So lately I've been reading Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion". This was inspired by an article in The Washington Post, either about this book or about his latest publication -- I can't remember. I'm finding it an interesting, albeit long-winded, read. Dawkins likes to reiterate that religious individuals have no proof of God, yet those same people feel science doesn't have enough evidence to disprove the existence or influence of God.
Personally, I feel it is a whole lot more believable that life is the way it is due to evolution -- that chronological accumulation of random mutations and natural selection -- than due to God deciding it should be so. [Who created God anyway?] What positive influence does religion have in inspiring us to be curious and seek out answers to life's questions? As geneticist Jerry Coyne says: "Why is God considered an explanation for anything? It's not -- it's a failure to explain, a shrug of the shoulders, an 'I dunno' dressed up in spirituality and ritual. If someone credits something to God, generally what it means is that they haven't a clue...."
I feel that people use religion, especially God, as a scapegoat. Why were you born with that incurable genetic disease? Because God made you that way. Why is your son a homosexual? Because God is testing your faith. Etc. It is easier to blame someone else, then to acknowledge (1) you don't know, (2) chance and/or probability, or (3) that you are responsible. I am especially concerned by those religious individuals who believe that misfortune is brought upon by refusing to "live by the divine law of life". What incentive do people have to lead a pious and virtuous life as a path to heaven, when prisoners who torture and kill innocent people, can be forgiven and saved? It just doesn't add up.