Death has been a subject of unexpectedly regular talk lately. Not by choice, it's just happened. Wills, relatives getting older, the realisation that I may have things worth leaving to someone when I'm gone.
About a month ago I started watching Richard Dawkins 'Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life'. One of his big questions was, 'How can an athiest find meaning in life?' To me this seems like a pretty daft question. Do I need some invisible force giving meaning to my existence? I don't believe we're here to score brownie points for some as yet unproven after life. I'm here for now and that's all I'm here for.
Religion has never been my bag. To me religion has been the root of some of history's worst episodes - because of course it is in the hands of man.
Some of the subjects interviewed as part of Dawkins series suggested that you need religion to have direction in life, to have purpose and drive. This I do not understand at all. I have ALWAYS had direction, drive, ambition and aim. I didn't need some invisible force to give me a kick up the backside. I was always self sufficient enough to rely on myself no matter how hard things seemed to be. I guess that's just the way I am. I don't need a crutch or something else to back me up.
I've also never needed it to form my moral code. I know the difference between right and wrong and I don't need any illusion of hell or punishment to remind me what is good and bad. What I choose to do is my own business whether it is right or wrong. I know the difference.
As Dawkins says, the rules and guidelines of religion were laid down in a different time. Mankind has moved on. And the laws many religions follow just aren't practical in our modern times. Some of them in fact are just down right medieval and, if followed to the letter, can be barbaric. Of course, everything is open to interpretation. In recent years we have seen adaptations of religious law to cater for a broader modern and more open minded population.
Dawkins discussed a whole set of idealisms, problems and questions that I'm not going to go into here. I just don't have the space and you probably wouldn't want to read it anyway. If you're interested, and you should be, watch the series here, it's very interesting and well worth the time.