We need to leave religion behind

DJ Swearingen’s article on the diversity of religious faiths and how they can offer meaning to people’s lives is a typical response to criticism of religion in our country.

He began by mentioning that churches in Bowling Green should not be preaching condemnation to hell as a means of attracting them to a particular faith. Yet, is this not what these faiths actually believe?

Swearingen goes on to say that following such messages will lead to a faith-filled life, which is somehow “better” than one without religious faith. Presumably, those without religious faith cannot have true fulfillment or meaning in their lives and are destined to remain “confused soul[s] wandering the earth.”

I am actually one of these people, and I can state emphatically that this is not how I feel about my life. I do not think religious faith is any kind of a gift or positive attribute. Religion, to me, is the most dangerous and divisive ideology in the world today, and the further we can remove ourselves from it, the better.

Swearingen states that “[d]ifferent faiths hold different beliefs and practices,” which is a keen observation. Religious faiths make different, incompatible claims about the nature of the universe. Only one religion can really be “true”- this should give religious people pause, but it never seems to.

Many religious denominations often condemn members of other religions as being sinners or infidels because they are not following the one true faith. Even if one is a devout follower of his or her religion, they are still playing a game of odds, simply due to the sheer numbers of other religions. Which faith is the one to choose?

We must all come to recognize that many claims made by those who follow religious paths have not the slightest bit of evidence to support them. Did the divine, almighty Creator of the universe, if such a being exists, write a book? Did a man who lived in the very early part of the first century really rise from the dead? Did a spiritual being really visit a man in a cave and recite the words of a holy book to him? No religious person has any evidence whatsoever to support the truth of any of these claims, and it is time for them to admit this.

Many people, however, often point to religion as a source of comfort in their lives. For them, it is useful to believe in a larger plan, a belief that they have a place in the grand scheme of things.

However, adoption of such beliefs based on dogmatic thinking causes many sources of conflict around the globe.

How useful is it that two different religious groups believe that the Creator of the universe has promised them a specific plot of land in the Middle East? How useful are the segregated Protestant and Catholic schools in Northern Ireland? How useful is it for 19 young men who believed in the metaphysics of martyrdom to crash into two skyscrapers, killing 3,000 people, specifically because of their religious faith?

I firmly believe that it is time for religious people to look into the history of why they believe such things and what, if any, actual evidence supports them. Just as we have escaped dogmatic thinking about racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice in our world, as we move forward, we will abandon religion and superstition as well.

Aaron Urbanski is a senior majoring in music. Send responses to his column to [email protected]