The discussions that I have been having over the years with believers have recently crystallized for me in a way that wasn’t possible without the internet interactions.
The total gloves off intense arguing brings out the heart of the issues in a way that in person politer conversations never will. Because on the internet, we don’t worry about the consequences of what we say on the other person – and that lowers the inhibitions enough that we also don’t worry about the consequence of what we are saying.
When I read the same false beliefs about atheism over and over, the truth of the godbots position reveals itself.
Godbots characterize atheism as being another religion that fails to provide all the comfortable things that their religion affords them – a social structure, a set of morals and stories to reinforce the morals (and that the morals are dubious at best isn’t the point, the point is that the morals are provided), a simple explanation of why the world is as it is, a hierarchy of authority and a promise of better times ahead as long as you accept crappy times now. But, only if you behave.
That the morals in the bible are not consistent with what the believers say they are – the bible god is after all a dictator of the most paranoid and petty and genocidal meaning of the word dictator, Jesus was an anti-birth family hippie who was against the establishments and, more likely gay given the intense mother fixation and the constantly surrounded by male flunkies who catered to him so was into chosen family – and the stories in the bible, despite being set in locations that were real and occasionally included a person who was real, the stories in the bible do not align with the history of the known people.
King Herod was dead before the alleged birth of Christ, so could not have ordered children slaughtered to get rid of future competition, plus Herod was concerned with his own sons taking his place, not children born of peasants. Nazareth was a Roman village founded in a later century – and the record keeping Romans had no record of any Jesus character – and if Jesus was all that, no records of him in any contemporary to the times account would be the same as if Elvis had never been written about or photographed, despite all the girls going to his concerts and buying his records.
Atheism has none of that. There is no comfort in atheism, it does not explain the world or provide a moral guide. Atheism is simply without belief. It is the absence of religion with no replacement.
Atheism is to religion as rehab is to addiction.
Only when you stand outside of religion, can you begin to see the real damage that religion has brought – because it is damaging in the same way that the family alcoholic is damaging, generations down the line even.
The damage of religion ranges from the obvious – religiously motivated terrorism such as 9/11, suicide bombers including abortion clinic bombers to the more subtle – retarding social and scientific progress such as the application of human rights to include everyone as the law states but is currently practices as being applied to include only those who are socially acceptable to the religious mainstream.
But the more insidious secular apologists who package information or withhold information because it would incite religious sensibilities – and not just refraining from doing editorial cartoons but actual suppression of scientifically gathered information.
Because of the religion position on homosexuality, that there has been over 1000 species observed engaging in homosexual behaviours, from sex to parenting, this information is not reported or if reported then shared by biologists.
It’s the same impulse that makes police officers not talk about how the war on drugs is a failure until after they retire, or that only retired US generals support the end of don’t ask, don’t tell.
People will not stand up to say that homosexuality is natural and not an issue while there would be career consequences for doing so. People will not stand up and say that the efforts to curb drug use are only serving to ensure more drug use and worse drugs, because of a religiously motivated anti-drug position.
Religion seeks to stamp out drugs, because drugs are a competitor for people’s minds – plus their time and money. People on drugs often interpreted their experience as spiritual, which means that they don’t need religion to guide them spiritually, they just need some good weed and a free afternoon.
After all, many religions got started through use of psychedelics – it’s why they were reserved for shaman or medicine man use only and not for common people. If everyone used, then everyone is their own shaman and the shaman would have to actually do some work to support themselves, instead of being able to trip and be supported by everyone else in the tribe.
Atheism is the safeword that to ends the SMDB spiritual kinkiness that is religion. Atheism ends the misery of trying to live up to an expectation of behaviour that is impossible when everything that is human nature is deemed to be a sin.
Atheism is less work than religion, because there are no stories that are inconsistent with each other or history, no moral system that doesn’t allow for conflict between morals or allow for variables in the life situations, which often are choosing between one bad action or outcome and mitigating the loss as best as one can. Atheism means you get to be human, to make mistakes and learn from them without punishing you eternally for the mistake in the first place.
The downside of atheism and I understand that this is the heart of what scares the believers is that it means that you are on your own. Everything is down to or up to you.
You decide what’s important to you, what’s moral to you, what meaning life has to you.
It means that you put away childish things like parents who decide for you and protect you and reward you when you’re good. It means that you are the grown up – and if you are an adult, especially an adult who has chosen to have children – you don’t get to continue in a childlike state have had an invisible daddy looking over your shoulder and giving you directions and looking out for you.
It means you have to not only be the adult in charge of the child or children, but you have to be the grown up for yourself as well.
Atheism is to reject religion doing the thinking for you and doing and thinking for yourself.
We are all atheists when we are born – we are exposed to religion in our families to varying degrees and by society.
When we look to our society, there is plainly a wide range of religions available – that there are so many and that they can be traced to geographic regions and traced back through history to see a pattern that religion spreads with people in the same way that rats spread the fleas that caused bubonic plague outbreaks along trade routes.
Religion is a human invention, a framework that we once used to explain the world around us – why the sun rose, why the seasons changed, why things happened or didn’t, why why why.
But everything that used to be explained as happy or unhappy gods are now understood because of a natural framework for understanding the world – science – has explained earth orbits the sun, this causes day and night, seasons, we know what causes earthquakes and tsunamis and volcanoes and we know that throwing virgins into volcanoes is a waste of perfectly good virgins.
The gaps in the knowledge of humans is getting smaller, and while we don’t know everything, there is no reason to continue to fill the gaps and cracks with god – the god of the gaps is plaster we don’t need. It’s not a meaningful placeholder, and a placeholder god is.
That god is being made into a gap filling place holder shows just how small and meaningless and useless god is, growing smaller as the gaps narrow.
There are people trying to make god big again, to make god relevant, but that bananas fit the human hand just brings to mind our relationship to monkeys, and the reality is that bananas did not grow where humans originated – Africa.
Further, if that the banana fits our hand proves a design, what then does it say that pineapples don’t fit and many things that we eat don’t fit or that they aren’t fit to eat until cooked? Cooking isn’t natural. We had to develop science and technology before we got to be able to cook foods and take advantage of more resources, freeing up time for non food gathering for the development of technology and culture.
Human brains seek patterns to understand the world, and just because we aren’t sure where the patterns originated, doesn’t mean that we need to add magical or lazy thinking into the mix until we do understand.
Science is a process to uncover answers and build understanding – it is not an answer – it is questioning until we can be satisfied on the balance of information – and when new information comes to light, it can change.
Religion cannot incorporate new ideas and information – not easily and not unless there is some power advantage. This is why there are so many kinds of religion – Martin Luther broke with the Catholic Church over the corruption and the Lutheran religion was born.
People who cannot find power within the religious structures in existence, create new religions – John Smith and L. Ron Hubbard most recently – and as the origin of a religion is lost over time – somehow the religion is given a veneer of credibility for sheer staying power – but the basis for religions are all the same – it was the easiest path to power and riches than doing actual work.
Although, it is hard work trying to keep people from noticing what a failure the religion is – which is why religion spreads by fear – people who are afraid are less likely to ask questions and people will tend to fill in gaps to make it make sense for them.
It’s the same process by which people get swindled or kidnapped by people who wish to do them harm. We are accustomed to not questioning what we are told.
Human predators know this and they use our dreams and our desire for those dreams or our good nature against us.
How many times are people lured by vague promises of a person with a camera claiming to be a talent scout – just get into my van and I’ll take you to my studio and get your photo out there and you’ll be famous. Technically true, your picture tends to be in the paper under missing persons until your body is found and your image is alongside other images of other missing women or children. Human predators will tell you anything you want to hear to separate you from everyone else so they can have you alone and vulnerable.
Religion works in the same way – it promises that you’ll be an accepted member of a group – which means excluding people membership to make said membership meaningful – after all, if anyone can join, why join at all?
Religion promises that you’ll be rewarded in the afterlife, as long as you are obedient now – don’t overthrow the power structure, don’t complain about being poor – after all, it’s harder for the poor rich people to get into heaven than poor people so you should be glad to be poor you lucky thing getting into heaven – and you aren’t supposed to wonder why then do all the religious leaders amass personal wealth?
Religion promises that the wicked will be punished so you have to forgive people who trespass against you because they will get their eventually, but there’s also ensuring that everything that is basic to human nature is a trespass against god, so each believer is too scared to stand up for themselves because they don’t want their own trespasses to be noticed.
So, it’s not that big a deal though when you’re caught trespassing against your wife with a younger man as long as you repent later – so why then does it matter what you do, as long as you’re sorry after the fact?
This is why the so called morals of religion aren’t at all moral – it’s not guiding you to not do a thing, it’s about making sure everything you do is something you have to repent for. Simpler then to decide what’s moral and live within your morals than anything goes as long as you’re sorry later – or sorry all the time, since you don’t know when you might die and not have time for a deathbed conversion or repentance.
Religion creates a climate of fear, even for those who are not participants. This takes us back to biologists who don’t talk about what they have observed in the field because of the religious public backlash, which expresses itself in the voting booth in politicians who have no qualm about cutting funding to programs in areas they religiously object to and don’t understand.
This takes us to archeologists who appease the religions by making references to the 1st century CE as “when Jesus walked”, when there is nothing to support that idea, and in fact, that the evidence that we have, indicates that there was no Jesus.
Aside: Common Era (CE) and Before Common Era (BCE) are not substitutions for the traditional BC and AD – they are a wholesale replacement which changed the framework for understanding time. The reason that the numbers do not change and have the appearance of being the same measure since they date to the same century is that there is little to be gain by undertaking another global calendar change like the Gregorian-Julian switch – there is a cost that we can use in better things than remaking the whole system – a calendar system which used Norse gods to name the days and other pagan faiths for naming months and so forth.
Especially since the Jesus story is clearly a rehash of Osiris, Lazarus and other earlier religious characters with virgin moms, and a birth light show and smart guys and who later challenged the authorities, was betrayed by a flunky and later killed and rose from the grave to inspire the faithful. A “fact” pattern that fits the Elvis Presley Story too. If not virginal, Gladys has attained a certain sainted status in Elvisworld.
What the Romans were best at was keeping their god pantheon flexible – they didn’t get too attached to their gods, so that when they conquered another nation, they could more easily assimilate the new people by pointing out that each worshipped the same gods, just called by different names.
This is what inter-faith committees assert today- that it’s all the same one god, worshipped in different ways – if all the gods are the same and the method of worship doesn’t matter – which is inconsistent with the internal religion that you must worship a particular way to be rewarded by said god – so, god can’t matter either then. If one is the same as any other and one worship method is good as any other, then none of them matter.
So why bother with any god?