I find Quora a decent platform to share ideas with many on our planet. Recently I had posted a comment to a question/answer post and became very interesting, after all.
I will re-produce here the content.
Q. How can over 1 billion Chinese not believe in God? What went wrong there?
Please read the answer with no intention to be getting a debate in your head.
A. Well, first things first, let’s first switch the tables around.
How can over 1 billion European people not believe in my Chinese ancestors? You sound like you believe in faith, so you most likely believe in spirits and such. Unlike your god, my Chinese ancestors ACTUALLY existed and there’s more than a little documented proof that goes back centuries to even millennia in some cases, with corroborating documented witnesses, records and texts as opposed to writings taken from the world’s longest game of broken telephone, centuries after the fact by semi-literate goat herders with no matching documentation by one of the single greatest empires in the world, the Roman Empire and their numerous historians and truly extensive records that survives to the present day.
Ok, so now that that’s out of the way (though since my grandparents and their parents actually existed, I’m still expecting you to burn some incense and ask for their help to win the lotto draw for $1 million), honestly, why should any other culture even want or need to believe in your god.
For every culture, a unique set of circumstances has to happen for that faith to fly in another. For example, if Judaism or Christians didn’t travel to Rome, the heart of Westen civilization in those early days, I doubt Christianity would be anything more than some weird sect from that Jewish land. It was from those strong roots that gave Christianity the influence and the resources needed to spread the word.
At the same time, China is a fairly insular nation with a strong bias AGAINST anyone non-Han Chinese (basically 90% of the Chinese population). They didn’t have any reason to force ancestor worship on anyone non-Chinese since they basically saw most others as infidels anyways who didn’t deserve the honor to have their spirits stroked, berated and lectured for not marrying a doctor, a lawyer, a warrior, a better merchant or have an unworthy partner who doesn’t know how to properly make rice, tea and give them many many virile and strong male heirs.
(Actually, given the circumstances and the nagging of the Chinese female ancestors about the unworthyness of their wives, it’s a bit of a miracle most Chinese men didn’t commit mass suicide actually.)
Seriously though, you’re coming across as “my culture is better than yours” and “I have the bests evah beliefs”. That kind of arrogance really doesn’t win many hearts and minds, and it wouldn’t have worked very well in a culture that already had their own beliefs that were more deeply rooted for thousands of years before the deep-sea scrolls’ paper was even made.
My comment was as following: This answer is pretty much at the same level as the question in terms of anger. I would like to mention that I was born as a Christian, and as long Jesus is closest to my heart, I would love to mention Laozi and the amazing work of Tao Te Ching. Tao Te Ching – Wikipedia
I have read it multiple times and I have to say that is an amazing work of God, the same God that Jesus talked about. It is a philosophical and spiritual book as well. Yes, it was written before Jesus, about 400BC. So, this fight about my God, your God is nonsense. If people in China are predominant atheists, that could be because of the communist party and its control. I have lived in a communist country for about twenty years (first twenty of my life), and I know how they treated religion, God and spirituality in general. I was a convinced atheist myself until I started to ask myself questions that I did not know the answer yet. I call that discovering my own truth.
It is nothing wrong to be an atheist but respect moral values, help people and live in harmony. In fact, that atheist is a believer without saying it out loud. Opposite apply for religious people who do not have values in life. They are not with God.
As a final conclusion I suggest for all of us to live in peace and harmony and stop blaming others for what is wrong in the world, because guess what? We are all part of the same world, and if something is not right, we all contributed more or less to the situation.
And I got a comment to my comment:
Interesting reply Mihail, but your interpretation “in terms of anger” to me is so far off the mark, and coloured by your beliefs. Admittedly I’m an atheist, but I was stating things in terms of pure fact from a cultural reality. Simply put, there’s a huge cultural divide that actually exists and an inherit level of racism between the Han Chinese in China and other races that visit. I wish it wasn’t true, but it’s there. As for your final conclusion, while I understand your wishes to live in peace and harmony, it also comes across as incredibly naiive as that’s simply just not the way the world works. Trust me, I would LOVE to not have these stupid cultural and religious disagreements. I honestly couldn’t care less on what you believe or what others perceive between one faith and antoher, but expecting everyone to embrace what one group perceives as a means and way to live in peace, and what another actually does is completely different. Heck, even your interpretation that the Tao is a work of your god comes across as incredibly arrogant in it’s own way, and I would wager that pretty much 1 billion Chinese would think otherwise. Worse, are you then implying that every other god that has ever been conceived and perceived by other cultures such as the Nordic and Greek ones are actually just your god in a different form? Whether you do or not, just that first part is simply cultural arrogance again.
Look, we’re not going to agree at all in your interpretation of this, and you’re probably just going to say that I’m an angry atheist, but what you believe and perceive, it’s entirely your right to do so. But just remember that every faith also has an aspect of the culture that beget the belief, and your claim comes across just like those of the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons and other religious offshoots that put down their own claim as being the one true faith while acting entirely in a parasitic manner for believers. You’re making accusations and statements that are incredibly naive, and it seems that you don’t understand that you’re at heart, a person who doesn’t seem to know they’re throwing stones inside glass houses.
At this point I did not know that I did something wrong, but apparently, I did, just by posting a comment.
I replied to it, and Hope I will not get another comment, because even if I do, I will end it right there.
My reply: I am sorry, did not intend to make any accusation. I did not throw any stone, and if you believe so, it is your opinion. You are entitled to it 100%. Again, nothing wrong to be an atheist, have a different culture, but let me have my opinion and my interpretation. It does not hurt you in any way. I re-read my comment and I do not think I insult you or anyone in anyway, nor I tried to be arrogant. I am sorry if I judged you. What I meant is that all this rhetoric is useless. The guy asked you what is wrong with one billion people, and you got offended, and then you got offended again for my opinion. I would say I read your answer and comment with pleasure, and I am happy I have something to learn from it. I really believe we can learn from every human being. Let us do that and let go. Please do not try to find any offence in my new comment, it is not my intention.
Then other comment from another gentleman. Then I did not realize that I made a mistake that it was a closed minded atheist group.
Comment 2: No, you were not born as a Christian- you were born of parents who may have taken up the religion that was spawned from the Jewish, and other, religions. In other words, you were born an Atheist, with no religious knowledge whatever. Very similar to the Chinese who did not worship anything, even their ancestors, until told what to do by their parents.
All of us are born Atheist, some remain so, others ‘choose’ the religion of their parents.
My reply: Agreed at some point, but I do not believe we are born as atheists either. I was made an atheist by the communist party. So, basically what I believe successfully did, I unlearnt everything that I have programmed to, and look inside, questioning everything. My conclusion, I believe is mine and I do not want to get in a debate with atheists. You can be an atheist and I am not, still we can be friends, right?
So, what do you think? As a spiritual or non-spiritual individual should we engage in such discussions? Do you believe that they may help humanity?
I still have trust in humanity, but sometimes I believe is better to make room for self-discovery and not interfere.