When I was a full blown devout Christian who had never questioned his faith, the concept of atheism was extremely foreign to me. Having gone to a Catholic school for my entire school life, everyone that I was friends, enemies or indifferent with were ALL Catholic, so the first time I met an atheist I was naturally taken a back. How could someone not believe in the stories I had been told were factual all these years? Have they not heard of the Bible? How could you have no spiritual faith?
I felt this way, and judging by conversations with people who remain highly religious to this day, it’s a common mentality. ‘Children of Religion’ who have had religion in their life since they were a small child, struggle to fathom a life without an old man in the clouds judging everything they do. Without the promise of heaven, or the punishment of hell. Without the ability to have your sins forgiven at will. Without mass, baptisms, priests and Jesus.
This inability to comprehend atheism is often enough to keep people on the religious path until their death, preventing them from questioning their faith based on, among other things, a fear of the empty feeling they think atheism will fill them with. As argued by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion though (which I highly recommend), everyone already knows what it is like to be an atheist. EVERYONE is an atheist to something.
According to Wikipedia there are 4,200 active religions on Earth as of 2015. That means Christianity, Islam & Judaism makes up only 0.06% of the worlds current active religions. There are religions from almost every continent, culture, time period, and ethnicity in history. Asian, Eastern European, Russian, African – they are all represented. Therefore, if you’re a Christian, or fall into one of the Christian subsidiaries, you are an atheist to 99.98% of all the religions currently practiced on the planet.
4,200 is the number of current religions, what about the thousands that have come and gone in the past? All the religions that died out with the civilisations that created them. Surely that would push the percentage of atheism for every religious person on the planet up to 99.99%, when you take into account every religion that ever existed.
If you are religious and you’re reading this, first of all thanks for making the effort to expand your consciousness with My Awakening, and secondly your religion makes up 0.01% of every religion that ever existed. And that’s when rounded up to 2 decimals.
This realisation alone was enough for me to completely question my faith. How could there be so many people believing different things in different societies around the world? Is everyone who isn’t a Catholic deluded, or are we all deluded?
Ancient Greece is considered the time between 2,000BC and about 146BC, which is when the Romans invaded the country. By the 700BCs Greek mythology had become a fully formed religion, and was practiced by this civilisation. We all remember the Hercules TV show with Kevin Sorbo, or the Disney animation, however what we often don’t appreciate is at some stage in history Hercules was considered the equivalent of the modern day Jesus. Hercules was the son of the lightning god, Zeus, who was the ruling god of Olympus – basically heaven. To us in the late 1990s, it was great to watch Kevin Sorbo throwing a sword around and battling cyclops for 6 seasons. Entertaining, even – I used to love it! However, to the ancient Greeks it would have been, to say the least, slightly odd to watch.
Imagine someone producing a popular TV show today with Jesus as the main protagonist, complete with corny humour, cliche TV show music, love interests, suspenseful story lines and dramatic acting. Actually, that sounds amazing. A really light hearted Action/Adventure TV series with comedy and passionate kissing scenes starring the son of god himself, Jesus. Amazing, yet still a little odd right?
Who doesn’t love a good comic book movie these days? The Avengers is one of the most successful comic book movie franchises in history. You’ve got party boy Tony Stark who becomes Iron Man, genetically enhanced Steve Rogers who is Captain America, and Thor, the literal lightning god of the Nordic religion who was prayed to and worshipped by Vikings between 700AD and 1,100AD. People might enjoy Chris Hemsworth’s performance or think Thor is one of the cooler comic books/Avengers movie characters, regardless, and again, Thor was basically Jesus to the Vikings. Now he’s a part of the Marvel Universe fighting alongside a giant green man and a Russian spy. Will Jesus have his own comic in the year 3,000, when Christianity is all but considered an ‘ancient mythology’?
You don’t need to wonder what it is like to be an atheist if you are a religious person, you already are one! Think about how ridiculous the story of Thor, or Odin, or Hercules, or Zeus, or the Egyptian Ra is. How do you feel about those religions? If you’re a Christian, how do you feel about Judaism? If you’re a Muslim, how do you feel about Buddhism? How does everybody feel about Scientology? I guarantee you nobody gives them an ounce of credibility, regardless of if it’s a current or a long dead religion. It’s just a nice story, a part of history, something another person believed or believes in – not real though.
To all my religious readers, we both feel the same way about religions, I just go one religion further than you.