This is an expansion of a comment I made on string about why people are atheists. The article was in the NY Times today.
I have read that there have been about 30,000 gods worshipped at some time in recorded human history. Each was revered and believed in at that time, but dropped as time passed and knowledge took the place of superstition. In time, Christianity will take its place among the myths and the Christian/Jewish god will also land in the Olympus Retirement Home for Gods.
My Christian friends declare their belief in the One God and no other. So they do not believe in the other 29,999 from history. I have come to reject all 30,000 gods. Just one more than my buddies who hold to their patriarchal monotheistic religions and their one god. Just one more.
I feel that as humans we need community and that our instincts lead us to do what makes us feel good within that community. We strive for a feeling of wholeness and goodness which most often comes in service to others in some way. We each use our talents to contribute and feel good. We feel love from friends and give love to select others. We love nature and its beauty because it makes us feel good and humbled in the presence of greatness. That striving and sharing and connection is to me what makes up a meaningful life and a non-religion based spirituality.
A concept of judgmental, jealous god too often interferes with the meaningful part of all that. That’s why I choose to be a non-believer, but reserve the right to be spiritual in a secular, humanistic way.
Spirit is not God. Spirit is all of us. We don’t need a god to seek meaning or find hope. We don’t need a church to participate in our communities and find connections that make us feel good and whole. Opportunities are all around us to create meaning and fullness in our lives without the need to worship a distant God that increasing leaves us with emptiness and even cruelty.
I’d rather hope for real things, connect with real people, revel in a real nature, participate in a real society where I can do some real good for real people. Isn’t that more hopeful than blind faith in one of 30,000 retired gods?