Exercising my right of Free Speech and also your right to leave this site if you disagree.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Questions I sometimes get asked...

There are several questions that, as a vocal atheist, one inevitably gets asked. To avoid setting up straw men I will not get overly specific and I also have no intention of being comprehensive. I am going to address two basic questions here that come up repeatedly. Regardless of wording or tone, these questions boil down to this; why are you so anti-religion and why do you hate God?
The second question is easily disposed of thus, I do not. I do not believe that there is a god to hate. As I do not hate the tooth fairy, so I do not hate god. It is an absurd question.
The first question however does demand a bit more attention. Why am I so anti-religion? There are several facets to this answer. In short, it is false, it allows humans to justify vile behaviors and it retards growth of knowledge and understanding.

Religion is false. Religion attempts to make real claims as to the nature of the universe. It does so based not on observation and experience but on revelation made to an individual or group. (I am aware that there are religions that are more philosophical forms than revelations but lets put that aside for the moment) These revelations are invariable at odds with history and science. If we accept the revelation we disregard the observable nature of things, be it the age of the earth and the fossil record, the vastness and expansion of the universe or our own origins. Revelation demands that we place ourselves in a position of central importance in this 'creation'. There is no evidence in biology, geology, astronomy or any other branch of study to support the claims of revelation.

Religion allows humans to justify vile behaviors. Need I submit any evidence beyond the rubble of ground zero in New York? How about the ruins of the Khobar Towers or the bombing of PanAM 103? What about the crusades and witch trials or the bombing or abortion clinics? How about the ritual mutilation of infants all over the world or the oppression of women and homosexuals? It is hard to find a clear example of suffering inflicted by one group on another that does not, at its root, have religion motivating it. There are at the time of writing 38 wars going on around the globe. 36 of them are religious in nature or motivation. Religious groups and regimes are constantly at war to convert or punish or just eliminate those who disagree with them.

Religion retards growth of knowledge and understanding. What motivation is there to investigate the universe and probe the fabric of reality if we take it for granted that all things come from god and there is nothing to learn beyond holy writ? All progress in human knowledge has been gained not with religion but despite it, usually in the face or persecution and torment. It is only because religion has lost its coercive power in certain times and places that we have what we have today. All modern advances in technology, medicine and life quality are had against the pull of religion. Religion is now actively seeking the return to the squalor and ignorance of the middle ages; the jihadist bent on murdering anyone who doesn't follow Islam's 15th century ideals and the Christian fundamentalist trying to crush stem cell research, ban abortions and undermine separate church and state are just two sides of the same coin. No good comes of looking backward to old books that are not even internally consistent.

I could go on and elaborate more on each section but I think I made my points.


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.