I do like little bit of controversy now and again. This question on Quora.com just screamed out to me to be answered:
I answered in just a sentence there as you can see, but I’ve got space here on my blog to expand a little bit…
A good majority of children grow up blindly following their parents’ religious views, and then as an adult, think that their particular religion is the correct one. I was raised with one atheist father and one believing mother, so I had the ‘best’ of both worlds so to speak. My mother Dot was always of the opinion that you could live a good Christian life without all the pomp and circumstance involved in going to a church service, and she certainly tried her best to live up to those 10 commandments all her 92 years even though she seldom attended church. Her faith only wavered during the last year or so of her life when she was in chronic pain and virtually immobile. What my father often said about priests and religion I could not possibly write down here!
As a young child and until the end of my school years I attended morning Christian assemblies where we sang hymns, and praised God. In junior class we were told that ‘God was all around us’. I remember as a 6 year old taking that quite seriously and actually looking up and then over my shoulder, trying to find Him. The teacher then made me stand in the corner facing the wall for the rest of the afternoon. When I returned home and told my parents, my mother said that ‘God was there in your heart’. My dad nearly wet himself laughing, although at the time I never understood why.
As my sons grew up and told me about their school day, I realised they did not have Christian assemblies anymore. Instead they learned about various religions in the classroom.
In the days when I could sing, I was a member of our church choir, and my sons decided to join me for a while until their voices broke and they discovered girls. Disappointingly, there were usually only the same 4 or 5 people in the congregation every Sunday, unless it was Christmas or Easter.
I have an old school friend whose parents are Catholic. As a child she and her 3 brothers had to go to church 3 times every Sunday and confess their sins, just because their parents did. My friend’s biggest ‘sin’ was getting pregnant out of wedlock at 20 years of age, and the priest certainly showed his displeasure at the baby’s christening. In fact his silent condemnation of that poor baby was most embarrassing for all who attended. As they became older, my friend and her 3 brothers grew away from the church. One brother moved to America and started up a condom business (!), one moved to Thailand with his Thai bride, and the other one stayed in the UK and married and divorced twice. My friend never married, has had a good career, and is now enjoying being a grandmother to two lovely little girls. Her son by the way has an unwavering faith in God.
As I became older I started to question why so many children are made to follow their parents’ religious views. I was lucky never to have been given much guidance on religion at all, and my parents left me to make up my own mind about whether or not God exists. I grew up sure in the knowledge that He is there for anyone who needs some sort of spiritual support, and for those who don’t need Him, then that’s good as well. Whichever way is good. We all have to make up our own minds as to whether or not God exists, and not let ourselves be led by parents or anybody else who might try to brainwash us with their own beliefs.
I’ve had Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists and Baptists at my door trying to convert me to their way of thinking. Why? Why can’t I be left in peace to follow my own beliefs? I don’t go knocking on people’s doors telling them which religion to follow. My philosophy is – if you want to believe in God, then believe in Him. If you don’t believe, then that’s fine too.
So, to answer the above question…should we follow Dr Kaku or Dr Hawking? I say whichever one you like is fine by me – they are both right for whoever wants to follow them. Nobody is good/bad for believing/not believing, nobody is going to hell in a handcart, and nobody should be trying to influence anybody else. How would Dr Kaku’s followers feel if a Dr Hawking fan knocked on their door and tried to tell them that God didn’t exist? They would rightly feel extremely angry, but they never seem to realise they might be causing the same anger to non-believers with their self-righteous preaching .
That’s my little rant over with. As the comedian Dave Allen always said…”May your God go with you”. As for my own religious views – I have my own God whom I praise daily and not just on Sundays. Who is He? Well… you’ll have to make up your own minds on that one because I’m keeping Him to myself!