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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faith in the human race to shake itself free from the shackles of all dogmatic thinking, all imaginary gods, and all outdated moral sets that create massive division among otherwise happy and healthy societies.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!


Find Me a God… December 29, 2009

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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I have said that it is always possible that there is a god or gods out in the universe, or perhaps outside of our universe. I’m not sure how we would ever prove that, but I have to admit that anything is possible. What I really would like though, is to find a god with attributes that make more sense than any god we have ever seen before. Of course, my list of attributes is obviously going to be subjective, so take it all with a grain, and if you disagree, feel free to make your own list. It’s not like there haven’t been hundreds of thousands of gods in the past, so what’s a few more!

I’m not sure why people think that a god needs to be mean, but it sure seems like that is the prevailing idea. If a god isn’t demanding that someone be killed, he is demanding that certain people will go to hell. Or he is demanding we worship him, or any other bizarre ritual that doesn’t add any value to the god itself, other than said god being a mean, jealous, and vindictive entity. So, as a mere mortal and thinking human, I give you my list of attributes, as well as things I don’t want this god to have!

Find me a god who…

  • Exists.
    Communicates effectively with no opportunity for misunderstanding.
    Doesn’t need a book.
    Is as obvious as gravity.
    Accepts our mistakes, our shortcomings, our imperfections, and any transgressions we make.
    Could care less if I were a homosexual.
    Supports my decision to abort my pregnancy if I were a woman.
    Turns a major hurricane back out to the open sea when it threatens to kill innocent humans.
    Keeps the caps on volcanoes that are too close to human and animal populations.
    Aborts any fertilized egg that he knows will be born handicapped, or sick, or too early to survive.
    Steers a rapist in the opposite direction of his victim, or better yet, who doesn’t allow that type of behavior to be possible in our fragile brains.
    Needs no worship, nor church services, nor mere humans to speak for it.
    Speaks to us gently, and guides us effortlessly through life’s ups and downs.
    Helps us understand why our loved ones die, and lets us know that our loved ones are not suffering.
    Evenly distributes the earths resources, so that all life has abundant food.
    Doesn’t take sides.
    Has no “chosen” people.
    Easily tolerates those who don’t need him.
    Doesn’t need our money.
    Cares about what we think, no matter what we think.
    Nudges us in the right direction when we veer off course.
    Allows us to learn from our mistakes without any threat of eternal damnation.
    Doesn’t allow a hell to exist.
    Doesn’t allow lightning to set a house full of children on fire.
    Condemns anyone who claims to speak for said god.
    Keeps viruses and bacteria from harming life.
    Allows morals to come from our sense of goodness towards each other.
    Doesn’t need to smell burning animal flesh.
    Doesn’t command that entire cities be wiped out because they are heathens.
    Doesn’t condone slavery of other humans.
    Knows that men and women are equal.
    Doesn’t allow men to control what women wear, where they go, or what they do with their lives.
    Instills a sense of community and caring into each human, no matter where they live or where they were born.
    Condemns war completely.
    Helps us understand our purpose, even if the purpose is personal and selfish.
    Condemns every form of hatred and bigotry.
    Shares the secrets of the universe, so that no one has to guess.
  • There are more, but this should do as a start. Feel free to add more! Together, we can make a really great god. Or, we can abandon them all and just be good little humans.

    Can You Live Without Certainty? December 28, 2009

    Posted by jetson in Personal.
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    I was reading a forum discussion here, and was struck by a message posted by forum member Deus ex Machina, regarding certainty and uncertainty. He was responding to another forum member about a link to this site, where the website author makes some interesting assertions.

    This is an excerpt from the discussion that inspired me to quote part of it, and to write this particular blog, written by Deus ex Machina:

    I understand that people would like there to be some sort of overarching purpose. That they’d like to have certainty, that they’d like to be able to say “look, we know that this is true/false/right/wrong and it’s all settled”. Some people crave certainty. But truth be told, the Universe doesn’t seem particularly keen on providing any such certainty, or evidence of deities, divine purpose or design, absolute truths, moral laws – or, for that matter, the true underlying nature of physical reality. Uncertainty is one of those things we have to live with; and much as it may be comforting to fill those uncertainties with notions of divine purpose, to believe that there’s really a Big Pictureâ„¢, believing in them doesn’t make them true – and latching onto a particular belief and then asserting that others must believe the same as you do (or they’re somehow less human, less deserving of life, doomed to suffer some terrible fate, etc. etc.) is positively dangerous.

    Deus ex Machina put things in words that are hard to make better, or more clear. Why is it that some humans cling so tightly to certain beliefs? Why is uncertainty, a plain and simple fact of life, so frightening, or so unpalatable? Well, I’m a human, so dare me to take my own guesses!

    As a human, I actually do crave some level of certainty. As I was growing up, that craving has been shed to some extent, and possibly turned in different directions, or towards things that replaced my childhood views. Most humans go from what we describe as “immature” to “mature” in their thinking. Obviously, maturity in thinking is very subjective, but for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to say that immature thinking is thinking that begins to be based not on evidence, but on beliefs, faith, or any other form of thinking that one must accept, apparently without much consideration. But I also know that uncertainty, while scary to think about at times, is far more certain!

    We just do not know the future. We have no way of moving beyond a specific moment to see what will happen to us next. The known laws of the universe do not allow something to go beyond time, or to disconnect itself from time. This is where phrases like “life is precious” come from. We have no way of knowing that the engine from a 747 won’t fall from the sky and land on our car, killing us instantly. We can say with very high probability that it will never happen, but we can’t know for sure. So we live on, as though our lives will follow some path of certainty – which makes us happier, I think.

    Of course, some humans get very unsettled thinking that there is any certainty at all – it seems they prefer to “live on the edge”, “take chances”, “just do it”, and so on. These people may introduce a little more uncertainty in their lives by doing things that are less predictable. And so it is, all humans go about their daily lives with a certain amount of certainty – none of which they can depend on 100%. But that works for most of us.

    If humans put too much focus on uncertainty, there would be too much fear and anxiety for people to accomplish anything. What if we could not find a single human willing to man the rocket that landed on the moon? If ever there was uncertainty, that was it! But those men knew they would be successful, not from arrogance or wishful thinking, or pure bravery (some would call it stupidity!), but from the knowledge and confidence that all of the mechanics, engineering, math, and technology were carefully measured, tested and re-tested so that as much of the uncertainty of the flight plan was eliminated. And so it is with everything we humans do in order to mature and grow, as individuals and as groups.

    However, if we put too much focus on certainty, how can we grow as individuals, or as societies? How do we get beyond some of the superstitions and beliefs that support bigotry and hatred towards other humans? If it is not clear by now, make no mistake, humans will NEVER come to an agreement on things such as gods, religions, or religious beliefs. We are more divided on that single issue than any other as far as I have seen. There is little reason to think that will change at all. I think the best hope is to put religions and their ideologies back into the churches and homes of those who feel they need it, and keep it out of societal laws and sciences that seek to learn using logic, reason, clear thinking, and proper methodologies that do not discriminate at all. Science will always correct itself – religion NEVER will.

    So, live with a certain amount of certainty, but never make the mistake of thinking that you have some absolute truth or knowledge that is indisputable. No god, no scientist, no human can make such a claim – isn’t that quite certain!


    Religion: Sometimes Fails in Sickening Ways October 22, 2009

    Posted by jetson in Personal.
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    This story is a great reason to stay away from certain religious organizations. I am here to tell you that just because a group is religious, does not mean it is a good thing. Just read the story in the link above, and think about what this group of Christians are doing to innocent people. This is an outrage and disgusts me on every level.

    These murders were basically ordered by evangelical Christian pastors who believed that these children were witches! Witches? Seriously? In this day and age? All I can say is that when we discover organizations like this, hiding behind Their god and The Bible, we need to treat them as criminal organizations. What if this were a secular child care organization?

    Sadly, this is a part of the “spread of Christianity”, like it or not. In remote villages and jungles, according to the article, the competition for evangelism is fierce, and religious groups are competing to gain a foothold. This competition is causing other groups to follow suit, and join in the witch hunts.

    I am sure that some people will claim that these organizations are not actually Christian. While I can understand why they might think this, it is impossible to deny that this is being done in the name of Christianity. There’s just no getting around it. If you are a Christian, perhaps you should be praying for these children and their families. For it is in the name of the very religion you follow that this is occurring. For your part, do whatever it takes to denounce this behavior, and this abhorrent form of abuse and murder in the name of your God. Please.