Hope For The Future;
Faith In Myself
Hi, I'm a sixteen-year-old atheist named Nuria. I was raised Catholic and in fact there are several priests and nuns in my family. After attending Sunday school for eight years, taking Comparative Religion courses at school, studying the Bible, and analyzing Eastern religious philosophies, I have concluded that indeed there is no god and organised religion is a waste of time. My belief is that every individual should adopt their own personal set of beliefs, virtues, morals, and life philosophies.
Sure, I agree with some messages that certain religions offer, but my view is that most religions miss the point of life and place too much emphasis on superficial things such as rituals, prayers, worship, etc.
My atheism has given me much more hope for the future and much more faith in myself than Catholicism ever did. This is how it's shaped my life.
Sometimes my atheism makes me look down upon people who attach themselves to a religion with all their hearts. I suppose I ought to respect these people, but I don't understand how they can be so blind to the truth, to the meaning of life.
My atheism is definitely a consequence of my outlook on life. I believe that as for who we are right now, there is only one life to live. It's useless to concentrate on the concept of afterlife or heaven or hell. Hinduism explains people's dharma by reassuring them that they can reincarnate into better life someday. Right -- easy for the rich folk to say, but what if you're poor? Catholicism has forever instilled fear in its followers by claiming that committing one mortal sin will send you to hell. Life is not to fear, life is to enjoy.
Perhaps the religion I most agree with is Zen Buddhism, because they do not care about gods, unearthly realms, the soul, reincarnation, rituals, scriptures, etc. I once met a Zen Buddhist monk, and he was very tolerant and accepting. He thought meditating was the most important thing. I'll take the gist of his beliefs one step further: the most important thing in life is whatever makes you the most happy. This monk I met, he told me, "Enlightenment is no big deal. It is simply like learning to live life as if each day were a vacation." I definitely agree.
My purpose in life is to look back when I'm 80 and say, "I enjoyed every single goddamn minute." Being a good person means loving yourself, loving others, making yourself happy, and making others happy.
Basically, being a good person means being a good person, nothing more and nothing less. It has nothing to do with going to the church or mosque or temple or synagogue every so often, memorizing and reciting prayers over and over again, renouncing the world and meditating for hours at a time, worshipping a statue of a god, saint, or prophet, or reading scripture verses until your eyes go blind.
I have met many self-acclaimed faithful followers who are in fact hypocrites. They are robots; going through their lives without thinking twice about anything, pretending to live by the teachings of Jesus, or Buddha, or Mohammad, but failing to reflect these beliefs in their thoughts or actions. Religions' great prophets would be turning over in their graves if they saw the hideous crimes committed by those who claim to to be their most pious most loyal followers. Religion has caused wars, incited riots, and it has been abused by many to rationalize hatred, violence, and prejudice. The world's religious leaders and institutions are perverting their religions.
Few are able to transcend the bullshit and truly grasp the message. The Zen Buddhist monk said, "All this arguing over the meaning of words written ages ago is stupid and just plain ridiculous." Exactly. All the fanatics and radicals and conservatives are preaching intolerance.
I will never impose my beliefs on anyone else, but I am proud of my atheism, because I know it's the true way. I am a good person, I know right from wrong, and I also know when religion has strayed too far from its original intentions and become useless. Religion is out of date; it's time to reform the way we bring up our children.
If there were a god, he wouldn't be on anybody's side and he wouldn't be here to judge.
I wish people would stop using god and religion as an excuse for everything. It's time to concentrate on the human race and our time here on earth. Society is deteriorating; while many religious leaders and preachers claim that it's due to lack of values and faith, I think quite the contrary. The spark of religious movements this century has only segregated the globe and created chaos.
Instead of wasting time, money, and resources on building religious buildings, we could be trying to better the world. Putting a Bible in a poor person's hand does not lessen his plight. Preaching to an alcoholic that if he turns his life around god might forgive him and lead him to heaven will not solve his problem.
My atheism has probably stemmed from my belief that actions really do speak louder than words.
Thank you, and most cordially,
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