The UK band Chumbawamba are probably best known for their 1997 hit 'Tubthumping'.
LuLu09 asks: Were you raised an atheist, or were you born into a religion and dropped out? If so, why?
I [Boff that is] was raised as a Mormon in Burnley, heartland of Fundamental bible-bashing (cf 'Oranges Are not The Only Fruit' by Jeannette Winterson), it took me most of my teenage years to extricate myself from religion. I never 'got' religion, though i tried - read the Bible, prayed, went to Sunday School, etc. Nothing happened. No 'still, small voice', no answers to prayers. Nothing. And then this mental void began to be filled with real philosophical/logical problems which religion was skirting around (existence of God, Creationism, etc) and by political and social problems which religion was part of (male dominance, racism, war, capitalism etc). And eventually the whole bundle imploded sometime when I discovered the Bonzo Dog Band, sex, and truancy. All my huge family are still Mormons, we all get along fine.
Liz asks: Um, this little question has been bugging me for a while. Do you guys see any benefit in religion/spirituality at all? I'm not religious or anything, just curious. And another thing I've been running over with a few friends.......(just want an opinion) people want meaning in their lives, they look for meaning in everything they do. But say there is no meaning? Suppose there's no reason or 'truth' or 'rightness' in anything? It's all meaningless. Or suppose EVERYTHING matters? Which would be worse?
No, I don't see any benefit in religion, other than the wearing of priest's robes makes paedophiles easier to identify. As for spirituality, what exactly is it? I've never trusted anybody who claimed to be spiritual. It's like claiming to have a sixth sense which nobody else can see. When people say they're spiritual what they usually mean is: "I'm dead special me! Unlike the rest of you who are a couple of steps down the evolutionary ladder."
The problem with religion or the state for that matter is that it involves putting faith in something above yourself. They take power and responsibility away from ordinary people and undervalue people's worth.
In lefty circles there's a tendency to dismiss Western religions as bollocks whilst believing any old clap-trap as long as it's Eastern. I'm sick of hearing how spiritual and fantastic Buddhism is; tell it to the slave labourers in Burma. They live under a Buddhist system and its not doing them much good.
As for the second part of your question... the tendency to claim everything is meaningless or of equal importance seems part of the disease of post-modernism. I hate post-modernism because it's just an excuse to be self serving and not care about anything.
I think it's worth taking part in the struggle to be human. Calling it searching for truth sounds a bit pompous. Human beings are endlessly inventive and capable of fantastic things, seems sensible to put our efforts in to creating something better than we have now. We don't believe in fate. We've got capitalism, religion and military regimes murdering and depriving people, these aren't unchangeable, immutable ever to be with us systems. We don't have to accept them. Questions like 'Does nothing matter? Does everything matter?" have to come second to "why are vast portions of the earth's population starving in the midst of plenty."
Stae Berkely asks: My question is this: if you believe in god/divine power/creation force on any level, how would you define it and how do you see it manifest itself in the world around you (if you believe it does)?
We don't believe in god on any level. Religion is a socially acceptable version of heroin, it's a prop which fucks people up and over. And as Blaise Pascal so aptly put it: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."