I just read an article about the growth of atheism in the US.   Yay.   I don’t know who took the poll or did the study, but the gist is atheism is the fastest growing religion of the 21st Century.  I think calling atheism a religion is clearly a misnomer, but what else can I call it?   Atheism is my religion.  My right to not believe in your god.  But wait, I’ve talked before of my growing Buddhism aren’t these contradictary?

As many Christians like to needlessly point out, Buddha was not god.  Hello, Christians?  No one ever said Buddha was god, least not in anything I’ve read or studied.  Therefore, I can be Buddhist and an atheist at the same time, since neither one believes in an almighty, all knowing, mean spirited and spiteful god.   And what about the capitals?  It is always supposed to be written “God”, and Mormon, Catholic, etc., but “atheism.”  Small “a.”  Even the English language diminishes Athiests.  We lack faith, therefore we lack other desireable traits as well, apparently.

Not to mention, that to me, anyway, Buddhism is not a religion.  We define it as such in the US, but I think it’s more of a way of life.  I do right things because they are right, not because my god’s book tells me to.  I treat people without prejudice, regardless of how ridiculously religious they might be, knowing that only by being the example of quiet tolerance can I hope to overcome the noise of people clamoring to get me to believe their god is the One True GOD.

As we all know, many wars have been fought because someone didn’t believe in the “right” god.  The “right” god being the one most of the dominant culture follows.  In the US, that’s Christian.  In Iran it would be Moslem.  Worldwide there are hundreds of religions.  Each believing in their god, and their book.  Because, let’s face it, My God is better than Your God.

Since none of us knows if there truly is One True GOD, why do some claim to “know” there is?  How can any one “know”?  Oh, its whether you have faith or not, and Athiests simply lack faith.  Sure.  Make it sound like it’s something you lack, like a soul.  No, what Athiests lack is a sense of self importance and a desire to usurp all other religions once and for all, but both the Athiest me, and the Buddhist me, believes in people.  And other than the assholes, people are mostly ok in my book.

I’m convinced religion came into being as a way to appreciate your world and the things it provided for you.  Very quickly, though, it became a way to control people.  Don’t like your neighbor with the wart, label her a witch.  Want your best friend’s wife?  Banish your best friend for some biblical infraction.  I’m not saying religious people are evil doers, since that would mean I was better than you, and I’m not.  I am the same as you.

I’m not saying, don’t be religious.  I’m saying be religious in the way you could be : being tolerant of others, accepting of different cultures, and forgiving of other’s real or imagined trespasses.

Religions give many people hope.  It gives them something to hang onto when their world goes crazy.  Unfortunately, the world being crazy has something to do with all the crazy religions out there and the even crazier people who believe the craziest things.

Like people walking on water, or making it to heaven where 17 virgins await you.  Right, 17 virgins for you, you pimply faced little prick.  What makes you think you’re going to get the virgins?  Just how many men get to have 17 virgins?  Surely while there is an infinite number of jihadists, I believe virgins are a much rarer commodity.   Most men can’t handle one woman, but these guys think heaven is 17 of them!  I grew up with five sisters.  That much progesterone in one place is dangerous, man.  Here’s a reality show: give one man 17 virgins and then record his life.  It may not be a big war, but I wouldn’t want to step between 17 horny women one man, you could lose an eye!

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