My Back Story
Many adherents of organized religion are all too eager to entirely accept the premise of their faith without having a very well thought out or well researched position on its merits. There is an incredible reluctance or aversion to exercise critical thought on such matters, be it from within the religious community or from external parties. I’ve often speculated as to why people exhibit this inability to apply the same reason they so readily employ everywhere else. I suspect that it might be due to a); that most have just invested to much of their personal identity in their faith to reasonably extract from it b); criticism of religion is not exactly encourage in its teachings and lastly c); most just could not be arsed with the admin of having to seriously consider their positions, for them it is simply too much work. So here I try to give a brief summation of my greatest grips with the merits of religion as it stands
God Is Not Timeless
When trying to grasp how/what modern organized religion actually is, it’s important to understand that humans have been around for quite a long time, +/- 200,000 years as suggested by our earliest fossil records. This however is nothing compared to how long the Earth has been around, which is around 4 billion years. The concept of 1 god as far as our existence is concerned is far more recent than most would like to consider. The archaeological records tell us a great deal about our culture and history in those early days, none of which suggest any inclination towards any type of organized religion. In fact the earliest archaeological evidence of anything that even remotely resembles a complex faith system can only be found as recent as 11,000 years ago at a site called Gobekli Tepe. This site predates the agricultural revolution and contains an impressive series of artifacts and pictographs and even with its rich depictions, scholars are unable to definitively assert whether or not it truly has religious significance. To find any definitive evidence of organized religion requires a quantum leap forward in time to around 6000 years ago where the earliest uniform representation of faith appears in the archaeological records. This can be found in a site called Shaar hogolan, showing several artifacts depicting an anthropomorphic being and later, in the City of Mari where the first pantheon of Gods present themselves with full-fledged temples at the heart of Cities. The archaeological evidence from this time would suggest that God is not as timeless as we would like to believe he is.
The Metamorphoses Of Faith
Even more concerning than this, we find that from this point on the predominate faith system in the whole Mesopotamian region appears to be polytheism. Even the early Hebrews from which Christianity is derived subscribed to a polytheistic faith in which they worshiped gods chief of which were El, Asherah and Baal . This is reflected in the archaeological records as well as the narrative of the Bible itself. Historians have found several artifacts depicting the God Asherah and Baal in addition to Hebrew inscriptions reading “Yahweh and his Asherah” dating as early as 900 BC. The biblical narrative is also ripe with the theme of many gods with controversial statements such as: “You shall have no other gods before Me” Ex. 20:3. This among others is curious text, demanding the worship of one God without negating the existence of others. It’s also interesting to note other text that has similar themes such as noting Yahweh as the God of Abraham. This could be a further portrayal of Yahweh as nothing more than the patron God of Abraham, much in the same way that the Greeks and Egyptians had patron Gods of cities. It’s also curious to note how dramatically the narrative of the bible changes under the cultural pressure of invasion. Most notably under the Babylonian invasion, where the Hebrew faith in a survival attempt morphs itself from an evidently polytheist faith to what will become the most powerful monotheism. The mechanisms by which it does this is quite remarkable, it literally turned the invasion in on itself by deducing that Yahweh was angered by the idolatry of the Hebrew people and subsequently used the Babylonians as an agent of his justice, as explained in the book of Kings. This not only solidified Yahweh’s dominance as the one God of the Jews, but also made him God over the Babylonians as they were now also subject to his will. As opposed to assimilating into the Babylonian culture, as was tradition when being conquered by a nation who’s Gods have superior military power, the Hebrews created a good enough reason to continue practicing the faith. And so the one God was born, in 600BC by the rivers of Babylon.
The Hebrew and in fact Christian faith similarly underwent several radical metamorphoses, completely redefining its self and adding a whole new appendix under the Roman occupation. Here again they needed a good enough reason to justify why they faith proved so inadequate, and so the premise of a Messiah was created to once again bail them out. Christianity was again later redefined by several councils held by the Roman emperor Constantine at the end of yet another military struggle, and continues to redefine itself today in the form of thousands of denominations!
Smell The Bullshit In Religion
It always baffles me to see how atheist and theist alike can in unison write off ancient belief as mythology, stating that those people were just trying to explain natural phenomena such as lightning, floods, life and death. But for some reason it is wrong and downright unacceptable to even insinuate that main stream religion is exactly the same thing, when it is abundantly clear that it is born of the same devices. When assessing the succession of Faith, it is very clear that it was absolutely necessary to our success. However, in this age of enlightenment it is ridiculous and exceedingly damaging to treat it with the same reverence the ancients did. As modern beings we should be far better equipped to assert its relevance in the context of our world. We need to smell the bullshit in religion, so that we can shed its heavy yoke of mysticism allowing us to arm ourselves with real knowledge so we can actually make a difference in the terrible state of the world instead of mentally pacifying ourselves with outdated device such as praying to Gods that never existed.