I've been thinking a lot about religion since the Pope's visit (and a brief association with someone who had religious beliefs). Those who know me know that I am very anti religion. I see it as a means to control the masses. You get those less learned people (in the old days) to do what you want them to do with the promise of good things if they do and eternal damnation if they don't. The whole premise of this is a bit ridiculous. Think of the suicide bomber who is expecting 72 virgins when they reach 'Heaven' - it hardly sounds like heaven for those 72 virgins!
I worry about people blindly following things that were said 2,000 years ago (and prior to that with the Old Testament). I am not an expert on the history of these things but I don't think it has ever been proven who wrote the original versions or the motives behind it. I believe that originally it was thought that the first five chapters (Genesis - Deuteronomy) were originally written by Moses, but it has since been proven that this couldn't be the case. I think my problem with this is just the general lack of questioning.
My opinion of the Bible however is that it is the greatest story ever written. That is not to say I believe it happened, I do however think that it acts as great moral guidance but should not be taken literally. At the same time I think this links to my problem with religions people in general. They in general appear to be good people, however again I question motive. A Christian (for instance) may perform the exact same act as an atheist however they could have totally different motives. The Christian may have done it because it's the Christian thing to do, as a result will improve their chances of going to heaven and reduce the chance of them going to hell - a selfish reason for performing the act; however an atheist has no such considerations and is much more likely to do the same thing simply because it is right to do so. Therefore I would rather have an atheist person offering to help because you know that their offer is genuine.
Having said that, I'm jealous. The one thing that tends to be common amongst all people of religion is their blind faith that at the end of it all there is something better. Now I believe in living life to the fullest because you don't know when it will end or what will happen once it does, these people know (rightly or wrongly) what will happen after it ends, that must be some comfort. In the dark depths of night, what comfort is there in being right? Not following the herd and questioning other people's assumptions? Who is the happier person. I am reminded of something that was said on 'Shameless' by Frank Gallagher (who I'm sure is always remembered for his wisdom), it was something along the lines of:
"In the deep dark depths of night, even the most devout atheist has doubts"