Every religion has an origin myth of how the people came to be. The People being those that follow the religion, naturally, because origin myths do not account for how conquering peoples who arrive at some later point in time came to be.
For cultures that arose alongside others, the distinction between who is People and who are others becomes murky and something to be ignored by the respective religions because the fact of people not accounted for can’t be denied, so some other mechanism is at work – cognitive dissonance perhaps, ignoring what the belief system can’t account for.
The real threat of science to religion is that science accounts for all people, not just favoured, chosen, regional or local people. All people.
Out of Africa we came – not from monkeys as religious proponents would like to claim science says in order to cause a disgust reaction in people so they reject science which tells them that humans are but one species of animals among many; while religion tells them that people are not only special, but that certain people, the right people are even more special than others if they follow the one true religion.
The push for Christian creationism in North America has more to do with racism than specie-ism.
Because, evolution’s explanation is that humans arose on the African planes, pretty much as the modern bush people are now. That the variation in skin, eye and hair colour, eye shape, average heights and weights, are all more recent acclimation to climate and sexual selection.
Religions would have us beleive that the peoples of the earth were poofed into existence, as and where they are – and that could be a supported idea only as long as each group didn’t encounter any other groups.
But that only held true for geographically remote people – those that coexisted through Africa, the middle east, Eurasia and into India – didn’t have the luxury of being able to pretend to be the only people.
No religion accounts for or can explain all the peoples of the world – science does. Evolution and anthropology provides origins for all of us in a comprehensive and inclusive manner that religions can never hope to.
That religion varies widely from location to location around the world should demonstrate that it is a cultural variation, with no basis in reality but with a long history of discrimination, oppression, violence towards non-members and hoarding of wealth and knowledge away from common people.
Which is not to say that science is pure as snow, certainly political and religious ideology has crept into various science disciplines, because religion may make us hate or fear each other enough to unleash terrible atrocities upon each other – it is science that allows for the creation of the weapons and tools that are beyond the human scale of destruction.
But science, governed by professional ethics and freed from political influence, can also perpetuate goodness without reservation or discrimination.
Something religion can never claim, reserving as it does the benefits for believers only with non-believers consigned to unpleasantness and punishment.
Religionist Americans, because not all who are Americans are religionists, do not like atheist Americans because the fact of there being atheist Americans is an unequivocally statement that religionists will die and cease to exist, just like everyone else; that being a member of a religion doesn’t make you special, especially not special enough to thwart death. But everything dies in order for other things to live, in no small part owing to that life is sustained by consuming other life, be it plant or animal.
Atheist Americans also clash with the Patriotic American who also tend to be religionist Americans, who like to define “real” Americans as only religionist Americans, need for Americans to be special among all other nationalities. Religion and Patriotism operate in the same manner to define a group and confer specialness on all group members, simply for being part of the group. People who do not conform to the rigid group rules are then sanctioned for exclusion by the no true Scotsman fallacy.
To reject religion is to say we are all equal, regardless of where we are born, live, and die – and when we die, we make way for other people to live, and we live no more, except in memory. But only while there is living memory; unless you do something with your life that makes you uniquely special to be remembered by the masses.
This is why religionists actively engage in confirmation bias and why religionists mischaracterize and demonize naturalism (science) and create sciency justification for their religious beliefs. Confirmation bias is basically intellectual masturbation and it makes one blind to any data or rational that doesn’t serve the biased idea and framework.
Intelligent Design is creationism tarted up in science sounding language, but Intelligent Design isn’t science. It studies nothing, predicts nothing and is not testable or peer reviewable or repeatable. “Goddidit” is the sum total of the idea, but to make it seem sciency, god becomes a vague and ill-defined creator and to make it seem like plausible science, a concession that the creators could be aliens is offered. Because while aliens seeding our planet to bring forth life is more plausible than a deity, it continues to beg the question of where the aliens came from, in the same way that goddidit begs the question of where god came from then.
ID is to science as atheism is to religion – ID has no claims and is rejection of the scientific process and the theory of evolution. Atheism is the rejection of religion, and like ID, uses religion itself as the reason for the reject, and does not have claims of it’s own. Where they differ, is that atheism is rejecting unsound premises that are based on claims that are not internally consistent – whereas, ID is rejecting the scientific method and the internally consistent theory of evolution in favour of the unsound claims, and thus, rejects theory of evolution and science based on mischaraterizations and outright falsehoods, to maintain their religious ideas.
Basically, atheism is a sound rejection of an unsound premise and ID is an unsound rejection of a sound premise. They are both a rejection, but the basis for rejection are the polar opposites.
Science, currently is working to confirm the Big Bang Theory before tackling the question of what existed before the Big Bang and what caused the Big Bang – and this is acceptable, since science is a process by which to ask questions and arrive at answers, not start with answers and then fiddle the data to fit the preferred answer, as religion does.
Aside: I am inclined to think that the big bang was a universal resolution of the cognitive dissonance of existence and non-existence and this is where philosophy carries on where/when physics leaves off.
The reason why religionists demonize naturalists is because the fact of there being naturalists means that people can and do accept that this life is all we get – the moment of resolution for the naturalist is the atheist moment of accepting life on its face because there is no plausible evidence to the contrary, not in the whole of recorded history as there been any proof of anything beyond our existence.
What particularly bothers believers is that non-believers are not non-believers because of lack of exposure or even understanding of religion or a particular religion – more often than not, people reject religion because of their experience within and understanding of religion. We know what we are rejecting, and we are rejecting it because we understand it is wishful and magical thinking driven largely by a terror of dying and a need for conformity and inclusion.
To reject religion, is to reject religious people. This is why religionists – by this I mean true religionists commonly referred to as fundamentalists – react with violence and demonizing anyone who is not a true believer. Moderates, apologists, reformers if they are milder, are actually not true believers, their belief and dedication is less than the fundamentalist believer’s belief and dedication. The only true believer is a fanatical and literalist believer – anyone less has modified belief and gone off cannon, have tempered religious belief and practice with other beliefs and concerns.
This is why American patriotic religionists exclude people who are not blindly religionist and patriotic from being deems “real” Americans. Yet, these so called true Americans are the anti-Americans. America was not founded on religious ideas, let alone Christian ones. America was not founded on blind worship of authority, if America was about blind worship of authority, they would still be a British Colony and they would never have tossed King George’s tea into the harbour.
Okay, that’s too simplified, the reality is, that America was founded on the idea that individuals matter and that they have inalienable rights that are not based in anything as tenuous as a king or specific deity’s whim. But rather, that individual rights exist because individuals exist.
Individuals have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – follow your bliss, not your religious bling.
Live your life – the life that you know you have – to the fullest, most meaningful and most purposeful – as long as you live your life for your afterlife – you aren’t living at all and you are wasting the life that you can know that you have.
If there is anything after, then it’s a natural process and part of existence and it won’t depend on what or who you did or didn’t do with your genitals, or what kind of person you were or weren’t. Better to do good for the sake of good, rather than being good to be rewarded or avoid punishment in the afterlife.
And, when we die, and there is anything that does decide, then a person who was good, rather than one who acted good by complying with rules they had nothing to do with developing or understanding or deciding without any thought to whether those rules actually were good or caused good to result, will surely be the one with the reward in this and any other life.
Be good for goodness sake, and for goodness sake, think about what makes anything good.