Note: Sorry for the length, but I would appreciate it greatly if you at least skimmed or read the last paragraph.

I know this is probably not the best time to be asking this question as it is 4:00 am my time, but I was doing my AP world history homework and came across this quote:

“It would be overly simplistic, however, to consider these doctrines [of samsara and karma] merely efforts of a hereditary elite to justify its position and maintain its hegemony over other classes of society. The sages who gave voice to these doctrines were conscientiously attempting to deal with genuine spiritual and intellectual problems. To them the material world seemed supremely superficial – a realm of constant change and illusion offering no clear sign as to the nature of ultimate reality. It seemed logical to suppose that a more real and substantial world stood behind the one that they inhabited. Greek philosophers, Christian theologians, and many others have arrived at similar positions during the course of the centuries. It should come as no great surprise, then, that the authors of the Upanishads sought ultimate truth and certain knowledge in an ideal world that transcends our own. Their formation of concepts such as samsara and karma represented efforts to characterize the relationship between the world of physical incarnation and the realm of ultimate truth and reality.”

This quote is talking about the religious views of the Upanishads in the late Vedic age (circa 1000 B.C.E.). The doctrine of Samsara says that after death, individual souls go temporarily to the World of the Fathers and then return to earth in a new incarnation. Karma accounted for the specific incarnations that souls experienced. Basically, if you do good things, you will return in the next life in a “purer and more honorable existence”, such as a higher place in the social class.

Now even though these ideas are not popular here in the west, one cannot deny that indeed most religions teach followers that there is a higher purpose to life on earth/an afterlife. We see this in the Ancient Egyptians as well. Mummification and the building of pyramids were both to help the pharaoh-gods have a peaceful afterlife.

The truth is, every single human looks for answers to intellectual and philosophical questions. In the past, religion was created to provide answers, but as time goes on, more and more people are turning to atheism. Science is providing us with the answers now, but this time, we have evidence. How is your religion any different from that of the Upanishads or Ancient Egyptians?

~Fourteen year old atheist
@Designed: Thank you for your very intelligent response. Because I am only fourteen, I have yet to read all of the holy books, but I am planning on doing so. I admire you for actually searching instead of just accepting what you were told like so many others, even though your conclusion is so far different than my own.
@Leonard: I agree with you on the point of Dr. Ross. I don’t believe any holy book is any more true than the next, however, I do wish to study them all (at least the major ones) and take a few religion/philosophy courses when I’m a bit older. My world history book really shows me the major effect of religion in society from near the beginning of human kind and how it evolved from one belief to another. I find it interesting in the similarities, but also the differences that can be explained by the geographical location of each society.
@Numbnuts222: Unless a better answer comes along later, I think you’ll be it. That is one of the most unique and insightful ways of thinking of religion that I’ve heard in a while. I will definitely look into Shamanism; thanks for the tip.
@Sunsandnrain: The year 2009 A.D. means nothing to me as that is not how I base my beliefs. I actually define the year as 2009 C.E. and before 1, B.C.E. which means common era and before common era. Yes, this is still based on the approximate time Jesus was alive, however, that is only for sake of connivence. This system was created in non Christian countries, and is widely accepted by scholars.

Then comes your false assumption that humans magically appeared by the big bang, which proves you know very little if anything about the theory. Ditto on evolution. (The two theories are completely different).

By your reasoning, there would be no atheists, or all the “supposedly” intelligent people in the world are either idiots or lying to themselves. Neither is true. I exist. I don’t believe in god.

Then why is the Big Bang not plausible to you? Using your logic: If I told you how it was started, then I would obviously be lying because I have no idea. So of course it’s true. (cont.)
(cont.) The fact is, saying something is true and proving it are two completely different things. All you’ve given me is a false argument as to why the Big Bang and Evolution are not true. Please, if you are going to try to disprove these theories, be familiar with them.

Seriously? http://lmgtfy.com/?q=bible+contradictions

Then you use circular logic. Don’t know what that is? You already have google open. Use it.
@Paul h: Why would I ever do that without evidence? People find what they look for, but that is not a good thing. If I am looking for a FSM, I will ultimately trick myself into believing there is one. I, on the other hand, actually try going at different perspectives with an open mind.

As of now, I think that the initial energy that expanded due to the Big Bang has always existed, and eventually transformed into matter. One cannot create nor destroy matter or energy, therefore it has always existed. Why do we need to add another step to this process called god? She just raises more questions that cannot even begin to be answered.

Look up natural selection. It is far from random.

Man does not know that. Humans are animals. Do you think chimps believe in a higher power? How about dolphins? These are intelligent species, and they don’t feel the need to worship an invisible man in the sky. (Or chimp or whatever). Man has used religion to explain the unexplainable and it has been (cont.
(cont.) exploited by priests and priestesses over the years to control the masses and to receive money and power. Monotheistic religions did not even exist before the Jews. The Torah was put together between about 800 and 400 B.C.E. and the belief that Yahweh was the one true god came about by the eighth century B.C.E.

My question is: why do so many religious people pick and choose what they believe about science? You now know why an eclipse occurs, but when confronted with anything that contradicts your religion, it is automatically false. Why, then, is the reason for eclipses correct in your mind? Shouldn’t scientists be lying to you about this too?

Loving god. Have you read your own bible? He loves you so much, he gave you free will, but will send you to burn forever in hell if you don’t believe in and worship him. But don’t worry! He already knows that he sends you to hell, but does nothing about it. Oh, wait. He created me. He knows what choices I’m going to make, so why (cont.)
(cont.) didn’t he make me a believer so that I won’t have to burn in hell? Your god is NOT a loving god.

Circular logic again. Then, you are taking bible verses and interpreting them a certain way to make it sound like prophecies are coming true and that it has scientific discoveries written in it.

Picking and choosing science…blah blah blah…ignoring outlandish claims in your own holy book…blah blah blah

Just because none of these other religions are true, it does not mean yours is correct. Can you at least see that much? You can’t prove something true by disproving something else. It doesn’t work like that. Look up false dilemma.

You have NO idea how many religions came before yours and died out. Gods are based on society and what they value. A good example are the Ancient Egyptians. The cult of Osiris was based off of the myth of Osiris and how his evil brother Seth murdered him. Seth scattered pieces of his corpse throughout Egypt, but Osiris’ wife, Isis, (cont.)
(cont.) retrieved all of the pieces and gave him a proper burial. The gods were impressed by her devotion to her husband, so they gave Osiris eternal life as a god. He was the god of the underworld that weighed the dead’s heart against a feather. If it was heavier than the feather, it was weighed down with evil and the individual would not be granted immorality. However, if it was lighter, they received eternal life. This was a way of controlling the Egyptian commoners so that they behaved in a moral manner. Osiris was associated with the Nile that flooded, retreated, and flooded again the following year, and their crops which grew, died and sprouted again because of his resurrection. The Nile and their crops were very important to the Egyptians because their society was based on agriculture.

That was one of many examples of society influencing what type of god they worshiped. What can be said about the Abrahamic god, then?