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Religion Just Sucks
Entry 1253, on 2010-12-12 at 21:35:27 (Rating 5, Religion)
I often defend other religions against the attacks of Christian zealots. I try to point out that there is good and bad in every religion, including those closely associated with terrorism, and that it's unfair to criticise them based on specific incidents. But that's not really true. Religion is just indefensible. Sure, Christianity sucks and is a major force for evil in the world, but Islam is at least as bad, and after doing a bit of research I have found that other religions, such as Hinduism, are also basically evil. So religion is just embarrassing, and evil, and stupid, and outdated, and... hey, religion just sucks!
Yeah sure, you can point out some of the good things associated with religion. Some charities have religious connections, many churches provide a useful social focus for their members, and religion provides a fascinating history and mythology that we all should appreciate. But how does that stack up against the bad? Does the good really overcome the religiously motived murder, suicide attacks, wars, child abuse, intolerance of alternative lifestyles, opposition to scientific progress, and really just the embarrassing stupidity of religious belief?
I don't think so. In fact, I don't think it even comes close. Pointing out a few good points in anything doesn't automatically overcome the inherent evil associated with that same phenomenon. I am going to succumb to the temptation and be guilty of fulfilling Godwin's Law here. Yes, I can find good points in Naziism. In fact many of them would be similar to the good points I listed for churches above: it certainly created a sense of community for example. Sure that was based on fear in many cases but are you going to tell me that fear isn't one major factor keeping people in their religions?
You might think I'm being a hypocrite here. I criticise religious people for being intolerant but I demonstrate intolerance of religion myself. Mea culpa? I love that phrase which originates in the Catholic church of course. It was originally part of the confession - that evil tradition of invoking guilt the church uses to enslave its members - but in reality it's the church itself which should be using it: mea maxima culpa!
But I think my intolerance of religion is different. I don't criticise religion just because it follows a different philosophy from mine. I don't condemn it because I feel threatened by its power. I criticise it because it has a track record covering thousands of years which is overwhelmingly evil. Notice that I keep using that word which the church prefers to use to describe its real and imaginary opponents but really applies more to itself than anyone else!
There are three main defences religion commonly uses to evade criticism such as mine. The first is that religious people do bad things but not because of their religion, in fact if they followed the religion properly they would specifically not have done that thing. The second is that the people doing the bad things aren't religious because if they were they wouldn't be doing those things. And the third is non-religious people do things which are as bad as (or worse than) what religious people do.
Let's look at these defences in detail. Are the bad things religious people do never related to their religion? Is killing your daughter because she has contradicted your holy book by having a boy friend not religiously motivated? Is flying a plane into a building because of your antipathy to the politico-religious community it represents not religiously motivated? Is sexually abusing little boys because your church protects you from the consequences not connected with religion? Is burning someone alive, or stoning someone, or imprisoning someone for years, just because they differed on some minor point of interpretation of a religious text not primarily a religious act?
There are usually other factors involved as well because nothing is ever caused by just one thing. There may be social or political or psychiatric issues as well as religious ones but religion is the primary cause of many of the atrocities we see today. Religion is evil.
The defence that the people who do bad things aren't really religious doesn't stand up to scrutiny either. As I have shown above these acts are specifically caused by the way these people interpret a religious text or a tradition or the instructions of a religious leader. If the religion is sufficiently unclear that it can be interpreted as condoning that sort of behaviour then it must be held to blame. Saying religion can't be evil because if an evil act is committed it isn't religious is just circular logic - the sort of logic the religious use in many circumstances!
The third defence: that non-religious people do evil things too is also very weak. Even if it was true (which it isn't) that would mean non-religious people are no better or worse than the religious. I would ask what is the advantage of religion then? But it's not true anyway. How many people have used the "teachings" of atheism to blow people up because they disagree with them? How many atheists have beheaded their wife because she has some small point of difference in her world view? How many murders are caused by atheist doctrine? None. I agree that some atrocities have been done by people with no (obvious) religion but there acts were motivated by politics or other beliefs not by lack of belief in a religion.
Finally there's the point I have made before: religion is just stupid. It's an embarrassment to the human race. If our planet was visited by an advanced alien race and they saw people performing primitive religious rituals how would any sensible person feel? Embarrassed! If that same alien race examined our knowledge of science and philosophy and religion what would they think? Would they think the religious thought was created by children, or an ignorant tribe, or by people with mental retardation? They should because most religion is no better than the random murmurings of an idiot.
I have often criticised the pathetically naive beliefs of Christians in the past but I now must extend that to Islam as well. I listened to an interview with a devout Muslim recently and he was saying that after pointing out the scientific evidence supporting Islam most atheists are convinced. I doubt it. I've looked at that evidence and it's pathetic. There is nothing supporting the truth of Islam that I have ever seen. The evidence just doesn't exist.
The logical conclusion is that religion makes no sense and has an overwhelmingly negative influence on the world. The senior Christian cleric who said that atheists are less than human was wrong. Totally wrong. Seeking the truth, being tolerant where tolerance is deserved, and avoiding being forced into doing evil because of a totalitarian regime isn't less than human. Christians (and others) should examine their conscience and see who is really the most human amongst us!
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