Friday, May 11, 2007

Brief History of Disbelief

Jonathan Millers at BBC has made a great documentary of the history of disbelief. Lots of very interesting interviews and historic facts and you can watch some of it here: A Brief History of Disbelief. I especially liked the young boy saying "I was brought up to believe in God, but I have found my own way now." I can't imagine where I would have been today if I had been allowed and dared that realisation too at the age of 7. As a child I was taught in public school and by society to retract inwards to handle my sorrows and problems by talking to someone I did not see, but who all I knew said was there. I was schooled not to think critically and instead trained to blindly accept dogmatic faith and undocumented claims. For as long as I live I will be influenced by Christian stories and images because that was so dominant in my life when I was most susceptible to it and the most trustful.

I am saddened that intelligent adults were willing to abuse the trust of a child to implant their own personal religious belief. Religion and superstition will always be a part of human life and I like the fact that human society is so diverse. However, the value in something so personal is deluded and corrupted when it is only something you are trained to be, and not something you yourself have found to fit for you.

You should always be very sceptical to all who claim they have found any eternal answers.
"I certainly don't believe in the mythologies of our society, in heaven and hell, in God and angels, in Satan and demons. I've thought of myself as an 'atheist,' but that simply described what I didn't believe in, not what I did. Gradually, though, I became aware there was a movement called 'humanism,' which used that name because, to put it most simply, humanists believe that human beings produced the progressive advance of human society and also the ills that plague it. They believe that if the ills are to be alleviated, it is humanity that will have to do the job. They disbelieve in the influence of the supernatural on either the good or the bad of society."
[Isaac Asimov, quoted in "2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt", by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996]

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