I was talking with a friend at work about religion this evening. I was mostly listening, actually – I think I’m learning how to listen more than talk, a skill of which I was (am) sorely in need. But I still haven’t learned how to totally concentrate on what people are saying instead of thinking my own thoughts.

I care a lot about what people think about me. I think a lot about it. I talk about myself so I can judge other people’s reactions; I “gossip” about other people so I can hear it come back about me. I like hearing good things about myself, but what I want to hear even more are valid criticisms – things that are true that I can fix. I don’t have any illusions that I could every be perfect, but I want to try as hard as I can. Even more than that, it makes me happy to know that I am making other people happy – that I am activly increasing their level of pleasure, or, failing that, not causing them trouble.

But I’m learning to understand that this position – trying to make people happy – is fundamentally flawed, in that most people are most pleased by a person who is self-confident, self-directed, and unlikely to change much about themselves to make other happier. Of course, a lot of people with those characteristics are just jerks or bastards, but a lot of spectrums are circle.

The reason this is important is that to me it is evidence against a religion/purpose-driven existance. God created us to enjoy sex so that we would want to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. God created with a God-sized hole so we’d search Him out. Why did God create us to respond favorably to people exhibit self-love before other-love? I think because religion isn’t the purpose of our lives. It’s a hobby.

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