The Flaws of Comfort

January 24, 2012
By AlexieG. GOLD, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
AlexieG. GOLD, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
17 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do not hide behind the image of who you wish to be, or you will lose sight of who you once were."

Many people in my life consider me an atheist or a non-believer and that if you just imagine the most stubborn, critical person who will break every rule in the bible on a daily basis, go out of their way to violate the most respected laws in a religion, and who emanates rebellion, you would get the exact product of me. However, what many of those people fail to know is that for more than half of my life I was a very religious, spiritual person. Throughout the first ten years of my life I prayed every day- at least three times a day- I attended services, I had my own bible that I was dedicated to finishing, and I read spiritual poems about God in my free time. As I began to grow up and mature, I began to doubt what I had been taught since birth. For as long as I remember though, I always questioned my teachers on what was written in a book that was so cherishly treasured. There were many times where my teachers had told me that they simply did not know the answers to my endless, persistent questions and that I just needed to trust in God and believe that everything has been thought out. Over the past three years, I have seriously questioned, doubted, and analyzed a belief that had been set in stone for hundreds of generations. Now, I have come to my own conclusions after breaking away from a spirit-bound, religious community.

The general idea seems to be that man was made in God’s image, but I believe that God was made in man’s image. Not God physically, but the concept of God. No one knows what happens after you die, no one understands the purpose of our existence; by believing in God, one can rest assure that they have a purpose, life has a meaning, and that there is no end. I believe that God is meant to be a “rock”, a comforter, and something to fall back on. After a death of a loved one, losing a job, losing a relationship, or a tragic event, the idea of God is always there, he is always there to protect, accept, love, comfort, and forgive. God is whatever someone wants him to be, and God fulfills the purpose that someone needs him to be. God grants humans strength, mercy, and the power to conquer fears and forgive.

“The alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short circuit destroying the mind.” This is a very powerful and honest quote from a woman named Ayn Rand. This was an incredibly brave statement to make because by touching on the subject of faith, one is calling immediate trouble and scrutiny from thousands of people and religious communities. I completely agree with this statement. Ayn Rand is saying that many people don’t look for answers and search for knowledge that goes beyond the bible and religion. I agree that people do disregard reason and jump to religion. Many people leave their decisions, fate, and responsibilities to God. An instance of this is a largely debated topic such as giving money to the poor. Many religions say that one should give to the poor and needy solely out of love and mercy. I once visited a website that hosted this question and offered a space for people to write their thoughts about giving to the poor. Some said that they should question the person’s motives before offering money, but over eight hundred people had said that they should give the poor person the money regardless of the motive because that was an act of true, pure love. Many of those who had commented said that they would give the poor person the money and leave it in God to decide whether that was a good decision. My issue with this is that supposedly God has given you your mind, so it is solely your responsibility and your job to make that decision yourself and not simply let God decide for you. I believe that you cannot sacrifice knowledge and reason for religion and faith. So I also do not agree with the phrases; “Take a leap of faith”, or “Leave it up to fate”. This takes me to another quote from a book called Inherit the Wind. When a man asked Henry Drummond if there was anything that was considered holy to an atheist, he replied, “… The individual mind. The advance of man’s knowledge is more of a miracle than any partings of water… an idea is a greater monument than a cathedral.” I wholeheartedly believe because facts are something you can truly believe in, whether you like the results or not. Facts and things that can be proven to be true and probable are things to rely on, religion is ever changing and every person’s belief is different. But how can you change a religion? If religion and God are real, then how is it possible to change the views, belief, and ideas of them into a new religion? Religion cannot be personalized and rethought, then expected to be the truth. It’s as if one were to rethink the alphabet, or make the square root of four three because it did not make sense, they did not like the outcome, or the result was too difficult to understand. You cannot rewrite an answer to the square root of four and make it three because you like it better that way, once you do that, your answer is simply wrong. This occurs with religion so often; people personalize their belief in God to something they like, rather than what the bible states, then they teach their personalized version of the bible to their children, synagogue, church, etc. This occurred for hundreds of generations and years to form people’s beliefs today.

Throughout this piece, I have been discussing my ideas of religion in general, so now I will discuss my belief in God and where my issue with today’s general idea of God lies. Scientists have recently discovered a way to create multi-celled life forms or organisms after years of experiments. These life forms are not nearly as advanced as humans or the average germ is, this organism is not capable of communicating or performing any elaborate motor skills. But if you think carefully about the situation, haven’t these scientists become “God”? Basic information about God is that supposedly he created humans. These scientists have created organisms, no matter how undeveloped or unnatural they seem, they were not created through God millions of years in seven days or grown through evolution, but scientists created them. This hypothetically puts them in the position of their “God”. Now say that these organisms over a certain amount of time became as advanced as humans, would these scientists expect their organisms to pray to them? Or build temples, synagogues, and make sacrifices, promises, and obey their every command? I think the answer is no. So how would today’s God want humans to pray to him, thank him, and obey his laws? Although I question other’s religion very often and God, I still like the unity that religion can bring. I love walking into a synagogue and feeling everyone’s togetherness. I especially love the comfort the religion can bring, although it is naïve of me, I sometimes like to feel like everything is understandable and that momentarily, there is someone who runs everything and I love knowing that everything is under control when something seems to be falling apart. Religion is relaxing, soothing, and comforting for me. That is the main thing that I love about religion.

Some say humans cannot try to understand religion based on our insufficient information and understanding, and that we cannot judge God on a human level. However, I would not pray to a God or believe in something or make judgments simply because I cannot understand, and I would not believe in something that I don’t understand, that is disregarding reason and my mind. Rabbis question the Tanakh and they write their question and try to find answers to their questions. These questions and explanations have become today’s commentaries. I think that we have taken a step towards progress by questioning, then displaying their questions for everyone to see and make their own questions, but then those people go straight back to their God and the religion that they had just questioned. I do not agree that we should pray and commit ourselves to something that we cannot understand and destroy reason and logic because we have the necessity to believe.

I believe that religion is one’s interpretation of the bible based on their hopes, wants, and fears. Religion gives strength, comfort, reassurance, and while it is healthy at times to relax into the soothing arms of a powerful “god”, I believe in reason and the power of one’s mind, not the pleasantries of the bible.

The author's comments:
This is an article about my beliefs on God and religion. This is a very heated topic and what makes it so interesting is that you can have a conversation about religion with ten people and you'd get ten completely different opinions and views. I love talking about religion because regardless of how frustrating it can be, the views on religion are so diverse that you can never run out of things to talk about.

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