29 September 2008

God Delusion update

I've got a bit further through my God Delusion and have read the first chapter and a bit. So far he has deconstructed the notion that religion is off limits for criticism because you're "not allowed to question people's beliefs". That's a good place for him to start before he wades in with the rest of his chapters, and it's true that you do feel like you can't say anything that contradicts someone's religion. I hate the phrase "political correctness gone mad", I think it's overused by people who are too lazy to construct a proper argument (a bit like nanny state), but it's a similar sort of principle he's applying to our multiculturalist desire never to offend anyone.

I'm also finding reading the book somewhat uplifting, which wasn't what I was expecting. I anticipated it would get me all fired up about religion and religious influence on society, but it's affecting me in other ways as well. I hadn't realised that I do feel slightly guilty for not believing in God, and that I do harbour a slight worry that I and the people I love will burn in eternal hellfire for their 'sins'. Not enough to make me do anything about it of course, as soon as I put my rational hat back on I just dismiss it all, but the little part of me that went to Catholic school never quite goes away. Reading the book though is starting to make me feel that maybe it's OK not to believe, that there is plenty in the world that is wondrous and fascinating without there needing to be 'something else', and that I can focus on enjoying my life and living it as a good person without the niggling worry that maybe there will be eternal damnation at the end of it.

Even reading that back I think of course there won't be, of course there won't be, it's a ridiculous notion aimed at controlling people through fear. But hearing it all your life from multiple sources affects you, and it's very freeing to be told you don't actually have to worry about it if you don't want to.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

No comments: