Monday, March 19, 2007

Religion is self-centered hope for magical self-preservation


“The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anyone but himself.”

-- (This quote is widely attributed to Sir Richard Francis Burton.

I had thought about this often before leaving Christianity. How many people would hold any god beliefs if there wasn't something in it for the self? How many people would worship any kind of god, or go along with any kind of supernatural beliefs if there was not some kind of "reward" involved? Is there one religion out there that honestly exists where people just worship a god without expecting anything in return?

9 comments:

beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "How many people would worship any kind of god, or go along with any kind of supernatural beliefs if there was not some kind of "reward" involved? Is there one religion out there that honestly exists where people just worship a god without expecting anything in return?"

I have often wondered that too. In fact, by my understanding of love, if a human being believed that someone they loved was going to suffer for eternity in excruciating pain and agony, then they should be prepared to trade places with that person, as a sign of their absolute love for them.

This is what the christian religion suggests, that one man suffered so others need not suffer. The reality as expressed by christianity is quite different. One man supposedly suffering and dying does NOT save everyone as many a christian will tell you.

And unfortunately, many christians are not, themselves, prepared to emulate this supposed act of ultimate love, they are looking forward to being "saved THEMSELVES."

And I suspect that many of them are looking forward to, (in theory), laughing and pointing from a celestial cloud at those who are suffering.

I agree that religions are based on the worship of self. Primarily upon the worship of humans and the human image. Which is why the gods nearly all have "human faces". If they don't have human faces, they think like humans and act like them as well.

The act of self-sacrifce is perceived as a noble human act. Therefore we like our gods to display this attribute as well.

Stardust said...

excellently said, beep

Krystalline Apostate said...

That's Sir Richard Francis Burton. Because I thought of the actor, & that picture sure ain't him.

Stardust said...

Thanks KA, I made the change :-)

KC said...

Don't forget the revenge factor. Most (all?) religions have something nasty in store for those of us who don't play along with them. It seems that personal reward just isn't enough for most people. Others have to be punished in some form for them to really be happy about their 'sacrifices'.

Stardust said...

Don't forget the revenge factor. Most (all?) religions have something nasty in store for those of us who don't play along with them

kc, thanks for stopping by to read and to comment. Yes, it's not enough to believe they are somehow special to an imaginary friend, they are like spoiled kids who have fits if someone else doesn't want to play their game. Religions are so childish in nature.

Tommy said...

RFB was quite an interesting character. I have a book about him. To get a glimpse of what he was like, check out the movie "Mountains of the Moon", which focuses on his friendship and falling out with John Hanning Speke while trying to find the source of the Nile River.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

I don't know how many are selfless enough to go along with beliefs that didn't reward them, and it is certainly a good question.

I wonder if that's what Jesus' parable about the narrow gate was about?

I've found that the more I get to know most Christians, the less respect I have for them, and I hate to be that way, but the superficiality is sickening.

Stardust said...

michelle, again...thanks for taking the time to read and to comment.

In my more than three decades as a christian, I encounterd so much unpleasantness, so many christians who used their religion to bring attention to themselves and who were such sad and/or bitter people, who used religion for their own gain, who used religion to boost themselves up while looking down on everyone else. I walked away from religion first, then gradually through learning about other religions of the world, and world mythologies, anthropology, psychiatry, my eyes became open to the fact that humans create their own gods according to their own needs. If you sit in a room and do nothing, nothing happens. If a person is sick, nothing happens unless a human takes action, if we are being attacked, nothing protects us except other humans.
Nothing prevents illness, war, famine, natural disasters....and nothing will keep us from dying someday no matter how much we resist.