Today my wife is attending a funeral for a young man – twenty five! – who recently died of a brain tumor. He was diagnosed only a month before.
My aunt died of cancer a few years ago, after a four year struggle. She was a very religious Catholic, went to church, kept statues of Padre Pio in her home and pictures of the Virgin Mary on the wall of her bedroom. She took trips to sanctuaries. She counted priests among her friends. And yet…she withered away to almost nothing. She lived in tremendous pain. Then she died.
So where is this great God believers speak of? Either he is fucking with us – in which case he is an evil God – or he just plumb don’t exist. Why it would give anyone solace to have faith in such a thing baffles me. Even some atheists I know talk of the “gift of faith” with not a little nostalgia (that they never received it.) All I can think is, What’s wrong with you people? We can do better than this!
We all suffer, atheist and religionist alike. No one is exempt. Life will end in death for all of us, with no regard for our belief systems, education, successes and failures. We all know this. It does no good to pretend that there is a benevolent being who is looking out for us, who is amenable to prayer and flattery, and who will save us when the going gets rough. It does no good because this is quite obviously not true.
Let’s stop pretending it is, and that faith is a gift. It’s a poison apple if it’s anything.
3 thoughts on “A poison apple”
Theology spends a lot of time trying to come up with reasons why a god it claims is all-loving would inflict suffering that appears cruel and unnecessary on its own creations. The amount of thought devoted to this is really very impressive – and dwarfs, to a degree scarcely imaginable, the amount of thought expended in coming to the assertion that such a being exists in the first place. And yet, such is religion’s hold on much of humanity that few caught in its thrall seem to think we ought to be more certain there is a god before wondering, at centuries’ length, why he does things that do not, on the face of it, make sense (most especially not if he is as we have described him)
Right on. Religion is a denial of reality. There’s no way that denying reality can be good for anybody.
It really is mind-boggling how much money, time and intellectual energy is spent attempting to square the circle.