WHY DO I CARE ABOUT RELIGION? WHY DO I CARE ABOUT THE TRUTH?
I am frequently asked why I spend time pushing back against
The fact, is I would not care one little bit what anyone
believed, if those beliefs were not harmful to others. And keep in mind I am
talking about RELIGION in general, not just Christianity. What do I mean?
Here are several cases in point that will hopefully make my
A friend's sister died unnecessarily, because she put her faith
in god rather than medicine and doctors. She, the family members and friends all
prayed fervently for her recovery. They felt that neither drugs nor treatment
were necessary. The just knew and felt God would come through...that he would
save her. But he didn't. She died anyway. But here's the thing...An imaginary
deity didn't kill her. BELIEF, reliance and faith in the supernatural did.
I have, too, often read stories of children, who were denied
medical care in favor of prayer and, as a result, they died. Why? Because their
parents believed their faith-based actions were biblically based...that God was
more powerful than medical science...that to NOT rely 100% on God would be
blasphemous...that to choose treatment over faith, would be contrary to the
Biblical teaching. Their parents' slavish BELIEF in god killed the child.
Countless soldiers have died fighting what are essentially
religious wars, with each combatant trying to prove their God was better than
their opponents' God, that theirs was more powerful, more valid than some other
invented God. People who blindly BELIEVED in their own gods' supremacy are
responsible for casualties of war. Religion is/was the impetus.
Medical science is making rapid progress...breakthroughs, which
hold promise for eventually curing a number of terrible diseases... through the
use of stem cells. That kind of research is critical. But there are those who
oppose that progress. Why? Because they believe it's more important to save a
few embryonic cells, than to use those cells to potentially cure diseases and
save lives. Their Bible tells them, they think, that this is the right course.
So Fanatic BELIEF in god and scripture once again prove lethal to future humans
and condemn them to suffering.
Abortion - and I am not commenting on my position, because it is
irrelevant to this point. But when I see the sickening murder of doctors or
clinics being bombed, I know Fanatic BELIEF in religious dogma was the driving
Contraception is the best way to end abortion, unwanted pregnancy
and to halt the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. But
naturally it is, again religion, which stands in the way....It is religion that
objects to contraception, based upon scripture. ( Catholicism ) Not all do, of
course, but there is no denying this is a widespread problem. Religious
Fanaticism and fervor are again the problem.
We have learned a tremendous amount about the universe and its
inception in the past 200 years and there is much to be learned... but the
mindset, which resignedly accepts the explanation that "god did it",
does nothing to further our knowledge base and, in fact, inhibits the expansion
of knowledge. It impedes and retards progress. Adherence to the creator god is
Evolution is a proven fact. It's the basis now for medical
applications in the treatment and prevention of disease. Yet, there are
"faith-based" schools and colleges, which teach students creationism
instead of real science ..they teach faith instead of fact...fables instead of
There are politicians, who believe we are in the "end
times". But, what if one of them were to assume power - here or elsewhere -
and what if they have access to nuclear weapons? If they believe the end is
near, as they think God foretells, they just might think they're fulfilling his
prophecy by pushing that red button. Fanatic BELIEF in god would have actually
fired the missiles and destroyed humanity.
So called "prosperity preachers" bilk hundreds of
thousands of sycophants each year in order to finance their personal extravagant
lifestyle...their personal aircraft, their outrageous vacations and opulent
homes. Fanatic belief in god compels the gullible to write checks to these
charlatans every month, at the expense of their families' basic needs.
Each year, several fundamentalist followers are bitten by
poisonous snakes and die because they think the lord commands them to "take
up serpents". When they die, they rationalize that the deceased "just
didn't have enough faith". And they continue the practice. Whether
worshippers live or die, their god wins. And they lose.
Gays have long been persecuted and beaten, and many have been
driven to suicide because of it, all because of the perverted interpretation of
scripture. Gays hurt no one and only want the same rights as everyone else. Once
again, BELIEF in God and in the infallibility of scripture distorts their
And then there is the abominable Westboro Baptist...there is no
denying that their hate comes from their misinterpretation of scripture. These
are religious terrorists.
Women have been marginalized and oppressed throughout history and
did not even get the vote until the 20th Century, all because of scripture,
which demeans women as second class citizens. Even today, Catholics and some
Protestants prohibit women from serving as priests, ministers or even deacons.
Women are relegated to subservient roles in many denominations.
And then there is Islam, a religion which denies women basic
human rights. We've all read about the horrors meted out to women in Islamic
states. They're beaten and stoned for minor "offenses". When they're
raped, they are blamed, not the rapist. Who persecutes and tortures these women?
Those who worship Allah, of course.
Priests and other clergy have been secretly molesting children
for a long time and now that this travesty has come to light, we must ask
ourselves, why? Is it not unnatural to require men to live a celibate life?
Isn't it unreasonable to deny priests an outlet for sexual expression, their
sexuality. This is not to defend or excuse their behavior at all. But certainly
unrealistic expectations of celibacy are contributing factors to these egregious
acts. Again, blind, illogical belief in god's teaching is to blame.
Claiming we live in a Christian nation has been the source of
division for decades. Multitudes of belief systems and thousands of
denominations boast that they and they alone have the true key to
salvation...that they are the sole arbiters of truth. Families have been torn
apart, shattered by the religious divide...all because of individuals' dogged
adherence to conflicting and competing beliefs.
So vociferous are some fervent theists, that in some states, it
is even against the law for atheists to hold office. Non-believers are often
castigated, denigrated...looked upon as misfits and in some cases as plain evil,
just because they cannot in good conscience accept teachings and stories of
"miracles" without supporting evidence accounts. Fanatic BELIEF
systems at work again. No presidential candidate would dare admit to atheism.
There are many, many more examples of religion causing real or
potential harm in our world.
The ONLY reason I take the time and make the effort to point out
the illogical nature of belief and its mythical foundations, is because
religion, itself, is the underlying cause of all of these problems.
If people would quietly practice and believe their religion
without flying planes into buildings...without shooting doctors...without
beating gays...without molesting children...without knocking on my door on
Sunday threatening me with hell...without blocking scientific progress...without
disavowing disagreeing family members, I would not care one bit if they believed
that pigs can fly or that God still performs miracles.
What I am suggesting is that Christians and other believers,
rather than creating issues with atheists (and don't forget that heretics,
blasphemers and apostates were often burned at the stake by theists in the
past), clean up their belief system and help put a stop to the sort of extremism
and pseudoscience, which gives religion a bad name.
Then theists can believe whatever they want to believe, and we
can all live in harmony.