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Religion Cannot Win. October 17, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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Religion cannot win. It simply cannot maintain any level of higher morality, higher moral values, better quality of life, or any other measure related to human social norms. I suppose it is presumptuous for me to claim that any of these things are the true goal of religion. But if not, then religion is reduced to nothing more than worship of a god or gods, in order to appease and perhaps gain entrance to eternity, or some other prize after our bodies physically die. That makes religions seem less appealing to me.

I have seen no evidence whatsoever that religious people are any better than non-religious people, and there is certainly no evidence that suggests one religion produces better morals than another. What with terrorists acting in the name of Allah, or Christians murdering abortion doctors, it is apparent to me and many others, that religion by itself is unable to satisfy humans as a method or approach to living better lives on this planet.

Being an atheist, having abandoned the idea that there are any real gods out there who are concerned with our species and how we live our lives, I can say with great certainty that my personal moral standards are higher than the highest self-proclaimed “men of God” in the largest denominations of Christianity ever known, including any and all Popes who ever lived. And my basis for such a claim is the simple fact that I have never stood before any large crowd of people and proclaimed that I have superior knowledge of a god, and that I am speaking on behalf of said god. I have never told anyone that they must behave a certain way in order to avoid eternal hell, or gain eternal life. That, is immoral.

Religions and gods have come and gone for millennia, and although it seems there is no end in sight, I have more faith in the human race to shake itself free from the shackles of all dogmatic thinking, all imaginary gods, and all outdated moral sets that create massive division among otherwise happy and healthy societies. There is simply no way that the major dogmas hidden behind Jesus Christ, or Allah, for example, will remain unchallenged, or blindly accepted by everyone as time marches on.

Religion is a tool of fear and control, directed by men who literally have nothing better to do with their personal time on earth. Many of those men have been disgraced by scandal or blatant hypocrisy while standing before their flocks, and their imagined god. And slowly but surely, the flocks are shrinking, and finding better ways to think about why we are here, and where we are going. Humans have all the tools they need to make their short and unique lives the best they can be, without the need for a god or a preacher, or an ancient human named Jesus to guide them. Heck, if you like the way Jesus lived his life, then you should be willing to live your life in a similar way – now there’s a true challenge!

Peace, and may religion die sooner, rather than later!



1. befuddled2 - October 18, 2010

If I am reading this correctly then I am going to have to disagree with part of what you are stating.

I agree that those who believe in God do not have higher moral standards than those who do not. However you seem to be going beyond that to say that atheists have superior moral standards.

To me morals came before religion and religious beliefs are meant to support morality. While I agree that there is much that has been done in the name of religion that has been terrible I would also point out that there is much that is good.

One example is slavery. While many mainstream Christian groups supported slavery there has been a long history of Christians opposed to it. And it was these groups that finally spearheaded the abolition of slavery – not atheism. Nor a more secularized form of Christianity.

I would also say that not all religions are equal in terms of morality. I would say that all of the modern world religions have the equal potential to promote morality although some have had greater success at acheiving it than others.

To give a currently controversial example would be Islam and Christianity. Yes, Christians have groups promoting hatred and killing abortion doctors. However as a percentage of their religion it is less than those of Islam who are terrorists.

Both Islam and Christianity have the same potential, but Islam has a subset that has not met that potential yet. Of course Christianity has been around longer (if you look at their views and actions in the middle ages and up into the Enlightenment you see many similarities with the terrorists of Islam) and also has not had the problems caused by colonialism to deal with.

I would also point out that being an atheist does not make a you moral person. Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao were all atheists, but not moral people.

In summary, getting rid of all religion will not created a moral people. Morality, at its base, is independent of religion.

I also do not believe that most people will ever give up all superstitious belief. It provides too much comfort, a sense of larger purpose, and an emotionally satisfying way of explaining the world for most.

What is realistic though is to promote those parts of religion that support morality and to work with them while seeking to eliminate or change those that do not.

2. jetson - October 19, 2010

It’s good to know that there are believers who don’t claim that all morals came from their god!

I actually believe that people who don’t use a god as an excuse for their morals, most definitely hold the moral high ground? How else can it possibly work? After all, if a person refrains from murder solely to please his god, then surely he is not as moral as one who does it because it is a horrible thing to do.

Or am I misunderstanding your reply?

3. befuddled2 - October 19, 2010

I would say that many believe that morality was created by God. That it was put in us to be moral people and that is why people should behave morally instead of a fear of a hell or hope of a heaven. To behave immorally is not only against God but harms ourselves.

I would say that our morality, at its base, does arise from our nature. However instead of having God creating that nature I believe that evolution shaped it by causing us to be both highly intelligent and highly social animals.

I also do not believe that if everyone was an atheist the world would be more moral. Given this, and given that I do not think we will ever get rid of the superstitious aspects of religion and its popularity with most peopel, I would rather concentrate on promoting those religious beliefs of whatever faith that support morality and work against those that do not. While, of course, still explaining why I think it atheists are correct metaphysically speaking and theists are wrong.

4. bradley - October 26, 2010

I agree with you… religious people are no more moral, no more righteous, no better than non-religious. That’s why I’m a Christian. Thank you God for the gift of salvation, because we could never earn it ourselves.

jetson - October 26, 2010

Always the optimist, Bradley!

Your comment seems contradictory though? I suppose that if you agree that no group holds moral superiority, then it’s OK to be a Christian – is that what you meant?

On the other hand, if being a Christian does not grant one better moral values, then I suppose it doesn’t really matter if you choose Christianity over anything else. Or did I miss your message completely?

5. bradley - October 26, 2010

Based on your passion for misrepresenting people of faith, I would say you get “the” message but choose to ignore it, as it doesn’t fit your propaganda.

Am I missing something? At the root of Christianity is the understanding that we ALL fall short of the glory of God.

Do you have anything to say at all, that isn’t just hate? About the only thing I hate is fascism.

jetson - October 26, 2010

Indeed, you are missing my representation completely. But I am not at all surprised, really. I am not choosing to ignore anything, I am choosing to think clearly and rationally about the observable world around me, mostly as a matter of practicality, and at times, to be an advocate for reason among civilized people.

You are indeed missing something very serious – the simple and undeniable fact that what you claim is true, is not agreeable to most of the world’s population. Given that there are a large number of Christians out there, to which I cannot dispute, you would think that the simple fact that it fails to represent the beliefs of over 65% of the worlds people, you would be able to understand that your assertions about your particular beliefs mean nothing to most people. They either hold completely different faiths/beliefs, or none at all.

So, your assertion that we ALL fall short of the glory of your god, means nothing to the largest majority of humans. They have their own beliefs, and you literally have no possible way of proving that YOU have it right.

The hate that you refer to is simply a projection of your insecurity about your personal beliefs as far as I can see. This is a normal human reaction to challenged beliefs, so I don’t consider it a flaw. Just an unfortunate by-product of using your personal beliefs as a hammer to pound it into everyone around you. It won’t work though, as more and more of the younger generations are abandoning dogmatic thinking and exclusive dogmas that use ancient texts as a guide to how to live, and to who is allowed to play.

I have no passion for misrepresenting people of faith, as I have plenty of friends who are fully aware of my lack of god beliefs. My passion is for being outspoken about the oppression and direct support through religious rules/morals/laws of demonizing specific groups of humans because of a perceived flaw in their character, personality, sexual orientation, lack of religion, or poor choice in denomination in some cases. You are free to deny that this is occurring under the very nose of many Christian leaders, but that does not make the problem go away.

Shall we argue more about hate, or would you prefer to just make a small but desperately needed donation to a secular organization that provides clean water to Haitians currently dying of cholera? Go to pih.org if you’re interested.

6. bradley - October 26, 2010

Then believe as the other 65% 😀 I’m not going to stop you, nor do I want to. If you ever need a hand with anything, though, don’t hesitate to ask. I faced my share of issues.

Take care.

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