I’ve had an idea buzzbuling around my head for a while, that I’d like to share with you. If you’re a devout follower of any religion, I ask that you set aside what your preconceptions for a few minutes, and listen openly to this somewhat heretical thought.
All, or at least most, gods are created by people. Maybe I’m wrong, and there is one true deity, but logically if one is true, then all the conflicting gods must be the creation of human minds. If none are true, then they’re all human fiction.
No-one has any proof that their deity, or deities, are the true ones that will really handle our souls in the afterlife. Statistically speaking it is improbable that whatever god you’ve been told is the real one is, actually the real one (assuming any are). There are just too many gods. Plus, just because a lot of people agree about something doesn’t mean they’re correct. There is far too much historical evidence for that statement. In terms of religions, look at the Greek pantheon. Essentially no-one believes that the Greek gods exist, or ever existed, and yet countless people prayed to them daily. “Everyone” knew they were real, and now “everyone knows” they’re just old human fiction.
Additionally, we have the fact that holy teachings are constantly being twisted by their “faithful”. Witness the Christian Crusades completely ignoring the “Thou shalt not kill.” and “Love thy neighbor.” rules when they went off and killed or tortured vast swaths of people who believed differently. Priests of every religion disagree about what their god(s) want you to do all the time. The Bible, for example, has had the meaning of many of its passages dramatically changed through translation “errors” over the many versions since its original Aramaic. Even if the deities you were told were the “true” ones are actually, the true ones it is incredibly unlikely that what you were taught about what they want is actually “true”. Could any human language accurately, and unerringly, capture and describe the will of a god?
There’s no denying that the belief in deities has a very real value to very many people. The more difficult our lives are, the more we reach out to the gods for comfort and protection. Many people who truly pray seem to feel something positive come from their actions, even if it’s just the sense that someone is watching out for them.
Prayer, like meditation, influences our state of mind, which, in turn, influences our “state of body”. It reduces the experience of anxiety, elevates a depressed mood, lowers blood pressure, stabilizes sleep patterns and impacts autonomic functions like digestion and breathing. Further, in influencing our state of body-mind, prayer and meditation also influence our thinking. This prompts a shift in the habits of the mind, and, subsequently, patterns of behavior. These changes, in turn and over time, induce changes in the brain, further influencing our subjective and objective experience of the world and how we participate in it. - Psychology Today
If gods are human fiction, and it’s unlikely that whatever god(s) you believe in are real, but having someone or something to believe in, and pray to, can provide us with comfort and solace, then why not create your own god or gods that reflect the world as you see it?
Imagine what happens when you start to live in a world surrounded by gods you know intimately; gods who manipulate, or ignore, the world around us in ways that are entirely sensible, because they are the ways you envisioned.
Maybe you create new ones. Maybe you repackage the ones you grew up with in newer garb that makes more sense to you. Maybe you love Jehovah, but can’t believe everything in a Bible that regularly contradicts itself. Maybe Zeus is still around, but not living on Mt. Olympus anymore. Maybe Media is a new god that far too many people pray to… It’s entirely possible that your personal god(s) may actually be a true description of the “real” god(s) given to you by holy inspiration.
Everything we’re taught tells us this is “wrong”. History, however, tells us this this is what humans have always done. For me the real question is, will you give yourself permission to take this leap? Will you give yourself permission to do what our ancestors did again and again? Even an atheist can benefit from their own personal pantheon to pray to, or swear by.