Religion and faith are very personal things. Please keep that in mind as you read on. I have decided to share my personal thoughts on this topic and have tried to explain how I feel the best I can. If you have any questions please ask. Any respectful discussion is welcome here. Thank you.
How I feel about Faith
Faith is mostly about the difference between knowing and believing. I believe faith should be a conscious decision.
I believe God exists.
I always have and I hope I always will.
I know science is real.
I always have and I know I always will.
I do not care which faith another person has or does not have as long as they are a good person.
That is the essence of me.
I understand the difference between believing in God and knowing God is real. I don’t know that God exists. The entire point of faith lays in believing despite not knowing.
I do not believe God is there to do anything for me or anybody else. I do not expect anything from God. I do not believe God is responsible for all the bad things that happen on this planet. I do not believe God is responsible for all the good things that happen on this planet. I believe that I do not know what God might or might not be responsible for.
When I pray, which is very rarely, I do not ask for God to help me. I pray in an attempt to focus all my being on something I need help with. And I hope that focus will allow me to figure things out. “Pray” is just the word I use to describe the process.
When I am very lonely and desperate I might talk to God because there is nobody else to talk to. God is always there and always available. I do not believe there is a physical being somewhere actually hearing my words. Somehow it still helps me feel less alone and that is all that matters to me.
To me God is something that always has been and always will be out there.
Something larger than me. Larger than anything. The great unknown. That is as far as I go explaining it to myself and I am very comfortable with this explanation.
How I feel about Atheism
Unlike most people who believe in God atheism does not phase me at all. In fact I find it completely understandable that someone thinking logically will come to the conclusion that God does not exist. There is no logic in faith. It fills the void where logic cannot reach.
I do not believe atheists are bad people. I do not believe atheists will go to hell. They just do not believe in God. They believe in scientific facts. There is no scientific evidence to prove that God is real. There is lots of scientific evidence that disproves many theological claims of various religions.
For atheists unexplained things are things science has not yet explained but eventually will.
For me unexplained things are things science might eventually explain but might as well never be explained because they are in fact connected to what I call God.
This might be difficult to understand but for me science and faith are not mutually exclusive. If you get rid of all the man-made religious beliefs and only keep the faith that there is something out there that I call “God” then science and faith in God can very easily coexist.
As long as people are good human beings it does not matter which religion and faith they have or do not have. And if they are bad human beings I strongly hope the justice system will take care of them.
How I feel about organized religion
The analytical, logical part of me knows organized religion has its goods and bads. At the same time I can understand that people feel hurt when someone criticizes their religion. I felt hurt for a long time when someone criticized Catholicism, which is the religion I was born into. But I know now feeling that way is wrong.
It is extremely important to be open for criticism of religion. Because only a religion open for criticism truly strives to be and do good. A religion that makes itself immune to criticism on the other hand strives instead for power and control.
One needs to understand one crucial fact. It is not God who makes religion. It is humans. And humans are not infallible. Humans can be good and humans can be evil. Thus the religions they create have that same potential.
It is extremely important to keep that in mind when being religiously active. Because as a good person your goal should be to be a good person. Not to be a part of any religious group and blindly follow something created and controlled by human beings.
Being a good person always trumps anything any religion ever claims to be right or wrong. Unfortunately most organized religions and their followers do not see it this way. Which is why there is so much potential to do very wrong things in the name of religion. Which is why I know organized religion as it stands today is often not a good thing.
I would not call myself religious. On paper I belong to the Catholic church. But I am not going to church. I am not an active part of any religious group.
I would call myself spiritual though. I believe in God. I believe there are things greater than me. And I believe in striving to understand myself, others, and life in general.
My belief in God does not require a church or a religion. My belief in God does not require prayer, rituals, or church services. My belief in God does not require to be said out loud, or talked about with others. My belief in God is very personal and is reflected in what I say and do every day.
However. A place to belong to with like minded people is important to me. I am hoping to find a group that truly accepts, respects, and supports each other as well as all humans in general. Some religions have come close to this and I am currently exploring my options. While always keeping in mind my goal to be a good person in whatever I do.
Autism and Religion
I believe autistic people are more likely to question religion. I believe autistic people are more likely to be less religious. And I believe the very simple explanation for this is that autistic people tend to be more logical, analytical thinkers. And autistic people tend to have a very strong sense of ethics and justice.
All of the above does not go well with organized religion.
There is not a lot of logical, analytical thinking going on in organized religion. As I mentioned before faith itself is the opposite of logical thinking. And the inability to prove religious claims with scientific facts certainly contributes to religion not being a good match for many autistic people.
There also always has been and to this day still is and probably always will be a lot of injustice done by organized religion. And let us not forget that a lot of horrible things have been and still are being done to autistic and other disabled people by religious groups. I believe autistic people are less likely to just forgive and forget and be a part of something they know has done or is doing horrible things.
I actually found a rather interesting study about this very topic. You can find it HERE.
What does “Being a good person” mean then?
I think about this a lot. And my inner list of what being a good person entails evolves all the time. Mostly more and more things get added as I learn more about the bad things people do in this world. The very general basis I try to base my thoughts and actions on is this:
Treat others as you would like to be treated while keeping an open mind.
Unless they do bad things then do your best to bring them to justice.
This really gives a guideline for almost everything in life already. It can be used to outline almost all ethics needed to be a good person.
Translated into some everyday situations it means things like…
…don’t harm others. Unless you have to protect yourself or someone else and you have no other means.
…don’t lie. Unless you have to protect yourself or someone else and you have no other means.
…don’t steal. Unless you have to feed yourself or someone else and you have no other means you may steal food and drink.
…do your best to help those in need.
…strive to understand others but don’t be afraid to judge. Also don’t be afraid to change your mind, admit your mistakes, and be willing to learn from them.
And then of course there are countless fine nuances in life that need individual decisions. And there are many times in life where the answer what is good and what is bad is not easily found. Sometimes a decision can be made in a split second. Sometimes it might take a long time to figure out the right thing to do.
Feel free to ask my thoughts on any topic and I will gladly explain what I think a good person should do in that scenario and why. If I were to just list all the topics that I care about this would be endless. And if I were to only take a few it would paint an incomplete picture of who I am that would lead to wrong conclusions about me.
Thanks for reading!