I was raised and baptised as a Roman Catholic, and for as long as I can remember, religion would always get me in trouble either through my parents teachings or the school which was run by priests and nuns. I would be "disciplined" for asking a few hard hitting questions yet they never could answer my honest questions. I grew tired of it all and denounced my Catholicism and have had the most complete distrust in everything religiously based.
I'm an absolute contradiction in definition I assure you. I claim to be Agnostic, yet I wear a soldier's rosary (I'm ex-military). I don't believe in life after death, yet I do believe in the supernatural. I'd like to "think" there's something "up there" but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced once I take my last breath, that's all there'll be. No afterlife, No great mansion in the sky, no nothing.
Mr. Critchen has really allowed me to expand on my theology arguments with factual defences which I'm only too happy to quote when some self-righteous bible-thumber tries to stand me up.
THANK YOU Mr. Hitchens for opening my eyes WIDE OPEN!
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Re: Absolutely Enlightening!
Absolute Honesty goes a long way. Similar to what you spoke of, i encountered similar people. My mother recounted to me how a religious teacher in her class, when she was very young placed a pencil between her fingers and squezzed her hand giving her excruciating pain. This was because when my mother read the Qur'an she mispronounced the words she was reading. This happened in Iran about 50+years ago. So my mother decided as little child that she will never read the Qur'an again. Anyhow, I met a christian in America who a nun did the same pencil trick to her, when she was a child. Now about honesty.
With a simple sense of honesty one can tell, even as a child that these supposed teachers are not a true reflection of the religion which they supposedly represent. When studying the Bible and the Qur'an or any religion, what is important is your simple straihgt forward honesty. the truth of the matter is, is that we don't know whether any of the religious information written down is absoultely correct. I mean we know that They say its infallible. however we don't really know. That! is being honest with ourselves. so when I studied the Qur'an and many other religions, I kept in minnd to question everything in order to be able to understand. If something does not make sense to me I should not and did not persuade myself to blindly believe in it. But I did keep an open mind into looking at issues from various perspectives.
a small example is the attire that muslim women wear.
if you go to the dessert right now and see men and women on camels, you will observe that men are covered from head to ankle to shield themselves from the hot desert sun. I am talking about men. The same was true for women. as a modesty issue some women would veil their faces from the onlooking gaze of other men. It is similar to being dropped off in a very bad neighborhood in losangeles, and you are with your girlfriend who looks really beautiful with a beautiful dazzling dress. in that neighborhood, simply because of the possibility of meeting some unsavory charachters you would want your woman to cover up, by wearing a coat, a jacket, and not be so show-offish, in order to not attract too much attention. It's a matter of survival. Unfortunately this desert culture environment has been taken to the city environment.
Now, believe it or not, with indepth study of religion after religion, they do make sense, and numerous honest questions fo yours would be answered, however many people do not go deep into the religion to truly know what it says, and what it is really about. even many nuns and supposed scholars in any religion many are biased, and so they study with biased minds.
There is no point in trying to talk to someone, such as a bible-thumper. many eople around the world sadly are not honest with themselves, in their own studies. they are not 100% honest. therefore they are kidding themselves. many do not know how honest they have to be. They do not know, partly because they have not been exposed to Complete Honesty.
I too found this book 'enlightening'. Having been brought up in a mixed religion family, I have observed contradictions and situations of actual hate that were based purely upon nothing other than religious divide. Like most folk I like to have balance in my life. I had spent the best part of it having the religious side pumped into me and thought it good to read the 'other side'. Even things up a bit.
Between Mr Hitchins and Mr Dawkins, my eyes have indeed been opened and I too feel armed with reponses to so called religious experts.
It's a pity to hear that Mr Hitchins died recently. I would liked to have followed his work as he progressed through life.
Thankyou Christopher Hitchins for opening new doors to my thinking.
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