693 More on God, Facts and Belief, part 3

In yesterday’s  blog 692  I made the point that - while there is no God, only the belief in God  -  the adherence to a dogmatic theology is the greatest evil in the world ... this is in view of the suppression and murder of large swaths of populations - think Inquisition, Crusades, Islamic State and the many religious wars - due to religiosity.

But what about all the good that is being done in the name of religion? This is a pertinent question, as it implies that for someone, or groups, to do good religion is required ... this train of thought is so very wrong it needs repudiation in the strongest. For a very simple reason: 

The good that's done in the name of God chiefly is done from fear; the fear one will be swept up on the day of reckoning, the Apocalypse. If you're not a good person you will be sent to hell ... though - most insidiously - you can escape this fate if you just go to confession!

However, since the Age of Enlightenment (and for Buddhists for the past two and a half millennia) humans are not slaves to religious indoctrination and can do the good their conscience tells them to do for solely altruistic reasons.

From a karmic point of view - in the Buddhist way - the process of doing good is seen as an opportunity to practice compassion toward others without any ulterior motive (such as any auspicious rewards). Good karma is created through practising "metta" ... selfless - even self-sacrificing - compassionate loving-kindness.

Now probably is a good time to talk about the facts alluded to in the title of this little series of blogs. God, gods, religions - indeed any aspect of religion - are not factual, they are a matter of belief ... and as such all of them are created in the human mind. The fact is, they are delusional.

In the context of religion it is often said it doesn't matter why one does good - why a person is charitable - as they do their good deeds in the delusional belief they are performed on the instructions of God, Jesus or Mother Mary. That probably is true.

However, we now get back to the original proposition: Acts done in the name of God my be perceived to be good by some, yet detrimental by others, if they are done by fanatics with questionable moral and ethical standards; think about the flogging in some societies of women who don't dress "appropriately". The perpetrators will say the treatment is good for the victims, they are purified by their punishment.

Religions impose strict rules on orthodox believers. These rules may lead to the annihilation of not only individuals, but whole peoples. Hence it is paramount to recognise God is not a factual entity, indeed that God is fictitious. There is no God who compels anyone to do anything ... it is the person's delusional mind that possesses and motivates them.

Incidentally, a persuasive dictum is the cliché that "you can do anything ... if only you believe." But belief may have strange consequences. In my essay  BELIEF  I relay a curious story that shows a profound misunderstanding of the concept of belief ...

A pastor performed a service that included handling a rattlesnake - to demonstrate the veracity of a certain passage in the Bible. “Anyone who believes can do it” he said. Only, he got bitten and died. You may say, that is a tragic story, what’s curious about it? Well, his father - also a pastor - had died previously, performing the same stunt.

And it is interesting to note that among patients recovering from illness and injury, those who pray for relief often experience slower recovery rates - most likely due to them being inclined to neglecting their medication, as they anticipate divine help. 

Here's a T-shirt slogan I like:

Belief Sux.

That said, I have an essay  WHAT I BELIEVE  in my book with no title, instead three definitions for the term  en.light.en.ment