Belief Systems revisited
About three years ago I submitted a post on this topic. My belief system programming was produced and directed by my mom, a devoted Roman Catholic. As I understand it her mom, a Southern Bell, was a convert at some point in her life. Mom insured that I attended mass every week and was enrolled in a catholic school for my first ten years in Dayton, OH, Newburg, NY, Colorado Springs, and Ottawa Canada. I attended catechism class for each of those ten years and was taught that the Catholic Church was the one true church and the only path to a wonderful afterlife. The Pope was our leader and infallible when it came to matters of faith. Protestants (the protestors) were misguided and should be encouraged to return to one true faith. I was so well programmed that I continued to attend mass through my last two years of high school and four years at university. I even required my first wife to attend catholic lessons prior to our marriage in the church.
While I did question certain puzzling aspects of church history and rules that seemed not to be part of scripture I was told that “Faith” alone would overcome any doubts. It was only later that I understood that “Faith”, especially fervent faith, can overcome evidence and facts. Why are there so many different belief systems with all of them populated by devotees that are positive that their path to the afterlife is either the only one or if not, by far the best? Is it possible for all of them to be valid?
In an effort to ferret out the truth, I began my research. I attended several other church services, and read the Book of Mormon and the Koran. I read about the inquisition and the dalliances (and atrocities) of several popes in history. I learned of the Council of Nicene and the process that Emperor Constantine directed to determine what books make into the Scriptures we have today. I wondered how they could know for sure that these represented the “Word” of the creator.
I wondered why an all-powerful God would need to create humans to worship him/her. Did God have sex or need it? If there were entities on other worlds do we share the same God? Is the God of our Galaxy the same as the one in other Galaxies? Is the God of our Universe the same as the God of other Universes? Is it possible that the gods of the Romans, Greeks, Norse, Mayans, etc., etc., were not myths (they were real to them)? Is it possible that we do not know the truth?
One of the basic tenants on which our country was founded on freedom of religion (you are entitled to your beliefs). Bout half of the founding fathers were Deists. I am convinced that their intent was that the USA was to be a secular refuge, open to all beliefs (even non-beliefs). That is my position on the topic.
As for my belief, I do my best to resist believing. I prefer experience and evidence-based facts (as best we are to ascertain). I have no idea what happens when we die, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that something does exist after death (or near death). I am excited to find out when my time comes.