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Monday, August 3, 2009

Five Reasons for My Lack of Religious Faith

1. The concept of the sacred - Do I think that nothing is important or to be revered or take the nihilistic approach? No. I do however take objection to the idea that anything is inviolable to the point that is cannot be questioned. My immediate reaction to anything that cannot be questioned is to wonder why. Can it not stand up to the scrutiny? If not, how can it be true and if it isn't true how is it worthy of its status? I also find it to be extremely arrogant to claim that anything cannot be questioned. Nothing should be too sacred to be examined on its merits.
2. Original Sin or ancestral sin - I find no other doctrine of the Christian faith more repugnant. I fought for years as a Christian with this concept. It offended every single fiber of my being and caused me more doubt, more frustration, more anger than any other single thing. I cannot imagine how anyone can be at peace with the idea that the transgression of one person (and it was a minor one at that) could possibly be the justification for the condemnation by default of an entire species. The very notion that any transgression, even by the individual themselves, is worthy of eternal torture (and that is what the idea of hell is) is absurd. There is no person in human history deserving of that. Not even the great bugbears of history, Hitler, Stalin et al, deserve that. Eternity? Think about it. Assume for the moment that the original sin thing is true, can you even wrap your mind around the staggering arrogance and vindictive malice required of god to carry it off. No being capable of even conceiving of the idea is worthy of contempt let alone worship.
3. Inaccuracy- The 'sacred' texts that underpin religion are riddled with holes. I admittedly have not read the Koran cover to cover and have not examined every religious writing but I have read enough both on my own and the analyses of those who make life's studies of them to conclude that the there is no consistency, no accuracy either to history or science. This, of course, goes back to the first point. Don't question because it might find the holes in the tissue of lies. It boggles my mind what people steadfastly believe. I was raised on the bible so that is the one I am the most familiar with. I tried for years to reconcile what my observation and education told me with what the bible said. I could not do it. The mental gymnastics that the theologians go through to try and prove the historical and scientific accuracy of the bible would be funny if so many people didn't believe it. The simple and observable truth is that the bible was written by and for people who had a very primitive understanding of the world and the universe. Their cosmology was no more advanced than the isolated tribes of the Amazon have today. To base your life around the writings of people who believed that killing goats would influence the weather should be shocking...
4. In-group morality - Religion as a whole tends to engender in-group thinking. Human creatures do not need anything to add to the tribal tendency, the us versus them mentality. Religion does nothing more than add another layer to this and insulate the practitioner from feeling of guilt or remorse for the greatest atrocities. It's ok if we rape and murder and burn and torture because our victims are no us. They are them, the out-group; the enemies of god. No one stops to consider whether or not a god who would permit such things would be worthy of worship. Religion, across the board tends to this by its very nature. Even the most 'peaceful' religions can be moved to violence... anywhere the fundamentalist mindset lives, there will be violence.
5. History - Any organization has its past rolled up into what it is now. The history of religion, and Christianity (regardless of flavor) is no exception, is riddles with violence persecution, injustice and all natures of social evils. I recognize that this is inescapable in any organization over time, be it a nation, a professional club or religion, but there are limits and measures. The United States has, in a number of circumstances, been guilty of horrific acts. Whether these acts were openly sanctioned by the nation as a whole or simply committed by its agents is irrelevant. No honest person will claim that the nation is spotless and blameless. Knowing this I whole heartedly proclaim my love for my country. Why? The United States, despite its flaws, is still one of very few nations in the world or in the history of the world that has ever tried, truly tried, to correct as many failings and injustices as it can. We, by internal means, freed the slaves and gave women their equal status. We seek to do the right thing and give freely to make it happen. This is rare and wonderful. Do terrible things happen? Yes. But the overall aspect and nature of the country is good.

If the Ku Klux Klan started selling cookies door to door and promoting the welfare or orphans I would still not join them. They have a history and overall aspect that is bad. I see it as being the same thing with religion as a whole. (I am not saying that all religious people are akin to Klan members, far from it) Religion, for the reasons stated above does nothing to free people, to correct injustices, to make things better. It traps people in ignorance and makes them revel in that ignorance. It motivated the worst kind of atrocities and is unrepentant about it. The very concept of jihad or 'holy war' taints religion to the core. I find it repellent.

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About Me

I am a husband and a father of two. I work as a network administrator. I am interested in religion and philosophy, though mostly from an external perspective.