Bad Religion, No Donut!
So I wrote a post about the thought that Atheism is a Religion and the comments section got a bit active. I wanted to share a couple here because I think they say something worth repeating. I think they say something worth repeating. They are slightly out of context but you can read the whole thing and original post with the link.
First up tildeb wades in on the conversation with the vim and vigor of a jungle cat: (pp is the author of the inspiration to my post and stated atheism is a religion)
pp states categorically that “morals derive from religion.”
Is this true?
Well, there is much compelling evidence against this.
Not only does pp apply his/her morality to his/her religious training (selecting which bits of god-soaked moral lessons to take literally and which bits to take figuratively) but apparently comes at religious belief fully endowed to determine which bits are moral and which bits are not. How can this be if s/he must first extract this remarkable ability from the religion under examination?
There is compelling evidence that children are moral agents and exhibit moral behaviour long before any religious training takes place. How can this be if we must first extract moral teaching from religion?
There is compelling evidence that moral behaviour is exhibited in other critters. How can this be if these critters must first extract moral teachings from religion?
The statement pp makes stands contrary to and in conflict with the reality we share, yet no explanation of how this compelling contrary evidence from reality fits into, rather than against, his/her thesis. It’s just a naked claim uniformed by the reality s/he is attempting to describe, a claim that acts to stultify and block any honest inquiry into why moral behaviour occurs and makes it into a religious property where such pronouncements are rarely – if ever – criticized from within. This is religious theft, and religious belief does this all the time by claiming expertise where none exists. pp’s understanding of the ‘source’ for moral behaviour is both incredibly immature and factually wrong. It is not explanatory of the reality we share. Yet s/he feels perfectly able to make such bold statements as if true and think religious belief alone is sufficient to make it true! This is another example of the negative consequences (empowering broad ignorance and widely held superstition) we find all around us by people who think they are sanctioned by their religious beliefs to impose their faith-based beliefs on reality as if this were healthy and functional rather that allowing reality to adjudicate claims made about it. This is ignorance in action, superstition in action, and I am aware of no boundary recognized by religions where they allow subject matter expertise to be of a knowledge category greater than what their religious beliefs dictate. Religious believers on the whole allow their religious beliefs to be the adjudicator of all knowledge matters in spite of the fact that religious belief never has, currently doesn’t, and never will produce one single bit of knowledge about reality. Ever. At all. It can’t. It’s a broken method untrustworthy by its utter lack of ability to produce knowledge to adjudicate anything. Such religious over-reach (and claim for authority where none is deserved) as offered up here by pp is a great example of why entrusting the method of religious inquiry to describe reality results in producing products that are anti-knowledge, anti-science, anti-human. These inevitable results are part of its charm, we are supposed to accept. But unlike the hordes of religious apologists and accommodationists and agnostics who should all know better but assume religious belief (in spite of compelling evidence to the contrary) should be respected, I don’t think respecting religious belief in the name of tolerance is a higher standard than respecting what’s true. Respecting what’s not true is not just foolish but a very great and real and present danger to us all.
Well, that thread got some wings. Currently at 100 replies and around the 100 reply mark I had this drop out of my fingers:
Religion’s input to morality is just a layer of tradition on top of a much older pattern of cooperative behaviors.
Religion was a way to explain the world with the limited knowledge available. Knowledge has increased – religion never produced valid information. Anything it got right it copied from other human constructs.
As a story, the christian bible is epic, but its a work of fiction. Dan Brown’s novels include real historical places and people but they too are works of fiction.
Where religion is shown to appear to have helped societies survive you can see on analysis that it was simply used as a tool to enforce cooperative behavior. It wasn’t that long ago that you could be killed for not belonging to the right religious group.
It can be argued that enforced cooperation of any kind would have worked in most of the same situations. It just happens that religion was the tool of choice till science came along to show it to be wrong.
History shows us that there were a string of revolutions throughout Europe etc. which threw off the burden of state run churches and kings/tyrants. The church (collective) lost power and continues to do so not because there is evil in the world but because the tool of choice is now information and communication. Religion does not have new information and does not communicate anything outside of its static information that is 2000+ years old. Religion can no longer control the people. New tools will be used.
Religion is dying because it is wrong and dangerous to those who used to use it as control. It won’t be long before the US figures out how much tax money is just given to churches… Italy already did. Religion is already useless, and absolutely because it has no new information, no credible evidence, no control. The crimes of the clergy are too great to forgive them and far outweigh the good done by the church in the general consciousness of society. The net effect is that the church is dangerous and wrong.
In two generations there will be few people still working who actively go to church here in the US. By 2030 this conversation we’ve had will seem silly. Between now and then all manner of believer will be praying to their god to come and set things right, but it won’t happen and you yourself know it won’t.
There is no god.