Well, the numbers are declining in Western Europe - there are only 850,000 Catholics
in the UK today compared to 1.3 million twenty years ago. In the 1950s about 60%
of UK adults went to church regularly; that figure is now under 7%. Congregations
are dwindling, vicars have to run several parishes each, churches are being closed
and converted to other uses (Methodists are losing 100 churches a year), recruitment
to monasteries, convents and the priesthood is a tiny fraction of what it was.
Sadly, in some developing countries there are cruel punishments for leaving a faith;
a recent survey revealed a majority of Egyptian Muslims favour the death sentence
for those who abandon Islam.
People who do choose to join, or remain in, a faith usually do so for one, or more,
of the following three reasons:
The ‘TRADITION’ reason says:
Millions of people (inc. your parents?) have believed in the faith in question for
hundreds or thousands of years and they can’t all be wrong. Well, yes they can -
millions of people voted for Hitler; I hope you’ll agree that they were all wrong!
Don’t mistake popularity for truth! Several communities in Borneo were cannibals
for hundreds of years; weren’t they wrong? Pope John Paul II admitted in 2000 that
the church was wrong about the Sun orbiting the Earth; if God’s ‘infallible’ representative
on Earth can be wrong, surely his humble followers can! To err is human!
The ‘AUTHORITY’ reason says:
Someone very important (your parent?) believes, and it’s right to follow his example.
Well, see above, even the Pope can be mistaken so why follow someone who has merely
scrabbled to the top of his particular pile? Perhaps he is just a bully. Was it a
good idea for people to allow themselves to become subjugated to the authority of
Saddam Hussein? Many of those in ‘authority’ set very bad examples; you can submit
to them and just do as you are told, if you want to be servile...
The ‘REVELATION’ reason says:
Someone has been ‘called’ by his ‘God’ and is on a mission to spread the message!
What? He heard voices or saw a vision? Well, migraines, dreams, blindness, drugs
and a blow on the head can all cause hallucinations. The brains of healthy people
can play tricks and can be manipulated to experience a ‘manifestation’ using powerful
magnetic fields. The brains of sick people make them hear voices inside their heads
or imagine they are someone else and we treat them for mental illness. Which is happening
Strangely, people who get caught doing bad things like invading a country or killing
prostitutes often say ‘God’ told them to do it!
Aren’t those three very BAD REASONS for belief in a god?
Surely the only good reason for accepting anything as true is if it is backed by
convincing evidence, isn’t it?
Sadly, there will be people who are swayed by the arguments above.
Please look critically at the situation, weigh the pros and cons, make an informed
decision and don’t get duped into being one of them!
Please think for yourself!
You’ve Got To Laugh!
There are some really good religious jokes, often told by Believers (Choosers) against
themselves. The Jews are particularly good at self deprecation, here’s my all time
Mordecai went to visit his Rabbi and said, “My son has betrayed me! I paid for the
best education for him and spent a fortune on his Bar Mitzvah and now he tells me
that he’s become a Christian! What can I do?”
The Rabbi said,“Tell me about it, I did the same. I sent my son to a very expensive
school and his Bar Mitzvah cost the earth; now he also tells me he’s a Christian!”
“Oh dear,”said Mordecai, “What did you do?”
Rabbi: “I prayed to God and asked Him what to do.”