Sunday, 17 July 2011

on religeon (part 1)

"A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished."

Mikhail Bakunin

I would say that I am certainly a philosophical materialist. That means that i do not believe in the existence of god, gods, goddesses, angels, demons or any supernatural at all. This is of course attached to my atheism.

Now, I imagine that hearing this you would think "of course you don't believe in a supernatural, you are an atheist". There you would be wrong, although you could be forgiven for being so.

Being an atheist does not mean you do not believe in a supernatural. A lot of Buddhists could be called atheists because they don't believe in a god (although some Buddhists actually worship Buddha and there are certainly supernatural qualities ascribed to him, including a virgin birth.).

Atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods. There are many none believers in gods that still believe in all kinds of hokey things, the raelians for example. No, you don't have to disbelieve in faeries and spoon bending to be an atheist.

However, if you want to truly believe in rationality and the scientific method without being a hypocrite, you have to be an atheist. Now, I am aware that scientists such as Francis Collins (who mapped the human genome) profess religious beliefs while practising science professionally. I would personally regard this as hypocrisy.

Science and religion are not “non-overlapping magesteria” as Stephen j Gould has claimed. Religion makes claims about the origin of the universe that are completely at odds with what science has proven (the age of the earth, the reasons for the complexity of life). Also, religious groups often seek to interfere with science.

The Catholic Church consistently tries to stop stem cell research, the fight against HIV and AIDS and the religious often reject and declaim science for relying too much on physical evidence and observation. Apparently scientists have to have more “faith”.

What is faith? Faith, to quote mark twain, is “believing what you know ain’t so”. Essentially it is about believing in things you have no ability to prove and cannot see.

How can you use the scientific method and demand proof for everything but neglect to do so for religion?

This, to me, seems like crass stupidity and double standards.

It is important in life to believe things based on common sense and rationality. That is, believing things based on proof and being able to back things up with a firm foundation of facts. If you cannot prove somthing exists, then why believe it? Wouldn’t it be better to believe things you know to be true?

Here is a nice link to a Wikipedia article about the scientific method:

Believing things just because you want them to be true or because your church tells you they are true, does not make them true. You should believe things to be true based on your own figuring out of things and your examination of the evidence. If it could be absolutely and 100% proved that a god/goddess existed then i would certainly belive in him her. I still wouldn’t bow down before him/her/it though (I’ll get to that later).

Faith is gullibility. Believing in the existence something merely because you read it in a book or because you really want it to be true, despite the evidence is absurd. We know a hell of a lot about this world and all the available evidence points to this being an essentially materialist universe. What we know about the brain shows us that the mind and the brain are not separate and most claims about the afterlife (near death experiences) have been debunked. There are tons of books and programmes that completely show how easy it is to fake psychic phenomena.

Does this mean that we should be closed minded to such things? Of course not. It just means we shouldn’t believe it until we’ve see observable and demonstratable proof. We shouldn’t accept it on face value.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”


Now, obviously it is impossible to disprove all concepts of a creator at this time, i will focus on the Abrahmic god. I will say however that the mounting evidence against their existence makes them all unlikely and the complete lack of evidence doesn’t help.

Christianity is the religion that most people in the west have the most experience of. This religion doesn’t really stand up to analysis and i am actually deeply offended by many of its tenets. Also it goes some way towards explaining my antitheism (an antitheist is not only someone who doesn’t believe in a god, but is also glad god doesn’t exist and views religious faith as potentially harmful, disliking the idea of faith.). These offensive tenets are:

Vicarious redemption: the idea that an innocent man can have the perceived “sins” of the world put on to him and redeem everyone (including those born after the event) by being horrifically tortured and killed is utterly vile. Plus the fact that he supposedly only died for three days only to resurrect and become god (or just his second in command depending on your view) renders his “sacrifice” absurd, even if you think such a thing can do anything to help anyone do anything wrong then you shouldn’t put the guilt onto someone else. I can serve your sentence (though i oppose the existence of laws), i can pay your bail, but i can’t take the “sin” away from you and put it on my head. You do something bad, you live with it.

This whole thing stinks of self loathing and wish fulfilment. This is human sacrifice. I’m glad there is no proof this never happened, but quite frankly if the concept of sacrificing someone and using them as a scapegoat doesn’t bother you, then something may be wrong with you.

Original sin: the notion that we are all born with an innate sin. Somehow we’re all responsible for two naked people taking dietary advice from a talking snake. This is (apparently) the cornerstone of the religion and yet the Adam and eve story is not only absurd, but discredited. Among the Christian community only the crazy fundamentalists take this myth literally. But why believe it? Why believe that all humans are worthless sinners? And shouldn’t the sacrifice have sorted that out, if was so valid? And where is the proof this even exists. And why would the “sin” of someone who died should be passed on to descendants. That kind of stupid logic lead to the whole “Christ killer” thing that in turn led to anti-Semitism


As suggested by the quote above, and obviously as an anarchist, i’m not going to be a fan of having a big boss in the sky watching over me and making rules for me that i didn’t take part in the decision making process of. An all seeing all knowing sky pixie. The abrahmic god kills the notion of free will (something the god squad likes banging on about). Think about it. If he knows everything you have done and everything you will do before you even do it, that means he knows if you are going to hell or not. that brings me to


Why the hell (no pun intended) would anyone love or respect a god that created a place like hell? This is a mirror to the threats of physical and economic coercion of the state. God is a boss, a king, a “lord”. If he were real we defiantly would have to abolish him. But he doesn’t. There is no reason at all to believe in him. None. Even the briefest glance at the bible shows how many atrocities he allegedly committed.

So this god comes along and says you are guilty of sin before your birth and are damned to eternal torture, but if you accept him as your lord and master and kiss his arse, he will save you and send you to a place of eternal bliss. Sound like a protection racket to you? Sounds like it to me.

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