"There is absolutely no value in the notion that it is a good thing to have "faith" in something that reason tells you cannot be true, or in something that in all likelihood is not true. It is a most dangerous idea - it leads to superstition and ignorance, and it denies one of our most distinctively human traits: the ability to use our senses to learn about the world around us and to use knowledge to make a difference in it. Whether that difference is good or bad." - Anonymous
The common dismissal of atheism (and, strangely enough, democrats) typically involves the phrase "I can't see the light losers." However, it seems evident, especially in the light of current scandal, that organized religion really does hinder our spiritual growth as human beings - hence all the pedophiles in the Catholic church, where priests are forbidden to marry.
Very few people who say they believe in god actually demonstrate this belief. No modern Christian gives all the money he or she can spare (Hardly any give the required 10%, except for the radical groups looked down upon by mainstream Christians.); no one attends church at all possible times; everyone fears death. Yes, the Bible does emphasize giving to the needy (Matthew 6:1-4).
Terrible things have been done in the name of god. The Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades were perpetrated in the name of god. Thousands of people have been gruesomely slain because of their beliefs. Christians complain about their own persecution, despite the fact that they persecute others just as much. Of course, Protestants wouldn't know anything about it because those things were committed by the Catholic church, which brings me to my next point: The basic idea of all Christian sects is a singular teaching, currently split into dozens of competing factions. This is because of conflicting issues in the past - defying the original Christian principle of "turning the other cheek." It's still the same bible.
I think it was Jesse Jackson who recently discovered that he had an illegitimate child, but his excuse was that "all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of god". I'm still not sure if he really believes that he has been forgiven, or if he is simply pandering to the public, hoping for their forgiveness.
As far as the whole sin, judgment
day, I'm going to hell bit goes, I think the Christian god was a little
unfair in condemning mankind for 4031 years. (From Eve to letting us kill
our savior in order to forgive us.) Read Genesis again: Eve brought sin
into the world, transforming it to its now horrific and depraved state,
by eating the forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge. God forbade it,
and denying god must be a sin. But, wait, what was that knowledge? The
difference between good and evil. So, if she didn't know the difference
how can she be blamed? That's like blaming fire for air pollution!
Throughout history, every generation
of humans has believed that they fully understood the universe, except
for a few vexing mysteries that they assumed could be solved at any time.
It is rather naïve to think that this generation is the first to really
have the answers.
Here's an enlightening issue: homosexuality. It's against Christian judgment (hey, wait a second, whatever happened to "judge not lest ye be judged"?). If you ask a Christian why, they'll probably say something like "it's not natural." So you eat your meat raw and sleep in a tree?
Possibly the best defense of Christianity and religion in general, at least at first, is the "what could it hurt" stratagem. Well, actually, it could hurt quite a lot:
Think about this: according to a
Christian, if I died tomorrow, I would go to hell for not being a Christian
and trying to convert people to atheism. The Bible says, "love thy neighbor
as thyself." What has religion done for humanity?
What good has religion done humanity?
Gandhi, whose (nonchristian) followers killed people; the Christian Children's
Fund; and a warm, fuzzy feeling. If I'm not helping the world my neighbor
by pointing this out, then you can just make a martyr out of me now.
The goal of human life is ultimate happiness. Almost all people believe this - I believe this as a philosophical standpoint, religious people anthropomorphicize this as "heaven". Ultimate happiness is unattainable in life (which is why it is the afterlife in religion). Therefore, moral actions are those which, considering consequences, promote the most overall happiness. Don't deny that outright, think about it for a second. If that is what is moral, and what is moral is what god endorses, it seems kinda obvious that god was made up by mankind as some benevolent father figure - the term "father" is a dead giveaway. It would seem that humanity has reached a milestone in it's development - it is time to cast off the shackles of our abusive father, go out, make a living, and get some therapy.
Religious mindsets, like languages, have evolved differently in different societies. Eastern religious mindsets center around achieving ultimate happiness by striving to be happy with what one has, while Western mindsets strive to achieve ultimate happiness by living a good life and going to heaven. If both are equally effective, then one is no better than the other. However, the two growing religions on the planet - Islam and, with the encroaching forces of nihilism, atheism - are neither, but combine some of the qualities of both. My personal favorite, atheism, is somewhat hindered by the fact that it offers no endearing afterlife or final justice. I think atheism is the best religious outlook because of that little detail. After all, if a person does not rely on a vision of an attainable ultimate happiness, then a person is more likely to strive to be happy and promote happiness in their life. I, therefore, see it as my duty to convert as many people as possible to atheism. It's nice to know that humanity has achieved everything it has without divine intervention.
One idea I find very interesting is this: God created man in his own image (I'm not sure about the other hominid species), so presumably he would have the same primary motivation: the desire to learn and fulfill challenges. God, of course, is omnipotent. He knows everything and can do anything. Can you think of anything that god wouldn't know? Or that would challenge him? The only thing he might not know would be the effect of his nonexistence - and destroying an omnipotent being would certainly be a considerable challenge.
I recently bought a microphone for my computer. It came with some software that I could use, but didn't have to. The microphone arrived broken, and the software was therefore pointless. Now, who is at fault here, the microphone or the good people at Jensen Digital Audio, Inc.? Obviously, it is the maker of the microphone. Yet Christians believe that they are fundamentally flawed by their own actions, and not those of their maker.
One of the reasons god has always been feared is his incredible might - the power to do things humans can't. He could smite, create & destroy species, create people, flood the world (except China, which has records predating the time of Noah's flood - actually an adaptation of a Sumarian legend), send people to hell, and most importantly, call matter into existence on a whim. (But if god called all matter into existence, then what is god made of?)
Today, humans can kill, create (genetic engineering) and destroy species, create people (cloning), and send people to third world countries. While we can't call matter into existence, we can defy the law of conservation of matter by using nuclear fission to convert matter into energy (a.k.a. the atomic bomb).
For centuries, god has been an explanation
for anything mankind can't rationalize. A typical response to the above
questions was probably that "everything is part of god's plan" or "it's
all part of the mystery of god." God is the ultimate bogeyman - intended
to keep humanity in check.
Last Updated: Mon Jun 17 04:11:04 UTC 2002