- Religion and Philosophy
It is Time to Evolve!
Religion - an outdated set of discredited superstition - has done much evil in this world. Many people hold these destructive memes to be the root of all that is good about humanity. There is little evidence to support their claims (or their beliefs), nevertheless, connection to reality is not required in the world of religion.
In their quest to "do good", religions have brought untold destruction and suffering to humanity. Holy wars, inquisitions, terrorism, forced conversions and subjugation of native populations, repression of women, intolerance - you name it, religions have done it, and always under the guise of a noble purpose and the word of god. True, religions have also created a measure of good in the world. However whatever good has come of religion has been far outstripped by the evil, and in any case can now be continued by better, more enlightened organizations.
Worse, religious fanatics everywhere have taken it upon themselves to retard the progress of humanity. From the persecution of Galileo by the church for daring to show proof of a world different from the literal interpretation of an ancient work of fiction; to denial of the Theory of Evolution by modern American Neo-ignoramuses; to restrictions on stem cell research in the name of the sanctity of a group of cells; to the murdering of artists and journalists by Islamist jihadi beasts; to theft and occupation of Palestinian west-bank lands by Jewish messianic zealots who claim the land was given to them by an imaginary friend 5,000 years ago.
Religion retards humanity. It is high time we recognize this bronze age superstition for what it is, and embrace humanitarian, secular values of peace, justice, science and democracy. These may not be perfect, and indeed there is no shortage of secular madmen, but at least in our case madness is not a pre-requisite.
Is this enough fire and brimstone for you? Well... let me tell you what I really think (and show you what better thinkers than I have to say about the subject). Read on.
An Atheist's Reading List
Top 5 Reasons I'm an Atheist
So... why am I an atheist you ask? Here is a partial list of my reasons.
- There is no Evidence for God - I am being asked to accept a wide ranging set of "facts" and rules that have a deep impact on my life, without any shred of evidence to verify the basis for these statements.
- The Witness is a Known Liar - over the centuries science has time and again proven that religious dogma is false. Every time the fanatics reinterpret the holy and unchanging word of god to fit with the new information, or worse, simply deny this new, scientific knowledge.
Examples? How many do you want? The earth is the center of the universe, claimed the fanatics. Nope, proved Galileo. The world is 5,000 or so years old, claim the fanatics to this date. More like 4.5B years old, proved science. Species were made by god in one fell swoop and are ever unchanging, claimed the benighted. Species evolve by means of natural selection proved Darwin. Not so, argued the fanatics, and fell ill from a newly evolved strain of the flu.
If the witness has been shown to be a compulsive liar, why put any faith in his words?
- Religion is Unethical and is Often Evil - most religions deny equality to gays. Most deny equality to women. Many prohibit an unfortunate teenage girl from terminating an unintended pregnancy. Many religions have xenophobic elements to them forcing believers to shun or convert the other. Religion often motivates hatred and violence.
In short, I think that on balance religion makes people worse.
- Religion Stunts Reason - why ask questions about the nature of existence and reality, if the answer is already assumed? If things are the way they are because a supernatural being so decreed, things should be a done deal, right? Well, that doesn't work for me.
- Which God? - there are so many, each claiming to be the one and only, and each threatening my soul with eternal damnation. Statistically, whatever I choose, I'm doomed. In practice, that seems like strong evidence to suggest that all are simply meaningless.
Are you a believer?
"As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive: and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be NATURALLY SELECTED. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form."
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.
Now... which do you think gives us better tools to understand our universe?
Testimonial of an Atheist
Religion & Humor
A Universe from Nothing
Understanding science - at least at a basic level - is critical to an understanding of the world. Creationists are, by definition, ignorant. At times they are ignorant by choice in other cases it's their blind faith that makes them turn away from the evidence or avoid seeking it in the first place.
The biggest challenge these folks aim at science is its inability to explain absolutely everything. According to their philosophy, god hides in our ignorance. As our ignorance diminishes, and as science peels away the onion layers of "creation", god either retreats into a deeper remaining hole of ignorance or his followers simply deny scientific facts and invent "controversies".
In any case, for those who want to learn, check out this video about the scientific ideas about the creation of the universe. Is this definitive knowledge? Absolutely not, but it is reasoned, evidence based thinking about the origins of existence. I read the book based on this lecture. It's a good one. Check it out.
Humanist & Atheist Organizations
Below is a short list of humanist and atheist organizations. Folks that believe that the world would be a better place if we dispensed with the idea of god and that offer a path to a rationalist, evidence based, ethical way of life that is not routed in supernatural beings.
- American Humanist Association
The American Humanist Association has stood as the voice of humanism in the United States for over 70 years.
- International Humanist and Ethical Union
Founded in Amsterdam in 1952, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the sole world umbrella organisation embracing Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secularist, skeptic, laique, ethical cultural, freethought and similar organisations world
- Council for Secular Humanism
The mission of the Council for Secular Humanism is to advocate and defend a nonreligious lifestance rooted in science, naturalistic philosophy, and humanist ethics and to serve and support adherents of that lifestance.
Close to my heart - this small organization in Israel is helping former ultra-orthodox Jews who are looking to free themselves from the burden of unproductive belief and integrate into secular society. "God" bless them... :-)
Atheists are finally starting to come out of the closet and show their power in the ballot box, in public life and in social settings. In this module I will highlight some notable examples:
- Explaining the Horrific Events at NewTown without Resorting to God
Atheists need to explain the world to their kids without resorting to superstitious fictions. I found this particular article enlightening.
- Religiously Unaffiliated Add to Obama's Winning Coaliion
Not all are atheists, but this group now make up nearly 20 of the country's population. They are typically younger, more socially liberal than their forebears and vote Democratic.
The Mind of a Skeptic
This is an excellent little animated short. It expresses the wonder and appreciation skeptics have for the universe, along with the insanity of some of the weak minded believers out there.
The clip uses some language not suitable for work or for children. Be warned, but enjoy.
Reports from the Battle Lines
The fight between religion and the forces of light and reason have some real world implications. At any point in time battles are being fought around the world with deep consequences. Here are some of the latest stories in the battle to free mankind of the burden of religion:
- Muslims in Bangladesh Call for Freedom of Speech for All... Wait...
Actually, they demonstrate for death penalty to atheist bloggers. It's a good thing Bangladesh is a wealthy and prosperous country - thanks to Allah, of course. The only thing left to deal with? Atheists.
- Dawkins: "Science works, bitches..."
The man has a way with words... Couldn't agree more.
- Peace Loving Religious Execute Atheists
Admittedly, "only" 7 countries, mostly Islamic, prove to Atheists that they are incorrect that god is a superstition by murdering them. A god of love and peace, of course.
- Cadet Quits West Point over Religion
I'm not quite clear if this is as it seems, but this cadet quit after alleging discrimination against non-religious individuals in the military.
- Muslims the World Over Riot for Their Kind and Loving God
A regular festival for Muslims appears to be world wide riots after someone, somewhere says something about their god, holy book or prophet. This time, the excuse was a supposed blasphemous Internet movie. The natural and obvious reaction: kill Ameri
Anonymity: Why I Don't Use My Real Name on this Lens
Just in case you are wondering, mostly everyone I know, including my family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, knows me for a proud atheist (or rather, as close to an atheist as you can get without proving a negative). My anonymity on this site has nothing to do with my atheism, rather, it is driven by my wish to keep my online identity separate from my off-line identity. Privacy and all that jazz.
I would love to hear your opinions about religion and it's place in the world. If you are religious, well educated and think you have a cogent argument in support of religion and it's place in the world - I would love to hear from you. If you are a believer in a literal interpretation of the bible, consider the Theory of Evolution a controversial matter, or think the world was created 5,000 or so years ago, PLEASE go waste someone else's time. I welcome differing opinions and ideas. I do not welcome zealots.
All rational discussion welcome.