Religion, Atheism and Human Wellbeing

Source
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

Religion and Human Prosperity

We have seen that religion is often associated with a number of social maladies, including crime, teen pregnancy and poor health. Why is religion correlated with negative outcomes on a national and international level? Why do nonreligious people and societies often outperform their religious counterparts?

There are two major reasons for this phenomenon. The first is that prosperity causes less religion, and the second is that less religion causes prosperity.

Prosperity causes less religion

As societies become healthier, wealthier and wiser, they tend to become less religious. This is because religion primarily serves two purposes: (1) to answer questions about life and the world, and (2) to answer questions about morality and ethics. In light of ever-improving science and advancing technology, people simply need religious explanations less and less. This is why as various countries have become more prosperous over the centuries, their populations became less devout.

Questions which once seemed impenetrable except by appealing to God or the heavens—the weather, bad luck, death, disease, mental disorders, the origin of the earth, the nature of the cosmos, the formation of babies, etc—today are either completely or almost completely explainable by rational naturalism. As knowledge increases, definitive answers are found, and religious explanations that were created in times of little or no knowledge, are simply discarded.

People in wealthier, healthier and smarter societies realize that morality, if it is to have any meaning for humans at all, ultimately comes down to human life itself: lengthening human life, broadening human life, making human life happier and more pleasant and more fulfilling. People immersed in worldly goods and pleasures will value things that maintain or enhance their worldly wellbeing.

Source

Secularism causes prosperity and religion does not

More controversially, secularism and less religious adherence can actually cause greater prosperity. This is not always the case, of course, but it occurs often enough to warrant our attention.

As society becomes less religious, it places more emphasis on the matters of this world and this life. Rather than devoting the bulk of their waking hours to questions of theology, God’s plan, or the niceties of prayer, people focus on worldly concerns. It should come as no surprise when they end up doing better in those worldly concerns than people who don’t focus as much on them.

A nation that uses public money to build hospitals, infrastructure and to educate children in science and history will do better in health, education and economic wealth than another nation using public money to build temples of worship, train healers and sorcerers, print copies of the holy book, or setup commissions to investigate witches and heretics. Quite simply, if humans turn their attention to doing well in this life, then they do.

Source

Secularism as a superior mentality

As a system for attaining knowledge and answering questions, religion relies principally on two things. The first is supernatural forces, such as gods, ghosts, demons, ancestor spirits and black magic. The second is subjective experiences, including the insights gleaned from praying, miraculous occurrences, and the claims of ancestors, prophets, faith healers and religious officials.

Neither supernatural forces nor subjective experiences are generalizable, testable, verifiable or repeatable. This is fundamentally why religion does not provide reliable answers to anything.

By contrast, in the realm of secular rationality, knowledge comes from naturalism and objective analysis. Naturalism is the working assumption that nothing exists except this natural world. Even if one may believe in a god, one can still adhere to naturalism by assuming, for instance in a crime scene investigation, that there was nothing at work during the crime except things in the natural world. An objective point of view that removes personal opinion, emotional appeals, bias and prejudice is also seen as essential in the world of secular knowledge.

Roots of prosperity and wellbeing

The natural resources of the earth, laws of nature and rules of logic have been the same since the dawn of humanity. Yet our modern prosperity has only been enjoyed for a few centuries. People always had the ability to build microscopes and control electricity. But it was only when they began to think in new ways, look at the natural world in new ways, that they actually accomplished these things.

Europeans of the 17th century did not have bigger brains or stronger muscles than Semitic people of the 1st century. But they did have a greater appreciation for the scientific method, worldly values of freedom, justice and citizenship, and greater curiosity than could be satisfied by a simple "God did it."

Theocracy
Theocracy

Religion, secularism and political freedom

Secularism can also cause greater political freedom. Religions, large and small, are often led by an elite, and this elite has a vested interest in maintaining their power and privileged position. They may wield political power themselves, or claim divine right to ally with secular leaders. Either way, religion may have a negative effect on democratization, and a supporting role in absolutism. Most of history's monarchs and dictators benefited greatly from their relationship with prominent religious leaders, from the medieval Popes to the modern Wahhabis.

A secular population will be primarily concerned with rights, freedoms and opportunities in this life and this world. Therefore they are more likely to demand political rights and democratic institutions in the here and now. A religious population is more likely to comfort themselves by reading the holy book, accept the justifications of the social elite, and turn their attention to the next life.

Source

Religion, atheism and prosperity: conclusions

By now it should be obvious why irreligion is so often correlated with human prosperity. Wealthy modernized populations have far less need for the ideas, values, constraints or guidance of religion.

Nonreligious people also must rely exclusively on logic, reason, objective evidence and a naturalistic worldview in order to answer almost all of their questions. Religious people can use these things too, but also have the option of using feelings, subjective experiences and perceived supernatural forces as legitimate means of explanation.

When attention is turned to matters of crime, economic development, public health, political expression, media censorship, foreign policy or a variety of other challenges, the secular approach, by virtue of its superior assumptions and better methodology, will deliver results where the religious approach does not.

More by this Author


Comments 142 comments

aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Good hub, which accurately pinpoints why Christ told us...

Matthew 6:23-25

Amplified Bible (AMP)

But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).

Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?

Another hub that shows that God was correct when He said;

Jude 1:17-19

Amplified Bible (AMP)

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions which were made by the apostles (the special messengers) of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions.

It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions--merely sensual [creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people], devoid of the [Holy] Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life.

"They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers"

Thank you for being part of the fulfilment of Gods Word.

John

BTW, your coinage shows 'In God We Trust' despite your wishful thinking!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

The only ones getting prosperous off of religion are the "elite" ones as you say. After living in the 'Bible Belt' for most of my life, I can attest to seeing these things.

Oh man, if false prophets are the sign of the "end times" then we have ALWAYS lived in the end times! and always will.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

We started off with nearly 700 'prophesies' in scripture to be fulfilled, to date all but about 35 have been fulfilled 100% (not a bad success ratio) and the remainder in any case refer to the 'end times' i.e. they could not be fulfilled before now.

There HAVE always been false profits, and to a degree even Isaiah could have been called a false prophet, until Christ fulfilled all the prophesies Isaiah made centuries later.

Likewise the remaining 35 or so prophesies will be fulfilled soon, and we can all see whether prophetic scripture was accurate or not, but with a success ratio of 95% to date, I know where I place my trust.


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

aguasilver - the perfect example of the irrational type who feels compelled to wast his time reciting religious nonsense instead of learning how to think for himself logically and creatively.

It's not a big loss to humanity, but it adds up when you see all these religionoids as a group!

That's when the global deficit in mental capacity becomes a bit much to take and a world organization for the advancement of the human mind would do well to replace the Vatican and other religionoid world bodies with all their negative impact on the intellectual development of humanity ...

Franto in Toronto


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Like I said...

"They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions.

It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions--merely sensual [creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people], devoid of the [Holy] Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life."

Thanks for proving the point, you also fulfil scripture!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Like you said, aguasilver - these people have ALWAYS existed, they didn't just appear! They've ALWAYS been around. So why do you all of a sudden think it's the "end times"?

It's NOT a prophecy if you are just stating facts!


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

I think we are nearing the end because the remaining prophesies (about 35) are now in the period indicated for when they will be fulfilled, and are being.

Personally I care not what people want to believe, I was just like you guys until I was 42 years old, in fact probably more radically Antichrist in fact, but that changed 18 years ago, when I decided to pull the bible apart to expose how wrong it was.

I lost that battle, probably because I started it with an open mind and was able therefore to test Gods word, rather than just mock it.

I quote scripture because that is the measure that we are discussing, is the bible correct or not, well what I see shows me that it is correct, what you see does not.

The fact that there have always been false prophets does not affect the verity of scripture, there have been no false (unexposed)prophets in the bible, just dead ones!

Fortunately we stopped killing them in the New Covenant, we just put them on TV instead!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I'm going to hate myself for this. What are the remaining 35 prophecies? Feel free to do a hub about it and send me the link.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

I knew you would ask! :)

I will try to do a hub, but time is short for me to do the research again (I did it about 15 years ago, which is why I say 'about', it was 38 then).

If I can find a list of the whole 700 or so, I will post it to you, then you can see what's remaining.

Whew, a civilised exchange! - thank you!!!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Well, Aguasilver, if Christianity is all about forsaking the world and worldly wellbeing, you can have it. You can have your impoverished, violent, unstable societies with 13-year-olds having babies and children dying from diarrhea. Personally, that's not my taste. Call me crazy.

But you're forgetting that countless religious believers think that more devoutness and more adherence to the religion results in positive social outcomes--in fact it is a key claim of most fundamentalists--when the facts say otherwise.

Regarding "prophesies," we've heard this stuff before. It's not very impressive when Jews witness Jews fulfilling Jewish prophesies. If a Chinese witnessed an African fulfill an Aztec prophesy, that would be impressive.

And anyway, most of these so-called prophesies are just gimmies like "a man will come from the east and deliver a message..." ooh, how fascinating! Lol. That could refer to practically anyone or anything, of course.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Guess these prophesies cost a lot to fulfil:

Psalm 22:17-19

Amplified Bible (AMP)

I can count all my bones; [the evildoers] gaze at me. They part my clothing among them and cast lots for my raiment (a long, shirtlike garment, a seamless undertunic).) But be not far from me, O Lord; O my Help, hasten to aid me!

John 19:23-24

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, one share for each soldier, and also the tunic (the long shirtlike undergarment). But the tunic was seamless, woven [in one piece] from the top throughout.

So they said to one another, Let us not tear it, but let us cast lots to decide whose it shall be. This was to fulfill the Scripture, They parted My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. So the soldiers did these things.

Guess those Roman soldiers were in on the act.... hang on, Romans, not Jews; proving the fulfilment! Huh, what do you know, God KNEW you would be a scoffer and answered you before you scoffed! Hey secularist10, God planned for you way back then! Thanks for playing your part.

Or maybe this little lightweight prophesy, this would surely be easy to set up...

Isaiah 53:11-12

Amplified Bible (AMP)

He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord].

Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious).

Mark 15:27-29

Amplified Bible (AMP)

And with Him they crucified two robbers, one on [His] right hand and one on His left.

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, He was counted among the transgressors.

And those who passed by kept reviling Him and reproaching Him abusively in harsh and insolent language, wagging their heads and saying, Aha! You Who would destroy the temple and build it in three days....

What I like here was the slick way God allowed the scoffers present when Christ was crucified to actually set another prophesy to be fulfilled:

Matthew 27:40

Amplified Bible (AMP)

And they said, You Who would tear down the sanctuary of the temple and rebuild it in three days, rescue Yourself from death. If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.

God seemed to have set this one up earlier:

The left hook....

Matthew 16:20-22

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Then He sternly and strictly charged and warned the disciples to tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised from death.

Now we see the Romans (again) helping out to fulfil scripture (guess they were in on the plot also?)

Matthew 27:63-65

Amplified Bible (AMP)

And said, Sir, we have just remembered how that vagabond Imposter said while He was still alive, After three days I will rise again.

Therefore give an order to have the tomb made secure and safeguarded until the third day, for fear that His disciples will come and steal Him away and tell the people that He has risen from the dead, and the last deception and fraud will be worse than the first.

Pilate said to them, You have a guard [of soldiers; take them and] go, make it as secure as you can.

and the sucker punch!

Luke 24

BUT ON the first day of the week, at early dawn, [the women] went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had made ready. And they found the stone rolled back from the tomb, but when they went inside, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And while they were perplexed and wondering what to do about this, behold, two men in dazzling raiment suddenly stood beside them.

And as [the women] were frightened and were bowing their faces to the ground, the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among [those who are] dead?

He is not here, but has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee

That the Son of Man must be given over into the hands of sinful men (men whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God) and be crucified and on the third day rise [from death].

And they remembered His words.

And having returned from the tomb, they reported all these things [taken together] to the eleven apostles and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who reported these things to the apostles.

But these reports seemed to the men an idle tale madness, feigned things,nonsense), and they did not believe the women.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; and stooping down and looking in, he saw the linen cloths alone by themselves, and he went away, wondering about and marveling at what had happened.

And behold, that very day two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things that had occurred. And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them.

But their eyes were held, so that they did not recognize Him.

And He said to them, What is this discussion that you are exchanging (throwing back and forth) between yourselves as you walk along? And they stood still, looking sad and downcast.

Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, Do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days?

And He said to them, What [kind of] things? And they said to Him, About Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a Prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people-- And how our chief priests and rulers gave Him up to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him.

But we were hoping that it was He Who would redeem and set Israel free. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things occurred.

And moreover, some women of our company astounded us and drove us out of our senses. They were at the tomb early [in the morning]

But did not find His body; and they returned saying that they had [even] seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive!

So some of those [who were] with us went to the tomb and they found it just as the women had said, but Him they did not see.

And [Jesus] said to them, O foolish ones [sluggish in mind, dull of perception] and slow of heart to believe (adhere to and trust in and rely on) everything that the prophets have spoken!

Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer all these things before entering into His glory (His majesty and splendor)?

Then beginning with Moses and [throughout] all the Prophets, He went on explaining and interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning and referring to Himself.

Then they drew near the village to which they were going, and He acted as if He would go further.

But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. So He went in to stay with them.

And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, He took [a loaf of] bread and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then broke it and was giving it to them

When their eyes were [instantly] opened and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished (departed invisibly).

And they said to one another, Were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened and explained to us [the sense of] the Scriptures?

And rising up that very hour, they went back to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven [apostles] gat


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Did you decide to edit the comment, or was some cut off?

Apologies if the last bit was embarrassing!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Well, then, let's see. Of course there are reasonable explanations for all this, but you're so prideful I doubt you'll hear it. But here goes for other people's benefit anyway.

1. You are quoting all of this from the Bible--from the very book you are trying to legitimize. This is circular logic. The Bible justifies the Bible. On what basis to believe the Bible? The Bible. This fact alone pretty much negates everything.

2. In addition, since the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth was recorded by people with a vested interest in his story and his being holy, and years after his time, they would have had every reason to embellish and exaggerate and draw connections with Old Testament passages. Remember, this is not just on purpose, but they also may have done these things unwittingly, without consciously realizing it, because of their deep faith. It's not that hard to imagine.

3. These prophesies are, truly, unimpressive. But that's largely a subjective call. Now onto the "prophesies."

4. Jesus' clothes: well, of course they would take his clothes--they were executing him! LOL. So they cast lots to divide up his tunic. This may have been a frequent occurrence in the ancient world; it may have been customary; it may be just an indication that the OT predictors were thinking of thuggish soldiers who enjoy pillaging and taking possessions for personal gain (such soldiers are universal across countless cultures from ancient to modern times); and again, it might just be embellishment or poetic license on the part of the NT authors. Or any combination thereof.

5. Jesus as a criminal: Again, there is room here for embellishment and exaggeration on the part of the later authors. But more significantly, consider this: at the time of Jesus in the Mediterranean world there was a plethora of new religious movements and cults with all kinds of messianic leaders and whatnot.

Many of them, no doubt, were considered criminals, blasphemers, disturbers of the peace, vagrants, insulted, etc. Yet the author chooses only to focus on Jesus. This is a psychological phenomenon known as confirmation bias--taking note of the thing you expect, but ignoring or not being aware of other things that are just as legitimate.

6. Anywhere we see Jesus taking initiative to do anything, there is the strong possibility that Jesus and his close allies had the old passages in their mind, and consciously, unconsciously or semiconsciously were moving events in the direction of justifying that. A simple understanding of human behavior and human psychology is enough to see this.

7. The empty tomb: Again, insofar as this event was "predicted," it doesn't take a genius to figure out a number of possible scenarios how this could have happened. I wrote a hub examining the whole idea of the resurrection: http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Happy-East... .

Again, since Jesus' followers (and Jesus himself) at the time already knew about the predictions of the past, they would have weighed heavily on their minds. "Wow, could this guy really be fulfilling all those mysterious verses in the scriptures?" And as Jesus' life went on, it became more and more likely in their minds, and this affected both Jesus' and his followers' thoughts and behavior, in a great psychosocial loop feeding on itself.

8. The Old Testament passages do not indicate that there would be a single person to fulfill all of these "prophecies." In hindsight, after Jesus, it seems only obvious to many, but that is just backward rationalization.

(Perhaps it cut it off because it got too long. I normally encourage people to keep their comments under 1000 words so as not to monopolize the discussion anyway.)


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

BTW, there are a number of potential "prophesies" that are just as "prophetic" as the most popular ones, that Jesus may not have fulfilled. But we never hear about those. I wonder why.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Care to name those 'potential "prophesies"'?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

I'd be happy to. But you're going to have to wait a while for me to dig through it.

I assume your silence is acquiescence on the other points.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

My silence is nothing of the kind, it merely indicates that I have a life beyond encouraging people to think about Christ before they commit themselves to Mammon!

Like Arnie said "I will be back"

Your very first point shows your blindness, because of course the bible forms the central tenet of Christian belief, duh! it's reading the bible, and deciding that it is the word of God, that makes one believe in Christ enough to follow Him, then comes acceptance that we are actually not the nice folk we thought we were, that our vast knowledge and wisdom is really insignificant compared to the Glory and Majesty of God, and nothing more than a flea on a dogs back in comparison to His knowledge, the real knowledge.

Then we choose discipleship, choose to sit and learn from the one who controls the whole thing, submit our rebellious puny will to His and enter into a relationship with God.

Of course the bible is central.... duh!

More later, off to worship God now!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

How do you know it is not you who is the "blind" one?

The whole idea is that you are trying to legitimize Christianity and/or the Bible as the word of God. You cannot legitimize something by pointing back to it--that is called circular reasoning.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Snap! We both used the same pic (Golden Hills).

There's some very good points there secularist. In so many ways religion muddies the water, so that we don't get a clear view of things. Take morality for example..how can there be rational discussion about what is a good or bad moral tenet if "But God said"is going to enter the equation? You can't debate with someone who's only justification for a moral perspective is based on what it is written in a religious text.

Another example is the environment. I've come across many *let's do nothing* arguments based on a *don't interfere with Gods plan * position. Secularism is not perfect but at least it doesn't allow for assumptions based on nothing more than blind belief.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

"How do you know it is not you who is the "blind" one?"

Well.... I did spend 28 or my first 42 years on this planet working your side of the street, a 'numero uno' secular humanist, so I kinda guess I have some take on where you come from, and believe me I walked the path, not just talked it.

I was a millionaire before I was 35, (and that was 25 years ago, when a million was still a good sum) had been all over the world doing 'business' with governments, half owned a Central London Real Estate firm, which I sold to a major group, was in effect one of Maggie Thatchers capitalist storm troopers, was invited to stand for Parliament, mixed with the real 'movers and shakers' of international finance and politics (still know them and have access)so I did the 'Mammon' thing pretty deeply, indeed, prior to coming to faith I was an avid proponent of Ayn Randism...

Dedicated self interest was my mantra.

I started reading the bible to tear it apart, after a weird experience where one of my drinking buddies tried to show me how he was going to break his sister in laws neck, and (having just read a fiction book called 'Piercing the Darkness' I commanded him to desist 'in the name of jesus' (the small j is deliberate, I was definitely NOT a believer then) and saw him thrown six foot backwards to slump in a heap unconscious.

My initial words were: 'Oh F**k' because I realised I had called upon a name I did not believe in, and it had worked. Now at that time I was reading rune stones, tarot cards and practised divination, plus I used biorhythms to call dates, so it would be fair to say I was working for 'Mammon' in the world and on the enemy team. I knew that calling on the names of spiritual forces worked, but there is always a payback.

Dealing with the spirit world is like dealing with the Mafia, there are no free lunches.

Hence I took to reading the bible to dispose of this 'cr*p' once and for all.

Eighteen months later I admitted my defeat and recognised Christ as who He says He is.

I was a defector, not a convert.

So I don't feel too blind, and I quote scripture because it has proven to be correct to me, and the fact that you deny it's verity is meaningless to one who knows and has seen proof of it's verity.

Did that answer your question?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Well, Aguasilver, rest assured you were not on "my team," because my team is not the team of spiritualism, mysticism, magic and new age religious beliefs. Clearly you already had a predisposition for supernatural explanations before you became a Christian. Neither is my "team" obsessed with self gain or some self-centered derivation of Reaganomics or libertarianism.

In fact I have written a ton of stuff right here on Hub Pages against neoliberal economic thinking, as well as libertarianism.

But then again, I don't really have a "team." It's just little old me, trying to figure things out. I believe in logic, rationality and critical thinking.

I don't feel too blind either. And the fact that you deny the verity of logic and reason is meaningless to one who knows and has seen proof of its verity. :)

A dose of intellectual humbleness would serve you well.

I will note you still have not responded to the reasonable explanations I provided for your prophecies.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Ah, Jane, good to see you.

Yes, absolutely. The proof is in the pudding, at the end of the day. The secular world has done far better than the religious world across many measures. There are reasons for that, plain and simple. These are facts which no one can dispute. If the facts pointed toward religious superiority, then I would gladly report that. But then again, if religion really did work, I probably wouldn't be so secular, lol :)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

aguasilver - have you given up all your riches to become a disciple? I ask because the bible says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. (paraphrased).

And your experience with your "drinking buddy" may have been associated with said drinking?

Since the bible was mostly written after the facts by various people, why are you not surprised that the prophesies are self-fulfilling?

The bible was a "soap opera" for the people of its day and clearly has no more relevance than The Iliad and the Odyssey or the Mayan Popul Vu.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Austinstar, People are either spiritually alive or dead, Richard Dawkins is spiritually dead in that he rejected spiritual advances at about age 11. (It's in his book, 'The God Delusion')

I accepted spiritual advances at age 11 (puberty mostly being the time when one is approached)and developed a relationship with a familiar spirit that purported to be my grandfather. That relationship continued until I came to Christ.

If we are spiritually dead, then we cannot experience things spiritual and remain secular, until or unless we find spiritually sourced influences reach us.

Spiritually enlivened folk either follow the spirit force that got through to them (in most cases from the 'other side', unless they are born into a Christian spiritually governing environment) until they get to a point where they need to chose their future spiritual path.

People who are spiritually dead, simply cannot understand what spirituality is about unless they get enlivened one way or the other.

There is therefore no point in attempting to explain spiritually to a spiritually dead person, any more than it is worth trying to explain radio waves to a native tribe that have never seen or heard of a radio receiver (though they would probably understand spiritually already).

We learn by experience, I have now learnt that trying to discuss spiritually with secularists is futile.

For the record, God stripped me of my wealth before I came to faith. It was the thing that stood between me and Him, so He (who however you look at it had provided it) took it away.

Do secularists really believe that the wealth of Mammon does not originate from God (who owns and controls all things) in the first place.

God allows us to choose our destiny, some place their trust in Mammon for their convenience and security, which is accepted, if short sighted. Sometimes God will strip that security away from man, to see what they will do.

I chose to reassess my whole life ethos, and discovered Christ.

Since then God has again given me access to His wealth, which is BTW colossal and more rewarding than any wealth of Mammon, but NOW I understand it is His wealth, and I am merely an administrator.

The really good aspect is that when you work for God, you know that He takes care of all your needs. Wants can take a mite longer to accumulate, but needs are a given.

I'm out of here.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

secularist10 you answered them from a spiritually dead perspective, so not really worth answering.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A copout.

You call me spiritually dead, I call you rationally dead. :)


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Then you are wrong, I'm just both aspects, see both sides of the coin, and know which is better!

Now I suppose I should add: Na!Na!DeNa!Na! and quit this comments box before you get too many visitors on the back of it! :)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Rationally dead and blind. You got it. Spirituality has nothing to do with the Christian God, BTW. Spirituality has been around much longer than the man-created "God". If you understood spirituality, then you would not be a Christian at all, you might be a Pagan if you need a label.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Hmm, you see both sides of the coin, and decide one is better. How did you come to that conclusion? By using your brain? In other words, by using... reason? Haha. That's a little thing I like to call "QED."


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Yes I used my brain to realise that the Kingdom of God is where I wanted to reside, rather than the kingdom of the world, good choice as it turned out!

Tried Pagan, stopped it when I realised which 'god/s' I was under the authority of, yes Gods spirit was always here, way before we understood spirituality, way before He breathed His Holy Spirit on sections of humanity, but also there were 'other' rebellious spirit forces here, (still are) and they offer everything, but give nothing but grief in the end. It's the 'in the end' that counts.

The point about the bible is that it's a handbook for Gods people, so it's no wonder that those who reject God cannot access the information that a believer can.

They have no 'username' or 'password' so can never get off the 'landing page'.

Off to bed now, 12.50am in my part of Gods Kingdom, so play amongst yourselves for a while.


Writer Chuck 5 years ago

Aguasilver,

I praise you for your effort, but there are those who will not even investigate for themselves the truth. Let me remind you of Matt. 11 and verse 15 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear. The secularist believe they have figured out the creators plan and because it does not agree with them, they just discount the fact that this is Gods world and explain his creation as the result of a huge explosion.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Agua:

My case rests. You have employed reason to decide spirituality is superior to reason. Like a child kicking his father in the shin whilst under the roof the father has provided.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Chuck:

I don't accept your "God." This is not because "it doesn't agree with me," it is because there is no evidence or logic behind the idea of God.

There is no evidence that this is "God's world." There is no huge explosion involved, that part especially makes no sense. If you are referring to the Big Bang, that is the theory of how our universe began. It says nothing about eternal reality outside our universe, or what the universe was doing before the Big Bang, etc.

There is a fundamental difference between people who have absolute certainty in things for which absolute certainty is impossible (such as many of the religious), and those who remain humble, recognizing their own fallibility and limitations.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Or you could say that God gave us reason in order that we could break through to His truth, but some of us worship the creation, rather than the Creator, because they cannot escape the confines of reason.

I let you case rest, and thank Chuck for reminding me of of Matt. 11 and verse 15 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Sums the situation up totally.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

You could. But you would first have to believe that God exists. And you can only do that if your reasoning brings you to that conclusion. So reason and logic trumps everything, including God.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Nice try, but illogical, if God exists (and He has proven to my satisfaction that He does) then by default, He gave us the ability to reason, indeed He tells us:

Isaiah 1:17-19

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.

If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land....

So if God gave us reasoning, in order that we may realise that He is Sovereign over all, and therefore the best friend to have at your side.....then we must restrict our reasoning, refuse to enter the one area that we cannot fathom for ourselves, in order to avoid the obvious conclusion: that God exists and cares for us.

My 'epiphany' came when standing in my olive grove back of my house in Spain, I shook my fist at the sky and shouted "If you exist, you'd better make yourself known to me".

Not exactly the politest of invitations,but God is gracious and accepted my plea, and over a period of time did make Himself known to me, and a whole new section of life and thinking opened up before my eyes, what had previously been a solid wall of indifference, became an open vista that stretched forever and which enticed me to explore as far and as deeply as I wished.

The blinkers that the world had put over my eyes dropped away, and I took my part in Gods Kingdom, where everything is possible, everything is the reverse of what you have been taught, and there are no limits to what can happen or be done.

No, reason did not and will not ever prove that God does not exist, it was never created to do that, it was created to allow us to understand that something vital is missing in humanity, to see that we humans are hopelessly flawed in our individual shells, and that God wants us to join Him in the garden, just as He planned from day one, and walk with Him, reason with Him, and He will enjoy our company, and thats what life is actually all about.

If you miss that because your god of reason detains you on earth until you die, it's a shame, but your choice.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

"God wants us to join Him in the garden, just as He planned from day one, and walk with Him, reason with Him, and He will enjoy our company, and thats what life is actually all about."

Then God sure has a crappy way to accomplish all this. Why didn't he do this in the first place? Really???


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Aguasilver

"Nice try, but illogical, if God exists..."

Aha! Stop right there. You must first accept God's existence before believing anything subsequent.

If God exists, it is an objective fact outside of your brain and my brain and everyone else's. Whether or not something is proven "to your satisfaction" is irrelevant. Whether or not the existence of the moon is proven "to your satisfaction" is irrelevant to the actual existence of the moon.

You still don't seem to get it. Rationally dead, as I said earlier.

Again, you must use reason to believe in God. Your belief in God results from your own reasoning. Everything you believe has resulted from your own reasoning, flawed though it may be. You used your reasoning to explain and understand the various experiences and events in your life, as have I and everyone else on earth.

"[reason] was created to allow us to understand that something vital is missing in humanity, to see that we humans are hopelessly flawed in our individual shells..."

Yet reason does not demonstrate anything of the kind. For being created with such a purpose, evidently reason doesn't do a very good job of proving what it was designed to prove! LOL!

"So if God gave us reasoning..."

IF God gave us reasoning... IF.

IF Joe Schmoe's pet parakeet is psychic, then we better start using him to understand our lives! IF elephants can breathe in outer space, then NASA can use them in its space program. And?

"...but your choice."

I did not choose for logic/ reason to refute all the proofs for your God. I wish I could take the credit for creating human reason, but I can't. lol.

Keep kicking dear old dad... while sawing off the tree branch on which you sit.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Austinstar

"Then God sure has a crappy way to accomplish all this. Why didn't he do this in the first place?"

Haha, it is all very complicated isn't it? If God is so loving, wouldn't he want to make our believing in him as easy as possible, and not put us through all this torment?

There is no God. There is only nature and humanity. Boom.

Hell of a lot simpler way to think of things, don't you think? :)


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Actually it's you guys that make it complicated for yourselves:

Amplified Bible (AMP)

1 John 4:5-7

They proceed from the world and are of the world; therefore it is out of the world [its [a]whole economy morally considered] that they speak, and the world listens (pays attention) to them.

We are [children] of God. Whoever is learning to know God [progressively to perceive, recognize, and understand God by observation and experience, and to get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him] listens to us; and he who is not of God does not listen or pay attention to us. By this we know (recognize) the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.

Adios until you publish the next secular nonsense!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

I wish I had a big, self-contradictory, self-righteous and self-justifying book written thousands of years ago by people with the knowledge (and temperament) of a first grader. Then I would be able to quote endlessly from it too!

Alas, true critical thinking requires actual mental work. Damn. If only I could throw out a line from somebody else's authorship and call whatever my opponent said "nonsense." Life would be so much easier.

There is no God. There is only nature and humanity.

There. I have ten words to match the 10,000 words of your holy book. Seems simpler and more straightforward, if you ask me.

Poor dear old dad... he gets no respect, but provides for the child nonetheless.

And need I remind everyone that the original thrust of this hub--religious communities underperforming secular ones--remains solidly intact. It is interesting indeed that none of the religious commenters have barely touched it.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

It's all so simple when you know the answer! No God = No Cruel Punishment and life goes on...


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Perhaps none of them can be bothered to read your opinions, or perhaps they simply do not see your hubs listed?

Tell you what, as a favour I will send this hub to my 'followers' and let's see if they respond, can't guarantee it, they have lives as well, and why bother may be their decision, but we can try to garner some other opinions for you to peruse.

I only visit to ensure that if any young believer inadvertently drifts across your pages, they see the Christian perspective also.

I will admit, it's a boring task, but for whatever reason God seems to want a 'warning' sticker stuck on your opinions.... think it's something about deceiving the elect, if that were possible, suppose I come under the 'if that were possible' warnings section!

"There. I have ten words to match the 10,000 words of your holy book. Seems simpler and more straightforward, if you ask me."

But unfortunately also vacuous.


Ella Quirk profile image

Ella Quirk 5 years ago

"God seems to want a 'warning' sticker stuck on your opinions."

Got a pipeline to God have you..?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Actually I was referring to the believers that have commented here--you and Chuck. I should have made that clearer.

You are free to send it to them, I don't mind. I welcome all comers. Of course I welcome your perspective and all perspectives, religious or otherwise, on my writing. That's what the discussion is all about.

Generally though I have found that religious believers do not come close to refuting my writing or my ideas, as I have been writing and debating with believers for a long while now on blogs, forums and in real life. I've pretty much heard it all at this point.

I will continue to do my best to deceive the elect. Or more precisely, to play my part, since there are countless thinkers greater than me in this tradition.

Perhaps you keep coming back because you realize there is something to all this. It's not just all "nonsense."

"Vacuous," eh? As if the Bible is not!


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

"Got a pipeline to God have you..?"

All believers have a pipeline to God, but many forget that it works both ways!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Well please let God know that he has screwed up royally and we would like very much for him to fix things instead of just sitting around making unreasonable demands.

Specifically:

1. Worship/Love/Obey an invisible deity

2. Accepting "punishment" for things that are no fault of our own

3. Pain and suffering are NOT good things.

Perhaps not grammatically correct, but you get my points.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

1. Worship/Love/Obey an invisible deity

Nothing unreasonable about that, unless you think you are above God and that He should worship you, a common fault amongst secularists.

He would become less 'obscured' from secularists if they were able to put Him first rather than themselves.

2. Accepting "punishment" for things that are no fault of our own.

Really, you have never sinned huh!

Never stolen anything (even a paper-clip), never fornicated, never told a lie?..... nobody forced you to sin, your choice, your decision.

Sin is sin in Gods eyes, Him being perfect and JUST, He cannot justifiably ignore sin, which is why believers are covered (masked) by Christ, who was sinless, and therefore can stand 'in the gap' for repentant believers, who have a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

Nope, your request just shows that 'self' is what you worship, and you expect God to fit in around your 'self'....ain't gonna happen!

3. Pain and suffering are NOT good things.

Which is why believers wonder why secular folk carry on doing things which give the enemy the right to inflict pain and suffering on the world, you see the enemy controls your bit of the world, he can do whatever he likes with those who are in his power, and the enemy loves nothing more than a bit of pain and suffering to make secularists damn God with their mouths, thoughts, writings and actions.

Well done, you have correctly identified the three issues that you refuse to surrender, and which keep you from a relationship with God.

The question is, will you continue in your recalcitrance or will you wise up and challenge God to make Himself known to you.

Could you genuinely take that chance?

If He ignored you, you would be free to carry on as your 'self' wishes, but if He actually made Himself known to you, if the God of all Creation showed you that He wanted to fellowship persoanlly with you, THEN you would face the same dilemma that I did;

Do you continue in your rebellion....

Or find out who He is and see how that affects your life.

I wonder what you will do?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I will tell you agua that you are full of crap!


Writer Chuck 5 years ago

It wouldn't matter what proof you are brought as you have set yourself up as the standard of what is true or not true. I tell you the truth that someday everyone will acknoledge that Jesus is God. Those who choose to serve themselves will be the most surprised.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Why Austinstar, if I didn't know better, I would think that the challenge had hit a soft spot!

Thanks for the compliment!

John 3:20-21

Amplified Bible (AMP)

For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.

But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are--wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God's help, in dependence upon Him].

I find it very reassuring that God wrote all these scriptures with you guys in mind, imagine that 2000 years ago, guys were writing stuff that applies today to every situation.

Adios Austinstar! :)


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Here's a challenge for you Agua - get through a discussion without quoting the Bible. After all..

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."

- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, I.iii


SUSANJK profile image

SUSANJK 5 years ago from Florida

I have never believed in organized religion. I think that all religions are money making propositions. I am a very spiritual person and do believe in a super being, but do not believe I have to go to a perscribed place at a perscribed time in order to believe. I can do that anytime and anyplace and I do.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Susan--thanks for coming. Some religions certainly are money-making propositions, others constantly struggle with their finances, so you never know.

One enterprising American religious leader recently had an initiative to send text messages inspired by Bible verses to followers for $4.99 per month! Haha.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

BTW, I was asked earlier to provide a prophesy that was not fulfilled by Jesus. Ok, here is a perfect example, from NKJV.

"I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lion’s mouth And from the horns of the wild oxen!" (Psalm 22: 17-21)

Aguasilver quoted the first part of this passage earlier where it references parting and casting lots for the protagonist's clothing. However, he conveniently neglected to include the lines immediately following it, where it references lions and oxen. The passage seems to predict what happened to Jesus, until we read about lions and oxen. There were no lions or oxen present at Jesus' crucifixion.

No doubt the Christian would say "lion and oxen is a metaphorical reference." In which case, why can't the part about clothing also be metaphorical?

Either the whole thing is metaphorical, or the whole thing is literal. If the whole thing is literal, then the lions and oxen part is a prophesy that was not fulfilled by Jesus.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."

Indeed the enemy can (and does) cite Scripture for his purpose, but only to deride the scriptures and attempt to prove that are not relevant, in today's logical, rational world,as seen here.

Whew, managed to not quote scripture!

I quote scripture because scripture is what the scoffers are trying to silence, somehow it makes them uncomfortable, wonder why?


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

"Either the whole thing is metaphorical, or the whole thing is literal. If the whole thing is literal, then the lions and oxen part is a prophesy that was not fulfilled by Jesus."

There you go again, trapped in the straight jacket of orthodox secularity.... :o)


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

There you go again, artfully dodging the issue once again, trapped in the straightjacket of orthodox religiosity. Proving once again that, if we just dig a little below the surface of the religious world, question long-held assumptions, we uncover a Potemkin Village bereft of logical legitimacy.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Not at all, you already have your mind set on the fact that it has to be: "Either the whole thing is metaphorical, or the whole thing is literal."

With no allowance that it can be both.... were there lions and oxen in the area? very possibly, but I would see these items as metaphors, as you stated.

Clothing on the other hand is literal and as we see that Christ was wearing a one piece garment (not something common for lower class 'criminals') we can see that, despite being soaked in His blood (or maybe because it was?) the soldiers wanted to get a piece.

Who knows, maybe somewhere in Germany or Italy there is a piece of this cloth stashed in a cupboard by someone's ancestors!

As we are only playing table tennis now, I will stop following your hub.

Happy secularism, may it serve you well when you meet with Christ.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I don't hate you. I don't hate religionists at all. I pity them.

You can't convince me of your "God" because you have zero evidence. You claim the bible is your evidence, but it is not. Millions of people don't believe the bible is the inspired word of your "God". They have reason to think that way. The reasons outweigh your convoluted reasoning and determination to make the bible "Gods" handbook.

I stand by my statement - You're full of crap. You've been brainwashed so thoroughly that you cannot see reason and reality. I am sorry that you believe so strongly in a God that will totally disappoint you. But enjoy your dream while you can.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

"With no allowance that it can be both [metaphorical and literal]"

Sure it can be both, theoretically. But there is no way for anybody to delineate what is metaphorical from what is literal. Why do you arbitrarily choose the clothing to be literal and the lion to be metaphorical? Why not the other way around? I already asked that question in my previous comment. Unsurprisingly, you give no answer. Because you cannot give an answer.

There is no rational basis to make such a distinction. You say the clothing is literal and the lion is metaphorical, someone else says the clothing is metaphorical and the lion is literal. It's arbitrary. Therefore the only logically consistent position is to say it is all one or all the other.

"Clothing on the other hand is literal"

Why? Says who? You see, Aguasilver, you already have your mind set on the fact that it has to be--in your words. Your mind is set, therefore there is no way to rationally convince you of this literal/ metaphorical issue, because your mind is set and your heart has been hardened to believe that Jesus fulfilled all prophecies. Facts and logic say otherwise, but you will not hear it. Your mind is closed.

Challenge me to a game of "table tennis" and then lament the fact that I am playing table tennis with you. Laughable.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

"I quote scripture because scripture is what the scoffers are trying to silence, somehow it makes them uncomfortable, wonder why?"

It's not the scripture..it's that you use scripture instead of argument. Anyone can do that, which was Shakespeare's point. Reading through this thread the impression you give is that the truth is what you say it is. ..you give no weight to evidence (or lack of it), rational debate, logical conclusions.In fact you scoff at these things:

"There you go again, trapped in the straight jacket of orthodox secularity"

You look no further because you think truth can be had in just believing that it is so. That's the real straightjacket.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Do you mind if I use the straightjacket analogy? So right on.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Who are you asking, me, Jane or Aguasilver? I don't mind, probably Jane wouldn't either. But I think Aguasilver would first require you to do 200 push ups with a New Amplified Bible on your back, while reciting from memory all of the prophecies Jesus fulfilled... in chronological order.

All I want to see is that you include a picture of a guy in a straightjacket with a cross painted on the back.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I was looking at Jane's comment, but whoever made the analogy was accurate. It is like the religionists are wrapped up in a straightjacket of thought. They are trapped by that one book and can't see past it.

Usually, my first clue is that they claim the bible is inerrant.

I really am beginning to think they worship the book and not the spirituality it represents. It's clear that they don't practice independent thinking in any way.


Andrew Hahn profile image

Andrew Hahn 5 years ago from Ohio

It can be hard to identify myself as a Christian when there are arguments like this happening with reasoning like this. I find myself not wanting to say "Yes I'm a Christian, but do you have 2 hours so I can explain why it's not what you think."

If there is absolute truth, surely no one holds to it.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

There is nothing wrong with being a Christian. It is the propaganda that comes with it that I dislike. Children are being force fed this crap (for want of a better word) and they have no defense against it, no reasoning ability to figure it out.


Andrew Hahn profile image

Andrew Hahn 5 years ago from Ohio

Agreed- There are brilliant christian thinkers out there, and there are brilliant secular thinkers out there. It is tough to see such virulence in people who associate with the peace-loving, institution thwarting, questioning rather than mandating, Christ.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Andrew, thanks for coming. Your position is certainly in the minority, because of the underlying roots of religion, the nature of it. Open-mindedness and critical thinking are essential to everything, so anyone who places them high in priority is on the right track.

Luckily, the human mind and the human pursuit of true knowledge cannot be tamed--it always comes back no matter how much it has been beaten down and constrained by narrow-mindedness and rigidity, whether secular or religious.


Andrew Hahn profile image

Andrew Hahn 5 years ago from Ohio

Indeed. Long live freedom, love and graciousness. As for the rest, to the gallows!


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Secularist10, The brush you are painting is extremely broad. To state that religion is associated with the social maladies you have used as examples, that wealth leads to less religion are dubious claims at best. There are a number of studies that suggest the opposite, and they are from non-biased sources to include psychologists. America (based on 2010 GDP) is the single wealthiest country in the world, and the majority of Americans hold to some sort of religious belief, so that would lead to the conclusion that a correlation of wealth to a decrease in religion is in point of fact incorrect.

If we look at the relationship of religion to poverty and violence in some third world countries, and other more or less Theocratic coutries such as may be found in the middle east, then sure there is a correlation. However, in such an atmosphere the lines are blurred between using religion as a control mechanism and a free choice made by an otherwise informed individual.

"Nonreligious people also must rely exclusively on logic, reason, objective evidence and a naturalistic worldview in order to answer almost all of their questions. Religious people can use these things too, but also have the option of using feelings, subjective experiences and perceived supernatural forces as legitimate means of explanation."

Are you saying that a secularist does not use feelings and subjective experience as a legitimate means of explanation? I would have to question such a claim. How an individual feels, and the experiences they are subjected to have profound ramifications to they way they approach many things in life. Love is a perfect example of this. Atheist and theist alike fall in love. Love is hardly based on logic, and certainly one cannot explain the 'feeling' of being in love scientifically beyond the chemical and biological markers.

The idea that an individual cannot be both logical and hold to a religious belief is nonsense. I will grant that it is very nearly impossible to be a scriptural literalist, and approach lifes bigger from an open minded point of view, but just as there are all kinds and degrees of religiosity, so too are there variations in which scientific theory of the month an individual subscibes to. Take for instance the Cosmolical question of the closed or infinite universe. Which do you believe is correct? Is the universe expanding, or is the space between galaxies stretching. Observation of the redshift would certainly suggest that one or the other is happening, but until we can probe the furthest reaches of space it is unlikely that mankind will know the answers to such questions. Most (not all) scientists today subscribe to the Big Bang theory, a theroy that was first postulated by a religious scientist.

Everything we are able to observe about our universe and life shows that there is no effect devoid of cause, to believe that a cosmic soup is responsible for life without demonstrable evidence is no more rational than to think intelligent design is the source of life. Both ideas therefore require an acceptance that is to date untenable in physical proof.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Coming of Age, thanks for coming (of age, haha... ok bad joke). So let's see what we have here.

"There are a number of studies that suggest the opposite..."

Such as? In this series of "Religion, Atheism and..." I have now 4 hubs citing a variety of unbiased sources to support the arguments and conclusions.

"America (based on 2010 GDP) is the single wealthiest country in the world, and the majority of Americans hold to some sort of religious belief..."

Your interpretation of this is incorrect. First of all, the US is an outlier among rich countries in terms of religiosity. Rich countries overall are much less religious than poor countries. Put another way, unreligious countries overall are much richer than religious ones.

Secondly, even the US is relatively nonreligious as countries go. I have argued elsewhere that the US is a largely secular society and culture, even if some simple beliefs such as God remain popular among many.

In the first paragraph of this hub, the words "religion correlated with negative outcomes" are linked to an essay by a scholar who has studied this issue extensively. He demonstrates using the data and stats that nonreligious societies outperform religious ones across a number of measures. That kind of relationship is too strong to be explained away. If it was just one statistic or one narrow study, that would be one thing, but this is a broad-based relationship confirmed across many unbiased studies.

Thirdly, speaking of America, among the American states, the stats show that the less religious states outperform the religious ones across a number of measures like crime and health.

"However, in such an atmosphere [theocracy] the lines are blurred between using religion as a control mechanism and a free choice made by an otherwise informed individual."

That is somewhat true. However the relationship persists among relatively free countries that have higher rates of religiosity, plus the American states as I mentioned. Again, it is a comprehensive relationship seen across the full spectrum of countries. Thus even if we take out a few for whatever reason, it remains.

"Are you saying that a secularist does not use feelings and subjective experience as a legitimate means of explanation?"

Yes. The key word is *legitimate* These methods are certainly used by everyone, secular or religious, to understand their life and their world. However, they are not considered legitimate by most secular people who seek rigorous and comprehensive understanding. For instance, the Catholic church has a formal methodology for canonizing someone, and that includes an analysis of purported miracles, which necessarily relies on the subjective experiences of witnesses.

Regarding love, love is experienced by everyone. But it is not used as a method of explaining things. It is just a feeling.

"The idea that an individual cannot be both logical and hold to a religious belief is nonsense."

I never said that. There are many religious people who are very intelligent and reasonable. I am analyzing here religion as a *system* for knowledge discovery. That is a very different issue. A person can be "religious" in a certain sense of the word while still adhering to nonreligious or neutral logical rules in a variety of areas.

"to believe that a cosmic soup is responsible for life without demonstrable evidence is no more rational than to think intelligent design is the source of life."

Without demonstrable evidence, yes. However, there is plenty of evidence supportive of the life-from-soup idea. It's not final, but there have been laboratory experiments, in-field observations, and good old logic that support it. By contrast, intelligent design is, at bottom, a fancier way of saying "I don't know." It is a manifestation of the God-of-the-gaps fallacy. This is because God and intelligent design in general cannot be measured or tested in any way. "Life-from-soup" can, and is.

Note: if you replace intelligent design by God with intelligent design by Zeus or by 100 gods together, it works just as well. This is an indication that intelligent design in general is not scientific in the slightest.


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Secular10,

In order to cite individual studies I would first have to pick apart individual criteria for the study, meaning crime and religion, wealth and religion, or teen pregnancy and religion etc. It is also important with any statistical study within a society to look at a broader range of factors that may play a role in the outcome. For instance comparing teen pregnancy and religion seems to me an incomplete picture. Statistics on the role of external influences like television and teen pregnancy would be relevant, as would be single parent vs. two parent households, increased pubescent fertility due to better nutrition, does poverty lead to increased teen pregnancy vs. if the reverse is true, what is the relationship of teen pregnancy in a rural environment where there are less activities available for teens, what is the effect of a society where teen pregnancy is less taboo than it was 40 years ago, what are the racial statistics. We know that less cognitively aware teenagers between the ages of 13-15 are less likely to use contraception than are those aged 16-19. There is dispersed data indicating a rise not only in premarital sex among teenagers, but also that those having premarital sex are having it with more than a single partner. The Kinsey report of 1953 claimed that near half of the young women consenting to premarital sex were doing so after becoming engaged. Men and women both waiting longer before marrying. You have already cited education and economic factors, but quite obviously there is a host of other things to be considered.

It is unclear which countries you cite with the statement “rich countries overall are much less religious than poor countries”, but if we look at “Eurobarometer Polls” it is clear that a decline in attendance of churches affiliated with organized religion does not equate to a particular rise in Atheism. Numbers remain high in fact for those individuals that either believe in God, or a spiritual life force. I do not doubt that your statistics are correct, but historically we have seen fluctuations throughout the world before. Additionally, if we pose the question of whether or not a country that is primarily Atheist computes to being a wealthier nation then it is clearly not defensible, because education, economy, and the form of government in a country are all factors in the wealth of a country.

“Relatively free countries” is the key to understanding an increase in variations of philosophical religious and non religious thought. In and of itself that does not however always equal mass economic prosperity. India is a generally tolerant society whose constitution names it a secular state, it is even a wealthy nation by many accounts, but due in large part to rural underdevelopment, and a lack of educational facilities in such areas there is still widespread poverty, both of which will persist in any such nation until which time as that nations resources are widely enjoyed.

There are people experimenting with the idea that our universe is really a simulation of some sort, and we are pawns in a cosmological matrix. Experiments and tests with life from soup says nothing to the validity of such ideas until they produce results. Of course this too still leaves the question of infinite regress; where did the first chemicals originate? The same can be said of intelligent design, but that does not negate the idea that it can be based in logic, and rational thought. Clearly we could (as you state) postulate that the designer could also be a ’designers’, or even that the designer is not deity at all, but a past alien civilization. At some point however we must come back down to earth and realize that some of the bigger questions about existence are a long way from being answered. Intelligent design holds as much merit as does any other unproven idea, all of which remain hypothetical until they are not.

There was a time in the not so very distant past that something as ordinary as television is today would have been called supernatural. Just as quantum theories rely on mathematics today, so to, did the prediction of radio and light waves when James Clerk Maxwell proposed equations to describe them. Those radio and light waves are a known reality today and our understanding of their functionality is the foundation of what makes transmitting and receiving television and radio signals possible. Denying this would ever be a reality may have been an acceptable point of view in some scientific circles of the early 1800’s. That’s exactly the point; until we know something irrefutably and can provide demonstrable functionality, all else boils down to our perspectives, and which ideas we choose to subscribe to.

Zealotry from either camp is the real enemy in a tolerant society.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

You are absolutely correct that there are other factors to consider. That is why I have talked only about correlations in these hubs. Correlation is much easier to discover than causation. In this hub I am proposing a way of explaining this correlation. Note that the analysis is very inclusive, as it applies within countries (among the US states), among countries (globally today), among countries over time (globally historically), and in a single country over time (in the US through history, for example, or in France over history). The analysis works in a number of ways, and applies to a wide variety of situations.

"a decline in attendance of churches affiliated with organized religion does not equate to a particular rise in Atheism."

Correct again. The title is a bit of a misnomer. I used the word atheism for simplicity, punch and search engine visibility (such as it is). But I am really concerned with nonreligious belief or general secularism, which is why the word atheism does not appear anywhere in the body of the article.

Thus the European church attendance pattern you cite is precisely what I am concerned with. It represents a decline in religiosity, and a rise in secularism. And there is a higher proportion of atheists in most advanced countries than in less advanced ones.

Yes, wealth is determined by a number of factors. But the correlation with religion and religiosity is still there. I would never say that becoming more secular alone is guaranteed to completely transform a society, but it is a very important influence.

"education, economy, and the form of government in a country are all factors in the wealth of a country."

Yes, and education and form of government, as I indicated in this article, are in turn affected by a number of factors, including the level of religiosity and religious belief. It is a complex whole, and religion is one part of that whole.

"India is a generally tolerant society whose constitution names it a secular state"

Incorrect. India is tolerant in many respects, but it is also riddled with religious violence. Every so often we hear about several hundred people killed by religious mob violence in India. Imagine several hundred people killed by religious mob violence in, say, America! It is unheard of, yet in India it happens relatively often.

Moreover, India is a very religious society. We should not weigh the official stance of the government (whether "religious" or "secular") very heavily. We must look at how religious people *actually* are. For instance, England has a state church. Yet it is a very secular population. India has an officially secular constitution, yet its people are quite religious--Hindus, Muslims and others. Thus India confirms what I've been saying, in the article, and in my previous comment.

"Experiments and tests with life from soup says nothing to the validity of such ideas until they produce results."

They have. Again, it is not final, but for years now scientists have been making progress in this area through laboratory experimentation and other methods. I can give you articles to read if you want. It is far from blind conjecture.

"Of course this too still leaves the question of infinite regress; where did the first chemicals originate?"

This is not a question of infinite regress, but the question on the table is where did life originate. If life originated from chemicals XYZ, then that is the end of the issue. It is not an infinite regress. Asking where chemicals XYZ came from is another story entirely.

ID is a useless idea because, again, it is not testable and cannot be proven or disproven. This is because it speaks to supernatural causes; there is no way of knowing if just a little supernatural was involved, or a lot. Moreover, how do we define "a little" supernatural? How much is a little?

You see when you start asking the real questions of science, we see it is not scientific in the slightest, but as I said, a fancier way of saying "I don't know."

"Intelligent design holds as much merit as does any other unproven idea, all of which remain hypothetical until they are not."

This is an important misunderstanding of how science works. There is absolutely nothing in science that is truly "proven" in the sense of 100% certainty. What we have instead is a body of evidence supporting or not supporting a given explanation. The theory of relativity is not 100% proven; the germ theory of disease is not 100% proven.

Instead we have massive amounts of evidence from a variety of fields supporting them. The same is becoming true of abiogenesis and "life-from-soup." By contrast, you cannot point to a single experiment, observation or logical argument based on measurable facts that compels ID. Something may indicate our ignorance on a question, but that does not mean it actively supports the theory of ID.

Again, it is not about being "irrefutable," it is about likelihood. If something is demonstrated with a very high likelihood, then over time we come to the conclusion that "this must be the correct explanation," and we are safe to assume that it is irrefutable, for all intents and purposes. But nothing is TRULY irrefutable, 100%.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

This hub is officially my fourth-most commented hub ever, in the span of less than a week. Thank you to everyone who has commented, and contributed to the discussion.


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

"Natural" explanations for the origins of the universe and life (assume) that there were no other forces involved in their formation other than matter, energy, and chemicals taken into account with their apparent physical interactions. How many effects can science demonstrate that do not have an observable cause?

Here is a quote from a book on Intelligent Design: "Because these structures exhibit complex-specified information, a quality known only to be produced by intelligent design, we conclude that these irreducibly complex structures are intelligently designed. There is also no known natural mechanism to explain the origin of these "irreducibly complex" biological structures, firming up the inference to design."

That is clearly a viable statement and one that holds scientific merit. Before Georges Lemaitre brought forth his Big Bang theory, the static universe theory prevailed. Albert Einstein at first outright rejected the idea, in part because it originated form a Priest, but upon further investigation and testing through mathematical hypothesis he both embraced and praised it. The fact that it came from a God believing individual who started from an (assumption) that the universe had a grand designer takes nothing from the ideas merit.

There are irrefutables, the example of how radio waves can be used in transmission is 100% proven. It's as plain as the radio in my car and the television in my living room.

The word “supernatural” simply means something that is unexplainable by natural law. When we call something supernatural, what we are really saying is that we lack the knowledge to elucidate one thing to the exclusion of another. Otherwise, there is a presupposition that we have a complete understanding of all natural law, which could not be further from the truth.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

That's correct, as I wrote in the article naturalism assumes nothing exists outside of this natural world. And the reason for that is because we cannot know anything else exists, there is no reliable way of knowing or testing or measuring God, for instance, or angels or ancestor spirits or whatever.

Your quote of the ID book actually proves my point--notice it rests on the fact that "there is no known way of explaining X." A fancier way of saying "I don't know," lol.

Again, there is no observational or experimental evidence that compels--in a positive way--the acceptance of intelligent design by a supernatural force. What they cite instead is a negative approach--what we DON'T know compels it. That makes no sense, because the knowledge gap could just as easily be filled by a totally different supernatural idea, as I said earlier.

More importantly though, is the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution, which by default significantly reduces the likelihood of other explanations.

Of course the person who advocates something is irrelevant to the actual merits of the idea. I never said otherwise.

"how radio waves can be used in transmission is 100% proven."

If you are referring to the mere existence of radio waves, that is accepted, but not irrefutable. If, for instance, one day science discovers another physical force underlying radio waves that we do not currently understand, that would refute or at least refine the concept.

If you look into the philosophical Problem of Induction, you will see that nothing can TRULY be proven or guaranteed 100%, not even human-made methods (including human methods of signal transmission). All we can do is assume after adequate evidence and testing.

Supernatural means not natural, or outside of the natural world. That is very different from our limited knowledge of the natural world.

Naturalism does not for one instance claim we have total knowledge of the natural world. It claims only that the natural world is all that *exists*. One implication of this is that the answers to all of our questions are contained somewhere within the natural world.


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

I am heading off to get some shut eye, but I wanted to quickly go back and comment on your statement about "religious mob violence in India". There is a distinction that should be made between two religious factions resorting to violence against one another because of passions, versus violent religionists directing their rage toward individuals who carry no religious beliefs. The latter being almost non-existent.

Adherents to religion also have no exclusive claim on violence. It is believed for example that more than 5 million people died under the communist and atheist reign of Stalin. Other such examples would include North Korea, and Cambodia under Pol Pot. This again would point to intolerance being the real enemy.

It is interesting that you cited England as being a "very secular society". I don't disagree, but that example does not jive with a drop in teenage pregnancy. England has extremely high rates in that regard.

Robbery and ice cream sales both go up in the summertime, that is not clear evidence that burglars are influenced by eating Rocky Road.


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

You're good Secular10, so you've managed to pull me back to the dialogue on more time.

The scientific method starts out with a known effect, and seeks through hypthesis and experimentation to explain the cause. When we have enough evidence a theory is formed.

The quote from the ID standpoint is saying that we know of no "irreducibly complex structures" that originate on there own. How then is it more scientific to postulate that something comes from nothing? in order to show the viability of such a claim it would first be a good idea to have an observable example. Where does such an example reside?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Ha, thank you.

"religious factions resorting to violence against one another because of passions, versus violent religionists directing their rage toward individuals who carry no religious beliefs."

Where have I said anything about religious people committing violence against nonreligious? This is a totally different topic. The analysis is about religion and society, or religion's impact on human wellbeing.

England has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe, which is sort of like the skinniest kid at fat camp--it is still quite low compared to the US, and compared to many other countries that are more religious.

"Adherents to religion also have no exclusive claim on violence."

I never claimed that they did.

"Robbery and ice cream sales both go up in the summertime, that is not clear evidence that burglars are influenced by eating Rocky Road."

Of course not. That has been the purpose of this study of mine, to look at a wide variety of evidence and data and draw conclusions from it. As I said to you earlier, if this was just a fleeting or insignificant correlation, then it would not be borne out across many studies, in many countries, on the international, national and sub-national level. To deny there is something real at work here is wishful thinking.

But that does not mean it is black and white, or ALWAYS one way or ALWAYS another way.

"How then is it more scientific to postulate that something comes from nothing?"

It is not. That is not what the theory of abiogenesis holds. Life comes from nonliving matter. It does not come from nothing. I honestly have no idea where religionists have gotten this "something from nothing" phrase. It seems to me a total fabrication and caricature based on ignorance of what the science states.

Here is some info relating to abiogenesis, an example you wanted. It gets kind of technical, but you can follow along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Hello Again Secularist10,

“India is tolerant in many respects, but it is also riddled with religious violence.” In the next paragraph you continued with: “India is a very religious society.”

When I responded with violent religious passion being directed toward other religious groups, I was still referring to India. The violence in India is most often between Muslims and Hindus, not the result of religious groups directing their intolerance to non-believers. That is the only distinction I was pointing out.

“England has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe, which is sort of like the skinniest kid at fat camp--it is still quite low compared to the US, and compared to many other countries that are more religious.”

Agreed, if 7 less births per thousand in England vs. the U.S. is “quite low”, but that doesn’t fill the holes in your assertion that a decrease in religion leads to a drop in teen pregnancy. Teen pregnancy in America was at its highest levels in the 1950’s, people here also married younger at that time, so unwed pregnancy is another factor in such a discussion. I am reluctant to mention that, because I do not wish to skew off onto the subject of suffragettes, bra burning, the sexual revolution, and so on. The real point is that between 1950 and 1970 Americas teen pregnancy rates were declining, all at a time when women were beginning to make significant advances in both education and career choices. The rates began to climb again after 1970. Something else was also true; more Americans were attending church than they are today. America has seen declines in church attendance over the last thirty years, these two statistic alone present good reason to cast doubt upon the conclusions you state in a rather matter of fact manner.

I have not taken a course in statistics since the early 1980’s , but I remember a case study where a company used its own staff to perform research and gather statistics from which to pursue a marketing strategy. As it turned out, the strategy backfired and caused the company to lose money. The point being that the company employees had a vested interest in the outcome of their statistical research.

It is apparent that you too have a proverbial ax to grind. In your own words…“I am really concerned with nonreligious belief or general secularism” Furthermore in looking at the titles of the 39 hubs you have published to date I counted 27 that include the words atheism or secular, or contain other religious connotations such as god, the devil, end of the world, virgin birth, etc. This statistic alone could be construed as diatribe strongly suggestive that you have an ‘evangelistic’ tendency to secular humanism in your writings. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, other than it does provide reason for a cautionary approach to legitimizing your conclusions. “We have seen that religion is associated with a number of social maladies…” That is how you start off this article, and so to give you the full benefit of a doubt I went to your article directly concerning teen pregnancy and read it to determine if we had “seen“ a correlation. “Low and behold”, I was correct in my earliest assumption that your statistical analysis was based only on the relationship of two things, religion and teen pregnancy. I was surprised that it did not even mention education until the last paragraph. This points directly to a close minded analysis directed at its own objective prior to a gathering of the evidence, to present it as evidentiary analysis is offensive to anyone approaching such a subject with an open minded desire to learn something of true social relevance. I will however concede that over zealous religiosity can be a dangerous thing, and in certain cases may lead to the “dumbing down” of some people.

As for abiogenesis, I am not unfamiliar with the theory, nor ignorant that laboratory experiments are conducted in support of it. My intention was not to lead the dialogue into the realm of evolution when I first semi-sarcastically commented about “scientific theory of the month”. I am not a scientist, but what I do recognize where “life from soup” is concerned is that any such idea must start from the (assumption) that natural ingredients pre-existed the formation of the cocktail. It also points to an extremely complex randomness of formation that is nowhere observable in nature. Laboratory experiments using gasses and electricity to produce amino acids, and proteins are compelling to be sure, but these are only possible replications made so by intelligence. There is still a huge leap to “complex self replicating organic molecules and DNA“. If gasses produced in volcanic eruptions and lightning could combine on there own to begin an eons long process of becoming complex living structures, it is reasonable that we should be able to observe the ‘genesis’ of this process somewhere in the natural world. To that we get the supposition that it only had to happen once; another postulation that is generally inconsistent with other things that we observe in the natural world.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Re: India. I got it. I understand what you're saying. You're saying Hindus and Muslims enjoy killing each other in India (also Christians at times), and they don't persecute nonreligious believers as much. (And that's because there are practically no nonreligious in India.)

I know that, and I completely agree. I reiterate that India is a very religious culture and society, and thus it confirms my overall analysis correlating religiosity with negative social outcomes (such as poverty and violence).

Look at the chart on this pdf file, page 6:

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/repcard...

The US has the highest teen birthrate by far. This info is from 1998, but still relevant. The lowest birthrates were in countries like Korea, Japan, Netherlands and Sweden.

Thus, the OVERALL trend shows that countries with low rates of religiosity TEND to have low rates of teen birth/ pregnancy. If you go beyond the US to even more religious countries you see even higher teen birthrates. There are always exceptions because we are dealing with complex human societies. But the overall relationship is clear.

Any further discussion of teen pregnancy should go in that hub; it's getting too detailed for here. You are welcome to comment there.

The teen pregnancy hub, like the crime and health ones, were concerned with correlations. What is so difficult to understand about this? I presented the statistics on religion, the statistics on teen pregnancy, I look at the relationship, and I discuss possible causes.

Yes, I am a secularist, that is my name, and that is one of my main passions. Big surprise.

My views are quite well-known to everybody. I don't try to hide what I believe. Why should it be surprising that a hub entitled "Religion, Atheism and Teen Pregnancy" deals with religion and teen pregnancy? I didn't call it "Education and Teen Pregnancy," although that would be a very interesting topic too.

Bottom line: anyone who wants to contradict what I have presented must present the same amount of data from reputable sources, plus a reasonable explanation to explain it all, as I have. If my analysis is truly flawed, then somebody should be able to refute it.

I don't know if you watched the YouTube video, but it deals with some of what you just said, such as the rise of complex organisms. And there are many others too. The idea is quite robust, and becoming more so all the time.

"it is reasonable that we should be able to observe the 'genesis' of this process somewhere in the natural world."

Incorrect. Scientists have thought about this and come to the straightforward conclusion: if a similar process of genesis ever occurred today, the simple cells created would immediately be consumed by larger and more complex cells or organisms. Those larger ones exist absolutely everywhere on earth today, but they did not exist anywhere at the beginning, by definition. So the simple cells would not last long enough to be observed.

We know roughly what the chemicals present on the early earth were, therefore if we replicate them in the lab, we can replicate how life was formed. It's really not that complicated.


cooldad profile image

cooldad 5 years ago from Florida

Great hub, very well written, I enjoyed it. It has always saddened me that most people fail to use common sense, science and logic to perceive the world we live in. Instead, too many people choose to accept "faith" to support what they believe in. Faith is just a term to use when one cannot prove or explain something.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks, Cooldad. Science, logic and critical thinking are all we have, indeed. Luckily, the application of science continues unabated in free societies, revealing new insights and discovering new truths. Over time, people simply relinquish their old simplistic beliefs as they become irrelevant. The only ones that continue to cling to them tend to be a tiny insignificant minority living on the fringe of normal civilization.


CapitolLights 5 years ago

I must say, that was one interesting article. Thank you secularist for expressing your view points. You did a very good job. I also see you have your own little debate here too.

My 2 cents.

If there is an afterlife, what is the point of this life?

What is our point on earth?

Who created eveything we have ever known (including you and me?)

Logic, critical thinking, and reason are very important attributes in understanding the world around us (after all, science is people's observations of the world around us)

Yet, there are some things science (and human logic) cannot understand. We just cant.

I would like to ask you to observe a human being, the most complex, and beautiful creation in the history of the earth. Why? Why are we are what we are? Did someone give us these talents, gifts, abilities and designs, or did we just evolve naturally?

On what was the basis of "good and evil" founded upon? Is good simply something that benefits someone while not harming anyone?

Why is there color, sound, light and smell? Why are there so many different varities in our world for everything? Is there any logical reason why we would need 100+ different varities of fruits?

Can human beings, in our own "logical" way of thinking condemn humans to life or death? (or even condemn them for that matter, who gives them the authority? government, the people?)

Why is our society screwed up at the moment?

If there is no one to judge us according to our actions in the end, then how should we act on this earth?


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Hi Secularist10,

“prosperity causes less religion, and the second is that less religion causes prosperity.”

“confirms my overall analysis correlating religiosity with negative social outcomes (such as poverty and violence).”

No such confirmation exists whatsoever…What you are doing is using non-linear rationale. Religion = Social Maladies > No Social Maladies = No Religion. Thus the loop in your logic is established because you are removing from the equation an entire host of other factors that play a role in both social maladies and religion or philosophy.

A much better analysis might look something like this:

Does a free and open society promote a variety of philosophies (including secular humanism) and schools of thought? (yes) > Does the freedom to pursue ones own passion allowing each individual to take an active role in their own destiny and teach such things to others lead to better education? (yes) > Does a better educated society lead to an increase in wealth? (yes) Does a wealthier and better educated society see a reduction in criminal behavior and other social maladies on the whole? (yes) Is a better educated and wealthier society with reduced social maladies, and free thought/religion generally happier on the whole? (yes). Conclusion: It is a free and open society that promotes a variety of philosophies, better education, an opportunity for increased wealth, a reduction in social malady, and a generally happier healthier population.

Historically we know that it doesn’t work the other way Secular10-Using the former Soviet Union as a model we can see an oppressive regime that promoted atheism yet failed abysmally. They had widespread social maladies to include poverty, poor health, and crime. Not to mention human rights violations including torture, execution, and imprisonment of both political and religious dissidents. Clearly, removing just religion does not equate to a reduction of social maladies. I have already stated that the same is true about a society that uses religion as a control mechanism, so there’s no need cite examples. Before you go on to say that religion was not successfully removed from the Soviet Union, I will concede the point. One possible explanation for this however is that the states oppressiveness created a climate that drove religion underground, and many held onto it because they found comfort in an otherwise hopeless atmosphere.

In an earlier comment you stated: “We should not weigh the official stance of the government (whether "religious" or "secular") very heavily.”

On the contrary, in any commentary as to why social maladies exist within a society it is absolutely reasonable to start from the official stance that a society embraces as the foundational basis of its humanitarian policy. In going back to India we know that it has an official stance of tolerance where freedom of religion is concerned, and also states that it should be practiced peacefully. The fact that there is religious violence only shows that a number of people have not embraced the official policy. It also serves to illustrate my original point that a nations wealth alone does not by itself equal less religion. [“prosperity causes less religion, and the second is that less religion causes prosperity.”] It could additionally illustrate a number of other combinations that by themselves would likely lead to similar and false conclusions. The constitution of modern India is young by contrast, so as I illustrated in the analysis above when (or if) its wealth, and (official stance) becomes widespread and embraced on a large scale we may yet see a very different society. Would we likely see less religion? Yes, it is likely that we would because philosophical diversity is a product of a tolerant and free society. It is still unclear exactly which counties you are using in the statement “rich countries overall are much less religious than poor countries”. It appears that you are using the entire world, which ludicrous because not all societies are free. In any case I’ll bet the any country you can name is generally free and tolerant by official stance.

If I wanted to assert that religion led to education, prosperity, a decrease in social maladies, and a happy healthy society I could easily cite Switzerland:

Religious? >(YES) 48% are religiously affiliated to a doctrine, or denomination, and believe in God, and another 39% believe in a spiritual life force. Only 9% of the population claims no religious belief whatsoever.

Wealthy? > (YES) One of the richest countries in the world, to include individual household incomes.

Educated? > (YES) Literacy Rate near 100%, High School Graduation 88%, College Graduates-Over 30%

Violent Crime? > (NO) Almost non-existent.

Petty Crime? > (LOW) Pick-pocketing of tourists is sometimes an issue.

Teen Pregnancy? > (LOW) 4.3 instances per 1000

Good Healthcare? > (YES) Life expectancy for both men and women is among the highest in the world.

Overall Wellbeing? > (YES) Rated 2nd highest in the word according a (honkiat) poll “20 happiest countries in the world”. Rated 7th highest in the world according to business week.

Sources- www.swissinfo.ch www.english.ch Eurobarometer Polls, Wikipedia, National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)

The analogy that it is just religion that has led to wealth and prosperity is as equally absurd as is stating that no religion leads to all of these things. In order for you to make a compelling case you would have to cite a country whose official stance is “No Religion”, and then show that has led such a country to prosperity, wellbeing etc.

Look, you’re an excellent writer, apparently intelligent, and since you have a background in statistics I can only assume that you realize the numerous factors that should be taken into account.

In the end you are really only establishing an explanation to suit your own convictions, but not one that should be taken seriously on a larger scale. No matter, your challenge has been accepted and refuted….It is a free society that is the more likely ingredient required for the outcomes you cite.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

"If there is an afterlife, what is the point of this life?"

Even if there is an afterlife, what is the point of this life? Why does there have to be a point at all?

"Who created eveything we have ever known (including you and me?)"

No 'who', but what? and perhaps no one or nothing created us. Our atoms have always existed. They are currently in a 'human' form, but when we die, the atoms will return to being free radicals. Who or What could have possibly created God? If God was always around, then so were we.

"there are some things science (and human logic) cannot understand. We just cant."

You mean we can't currently - there were lots of things that we didn't understand until we were capable of understanding. So, things we understand now, may be in error also and one day we will have the technology or intelligence to understand.

"I would like to ask you to observe a human being, the most complex, and beautiful creation in the history of the earth. Why? Why are we are what we are? Did someone give us these talents, gifts, abilities and designs, or did we just evolve naturally?"

Who says we are the most complex/beautiful creation? That is a matter of opinion. We might just be very simple complexes of carbon, water, and various other chemicals. The dinosaurs were pretty complex also, as is all flora and fauna and the very earth itself.

"On what was the basis of "good and evil" founded upon? Is good simply something that benefits someone while not harming anyone?"

Good and evil are just differing opinions. Fire can be both good and evil as can many many other things. It's all in whose opinion you ask.

"Why is there color, sound, light and smell? Why are there so many different varities in our world for everything? Is there any logical reason why we would need 100+ different varities of fruits?"

Is there any logical reason why we would NOT need 100* varieties? Evolution is just as complicated and complex as the human body.

"Why is our society screwed up at the moment?"

Do you live under a rock? There has NEVER been a perfect society! I'm going to go out on a limb here and say there never will be.

"If there is no one to judge us according to our actions in the end, then how should we act on this earth?"

Well, it's clear that you should act according to the edicts of a 2,000 year old book. Because I suspect that you could not pour water out of a boot with the directions printed on the bottom. In other words, your intelligence should tell you how to act. Even animals know how to act within the boundaries of their society. Why do you need to be told how to act?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Capitol Lights, welcome, thank you for the compliment.

Austinstar did a good job addressing some of your questions. I would just add the following.

The questions like "why are we here" or "why does the world exist" imply that there is a reason.

In essence, you say: "I assume that there is a reason we are here; now, what is that reason?"

So the real question is: why do you assume that there is a preexisting reason? On what basis? That is a very different way of looking at things, isn't it.

If instead we do not assume there is a preexisting reason for why the world exists, or why humans exist, but rather it all just is, then we realize it is up to us to identify reasons for anything. And we can do that based on logic and rational thinking.

Regarding good and evil, I have addressed the issue of secular morality in a hub:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Secular-Mo...

Essentially, a secular human-based moral system is more effective, more coherent and more natural for human beings than any other kind. This includes any moral system that is based on something external to humans, such as animals, God, a rock, a tree, stars, or whatever else one might base morality on.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Coming of Age:

"a country whose official stance is “No Religion”..."

Why do you assume that the official government policy is relevant? Weren't you the one who originally said that considering countries where beliefs are forced on people (like a theocracy) is problematic? Now it seems you are changing your tune.

We need to look not at the official policy of anything. We need to look at reality. According to official policy, North Korea is the "Democratic People's Republic." Wow, that sounds pretty wonderful, doesn't it? Well, what is the reality? A tyrannical dictatorship, of course.

When you get past the BS that governments propagandize, things are very different. If you look at Zuckerman's article linked from the first paragraph, you'll see he specifically differentiates societies that embrace non-religion willingly from those where it is forced onto them. The relationship remains.

You've got it backwards. I am not performing this analysis because I am a secularist; I am a secularist because I have done this kind of analysis. I have studied for years the relationships at work, the impact that religion and non-religion has on individuals and societies, and that is why I am a secularist. That is where the facts have led me.

"Religion = Social Maladies"

Where on earth did I begin with this as a premise? This is the CONCLUSION, not the premise!

"Clearly, removing just religion does not equate to a reduction of social maladies."

I reiterate for the millionth time, I agree. But it is one important factor. This is a matter of trends, overall relationships, overall factors, general patterns, etc. You want to project a simplistic argument onto me, and that is a straw man.

"[India] also serves to illustrate my original point that a nations wealth alone does not by itself equal less religion."

India is poor.

"Rich" and "poor" are obvious designations. It is based on per capita GDP and standard of living. The links to the studies are all over these hubs. Here are some examples off the top of my head:

Rich:

Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, Norway, Finland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, US, UK, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Australia.

Poor:

Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Peru, Mexico, Somalia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, Colombia, Jordan, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Philippines, Bangladesh.

Which do you think is more religious--the first group or the second?

Here are some exceptions to the rule:

Rich and religious: Qatar, Kuwait, UAE.

Poor and non-religious: Estonia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania.

This is what the data shows.

Although not all societies are free, most of them are free enough to make this analysis compelling and hardly "ludicrous."

The ones that we would likely rule out if we had to would be countries like North Korea, China (maybe), Cuba, Iran, Saudi Arabia (again, maybe), and maybe a few others. An argument could be made (weak, in many cases) that these countries are so oppressed it is impossible to get a read on what the people actually believe. But for the most part, the international studies and data are reliable.

Even the average African dictatorship is not as well-organized or as efficient as a low-level statistics-gathering department in a major international organization.

According to the comprehensive Gallup study I have cited a number of times, Switzerland is among the less religious countries of the world. The majority of people (56%) do not see religion as important in their daily lives.

The Zuckerman study also places the atheistic/ agnostic population of Switzerland at 17-27% (which is high, as countries go). Since I am concerned with a broader definition than just that (for instance, a person can believe in God, call themselves a Christian and still lead a largely secular life), the relevant proportion would almost certainly be higher. (This therefore does not necessarily disagree with the statistics you cited--"spiritual life force" and whatnot.)

The data for both is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_by_country

We can go around and around forever (and many people do) trying to figure out the exact religious nature of a single small country. But do you honestly believe that the Swiss are meaningfully more religious than the Bangladeshis? Or even remotely as religious?

Same question: The Dutch or the Indians? The Japanese or the Somalis? The Canadians or the Nigerians? Come on.

"It is a free society that is the more likely ingredient required for the outcomes you cite."

I agree. If you give me a choice between a religious population with a free government or an atheistic population with a dictatorial government, I will choose the former.

But wait a minute... is secularism or religion more likely to create a free government? History tells us that it is the secular. Religion, as I said in the article, supported authoritarianism for ages. By contrast, the rise of secularism coincided with the rise of democracy.

Are there exceptions? Yes, of course. The most notable exceptions have been the USSR and probably revolutionary France. Nevertheless, isn't it interesting that the age of religion (all of history until about the 1500s/1600s) saw NOT A SINGLE DEMOCRACY formed? Whereas the age of secularism saw a plethora?

You may cite democratic Athens--ironically, relatively secular, as cultures go!

You see, when you dig deeper, you realize that religion and religiosity very much has an impact on all of these things.

What people believe matters. The way they look at the world matters. The way they try to answer questions matters.

The stats show it, history shows it, you have not refuted it, and that does not mean it is the only factor.


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

“Why do you assume that the official government policy is relevant? Weren't you the one who originally said that considering countries where beliefs are forced on people (like a theocracy) is problematic?”….Yes I said that.

Weren’t you the one who said we must look at how they actually are? I assume in asserting that notion you realize it applies to a dictatorial society whose constitution says nothing about the reality of their human rights violations…Bandying words in such a way will not get us any closer to the ‘truth‘, but at least we agree on the large difference of a free society whose people have an active role in their own destiny and an oppressive regime.

“ But wait a minute... is secularism or religion more likely to create a free government? History tells us that it is the secular.”…..“Whereas the age of secularism saw a plethora?”

How typical of someone arguing to grind their own ax…In calling the Age of Enlightenment instead “age of secularism” you conveniently dispense with the parts of it that came out of protestant religion in an attempt to simplify an entire era toward your own evangelistic cause. Nevertheless and without reducing its full implication, the period serves my point just fine in that it gave rise to the idea that no one (political, religious, or non-religious) had the right to impose their will over another by coercion…Once again a free society emerges as the conclusion.

Now then, lets dispose of the crap and get down to the real crux of it: Ultimately what you are attempting to show is that people who believe as you do will be wealthier, healthier, and see fewer of their daughters pregnant. It’s a lie, and it is refuted.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

"Weren’t you the one who said we must look at how they actually are? I assume in asserting that notion you realize it applies to a dictatorial society whose constitution says nothing about the reality of their human rights violations"

Yes, so? I'm not following here. We need to ignore the propaganda of governments and look at what the people actually believe, for this analysis. It seems to me you are ignoring what I said because you can't think of an effective response.

Oh, brother! I just said "age of secularism" off the cuff. I am hardly "renaming" the Age of Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment was only a few centuries, whereas this secular age we live in is ongoing. But the Enlightenment did represent a secular tendency in the west: an emphasis on nature, on this life, on this world, and less concern with the divine, the next life, the supernatural world. I briefly touched on this in the article.

If you stop to actually read what I write, and don't read too far into it or project some strange boogeyman ideology you have in your head, you might gain a better understanding.

"Now then, lets dispose of the crap and get down to the real crux of it: Ultimately what you are attempting to show is that people who believe as you do will be wealthier, healthier, and see fewer of their daughters pregnant. It’s a lie, and it is refuted."

Uh oh, somebody sounds mad! Ah, now I'm a lier! It just keeps getting better and better.

I think the "crux" of the matter is quite clear from the articles. It is you who has gummed up the whole thing with straw men and projections.

I didn't perform these studies. I didn't make this data. You conveniently ignored the issue of who is more religious, the group of rich countries I cited, or the group of poor ones. That is one of the primary issues this comes down to.

If you have better, more reliable data, then let's see it. If you have data that demonstrates the Dutch are more religious than the Somalis, or the Japanese more religious than the Egyptians, let's see it.

If you have historical references demonstrating 12th century Italians were less religious than 21st century Italians--that they attended church less often, prayed less often, had religion less important in their daily lives--let's see it.

If you have American data showing that states like Connecticut, Vermont and Oregon have higher crime rates than Alabama, Arkansas or Mississippi, then let's see it.

Let's see the data, Coming of Age. Let's see consistent, recognizable patterns and trends. Let's see the correlations.

Otherwise throwing around words like "crap" and "lies" serves only to demonstrate the vacuous and pointless nature of your contrarian rejectionism, stemming simply from a set of facts that rub you the wrong way.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Here is a short essay from the opposite perspective on the "complicated relationship" between religion and human wellbeing. The author makes some points for the "pro-religion" side, as it were. But he also must concede the "pro-secular" side has legitimate arguments as well.

http://www.davidmyers.org/davidmyers/assets/Chroni...

His analysis comes up short because it does not take into account a broad array of data, stretching across countries and across time. It offers some interesting points, without altering the basic observed relationship between religiosity and human wellbeing.


Coming of Age profile image

Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Hi Secularist10,

First off, I am not angry, so you can throw that idea out. Second, I hold to no boogey man ideology, but I will accept this as sarcasm. Third, facts do not rub me the wrong way.

As you are well aware anyone can use statistics from any range of sources to make a point that serves to suit their own argument. That is all you are doing; using secular statistics to reach a conclusion that serves your purpose and calling it fact. That is the “lie” of it.

2+2 = 4, is a fact. No religion = wealth, health, & happiness is not a fact; it is your opinion. Religious people can be, and are wealthy, healthy and happy, in both societal and personal terms. That is cutting the crap out of it.

I am not going bring anymore statistical data into it because I have provided (secular) data; you came back with your own statistics, and that serves another point…Statistics are not facts either. Which statistics shall we use?

There is nothing vacuous in my conclusion that a free society is the likelier reason for wealth, health, etc. Whether it is “contrary rejectionism” in your opinion is irrelevant to the issue. Thanks for the David Myers analysis…I agree that it is too thin also.

I’m done here; its become too much like sitting through three and a half hours of Doctor Zhivago with my wife. LOL


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

"I am not going bring anymore statistical data into it because I have provided (secular) data; you came back with your own statistics, and that serves another point…Statistics are not facts either. Which statistics shall we use?"

So you are saying that using data and statistics is not worthwhile? This kind of information (not just numbers, but non-quantified information as well) is the only way we can get to the objective truth. You are right to criticize an individual person's opinion, but my opinion is based on a large amount of data from reliable sources. Yours is not.

"Religious people can be, and are wealthy, healthy and happy, in both societal and personal terms."

Where did I disagree with this?

"There is nothing vacuous in my conclusion that a free society is the likelier reason for wealth, health, etc."

Government structure, religious beliefs, cultural traditions, economic customs--these are all part of a complex whole affecting people's lives. Each factor is important. But I repeat myself. Yet again.

How did you come to the conclusion that free societies are better than unfree ones? If I wanted to play your game, I could come up with some limited stats demonstrating that free societies are actually less healthy and poorer, lol! That would be just as legitimate as what you are doing here--focusing in on a few exceptions and some limited information to try to prove some point.

Here's a great example: India! The world's largest democracy, dirt poor, affected by religious fanaticism and corruption. Wow, the LARGEST democracy--must say something, mustn't it?

Obviously that is ridiculous. But that is the game you have been playing.

Presumably, you have come to this conclusion by virtue of the broad array of evidence in favor of it. There are mountains of information correlating free societies with positive outcomes in human wellbeing. The same thing has been done here vis-a-vis religion/ irreligion. I could provide countless more stats (and maybe I will, in future hubs).

You have not provided anything remotely close to what I have. It is all very well and good to say "you are biased." Of course. Everyone is biased. Great insight.

But it is quite another thing to provide objective data, trends and patterns to prove me wrong.

You are welcome back any time you want to actually get down to substance and real information, as opposed to straw men, projections, excessive reading-between-the-lines, avoiding questions, and rhetoric. That, my friend, is the real crap.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

Here my quacks..

The bibles OT and NT were written by men, not man, for man. There were no female deities in them, and women were treated like chattel and they were only good for having sons. These bibles have not changed anything in the world for the better, and neither did the concept of Jesus Christ.

Having prophecies is ridiculous because if you know the future, then there is no reason to wait for it.

Bottom line is that looking around today, we see that people are the same. There is more evil than good. No one has to teach you or remind you to be evil, while good has to be taught and be reminded.

If the bible quoters would close their bibles and look for any proof of their God, they would find 2000 years of not even any new stories about God. We have more reports of contact with ET Aliens than we find of God in the bibles.

As for an afterlife, who should care. An afterlife is the carrot and the stick to make sure that we all don't look around at the world and commit suicide. The carrot is Heaven and the stick is Hell.

For now, this is all that I have to tell.

Thanks


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks for coming, Opinion Duck.

I agree for the most part with what you say, except that I don't necessarily think there is more evil than good in the world; it really depends on how you define or conceptualize those things.

As I have tried to say, though some have not been able to hear it amidst the rustling of the pages in their holy book, the rational secular mentality is clearly superior to any miracle- or supernatural-based mentality when it comes to understanding the world. And that is a major reason why secular populations often outperform their religious counterparts--their approach to problem solving just plain works better.


parrster profile image

parrster 4 years ago from Oz

Secularist10. You write well and with persuasion. I will allow this to digest a while before making comment; I have a few points to raise and questions to ask. I have bookmarked, voted up and interesting.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Thank you parrster. Welcome.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

I really would like to know what secularist prophecy has predicted, is it 0-1%?

Can secularist predict how next man will be looking?

I use to be atheists but all what I found was fake. Lepeshinska in Soviet Union favored by Staling filtered eggs and globules were considered as primitive cells. In the West nobody can reproduce experiment.

Nevertheless I found God is alive and well and in our weakenes, God is strong, love and merciful.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Interesting: Prosperity causes less religion.

Religion is man made opinion. It is faith, which makes difference. I was gone from God. But when I found here in US, that God want us to prosper be healthy and having long life I became alive. I always believe religion we have to suffer...


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

You wrote: "We have seen that religion is often associated with a number of social maladies, including crime, teen pregnancy and poor health. Why is religion correlated with negative outcomes on a national and international level?"

You are absolutely right. It applies to atheistic religion.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Vladimir:

"I really would like to know what secularist prophecy has predicted, is it 0-1%?"

I don't understand what you are saying. I have not made any "prophecies."

"Can secularist predict how next man will be looking?"

What next man? Again, I don't understand.

I certainly agree that religion is manmade.

"Atheistic religion" is an oxymoron because by definition anything that is atheistic cannot be a religion, because it does not allow for a supernatural.

I find it quite odd and frankly a little pathetic that you have been on Hub Pages for 3 years and your English writing skills are this poor.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Aw, cut the guy a break. Would you be any better if you were writing in Russian Cyrillic?

But you are right. I didn't understand either.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

If I lived in Russia (Czech Republic in Vladimir's case), and was a member of a Russian-language online writing community for 3 years, and had made the effort to publish over 300 articles in Russian... then, yes. He ain't a newbie.

At least I would expect people to be able to understand me, if not in 100% perfect grammar.

Hey, my Dad is not a native English speaker, and his writing sucks. But he isn't a writer, and doesn't claim to be.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

I do apology about my English. I regret making any comment. Yes, my English is my problem.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Many young people here are arrogant no wonder many nations dislike us.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Well, that's a rather brash statement, VU. Who is arrogant? U.S.A. or "many nations"?

English is a difficult language. Do you have a translator available? It's not just the words, it's the meaning and connotations that you need to master. Especially when you try to write in a foreign language.

Try to find a ghost writer if you can.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Austinstar, entire world is in the mess. One wonders why.

But it is easy to blame others than yourself.

secularist, now you got my attention, I placed you on forgiveness list.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

We don't need forgiveness.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Hahaha, Forgiveness List?

Actually, it sounds kind of cool! Is it like the list to get into a fancy nightclub? Because I was just doing that the other day and being on the list would have come in handy!

And what gives you the authority to determine who gets on and who does not get on the forgiveness list? Lol.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I never understood why Christians have this terrible need to be forgiven just for being born!

And you are right, S10, what the heck gives them the power of judging who gets to be 'forgiven' and who doesn't.

I wish I could get off some of these lists :-)


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

You are off of the list, you have an authority. But you are on my prayer list. I can pray for you but you cannot pray for me. That's the difference.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Indeed, Austinstar. The whole thing is a big guilt trip. I guess people feel more genuine or noble if they declare they are a piece of crap. It's great to have a humble temperament, but confidence and a healthy sense of self worth are important for human life and accomplishment.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Damn! The list is so fickle. You can pray for me all you want. Personally I would suggest doing something more productive with your time, but hey, it's a free country (which is prosperous and free because of secularism--there, got that reference to the main topic back in there!). Whatever floats your boat.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

I was talking about the girl (Austinstar)not you. Then you said "Damm", who is he or she? Just kidding.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Sec. 10. Your problem is discernment between religion and religion. The religion is man opinion. Some are good and some are bad. USA started with believers. Now the faith is declining and despite modern residual progress we are approaching dark age, thanks for socialistic religion. The socialism is believe system which failed.

Then you are right and you are wrong.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Vlad:

"The religion is man opinion."

Yes, precisely. All religion is manmade--Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.

"Some are good and some are bad."

Depends what you mean by "good" and "bad" but all religions are essentially the same, having the same essential logical problems and shortcomings. All religions have the same potential for good and bad (charity and community being examples of good effects, violent radicalism being an example of a bad effect). But some religions are more dangerous and violent than others at a given time.

For instance, Islam is a more dangerous religion today than Christianity (because Christianity has been thoroughly secularized and sterilized and civilized). But 1,000 years ago, Christianity was more dangerous than Islam.

All religions have the same potential for bad, even if that potential is not expressed at a given time.

"USA started with believers. Now the faith is declining and despite modern residual progress we are approaching dark age, thanks for socialistic religion."

I don't know what socialism has to do with anything. But the US has become less religious over time, and more prosperous. As this series of articles demonstrates, less religion is associated with more human prosperity and wellbeing. Therefore we should all want less religion in society, not more.

"The socialism is believe system which failed."

It is typical of many Christian believers to associate socialism with atheism and agnosticism. You should see my hub on the Top 10 myths and fallacies about atheism. Socialism has nothing to do with atheism or secularism in and of itself.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Secularist 10. I do not doubt of you writing skill. Devil was also good propagandist.

Now about Darwin: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler imbraissed him and rest is the history. You should read something about Dinesh D'Souza: What is good about America and about Christianity. BTW those who are murderers are not Christian according to my definition.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"Devil was also good propagandist."

And so is Jesus. How else did he get 2 billion followers? Lol.

What does Darwin have to do with anything? First socialism, now Darwin? Where do these irrelevant references come from? And Marx, Engels, Hitler... ?

This article is about religion, secularism and human wellbeing. Not about Charles Darwin and Adolph Hitler, lol.

Typical odd connections made by Christians.

I've read and heard plenty of D'Souza. He's a smart guy, but has lots of flawed ideas.

"BTW those who are murderers are not Christian according to my definition."

Uh huh. So in other words, you want to have your cake and eat it too. A person can worship God, read the Bible every day, attend church, pray to Jesus Christ, but if he murders someone, suddenly you get to say he is no longer Christian.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Sec. "And so is Jesus. How else did he get 2 billion followers? Lol".

Only difference is Yeshuvah and devil is opposite, you cannot see it with limited mind.

In your agenda, all is connected.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Oh, I see it very well my friend.

So when the Devil does it, it's propaganda, but when Jesus does it, it's perfectly acceptable, revealing the "truth" I presume. Lol.

Now, humor me: How do you know Jesus is the "opposite" of the Devil?

Haha, I don't have an "agenda." Although I suppose for your worldview to make any sense, people like me who ask these annoying and inconvenient questions about your religious beliefs must be seen as hiding some dark agenda, instead of what we really are: simply skeptical people who do not believe everything we hear.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Secularist. I am not religious, I am the believer.

BTW I did not put behind your name your title, which is 10. Do you know what does it mean? Jesus is One and devil is minus zero, in compare, in values.

You call Christians everyone if they had the label. The China was communistic. But not all Chinese were communists.

You are an atheist. You know well that rock never changes to living cell. The “time” has no this property to give the life. Only life begot life. It is logic in the science. Omnis Celulla e celullae (Virchow). Not sure you are familiar with molecular biology.

Now I am done my friend.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Vlad, you can't have "minus zero." Zero is neither positive nor negative.

Unsurprisingly, you assume things about me you don't know. I am not an atheist. The closest label I come to is an agnostic.

What in hell does rock changing into a living cell have to do with ANYTHING? Lol. I assume this is a reference to evolution or something. Which is typical--it is impossible to have a conversation with a believer about anything these days without it ultimately coming back to evolution/ creationism. Ridiculous.

Yes, I'm familiar with molecular biology. Are you? Molecular biologists generally strongly support evolution. God is not needed for any of that.

I will also note you did not answer my question on how you know Jesus is the opposite of the Devil.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

you are absolutely right. Could be less then zero.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

Sec. My God, my love paid the price via Jesus Christ. Devil did rob us, striped us from blessing but Jesus in love came and restored our faith lost in the Garden.

He never sin and grave, hell cannot retain Him. It is the sin, which destroy anyone. Devil rewards man with death, diseases and poverty. Have a good day.

Now I am free man, new creation that my joy may be full. Jesus is my Lord!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"My God, my love paid the price via Jesus Christ."

How can God pay a price? Isn't he the most powerful being in existence? Why is he paying a price to himself? How can he make a sacrifice to himself? The whole thing makes no sense. And that's just the beginning.

In any case, how do you know any of this? Where is your proof?

"Now I am free man, new creation that my joy may be full. Jesus is my Lord!"

How can you be free if you have a lord? In the Middle Ages, the only people who had a "lord" were the peasants and serfs--people with no freedom at all. It is only when we humans break the shackles of the lord, the dictator, the overseer, that we attain true freedom.

You say you are free, but in reality, if Christianity is true, then you are just as much a slave as a citizen of the USSR. You have simply exchanged one tyrant for another.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Vlad, I do hope you are done here. We have told you that you are not making sense.

It appears to me that you have substituted some sort of drug habit for the mindless worship of 'God'.

Truly, you need to wander in the dessert for 40 days and commune with Him via the mushrooms you will find there.

Enjoy.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

I will not quit until fat lady'll sing.

Austinstar, if you will not stop the offensive comments I will report you to Hub authority.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Why am I offensive to you? Because I'm fat? Thank you for pointing that out. I had no idea.

I sing daily, but it doesn't stop you, LOL.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

I mean you said i am on muscarin or so. I treat patients who are addicts but I am abstinent.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I did not say you are on mescalin or peyote - I said you should TRY it, you know, like Jesus did - wander around in the desert for 40 days? Apparently you do not understand me either.

Us injuns (Native Americans) believe you can communicate with your "God" through the ingestion of certain plants. I'm pretty sure that Christians did the same thing. Or why the passages on wandering around in the desert? Hmmm?


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

BTW I forgot to tell you that I made comment re chicks I seen on you Hub they do drink soda and eating fast food with MSG. This is their problem.

Regarding of Jesus, He is Son of God and was born via woman seed to become man. But He had to pass test as Adam did who did not pass. The curse came to all of us. Jesus had to place the Word He learned during His life and memorize and then generate the faith for ministry. The faith comes by hearing. He was speaking word aloud and battle with Serpent (Satan) came. He won. He loves u as nobody else. Seek the truth and it will set you free. In agape. Vlad.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Well, thanks for once again spewing forth the story of Jesus which is still nonsensical.

Why did there have to be a "test" in the first place that God knew ahead of time that Adam and Eve would fail?

Why did God have to send a human form of his own self/son down to pass yet another "test"?

Why did he have to place a "curse" on mankind in the first place?

Why do you believe this whole crazy story is "the truth that will set you free"?

Try to concentrate on really thinking about and answering these questions just like you would state a thesis for a doctoral degree. (Or just with the use of a general b.s. detector in your brain)


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Vlad:

Jesus was a man who believed unusual and iconoclastic things for his time. He was charismatic and attention-grabbing. He made outlandish claims and performed magic tricks. He developed a cadre of ignorant and illiterate followers who hung on his every word. While he was alive, myths and legends began to swirl around this mysterious and bold man who dared to challenge Roman and Jewish authority.

And after he died, the myths and legends really took off: the virgin birth, the resurrection, the miracles, the temptation by Satan, etc. His earliest followers believed in all these kinds of things and developed these myths and legends about him and eventually wrote them down. That is how Christianity was born. Nothing special about it. Jesus was just a man like any other.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Vlad, obviously I can't approve a comment in Czech (or whatever language that was). You have to write in English.


Legless 4 years ago

At the end of the day, if you take religion out of the universe, it will continue to exist. If you take science out of the universe, it cannot exist. Religion was originally devised as a way of explaining the things that Neanderthals couldn't explain. I think it's great that some people are still carrying on their traditions.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Religion served a purpose for a long time, as people were ignorant of how things worked, as you indicate. But religion has run its course and is no longer necessary for explaining how the world works or for anything else.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Religion is for granting hope to the hopeless. It baffles me that religion still exists.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

In my other articles (linked to at the top), I demonstrated that the US has become less religious over time by a variety of measures. The "religion" in the US, such as on the money, or the "thanking God" stuff, is largely ceremonial and superficial. It does not speak to a true, deep religious belief. I know this because if you just look at the whole culture, it is the product of a secular society.

95% of Americans have sex before marriage. Pornography is widely available and readily accessible. The media is saturated with sex and violence. The vast majority of people do not attend church regularly. The majority of Americans are overweight or obese (the sin of gluttony). We have a consumer-driven economy (sins of greed and covetousness).

An extreme example, but typical: a Mafiosi who has killed 20 people in his life, stolen millions of dollars, breaks laws on a regular basis and who dedicates himself to amassing personal material wealth--his entire life is contrary to Christian teachings and concepts. Yet if he does the occasional "thank you God" for his fortune, does that make him a genuine Christian? I don't think any reasonable person would say that.


Legless 4 years ago

OK, I love the way that the believers out there can only respond to these posts by quoting from a book that has dubious origins, has been modified to suit the needs of its adherents many times and has been the cause of more wars and suffering than ANYTHING else, in the history of mankind.

Faith is not a basis for the existance of a divine being, faith is the basis for a corrupt system of opressing and fleecing the ignorant, the easily lead and the terminally stupid. There are more books 'proving' the existance of gods other than your mysogonistic, vengeful and completely illogical god, and that are considerably better written.

The Old Testament is full of tales of the glorification of war, adultery and slavery. The four main books of the New Testament cannot even agree among themselves on some of the fundamental stories of Christ's life.

To this day, Christians still believe a woman's place is in the home. As a breeding machine and a slave to her man. They have no place in their hearts for homosexuals (love thy neighbour anyone?) or those who do not 'believe'. The Christian church, whilst paying lip-service to charity, has one of the largest bank balances on the planet, it has one of the largest amounts of land and buildings in the world and pays some of the lowest taxes on the planet. If it was to liquidate a quarter of its assets, it could feed all the starving children on the planet, provide water to those who need it and hire a mercenary force that would end all civil wars in Africa. But instead, it accumulates and hoards. Do I remember someone, a couple of thousand years ago, mentioning something to the effect that "you can't take it with you"?

Even worse than all that, Christians fight among themselves over the 'correct' way to worship their god and his 'true' message. How pathetic is that? Sure seems like an unequivicable message to me! NOT!

And then, there's Islam! A religion that uses the same first four books of its holy book, as Christianity, then diverges to give a totally different interpretation. Hmmm! this becomes more and more likely! NOT!

So! My message to all you believers is that you're poor deluded fools. You may just as well believe in Gandalf, Spiderman or Harry Potter. At least their message is clear, repeatable and relevant! If believing in, and blaming, a supernatural, invisible, unsubstantiated entity gets you through the day, then you need to get a life. Is there nothing within you, no shred of moral standard or self-worth that makes life worth living for it's own sake? Or do you need others to tell you how to live? What's right & what's wrong? Who to love and who not to?

Remember, as we explore the Universe and come to understand it more, it becomes obvious that the Universe conforms to certain principles, has an order and majesty about it that the concept of a god does not fit in to. Accept THE truth, not A truth!


MetaLogic 4 years ago

Arguing is moot.

Faith and logic do not mix.

Douglas Adams covers it in Hitchhiker's Guide with "The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED"

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic."


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Haha, funny, Meta.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working