Speaking Of Religion
I’d like to discuss two ideas in this post. First and foremost I’d like to address the idea that referring to religion as a whole when discussing various beliefs and ideologies is not fair. Essentially it breaks down to people, atheists and theists alike, being upset when an anti-theist says something to the effect of “all religion is harmful.” I agree with this sentiment and, for the most part, regard this to be a rather obvious statement.
Second, and on a related note, I will discuss the ridiculous notion that atheism sits idle while religion is out feeding the hungry and helping the poor. Meanwhile the body count for every religion rises and the pope sits in a castle on a throne. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone indeed.
Religion As A Hole
The statement that it is unfair or in poor taste to lump all religions into the same group (such as harmful) is ludicrous. It’s unfair to lump all religious people into one group. Furthermore making exceptions is construed as acceptance and I do not accept religion. I no more think of all Muslims as terrorists than I think all of atheists as peaceful. I’m simply aware that one group, as a whole, is more violent than the other, not that every member is inherently violent or hateful.
This is merely a case of mistaken identities, I hate the ideology not the people. The ideology preys on peoples fears and encourages the violent side of humanity. This is the way of all religion, especially the Abrahamic Religions, even the so-called peaceful religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, have extremists and misogyny. Because of religion’s monopoly on morality it requires little effort to use religion as shield against accusations of violence and hate. The most major religions share a few core traits, divisiveness, hate, a disdain for women and most importantly a history of violence.
I use religion as whole in my posts because, while there are minor examples and exceptions where something mildly positive has come from religion, I reject religion as whole. I have cast it aside as an unsuitable answer to my questions, as many atheists have. With theists it is merely a case they think that theirs is the clean shiny religion. Theirs is the one with all the hope and love while the dastardly anti-theist is here to tarnish its good name by comparing it to some other awful religion.
However I am well aware that many of my atheist compatriots dislike when anti-theists, such as myself, use the concept in debate. To those atheists I ask why did you leave religion in the first place? Is it because you saw that it was a lie? That it was harming you, those around you, and, is in all likelihood still harming you? At the very least you should be anti-(insert former religion here).
Invariably someone will also make the argument “you can’t blame the people of today for the actions of those in the past.” To which I say “Normally you’d be right but in the case of religion nothing has changed. It’s still the same old ideas in new packaging.” Religion hasn’t changed, the book that was used to justify slavery in Early America is the same book people use today to justify homosexual bigotry.
Put Your Money Where Your Religion Is
This is right about the time some will say “Now wait, look at all the poor and hungry religion helps. Atheism doesn’t do any of that.” Setting aside the body count of religion, look at the wealth it hoards. How many pastors and preachers live in mansions while their most fervent followers live in poverty? And if yours is the religion of peace then why do your extremists slam planes into buildings instead of using their vast power and influence to help their follow believers? Why do your extremists spend thousands of dollars to travel around the country protesting gays and ruining funerals? Why do your extremists kill doctors instead of helping poor, unwed, teen mothers? Yet I am to pressed into answering the question what does atheism do? No, you do not get to call into question my ideology when yours is a history steeped in blood, greed and corrupted power.
Being an atheist is not easy, being an anti-theist is even less so. And if must answer “how am I helping” than I say look before your eyes. True it’s not much but it’s what I can do and pretty much all I can do. If I had millions or billions of dollars I would be doing more but I don’t; the Pope does, and Arab princesses do, but I sadly do not. For now I am relegated to the confines of these digital pages. To look through my prison of black and white words to show you a world of color and beauty. We need to be able to recognize that religion is antiquated and move on We take the good things religion has done and we leave the rest. A Syrian and an American must learn to look at each other and say “Brother. Sister.” If we’re to survive, as a whole, we must lay down the hatreds of old and embrace each other.
Were people to take my words and treat each other with dignity and humanity, we would live in a better world. Despite all my distaste for religion and it’s rhetoric I know that the War of Reason will not be won with division and hatred. I love my religious brothers and sisters. True we stand at odds but I hold no weapons other than my mind and my words. I do not wish to meet anyone on a battlefield, I’d much prefer a breakfast table. Atheist or theist, friend or foe, I don’t want you or those you care for to die or kill in this endless Battle of Gods. Never stop asking questions, and whatever else you do, be safe and have a Happy New Year. -Capt