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Entry 1138, on 2010-01-05 at 23:26:16 (Rating 4, Religion)
I am often accused of hating Christians and/or hating God. That's not true and it makes no sense. How could I hate a god that I am almost completely certain doesn't exist? And why would I hate Christians when some are my friends and many of the more tolerant and moderate of them are quite reasonable and do some good charitable work in the community?
I do admit that if the Christian god did exist I would strongly disapprove of him because, according to most interpretations of the Bible, he is an evil, vicious, jealous, inconsistent, stupid bully! I would refuse to worship a god like that and that does make my opinion of Christians worse because they do worship him.
So more generally, I don't hate any gods and I don't hate any believers, but I do dislike religion. I don't actually hate religion because it has some good points. But why do I strongly disapprove of it? I admit there are a few advantages to religion but considering its huge disadvantages these seem trivial.
Let's look at the advantages first. Religions often provide a useful social framework for many people who might have trouble interacting with other people otherwise. They can also provide some leadership and guidance for people who have no other authority figure in their life. They provide a lot of interesting myths and customs which we wouldn't have otherwise. And some churches provide useful charitable services. That's all the good stuff I can think of at the moment.
What about the disadvantages? Well they are fairly substantial in my opinion. First, religions are based on lies and encourage believers to abandon truth and rationality and believe myths and propaganda instead. Second, they cause divisions and conflict in society which wouldn't be there otherwise. Third, they are a huge waste of time and money. And finally, they produce a lot of immorality (contrary to what they claim).
Religions repeat the same old lies over and over. They have been proven wrong beyond reasonable doubt but they are still treated as truth by believers. Rationality and science are often rejected in favour of faith (which they claim is a great thing to have but in reality is just an excuse to believe nonsense). The rejection of rationality leads to many problems including the inability to deal with important issues such as climate change which require a reasonable handle on reality.
There have been a lot of wars and other conflicts caused by religion over the course of history. I know there are many other reasons for people to fight but that doesn't make religious conflicts any less problematic. Persecution of other religious groups, crusades, witch burnings, inquisitions, holy wars, genocide, the list goes on and on. I can't think of anything else which has caused as much suffering and death.
So much money goes into building churches and maintaining church leaders' lavish lifestyles. Sure, not every church is corrupt and wasteful but many are. I think the money wasted on religion could be put to far better use elsewhere.
Religions like to pretend they are the source of good morals. Most religions include moral teaching and a lot of that is actually quite good. But those good morals are not limited to religion and there is generally a lot of extra "baggage" associated with religious morals such as the requirement to obey a god or other arbitrary rules designed to sustain it.
So yes, I disapprove of religion strongly. These quotes sum it up nicely, I think...
Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established. - Ludwig Feuerbach.
The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion. - Arthur C. Clarke.
The Bible has noble poetry in it... and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies. - Mark Twain.
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