Religion began as a way for primitive humanity to explain the unexplainable. As we as a species and as a society have evolved, gained knowledge and found the true scientific explanations for natural phenomena, religion has refused to evolve along with us, and refused to concede to evidence of truth in the process. I cannot have blind faith (or ANY faith) in a group which chooses the comfort of what they want to believe to be true over the evidence that is right in front of them. Futhermore, the practice of religion is fraught with hypocrisy when it comes to morals. Those people who claim to leave judgement to their "god" are the very same people who do not live by the ideals which they preach. The idea that a person needs religion to be moral is as disgustingly hypocritical as it is just plain wrong.
I grew up in a pentecostal home, with a mother who is still the "music director/pianist" for the church.
I've seen it all man... "speaking in tounges", "slayn in the spirit", endless rants and endless days or evenings of "worship"... I was grounded if I didn't go to church 3 times a week.
So many stories...
I was taught about Hell as a toddler, and terrified of it, and all that goes with it.
I was taught that if you read anything other than the Bible, you'd be "in danger of Hell fire"... so many more things...
The christian religion has drivin my mother loopy, I can barely stand to be around her, and that's sad to me, because I love her.
When I was 18, I was hit by a truck and awoke from a 2 week coma... I was given a copy of "The be here now" and I started the life long research into "what, where, who, why, when, how, religion came to be in the first place...and it's been 24 years of it now...and I'm still continuing to expand my mind every day.
"Religion" is like a disease to me. It has destroyed my relationship with most of my family, because I have enough sense to think for myself.
That being said, I don't need to be religious to be a loving, kind, thoughtful, charitable, empathetic man.
In my late 30’s I began a degree in Theology. I had been a “born again” protestant christian for about 20 years, with a childhood background in catholicism.
My aim in my degree was to major in Pastoral care and counselling with a view to working in that kind of area. I did finish the major studies which I loved and learned more about my self than I thought possible. However I came unstuck when I began on biblical studies.
I discovered that the bible and Jesus simply do not stand up under the rigours of academic enquiry. The bible and the life of the christ are based on myth at best and hearsay/outright lies at worst.
I realised I could not believe this stuff and maintain my personal integrity at the same time. I entered possibly the the worst period of my life, it felt like an abyss. Fortunately it only took about 6 mths to work my way through it and I have been an atheist for more than 20 years now.
I was raised as a conservative christian. The dogmatic nature of religion, as well as its fear based teachings, did a lot of damage to me. It took me a long time to realize that I had the power, and the right, to reject religion and live a secular life. When I finally made that decision, I began to realize that it wasn't only my religion that was dogmatic. In fact, many religions (not just cults) use brain washing techniques that include gas lighting, fear mongering, intense peer pressure and the threat of exile to keep their followers in line.
There are thousands of people out there who are still getting over the long term effects of their affiliations with religion, and there are even more people who haven't yet broken free. I understand that religion gives people hope, but more often than not, that hope is based on an intense fear of some kind of sin related threat, like hell. And more often than not, the hope offered by religion comes at the cost of higher reasoning and an unbiased understanding of science. I happen to feel that the cons outweigh the pros. That's why I reject religion.
I see people suffering in the countries I toured. Was I just lucky to be me? Why would god high 5 me and step back on other's? Does suffering build character? Who cares! People need real help and love and compassion. Why should they have to cry and beg and make promises. Damn.
I think that religion is by and large an outdated social and political construct. In the past, it was necessary to make sense of what happened. When a storm destroyed a town, a god did it, and so on. Now, we know why these things happen. Science can explain all these things.
But religion itself has no proof. They demand that you have faith, and that just doesn't work for me.
I was raised by a Jew & an Irish Catholic and have seen plenty of evidence from an early age that religion does more harm than it does good simply by observing conflicts within my own inner family circle. This assumption was only strengthened over time by reading/studying the history of religion, as well as witnessing plenty of tragic scandals among various religious communities big & small....other than the obvious war mongering and murder done in the name of God, I take huge issue with child abuse culture inside religious communities.
At first it was how teachings from the Bible made me feel worthless because I was female. After years of learning more about different religions, I just felt so much hate from them in some form or other. Learned that most wars were based on some sort of religion issue. The more I learn the less they make sense. They just feel like a way to control, comfort, explain or just have set rules for the masses to follow with some sort of fear of retribution to keep them in line. It's like lazy parenting when they make up all the "If you are good Santa will bring you presents" and "if you are bad you will burn in hell" bs.
Because we live in a world that thinks Pastafarianism is religion. That was supposed to be a joke about teaching creationism over evolution in schools. The flying spaghetti monster is just as valid and has as much right to be taught. Not realising the lighthearted tug at the ridiculousness of religion as its source (and fact-checking) some people think its legit.
I saw a kid more willing to believe in psychical storage or memories, as in the power of the brain and sciences ability to learn more and more about what makes us and the world work (that is amazing) then a neurology student. Why? Because that would mean that you're not a soul.
Birds have hollow bones and catch wind currents to fly. That's real. Volcanic lightning storms, real. Phantom touch. Real. Santa. Nope but based on the green man.
Finding the answers has way more wonder in it than god did it.
I don't reject it, I simply don't accept it. One definition of "agnostic" I like is, "one who knows that they don't know." None seem to pass my "sniff test" but some have elements that I find interesting, like reincarnation in Hinduism or the veneration of ancestors in Shintoism.