People always talk about the great deal of HOPE that religion gives them. But it gives just as many people – if not far more – a great deal of fear as well. Fear of eternal damnation, for example. Dying is scary enough, without having to add to that experience the specter of possibly roasting for all eternity in hell, and all for the sin of being human.
My father took comfort in his religion his whole life. And by doing so, it made him accepting of a life he struggled to be happy with. This was not the fault of religion, of course, as his myriad issues came from too many sources to count. Religion simply provided a means by which to put all of the crap he had experienced his entire life, into some framework that made some sense. He could “live with it all,” in other words, by know that justice would be meted out in the in, as long as he “believed.”
But when he finally reached the end of his life, he was terrified of dying. I do not honestly know what terrified him. Perhaps it was just the process of letting go of life itself, and everyone he knew and loved. Or maybe it was just the physical and psychological experience of dying, of which I can hardly even imagine. Or perhaps, along with all of this and more, he was also scared to death of having failed to ultimately understand what it was his “religion” required of him, and therefore trembled at the thought of spending all of eternity in hell, for just being human, and making a mistake.
Either way, I don’t have much use for a philosophy that purports to lull people into a sense of euphoric adoration of a “being” that may or may not exist, who may or may not love us, and even if “it” does, “it” may or may not send us to an eternal hell anyway – because we earned it! The only sane response to such a philosophy is – to hell with that!