Following on from my previous post about Richard Dawkins and atheism, a recent blog by Robin Ince has set me to thinking again.
Thinking. There’s the key. That’s really what my bugbear is when it comes to religion, beliefs, and the actions of humanity.
I’m not an atheist because someone has told me to be one. A few years ago, I pottered along happily, not really thinking too much about life, the Universe and everything at all. Or at least, not even close to as much as I think about it now. My increasing interest in science and history, and my ever-growing hunger for knowledge, has led me to find out more and more about the Universe we live in.
All I have learned, and continue to learn, has contributed to my belief system and who I am. I think carefully about everything, and my beliefs are not held because somebody has told me what I should think.
This holds true for anything and anyone. We have evolved enormous brains; we have the ability to shape our environments, to think deeply about everything we do and the world around us. It beggars (my) belief that anybody could simply accept a doctrine or idea or belief system with no thought given to what it means or why they should consider it.
Whether it’s religious leaders, politicians, newspapers, celebrity magazines or that bloke in the pub, we all have the ability – and, I would argue, the responsibility – to question what we’re told. Go forth and find evidence. Find out everything you can about the subject in question, then make up your own mind.
If, then, you come to the conclusion that Nick Clegg is absolutely right about everything, or that pair of red trousers is really a good idea, or there is an all-seeing, all-knowing entity that you call god out there: fine. I accept that. I may not agree with you, but if you have thought it through and reached that conclusion on your own, I respect that.
What I do not respect, and will not respect, because I have no reason to do so, is the unquestioning and unthinking acceptance of any doctrine. And I will give no more credence or time to your set of beliefs than to anyone else’s. Including my own. Because your set of beliefs is worth no more or less than anyone else’s – as long as real thought has been put into it.
THINK. It’s the least you can do for yourself.