On the concept of taking oneself too seriously

Growing up in a traditional chinese [sic] household in Singapore meant that I was exposed to polytheistic faiths first before monotheistic ones. The stories of Chinese gods, pantheons and then other cultures seemed to be more myth and storytelling tools than an actual proof that deities exist.

When I briefly explored Greek mythology in my later years, the image of gods and deities as more representative of humans writ large got stronger, so even with overtures from peers, classmates and relatives to join their churches doesn’t sound very persuasive to me.

What compounded this lack of belief was also the behavior of those who professed to be strong in their faith. For most of my current life, I had never met a more judgmental and hypocritical group of people than those in monotheistic faiths. No doubt the bad experiences are about the same as the good. But it just goes to show that these faiths are no more than elaborate storytelling devices to direct and lead people.

As a storyteller myself, I am all too familiar with the concept of taking oneself too seriously. When a fantasy component in a tale is taken to its extreme is when I see people do some really strange or questionable things, the events in the current world are frequent enough examples.

So like any addiction which leads the addict into deviant behavior, I have come to consider that faith, when used by certain individuals, do more harm than good.

I still have faith, to me its [sic] a quality of trust and optimism, but I would never ever ascribe a name or religion to it, because it’s just a man-made institution to me.

Nick Lai Weixuan

This story was first published on ‘Ask An Atheist – SG’ Facebook page in 2016.