On being a non-religious scientist and believing in Christmas

christmas2014

I was brought up in an essentially non-religious home, though the values in the community I grew up were christian-based. I think, this has defined me to be the person I am today.  As a child, I did not learn much about religion and as far as I remember myself (and I remember things since I was 2 years old), I was always a bit suspicious about everything related with religion, in particular religious people and rituals.

As a young adult at the University, then I started engaging into religion, mainly because some of my close friends were religious, and I was a christian for some years. I tried being catholic, protestant, and then catholic again until I finally gave up. Religion was just not for me and believing in God was just not for me. My issues started with the people, and that´s something which  still startles me today. If some religions are good, how come we don´t notice it among religious people on our day-to-day life? If I look among the people I have met during my life – and I have met a lot from all over the world and all types of religions – then I must admit that I don´t see any correlation between “goodness” and religion. I have met the most wonderful people who are atheist, agnostic, christian, muslim,  buddhist, etc, but on the other side, I have also met the most horrible people who are atheist, agnostic, christian, muslim, buddhist, etc. I haven´t seen any correlation so far – there are good and bad people in all religions.  My observations just make me think that there is no correlation between being religious and how good you are in your day-to-day life. What I observe is that there is a correlation between having moral and ethical principles and how good people are, but those are basically religion independent. What I particularly disliked, and I still do, is to see how any religious institution is corrupted by power, and how the most horrible atrocities are dismissed and hidden underneath the carpet to keep an image and the followers, in a way seen by any political party!

In the same way, my disbelieve in the existence of God started growing. In particular, I  can´t believe in the concept of a God, who is almighty, omnipresent, omniscient and good. The concepts are just impossible all together because a God who loves its creatures as its own children wouldn´ t allow anything really bad, like torture, dying of hunger, rape, to happen to them. Either God is not almighty, not omnipresent, not omniscient or not good. This example is enough for me: will ever a mother or a father who lets their child die of hunger, having food on the table, be a good parent? For me the answer is clearly no.

The only time I question the non-existence of God is as a scientist. In my day-to-day life as a scientist, I  am studying biochemical pathways of the human organism and how these are regulated and kept in balance by the most complicated machinery ever designed. Sorry, but the evolution theory can´t explain it. I am not saying that there is no evolution, because I do believe there is. However, the events that lead to the formation of the human being couldn´t have been random otherwise not even in a billion years a creature as complicated as us could have been formed. No random events could have created such complicated creatures as we are – only if the mind of the most intelligent biochemist (God?) had directed evolution in such a way.

And so it happens that a person as I, non-religious, not believing in the existence of God as usually is taken as almighty good, believes in a creator who has created all the good and beauty in the world and as such believes in Christmas! It is a fact that Jesus existed and that his values and messages about loving and accepting the others have changed the world. (But please erase temporarily from your memory all the atrocities committed in his name by religious institutions). Sure I don´t believe everything about Jesus, like his virgin birth, though it has been documented in several animals, and I am still convinced that he was a bit mad otherwise how could he have convinced himself as being the son of God? Nevertheless, I believe that the story of Christmas and Jesus nativity is beautiful and has lots of good and can bring people´s goodness. Christmas is a time to stop, to enjoy the small little things in life, to be with the ones you love and because it  is so close to the end of the year, it is also a time to reevaluate your life, to make plans for the new year, to make the world a better place. So with these  thoughts,

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

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No one is born evil

baby_evil_2I strongly believe no one is born evil. Most of all I don´t believe in evil children.
If someone acts evil, it is because someone else made them that way. In particular, for children, we grownups and parents are most of all to blame. I have heard the most astonishing descriptions of “horrible” children from toddlers to teenagers, and how every adult criticizes them and tries to exclude them from their children´s circle of friends. I am not saying that the criticised children are angels – most probably they are not. What I find sad is that no one can see what could be the reason for the children´s behaviour. I believe that behind every badly behaved or problematic child or teenager is someone crying for help. Particularly as an educator, you have the responsibility of opening your eyes and try to figure out what  the problem of the child could be, and try to help them. Exclusion and punishments won´t help.
I remember a boy in the same kindergarten group my son was, who was frequently hitting the other children, including my own son. However, how could you not feel sorry for that boy? His mother had died from drug overdose and his father, you could just see from his eyes how tired and overwhelmed he was.  The boy was suffering from the loss of his mother and, most probably, from lack of attention. You see, behind the troubled child there was a suffering child.

I believe, that behind any troubled person there is always someone in pain – no one is a drunk or a drug addict by choice, as in the same line no one becomes a murderer or  a pedophile because they think it is a wonderful way of life. At some point of their lives, these people were severely hurt and damaged in a way that leads them to do what they do to try to ease the pain – however without any success. Unfortunately, frequently you try to ease your pain in the same way you were hurt as a child.  I, frequently, find myself repeating the things I hated the most on my parents – the same things I promised myself as child or as a teenager I would never do! Hasn´t that happened to you too?

I first heard about this reading some work from Alice Miller, a Swiss Psychologist who analyzed the effect of trauma and abuse on childhood. She analyzed the childhood of several known people including Hitler and  Jürgen Bartsch, a German serial killer. From her work you understand how they became evil people, though, it does not justify the atrocities they committed, you do understand why they turned the way they were.  After reading Alice Miller´s  work you will never see the world the same way  – you will have much more understanding and compassion with people and you will not that easily start criticizing people.

People are not born evil … but, most probably, along their lives someone made them evil.