False Gods
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The Atheists



False Gods

"How very interesting, " I thought as I read an article from Reuters. A group of Hindus protested the appearance of Lord Krishna on Xena, the popular TV show which details the adventures fictional Greek female warrior. It seems they felt the producers made Lord Krishna, one of the Hindu gods, look like a fictional character:


"The episode treats Lord Krishna and Hanuman as fictional characters by putting words in their mouths that they never spoke and having them engage in activities that they never engaged in," according to a joint release of the California-based World Vaishnava Assn. and the American Hindus Against Defamation org.

"Not only does this make the viewing audience think that Lord Krishna, other Hindu deities and the Vedic literature are fictional, it makes Hindus themselves look superstitious and foolish. After all, nobody but a superstitious fool would worship a 'fictional god.'"1


I found the last sentence particularly revealing, and very sensible. I consider anyone who worships fictional gods foolish. After all, where's the sense in it? If you worship a false god, your prayers, sacrifices, ceremonies, fasts, &c. &c. &c. would get you nowhere: since your god doesn't exist, it cannot respond to them. It only makes sense to worship a real god, for only a real god can answer prayers, bless its followers, be pleased by sacrifices and worship, and give good rewards for deeds done in its name.


But (and this is a tough question) which god is the correct god? Will the real god please stand up?


All over the globe religions abound. Most have their own version of a Supreme Being. Additionally, most say their belief is exclusive and all other beliefs are false. For example:


  • The Hindus say their gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, are real. Some Hindus consider them different incarnations of the same being while others think of them as separate entities; however, they are none the less real whether considered one or three. Hindus tolerate other beliefs well, compared to other spiritual organizations.
  • Christians, on the other hand, are a bit more religiocentric. They claim anyone not worshipping their three-in-one god will suffer the flames of hell for eternity.
  • The Jews worship a previous incarnation of the Christian god. They believe their Messiah has not yet come, and therefore, the Christians are wrong.
  • The Muslims insist their version of the Judeo-Christian god is correct, and all infidels (sinners and disbelievers) will suffer thbe tortures of Hell for their lack of faith.
  • Most Buddhists worship no god, some retain the Hindu gods, and some even worship the Buddha himself as a man-turned-god, along with various Bodhisattvas.
  • Believers of the Shinto Tradition have their ancestral worship, and worship of the sun god Amaterasu Omikami.
  • Pagans worship different gods: some many, some few.
  • And so on, and so on.


So you see the conundrum we're placed in. Who do we worship? Yahweh/Jehovah? Jesus Christ? Allah? The Hindu gods? The Greek gods? The Buddha? Satan? Ahura Mazda? With so many different sets of god(s) out there to worship, how can one accurately say that their god(s) is/are The True God(s)?


One way out of this mess requires the study of all religions, weighing their pros and cons, reading their scriptures, experiencing their rites and ceremonies, &c. Then, enough knowledge will have been collected to choose the "best" religion. You could go to the library, and study there. Or you can search the internet for pages like these, or go to bookstores for information, or go to various churches, temples, and places of worship for their take on the matter. After collecting all that information, you'd be informed enough to make a completely rational decision, as you'd be able to effectively compare and contrast every religion. You could then choose The Correct Religion.


At least, you'd better hope you're correct in your choice, because if you're wrong . . .


VOOOM!!!!


That particular path is long and ardruous, even for someone like me. You see, studying religions is a hobby of mine, but even though it is a hobby, to sit down and study every faith, every sect, every denomination. . . well, not only would that take years and years and years, it wouldn't amount to much of anything. A considerably shorter path is simply to be sensible about the whole situation, first by understanding why religions came about, and then rejecting them all, period.


Religions sprang up for a reason. Ancient peoples didn't understand the world or the universe around them. They didn't have the technology or the resources available today, so they made up stories to explain Why Things Are The Way They Are. They embellished their histories, giving some of their ancestors supernatural powers, turning them into gods. They created other heroes and gods with legends of their great deeds. They looked at the sun, the moon the stars, the animals and trees, and ascribed to them personalities and powers to explain their actions and reactions. They developed myths, fables, stories and legends according to what they thought was The Truth And How It Should Be Applied. Not that there is anything wrong with what they did; it was all they could do, considering the circumstances under which the human race existed in those times.


Nevertheless, all religions are based on myths, and all gods are indeed false. Anyone who worships any god is indeed a little foolish. Especially since the situation today, with respect to knowledge, is significantly different from yesteryear.


Modern science has shown us many truths about the universe. We know what it is made of, approximately how old it is, as well as its size. Through our studies, we have gained a vast amount of knowledge about the Earth and our Solar System. We know a great deal about the macro-universe, as well as the micro-universe, and all phases in between.


We base this knowledge on different laws of science, theories, and hypotheses. Our laws of science are based on invariable relationships and order found in nature under differing conditions. Scientific theories are very likely true, and have much supportive evidence relating to them. Hypotheses give tentative explanations that describe behavior under different conditions. These supply the framework on which much of modern society depends. For instance, the computer you are looking at would not exist if it weren't for Gauss' Law, Ohm's Law, kinematic theory, and different hypotheses and assumptions people have made over the years about How Things Work.


We know so much more than people did 2500, 3000, 5000, and 10,000 years ago. It's simply astounding, and sometimes befuddling, that people cling to ancient beliefs. Many of these beliefs have been proven wrong, or at least proven different from what we now know to be true. The sun did not deliver the earth through a cosmic birth canal, and man was not created from a pile of mud with his life a result of interspecies CPR.


So why do people cling to archaic doctrines? Perhaps it is because people do not want to give up their innocence. Maybe they need a crutch or at least a spiritual pacifier when times get rough. Maybe they don't want to be responsible for their actions; they'd rather have a god or a demon take the blame. They could very well be conservative in nature, and unwilling to change. Quite possibly they just want to know that everything is going to be all right someday. It could be a combination of all of these factors, or none of them. I don't know for sure, and I can't give everyone's reasons for believing what they believe.


What I am sure about is this: that in this day and age, it is most prudent to be an Atheist/Secular Humanist. Becoming one, you depend on evidence that is verifiable by experimentation or peer review, and not on ancient stories for discovering what the universe is all about. You take responsibility for your actions and inactions, and don't depend on the benevolence of a Supreme Being in the afterlife to absolve you of your sins. You don't get second chances through reincarnation. You observe the universe through your own eyes, see it for what it is, and try to do what you think is correct. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you remain flexible with respect to That Which Is Held To Be True, because you never know what the Hubble Space Telescope might turn up, or what someone may find under an electron microscope. It's a big universe, and there is still much that we don't know, and much to learn. Clinging to old beliefs and outdated theories serves only to hinder growth, and prevents you, and for that matter, prevents humanity from achieving its fullest potential.



Copyright 1999, by Eric B. Ptak. All rights reserved. Any and all replications in part or in whole should give credit where credit is due.

TheAtheists@hotmail.com


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