"This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it" John Adams
Just one of the many thoughts I gleaned after watching the documentary "Religulous" with Bill Maher. After sharing this very quote, I learned two additional details not shared by the movie. First of all, John Adams returned to a religious lifestyle later on in life and is know also for saying "We recognize no Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus" (thanks to Jesse Fortner) . Second, I have come to the conclusion that most atheists are not actually anti-theism, but anti-religion ( "In the history of Ideas anti-religion does not necessarily equal anti-God" thanks to Prof. Garcia). I am anti-theism, and I will explain that in my concluding thoughts.
The real problem many Atheists have is with the manipulating, power-tripping, elitist nature of religions. I agree with their sentiments, but so do many believing theists and deists. Bill Maher's movie definitely pointed out the flaws in religion, and many have before and many have and will after.
The fault is not by the mere fact that religion is human made. I do not believe in original sin or inherent evil within mankind. I tend to think we are a wonderful species. Religion is a marvelously fantastical way for mankind to understand their world and reality. That is, of course, the original intention of religion. Examples being something as complex as explaining a peaceful feeling during the death of a loved one as the love and compassion of God and His Holy Spirit, to something as simple as connecting thunder with god slamming his fist in ager. But religion soon became a tool to be used by powerful people to manipulate the masses.
I could explain here what exactly is wrong with religion, but that's not the point I wish to make. The point I wish to make is that this argument is flawed when it comes to theism. It is equally flawed for believers to use this as a reason why atheists should consider theism.
If religion is a man-made concept, then any organized form of worship is a religion and will probably become just as corrupt as anyone else's creation and well intentions. The only way to believe in God is, therefore, for God to reveal himself. Granted, that's a large leap and for the sake of making this brief, I decided to make that leap purposefully. Before the the religious believers argue with me on this point, I'll bring it to your attention that this comes mainly from a religious institution and comes from a long-line of theistic thought. Our theologians will recognize the terminology thus: the difference between general revelation and special revelation. According to some, (thanks to Dr. Perez and other Calvinist professors) special revelation is the only way to come to a knowledge of God, specifically Jesus. They will argue that knowledge of God is apparent in creation, as says the Bible, but this is assuming that the Bible is a special revelation from God in itself. The later is unfortunate, the Bible is just as man-made and man-handled as anything else.
So, if the only way to believe God is from a special revelation and personalized visitation, the Atheist has no problem. The ball is in God's court. My JW sisters who have been visiting insist the Bible has put the ball in our court, the reasons why this is fallacious deserves another blog entry.
So, as is always my personal problem why doesn't God personally reveal himself to each and every individual if belief is so important to him? Or is it?