The Beginning Of Wisdom

In one was I was lucky. My parents had no strong religious beliefs although some of my other relatives were very strong Christians. So I had the opportunity to judge for myself rather than be forced into it. I was a very unhappy child. I tried reading the bible and could make little sense of it. I tried praying and all I got was silence. I spent some of my adult years trying to figure it out and I explored other religions to see if they could inspire me. Eventually I came to the conclusion that god doesn't exist. That was the beginning of wisdom for me. I have made much more sense of religious books as an atheist than I ever did as a believer. Wisdom is where you find it. When reading religious books I could stop asking myself what is god telling me here. Forget all the sacred mystery stuff and simply ask myself " is this good advice " and how does this help me in the real world. " Love thy neighbor " is definitely good advice. I try to follow it not because I think I'll go to hell if I don't, but because I think its the right thing to do. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone on earth really followed that ? It would be a "heaven on earth" but unfortunately many people don't love, they hate and some of the biggest haters are so called religious people from various religions.
I believe in the human family and that includes everyone on earth regardless of what they believe or dont believe or the colour of their skin. I believe that every man woman and child on earth is entitled to be treated with respect and dignity simply because they are fellow members of the human family. I try to treat others with kindness, caring, respect not because I'll go to hell if I don't or that I'll go to heaven if I do. I do it quite simply because its the rational logical right way for one human being to treat another. To me it doesn't make sense to treat them any other way. This is my own personal philosophy that Ive developed just thinking through the way the world is, the way people are, and the way life could be. And atheism isn't just another "religion" for me. I don't know if anyone else s atheism is the same as mine. I am not dogmatic about my atheism and if sufficiently convincing evidence was put in front of me I am perfectly open to changing my beliefs. I believe that being dogmatic about atheism or anything else is unwise. I describe my beliefs as a "working hypothesis". Good enough to work with unless and until something better comes along. I believe that religions are stories made up long ago when there was little or no science by people who were attempting to answer the big questions in life such as, where did we come from, where did this universe come from, how did it get here. I think they were made up with good intent and within those stories is some good and helpful advice. But throughout history I believe that that there have been people who have used them for their own purposes. Some politicians and some clergymen from various religions have used them to gain power and control over others for their own purposes by threatening hell if others don't comply and promising heaven if they do. Those people have been responsible for a lot of wars death bloodshed and misery throughout history and through that spread a lot of hatred and ill will that has lasted for centuries and the misery from that carries on today . Of course there have been and still are many truly wonderful religious people who have done great things for others too, but religions will always be open to abuse by those who seek to use them for their own ends. To me the biggest point of all is that we , the human race, need to "build our house" on solid ground, not on quicksand. We need to proceed on a basis of what is real and what is true. Not on a fiction, no matter how well meaning that fiction is.
Finally I want to say that while I believe these things they are personal to me and I have no interest in "converting" anyone else to think the same. I have no interest in trying to convince anyone else that I am right and they are wrong. The beliefs Ive written about here form a part of my personal philosophy that explains to my own satisfaction the way life is and helps me get through the day. If other people have beliefs different from me that help them get through the day I'm happy for them.
lostincyberspace lostincyberspace
56-60, M
Jan 9, 2013