« International Image | Main | Thanksgiving »

More Religious Talk

There's a trend that I've started to notice among a lot of my friends, and it involves religion.
While I don't feel like I purposefully avoid religious people, I just don't have that many religious friends.
I suppose one reason for this is the fact that when people express beliefs of absolute truth, I find that concept amusing and I express this often through laughter.
Anyways, back to the point.
Ever since a party way back in middle school when some of my friends and I decided to hold a fake ritual involving dancing around an egg in the middle of a cul-de-sac to scare the neighbors (at midnight or so), we developed a fake religion of 'egg-ism' which in itself had no more ridiculous ideas than any other religions.
This joke continued through high school.
Recently, one of my friends decided to make up his own religion, based on himself being god.
Once again, a premise of the religion was that it too was no more ridiculous than any other school of thinking.
We were talking about whether or not, according to Christianity, unborn children would be sent to purgatory. (There is another story that started this conversation as well, but that might be another topic to discuss entirely.) One of us, the one who's religion would center around himself, pointed out that the catholic church had decided that there was no purgatory anymore.
"Wait, really? Aren't they the ones who created it?"
"Well, I don't know, it's really confusing you know, since it's all made up."
This is a trait I've noticed more and more among my peers, most major schools of thinking are going away.
Now, I'm a little curious as to why, because there are a lot of potential reasons.
First, there is the fact that science has come a long way. I think, like many others, that religion was created to explain the unexplainable. When people saw things they couldn't understand, of course there still had to be a reason. When people began to discover these reasons, science became the new religion. Pushing it out of the way, as large invisible supernatural beings became less acceptable answers for why the sun rises, why lightening strikes, or why sodium burns, it became that way for other things like the reasons for life, genesis, etc.
Next, there is the fact that the average quality of life is so much better now than when religions came into power. At the origins of society, life was hard. Food was scarce, the elements determined whether or not one would live to see until the next day, and things as simple as stubbing ones toe could make one ineligible for passing on ones genetic material. One needed a source of comfort, otherwise life would seem hopeless, pointless, and unbearable. As soon as one finds these things, they may hesitate at the wrong moment or make some other mistake that would make them dead. The promise of a reward for those that are good, and punishment for those that are dead, would provide incentive. Now, things are considerably easier. Medicine, industry, and stronger society has made life longer, simple mistakes or hesitation are easy to overcome, and there is a self-imposed justice system.
While life isn't perfect yet, we don't have a possible answer to everything, society still makes mistakes, but I think it is getting better. Will religion ever go away? I actually hope not. It is for that very reason, hope. Society and science tell us that to hope is pointless. There is no such thing as knowing, but as soon as hope goes away, so does our drive. Life may be better, but without hope, there is no desire to improve it even more. Hope is a necessity, faith is about hope. While I disagree with blind hope, I do not disagree with hope. And that is something that I am afraid of our society loosing.