I can't remember a god damn thing, unless it's connected to something else or I fully understand the reasons behind the given fact's existence. As such, I've tended to prune away things in my life for which the reasons supporting their purpose and derivation no longer make sense to me. Organized religion is one of them.
A lot of things pop into my mind when I'm (a.) in the shower, (b.) doing the dishes, or (c.) in mid-sentence in a Grade 10 Science class whilst explaining the idea of acid-base neutralization reactions. This evening, scenario (b.) occurred.
I was imagining a dialogue between me and person who believes in the existence of a Deity.
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Them: "So, do you believe in God?"
Me: "Meh, I dunno. I guess it's possible, but humans like to assign meaning to a lot of things that don't have anything else going for them, like all those water-stains on walls in Mexico where people swear up, down and sideways that it looks like the Virgin Mary."
Them: "Seriously? You don't believe there's Something which created all this?"
Me: "I'm willing to chalk it up to random chance. This roll-of-the-dice has worked out pretty sweet for us, but in the end I think it might all be due to dumb luck."
Them: "Well, if you don't take Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, you'll spend an eternity in the fires of Hades."
Me: "About that. If there's an omniscient, omnipotent God looking down over everything we do, I'd have thought that, as soon as anyone did anything wrong, God would kick their ass. Someone breaks a Commandment? Someone gets turned into a pillar of salt or something. Why make people wait their entire lives to see how it all turns out, if you've done things right?"
Them: "God is just testing you. Life is a big test, to see if you're worthy of entry into Heaven."
Me: "Two things: one, if God made Heaven, He should've made it infinitely large; I'd have thought an all-powerful Being would've been able to pull that sort of thing off. Two, doesn't that seem a little petty? If God wants something to go a specific way, He should make it so that it always goes that way, and take the whole 'human element' out of it. In case you haven't noticed, we're not exactly perfection personified."
Them: "But you have to have faith."
Me: "Why should I, a thinking, sentient being, have to put my fate in the hands of something I can't even prove exists in the first place? No thanks, I think I'll just take care of what needs taking care of down here, thanks. I got 'er."
Them: "I'll pray for you tonight."
Me: "Thanks, I'll go read some horoscopes, and maybe do the Jumble."
* * * * * * * * *
Okay, so I constructed a bit of a straw-man to knock down here but, in the words of Terrance Maddox, "I think I've made my point." If I can't ground a given piece of dogma (e.g. eternal damnation) in something which makes sense to me, why bother taking the time to memorize it?
Take the mystery out of your life, folks. You'll sleep better at night.