Thursday, August 2, 2012

Does Believing in God Make Me Dumb?

I haven’t posted in a while, and there’s a reason for it. I do intend to get back to posting regularly soon, but for now I’ve been quite hard at work with getting a new branch of Tomework up and running. Soon as that’s live, I’ll let everyone know about it. For now, I’m keeping it under wraps.

Anyways, I did want to post this article I just published on HubPages. It’s not regarding writing, but I do post my latest published pieces from time to time, so here it is. Hope you enjoy.

Does Believing in God Make Me Dumb?

Recently during a conversation, I was informed that believing in God is dumb. Some of you may agree, and some of you might have been offended at such a comment. I was neither, but I was saddened by the disrespectful remark because that kind of insult isn’t uncommon in today’s society. Even going back ten or twenty years, our nation was more respectful of other’s opinions, and a little less ready to be openly vocal and assertive about their opinions if they knew their thoughts would offend others. The term “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all” seems to have been reversed with today’s generation.

As is usually the case, I’m much better at writing than I am speaking on the spot, and so I just said I was sorry they felt that way and left the topic at that. But given some time to think on the subject, I realized that I do have a response to that person’s opinion that “having a belief in God is dumb.”

There are two ways this comment could be taken. They could have meant that anyone who believes in God is dumb. So what qualifies one to be labeled dumb? The dictionary says that dumb is “showing a lack of intelligence.” Could someone’s IQ factor into the equation? Or perhaps someone’s aptitude, faculty of mind, and quick mindedness might mesh together to reveal if one is “intelligent” or not. Could the scope of one’s accomplishments also have a part in determining intelligence? These are some qualifiers I think make up intelligence, no doubt there’s more to it, but it’s a good enough list for this post.

Now I know for a fact there are men and women in the world, and in past history, that have a greater faculty of mind, quicker thinking, have had higher IQ scores, and have achieved much more in life than this person that made the accusation. I personally know people that rank higher in all of the above categories that have a firm belief in God’s existence; so, the argument that anyone who believes God is a dumb person is an invalid argument.

The second way their comment could be taken is that anyone who believes in God is not completely dumb, just dumb on the subject; their choice to believe in God is stupid, not them as a person, but the choice itself.

I thought long and hard on this one, and eventually I made a list of what my belief in God has led me to do in my life. Some are actions, some are attributes, but all are the results of my belief in God.

My belief in God has…

  • ·         helped me to care about bettering myself
  • ·         helped me to care more about others
  • ·         prompted me to help others
  • ·         led me to be a law-abiding citizen
  • ·         led me to contribute to the community
  • ·         led me to give at least two hours of service to the community and needy each week
  • ·         prompted me to donate roughly 5% of my family’s income to the poor
  • ·         helped expand my thought
  • ·         prompted me to upkeep and improve myself mentally and physically
  • ·         helped me to appreciate nature and to be more conservation minded
  • ·         helped me to be happier in life
  • ·         helped me to find joy in life
  • ·         helped me have purpose in life
  • ·         helped me to be more appreciative
  • ·         helped me to be more honest
  • ·         helped me to be more reflective and contemplative
  • ·         helped me calm my stress levels and temper
  • ·         given me peace
  • ·         helped  me to show kindness to others
  • ·         granted me more patience
  • ·         helped me to love others

I understand that this list might differ from religion to religion, or even from person to person, but that’s what a belief in God has done for me. The only negatives that I’ve received from believing in God is being persecuted because of my beliefs—which is an external source, so I wouldn’t even count that as a negative.

And as I look over this list, a list that only helps to make me a better person and to help those around me, I don’t see how this belief in God and all that it stands for and all the good that comes from it can simply be written off as “dumb.” Religion is a subject that has been discussed throughout all recorded time, from century to century, pondered endlessly by the sages of our past, countless great authors have given meaningful thought to—that’s why I simply don’t agree that it’s logical for someone to simply throw the blanket statement of “believing in God is dumb,” or “you are dumb for believing in God” on the topic of God, and my choice to believe in him.

I can understand if they don’t agree with me on the subject, but to insult a core aspect of my person does hurt—even if it is a casual assessment, or a random comment that wasn’t given much thought to at the time it was given.

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