I was born into a strange situation. My family is Catholic. I got the full treatment for that religion. But my parents were separated. I never understood that. Even at a very young age, the Catholic faith and its teachings seemed to me like a contradiction. Things that were illogical were ascribed to “God working in mysterious ways”. I was in fifth grade when I started reading philosophy books, and texts on other religions. Islam. Buddhism. Hinduism. Sufism. Judaism. The various branches of Christianity. Other belief systems such as Confucianism and Wicca.
I remember vividly the first time I quoted the Qur’an in my 6th-grade Religion class (Catholicism teachings only of course, it wasn’t a real religion class where various belief systems were discussed.) She was in her usual “accept what I say and do not question it because I am always right” mode when I asked her to explain “the Holy Trinity” in detail. I said ” Turn not thy cheek away from humanity nor walk through the earth exultantly. Truly, God loves not any proud boaster”. She had no idea where that was from. When I told her it was from the Qur’an the teacher’s expression was priceless, and I was immediately sent to guidance counseling.
That little stunt cost me a gold medal in 6th grade, but it pretty much decided my belief system for me. I wouldn’t have one, since everything was based on blind faith anyway. Religion is useful for people who need a higher power to believe in, when they didn’t have the strength of will to accept that their life is their own doing (and luck) and that there may be no afterlife. Or it could be reincarnation. Do you want to come back as a cow? Who really knows?
I’m okay what each person believes, and I politely smile and shake my head when the Seventh Day Adventists or Latter Day Saints people stop by and ask for some time. (The LDS people that I’ve met in particular are good people.) I ask them in for coffee and cake if they’re ok talking about anything other than religion. I’m sad when religion becomes a source of humanity’s inability to coexist with different beliefs. Is it genuine religious fervor, or is it men manipulating other men for their own ends? Who knows anymore.
When things like the Paris shootings happen, all the more I am convinced that men use religion to pursue their (usually political) agendas. 9/11 was the same thing. This has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with hatred. We haven’t evolved from the dark ages and the Crusades. It’s still men doing what men want and invoking the will of their own gods. It’s all part of the geopolitical power game.
If God really existed, would He even allow any of this? Inasmuch as the motives of any being described as being omniscient and omnipotent can be predicted by humans, who are as far removed from omniscience and omnipotence as any other living thing?
No one can answer that.