A few days ago, we were discussing Bertrand Russell’s essay, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” in my Introduction to Philosophy class. My blockmates were opining their views on the matter and I decided to do the same. I told my professor that I didn’t think it could ever be proven that God existed. I mean, think about it. It really is impossible. I just believe that if people need a God in their lives and then well, as long as they’re happy, who am I to judge? This is more of an agnostic view of things. Anyway, after saying this, I got the feeling that some of my blockmates were a little well, shocked? Perhaps stunned would be a better word. They made it seem like I was this bad person who didn’t believe in God. And to think that I came from an all-girls private Catholic school run by “puritan” nuns! (Quotes were purposely included because they weren’t really that nice or even remotely pure of heart at all.)
Well, when I said that it didn’t mean that I myself didn’t believe in God. I just think that it could never be proven that he exists. What’s so wrong about that? It doesn’t mean that I’ve completely abandoned him or anything. I don’t believe many things in the Bible and in the Catholic Church, but I believe in God. I believe in His existence. It’s just that I don’t think that anyone can PROVE that he exists.
My blockmates made it seem like I was this bad person because I didn’t believe in God. What is “bad” anyway? Bad is a relative term. Wearing miniskirts in this day and age is becoming quite acceptable in most Western societies, but for the Amish, it’s like a damnable sin that will quickly hurl you into the fires of hell and beyond. For me bad can mean two things: It can mean something that hurts other people and it can mean being different from everyone else, like going against the norm and stuff. I suppose for them it’s bad not to believe in God.
To go back to the topic of discussion that prompted this whole entry, Bertrand Russell had a good point in his essay, when he said that people believed in God because they were made to do so since birth. Yeah, I mean society has that effect. It can brainwash you to believe anything that they want. The thing that’s bothering me the most is that my faith may have been produced by this society. I mean, what if other religions were the religions that spread out in the world, say, paganism. What if paganism had been the one that was the most popular religion in the world? What if it was paganism that had been taught to us by the Spaniards? Then we’d all be pagans, right? So what I believe in God right now because history just accommodated its proliferation the best? I mean there are cases like that. The British won this battle against the Germans because they made a more accurate prediction of the weather than the Germans did. What if it had been a circumstance that changed all of history and made us believe what we believe now? Then what we believe now isn’t necessarily the best thing or the most righteous thing. It’s just the thing that luckily had gotten through the test of times. I don’t know if I’m being clear. The point is what Russell said got me thinking. Now, I’m doubting. Hmm…
I also think that it’s an emotional thing. I think that people just need to believe in something that’s why religion was invented. They needed to believe that there is something ultimately higher than they because they had so many questions that they wanted answered. What are they doing here? Why are they here? I mean life is so pointless. You are born. You grow up. You get old and you die. Even if you’d had lots of successes in life what is the ultimate point of it all? So you have successes… anddddd??? The point is…???
Anyway, so take the pagans again. Even the years before Christ, people had invented gods and goddesses because they needed to explain the phenomena around them. This is exactly my point. Religion was invented because we need something to believe in. Are we really sure that what we believe in right now is actually the correct one? What if paganism is something like our religion? They’re just… religions. I mean, those pagans thought that what they believed in was right. We think that what we believe in is right. We also use God to explain certain phenomena around us. Take for instance, when a person falls on bad luck. We sometimes find people saying that God gave him his just desserts.
I really don’t have anything to conclude. I just have a really big bunch of questions that I think I will never get to answer. Philosophy is driving me nuts. It’s prompting me to doubt everything, so many things to ponder so little time.
A lot of people say that after learning philosophy, you’ll doubt your faith more and in some cases, you’ll become an atheist. Well, that’s one thing I don’t think I’ll ever do. I don’t think I’ll ever renounce my faith.
(see Bertand Russells “Why I Am Not a Christian” at http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell0.htm and see for yourself.)