First off, religion. I don't believe there is a god. I don't have anything against people who do; I think we all tell ourselves things that aren't true every day just to get through it. Denial is possibly human's true best friend. (Sorry, canines, you're a close second). If you become a better person by believing in a book and joining your community in prayer, more power to you.
I believe in Good and Evil in the same way I believe in matter and antimatter; there will always be both, and they'll always be fighting against each other. I believe in the forces of nature and human nature. I believe in humor. I believe in evolution. I believe evolution, ironically enough, created god. People that believe in god have hope and an appreciation for life; it would make sense that these people would have a greater chance of surviving and pass their beliefs on.
If we look throughout history, the stories really haven't changed that much. Some of the stories of the bible are stories that have been adapted from the time that we were sacrificing virgins to the sun. Some of the same stories, and a lot of the same ideas, are shared across the different religions. It's obvious that the authors of these stories truly had knowledge about human nature, and we would be foolish not to embrace the lessons they have left for us, whilst navigating the highs and lows of life.
But I just have a hard time buying that people were chosen by an all-powerful being to have an afterlife, and to be taught lessons through horrible experiences that are all really just tests to see if we truly are worthy. It doesn't make sense. If a horrible person raises a child in an unspeakable environment, where the child has no chance of being a decent person, does that child go to hell? Do the parents? Or is it their parents' faults?
I won't even get into what it means for the insane.
Beyond all this are the people and organizations who have hijacked the worlds' religions for their own agendas. It's nearly impossible anymore to have a political discussion without religion coming into the mix. Because somewhere along the way, in this country and others, powerful people realized that the blind faith of religious followers could be manipulated to their advantage. Our world has been held hostage by 'religious' wars that are more about money and control than they are about gods. Somehow Fox News convinces the poor and easily-frightened that what's good for them is what's good for big business, and anyone who tells them otherwise is just a terrorist trying to take down their religion and/or country.
Religion is still being used throughout the world to keep women submissive. Do Catholic women in America just roll their eyes while the pope continues to support the notion that ovaries make a person unable to be a spiritual leader? And we've got it easy compared to the rest of the world.
So now, instead of it being a crutch for people to lean on in their times of need and a place to be accepted, religion has become a force of intolerance and exclusivity. Instead of Christians judging not lest they be judge, they're donating their family's nest eggs or their children's college funds to keep gays from getting married. Instead of 'hurting no one so that no one may hurt you' Muslims are strapping bombs to themselves and blowing up random strangers that happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
It angers me that this happens and saddens me that the rest of us have allowed it to.
I'm sorry if anyone is offended by my disbelief
All right. I'll get off my high horse in a minute. But grandkids, it's important to know what you believe in and surround yourself with people who support you, even if they don't always agree with you. Oh, and bonus points if they can cook.