There are questions and voids religion cannot answer
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 17:10
Humans are capable of discovering the answer to just about any question. We know why the sky is blue, why some of us are light-skinned and some of us dark, why it rains and why it snows and so forth. We know how living things are born and how they die. We even know why things die. The one question we may never know the answer to is why we are born. Why are people on this earth? What is our purpose? The quest for answers to these questions has led to more chaos and destruction than anyone could have ever imagined.
Is religion noble or wicked? It seems a simple question with a simple answer. History has proven the answer is not so simple, and neither is the question. The search for an answer must start with a look at why religion developed and what its original purpose was. Ever since nature blessed humans with the virtue of reason, we have looked to the stars, wondering why we are here. For the cavemen, there was a limited amount of time to consider this question. Most of their hours were spent looking for food, water and shelter. As civilizations developed, people finally had the time to sit down and reflect on what might be the meaning of life. A plethora of preachers arose as a result of this reflection time and their reoccurring theme seems to have been that humans should lead good, honorable and moral lives.
What reason did anyone have to listen to some men who preached about morality and integrity? Preachers and profits found there is no better way to secure the attention of a population than by speaking of God. They were finally able to give people an answer to the age-old question of why we are alive by claiming our purpose is to live for God. The prophets claimed God had told them this himself. Now, people had a reason to listen. They had a reason to venerate what the prophets preached. Finally, these men had a platform on which to spread their message of peace. The prophets’ ideas along with their discourse of God led to the development of various religions. Therefore, it seems the initial purpose of religion was noble: to get humans to lead virtuous lives and live together in harmony.
What no prophet could have foreseen were the lethal consequences of their discourse on God. For a while people began to live more peacefully and harmoniously, but their entire lives also transformed. People finally had a solution to the unsolvable question, and they began to dedicate every aspect of their lives to the answer: God. Humans quickly lost sight of the ethics that religion was intended to be about. It did not take long for those in search of power to realize using religion was a perfect means of taking control of a radicalized populace. Religion quickly became less about living ethically and more about power. The question now became whose religion was the best? Whose was the truest? Missionaries were sent out to gain converts for if you had the most followers, your religion was the truth. Yet, people found the most effective way to settle this conflict was through violence. If you can kill off any opposition, God was obviously showing that your religion was the truth. It seems at this point in the history of religion, it became wicked. The struggle between religions for supremacy has to this day led to more war and death than anyone could ever have foreseen.
What began as a scheme to get humans to live ethically, religion has since turned into one of the most destructive forces of mankind. Let’s put this into modern context: If a man were to claim he was the next prophet at this day in age, would anyone believe him? There have been many that have tried, and each has been laughed at. Why, then, do we still believe their ancient counterparts? When will humanity realize that we simply can never know why we are alive? When will we realize that killing over what we think is the answer does not get us any closer to the actual answer? Perhaps we are too smart for our own good. Perhaps where we think there is an answer there really is not. Perhaps there really is no meaning to life but our minds are so developed that we believe there must always be a reason for everything. Humans are too ignorant, or perhaps too smart, to just accept the fact that we will never know why we are alive.