**Warning. If you are offended by the questioning of religious doctrine, please do not continue reading.
Apologies to Cotton Eyed Joe – this isn’t about the song lyrics “Where did you come from and where did you go?” Though my wife Karen often screams that vociferously when she sees a spider scurry across her line of vision!
No – this is about our species.
I recently read a Dan Brown fictional novel, “Origin”, which posed this question. I found it very thought provoking and worthy of discourse.
Where DO we come from and where ARE we going?
When I began this blog, I professed to stay away from politics and controversial issues. However, this subject has triggered a topic that I have thought of many times over my life and seems relevant, given the state of our world today.
I write this not to question anyone’s belief system – after all you have the right to believe whatever helps you navigate life – but simply to further investigate my own changing set of beliefs and how they have been impacted by events over my lifetime.
This is not to convert you, the reader, but to understand and question myself and how my experiences over my lifetime of interaction with others, has changed my worldview on any number of topics – religion notwithstanding.
People are passionate about their religion all over the world. Of that there is no dispute.
What I do dispute, is that one religion is superior to another. We tend to live in a religious vacuum, believing that OUR religion – OUR God, under OUR system of beliefs – is the only true word. All others are wrong and antithetical to our beliefs.
As a “Christian” my belief system was instilled in me as a toddler. My parents took me to the United Church, where I was taught that the Christian bible was the story from which we all should take direction – knowing that all of us on earth were begat from a single miracle in which Adam and Eve met in a garden, proliferated and from this singular act, all future humans descended.
Many people still believe this story and find peace knowing that our Christian God knows all and forgives all – we simply need to believe! I too was taught to believe.
I have evolved.
Today I would describe myself as Agnostic – “a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.”
I will quantify this by saying that in the worst of times, I have had a singular belief that “things have a way of working out” – and they have for the most part. Is that at the behest of a supreme being?
I don’t know that answer.
As I have traversed life, I have met many wonderful people from all over the world who were raised as Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Jehovah, Scientology, Atheist and countless others. I discovered that religion and belief systems are both many and diverse.
What we believe is at the core of our existence. In too many instances, religion, or a specific set of beliefs, has been deemed worthy of going to war over. The Jews and Palestinians have been at war for hundreds of years – over RELIGION!
I mentioned this in an earlier post, but if you are interested in learning WHY the Jews and Palestinians hate each other, I encourage you to read “From Beirut to Lebanon”. It is a fascinating, sobering and very educational historical novel by journalist Thomas Friedman.
So: Where Do We Come From?
Depending on your belief system, you may have been taught that the human race evolved in different ways.
If you follow the Christian bible, you have one unwavering belief. If you follow the Koran, you have a different unwavering belief. If you follow another belief system you have yet another unwavering belief. Indigenous people had many gods – sun Gods, river Gods, moon Gods etc.
Others believe we evolved from animals. How can all be true?
In our little town of Aylmer, we have a church called “The Church of God Restoration” in which they have humanized what we grew up knowing as “apostles”. The apostles of this church are not God or his surrogates, but the current leaders of the church. You may have heard of them throughout the pandemic – it certainly put Aylmer on the map – but not in a good way.
All this to say, for hundreds of years, people have taken liberties with God and religion, to suit their own needs. See Jim Jones, David Karesch, Charles Manson and others. The point is that there are always people that use religion to further an agenda.
If you wish to investigate some of these “so called” prophets further, here is an interesting link: Inside 5 of the most infamous cults in American history – ABC13 Houston.
All of these people in this article prayed on the weak among us, portraying themselves as a messenger of God, and that they and only they could save you.
Some consider Scientology, Jehovah’s Witness, Church of God Restoration and even Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as a cult. I will leave that for you to decide.
What you believe forms the core of your existence.
Creationists believe that there was a great flood which wiped out the entire world in the name of God. Noah had the good sense to build an ark on which he saved 2 of each species to repopulate the world.
REALLY? Can a logical person make sense of that?
Evolutionists on the other hand follow science and claim that humans evolved from animals. Is this fake news?
How can we refute facts? Well I guess if you are a MAGA follower you have some experience with that. 😊
There is undeniable proof that humankind has populated the earth for millennia, and animals longer than that – long before the Christian bible claims we were created in God’s image. There have been fossils and even human (or humanlike) remains found as our planet warms – that show irrefutably that there was life on earth far before Jesus Christ gave his life to save the world.
Where Are We Going?
The church professes that we are destined for either Heaven or Hell.
How does God determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell? Where is that line. Is it murder, rape/sodomy, divorce, theft, bad thoughts?
If it is rape/sodomy, don’t certain churches have a lot to answer for?
If it is murder, don’t those that wage war in the name of religion have even more to answer for?
What about child abuse, starvation, chemical warfare, torture, starvation, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, infernos?
Why would a loving God put his people through this?
Why do seemingly wonderful and God fearing people sometimes suffer catastrophic illness, while horrible human beings sometimes seemingly get a pass?
Are we already living in hell, and awaiting a call to a better place?
There are so many evil people in the world that prey on the weak among us – espousing religion as their motive. Send us money, sell your home and give the funds to the church etc – in the name of what? Eternal salvation?
OR is it to finance a lifestyle for those that beg us for our meagre earnings – while they travel on jets, live in mansions, and maintain a lavish lifestyle, while claiming that they represent God?
It’s ok to sin as long as you confess and ask for forgiveness?
Does anything change with all this support of God’s many messengers? If God is all powerful, can’t he stop the insanity that seems to have permeated the world?
Why are there different messages, depending on the messenger? Isn’t there supposed to be only one God? Shouldn’t the message be the same?
Religious leaders twist themselves into knots to justify their actions.
Support Donald Trump? Seriously? The most corrupt politician we have ever seen in our lifetime? To what end? The man could not recite a verse in the bible to save his life. Yet if it means more money to remain in power to fight against women’s rights – determined by a bunch of old white guys – they will turn themselves inside out to justify it. Scripture be damned!
These same politicians hide behind religion, while at the same time offering “thoughts and prayers” each time there is a tragedy or mass murder. When do the prayers begin to bear fruit?
Abortion should be outlawed, while guns are allowed to proliferate, all in the name of re-election.
So let me get this right. We will support the life of an unborn child, but not the life and protection of a living child??????? WTF!!!
What God looks down on that and says “yep, that seems right”?
If God is all seeing and all powerful, can he not do something about the unnecessary murder and/or abuse of innocent people, let alone children?
Why doesn’t HE intervene?
While the Catholic church is far from the only guilty party, they have been shown to be participatory in exploiting children in hundreds of sexual abuse cases over decades.
The hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children were under the direction of both the church and our government.
Other religions have been responsible for genocides and other unspeakable acts against those that don’t believe the same as they do.
Why doesn’t their God intervene. Don’t all religions purport to to love one another?
Religious leaders try not to acknowledge these atrocities, as though they were not under their God’s watch. Explaining it away in any number of illogical ways.
Everyone is Entitled to Their Belief System
That includes Evolution Vs Creationism.
What difference does it make what someone believes if it gives them hope and solace in the time of need?
What makes us believe that our religion; our God; is the only true master of the universe?
I measure myself and others, not on their religion or the God they worship, but solely on how they treat others. I have seen the worst of the worst hide behind religion. Others I know are not religious, but live their day to day lives in the service of others.
Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Do we really go to either Heaven or Hell? Or do our bodies return to the earth as other species do?
Will I be punished by God for writing this article?
Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.