the vast majority of humans have it wrong while a select few are the anointed who have it right (and, again, everyone is certain that's them) or the chances of you truly knowing the truth about what God is are so slim as to be nonexistent. I'm going to err on the side of "the vast majority of the earth agrees you're wrong, no matter what you believe." Pretty much everyone thinks you're wrong, no matter how deeply you feel it and KNOW it all the way to your tippy toes. Because, guess what? That's how we all feel about our beliefs.
So the math either establishes that everyone is somehow right or everyone is somehow wrong (except possibly that one guy that's not you.) And because there currently exists no way to prove that everyone's right or everyone's wrong, the only reasonable option left is that nobody really knows what's going for sure (except possibly that one guy that's not you.) We all THINK we know what's going on, but the truth is that we've all found an answer that feels right to our soul and we've called it the truth. But it's really just the result of feeling around in the dark and finding an answer that makes sense to us as an individual and it has nothing to do with the actual truth. It's OUR truth, not THE truth.
So it only follows that you're not in a position to tell someone what they believe is wrong or stupid or doesn't make sense or any such thing. Sure, you're free to say whatever you want, but it will only reveal your ignorance. Because you have no way of possibly knowing what's true. So why not just let everyone have their own truth? Why is that so hard? You know how important your truth is to you. What inside you finds it so important to take someone else's truth from them? Are you the only one who's allowed to hold a string of unprovable and often inconsistent beliefs sacred?
One of the things I've noticed from looking at religions from the outside is that so many religions have so much in common. Take for example the offense Muslims take if you draw unflattering cartoons about Mohammed. They should just roll their eyes and walk on, right? I mean, it's such a random thing for a sacred holy figure to insist upon. Unless you're Judeo-Christian, of course. Because the Ten Commandments state that it's a horrible sin to make graven images of God or to take his name in vain. Put those two together and it's pretty much the same thing as drawing unflattering cartoons, no? So Jews and Christians would be hypocrites to mock a belief like that, right? And at least half the world's population believes it's wrong to create an image of God or use his name in a blasphemous way.
This isn't to say it's right to kill someone for doing it. But everyday Muslims don't think it's ok to kill. It's the Muslim fringe. Just like the Westboro Baptist Church doesn't represent all of Christianity, neither do terrorists represent all followers of Mohammed. What doesn't make sense to me is the vigor with which some people want to demean what others hold sacred. It's not like the person criticizing the god has some special insight into what God REALLY is. I mean, refer back to the mathematical proof. None of us really knows.
This blog post isn't just about the situation in France, though. This kind of ignorance goes on in most peoples' minds every single day. Some fringe people are willing to kill over it, and you'll find them in every religion (though you don't really see a lot Buddhists perpetrating hate crimes). But most people just think snarky shit and generally think to themselves that they have superior knowledge because it came from prayer or a smart pastor or a channeling session or a lack of evidence or they "just know". This blog post is really about them, and no offense, but it's likely you're included in that group.
You don't have superior knowledge about God. Neither do I. In fact, we have no idea what we know and what we don't. So we have no idea what others know and what they don't. So I suggest we just leave people the fuck alone. Getting worked up over others' beliefs is a first-world problem and, frankly, it's ego-based, controlling and insecure. It also means you have nothing more important—like survival—to occupy your mind with. I doubt people who are starving to death give a crap about what others think of god.
Truth is, if aliens attacked tomorrow, you wouldn't give a crap about what someone calls their god either. In fact, you'd probably be applauding terrorists for forming the front lines on the war against the aliens. It's all about perspective. And if you really feel a need to control what others hold sacred inside their heads, then you're lacking perspective. Before you judge the beliefs of another, make sure your own beliefs are unquestionable themselves. Again, I refer you back to the math.
The problems in this world don't exist because one side is right and some other side is wrong. They exist because our egos need to make one side right and another side wrong. Your own ego is the problem, not other people. Because if you weren't so busy being certain they were wrong, you'd realize that we're all here trying to figure it out for ourselves and nobody really has the answers. And if you don't have the answers, then why are you fighting so hard to hold a stance you don't even occupy? And this goes for every opinion, not just religious beliefs. In the scheme of things, it matters less what others believe and more that we learn to understand, respect and love others no matter what they believe.