As someone surrounded by religion, this mysterious and non-arbitrary belief system seemed convenient to believe during those times; but I was gravely mistaken. According to the Ontological, Teleological, and Cosmological Arguments, a god must exist.
These arguments provide the ideology of a supreme being as the stopping point for all unanswered questions. “How was our universe formed? The Big Bang Theory, but how did The Big Bang Theory happen? Well, there was a singularity that exploded, but who caused such an event?” This, in particular, revolves around the idea that someone is the supreme cause of everything.
The Causality Principle of Philosophy also comes to play here. If everything has a cause and an effect, then there must be a god before the god we currently have; but we have no such information regarding such ideology. Perhaps, there is a god, but where are they? I acknowledge these arguments, but it does not take hold of me. Why aren’t they here helping humanity surpass its devils if there is a god?
The devil is the personification of the grief of humanity. Moreover, a god is the personification of the true good we all inherently have. I argue that God was created as a concept for the people afraid of the inevitable death we face. This belief system rationalizes the idea of a supreme being who molded the world through words and general power. This idea in itself is faulty. How come such beings have these powers? Humans weren’t the smartest at one point, but we could adapt and learn things through evolution. How about god? Was he also, at one point, a being of minor powers that evolved to the point of being all-powerful and omnipotent?
Moreover, religion alludes to a pseudo-reality that we have. Nothing is truly justified we have no absolute reason to believe in it. God is an ideology and not an actual being. It is a being that humans have fathomed in order to make sense of the senseless. It is a being that humans have created to help those who are trying to find sense in their lives that are slowly dwindling. If He truly does exist, where was he when wars broke out? Where was he when His people were placed under scrutiny during WWII? Were the prayers not enough? Were the cries of help not enough?
Religion is a belief of paradox. I have noticed a trend as someone who has dabbled in Catholicism for a while. God is omniscient. Therefore, he knows everything that has happened and will happen. A story I would like to allude to is the story of the fall of man. Eve bit the apple and then gave it to Adam, who bit it. Due to His omniscience, he must’ve known that the devil got into Eden. He must’ve known what would happen. Mind you, all Adam and Eve knew was love and purity. How could they understand the concept of deceit without knowing what it looks like? If God truly didn’t want man to fall, why didn’t He help educate the two He created? The sacrifice of the Son could’ve been prevented. All the lives lost during the following years could’ve all been saved if He had explained to those two what deceit means.
If this tells me anything, it is that religion speaks about predetermined paths. If you believe in this belief system, this just means that whatever you are doing; you were meant to do it from the start. This contradicts itself. In order to be “free” you must submit yourself to God. Therefore, you aren’t truly free. Some might argue that God is the embodiment of freedom, so therefore submitting yourself to him is submitting to freedom. I digress once more. If the embodiment of freedom requires you to submit to Him, there is no freedom. Freedom is a malleable thing and could fit in any context, but true freedom doesn’t come from religion, it comes from yourself.
Due to this, free will as a concept does not exist. It contradicts itself. Free will exists but at the same time the Bible and the teachings say otherwise. If you, want to change, but the path that was given to you is predetermined; then that just means, you have done nothing but fight the inevitability of being possibly wrong or right. It procures to the masses that freedom exists, but exercising it does not mean you are completely in control. Also;
Praying doesn’t help. Let’s say you have prayed before a job interview because you really want the job that you desire. You got the job. What do you conclude? God helped you surpass the adversary. But if you did pray, and you lost the job; what do you conclude? You conclude that God has abandoned you. God, in both sense, did not help. The prayer did not help in both situations. It was your morale and confidence that brough you to it. Both situations play into factors such as; skills, confidence in speaking, knowledge, and sensibility. If you are great, and the company doesn’t like you, you are forsaken. If you are great, and the company likes you, you are blessed. No divine intervention happened in both situations since both are dictated by chance and skill.
I wonder, are the downvotes here an expression of disagreement, or a complaint that this is too boringly obvious?
I didn't downvote (nor upvote) the first time I saw it. I have downvoted now. Not because I disagree, but because the thesis isn't clear enough to know whether I disagree. It may be obvious - most of the simplistic formulations of most religions are pretty hard to take seriously. It is missing any deeper exploration of why religious cultures seem to be more cohesive and happy, or any value in mystery or embracing contradictions in models of an unknowable (or at least not-fully-knowable) universe.Most religions are wrong. That doesn't make them futile.
I downvoted because it's not a particularly interesting critique of religion (contrary to, say, Eliezer's https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/fAuWLS7RKWD2npBFR/religion-s-claim-to-be-non-disprovable which is really solid.
The paragraph on free will is weak because it fails to engage with what the other side is saying (yet alone refute a steel man version)
Besides, making a big post on lesswrong about how religion is silly is just preaching to the choir - in the same way that if you really want to make a post on why AI is dangerous, don't do it if you don't have something new to bring to the debate.
I think the correct reasoning is, if you didn't get the job you didn't pray hard enough. You weren't faithful enough to be rewarded. Or maybe you were, and this is just a trial of your faith. It's easy to have faith when faith seems to work, it's only when all experiments you perform seem to contradict your faith that it is really tested.
Downvoted because this feels a bit like rambling.
I'm not 100% sure if I can agree that religion is useless (perhaps it fulfills important cultural needs, or allows larger in-groups). That idea feels a bit underdeveloped.
I think any of the ideas in this could potentially be the start of an interesting post. But it fails to engage with the larger context and thought on any of them, or to really add anything to the discussion.