The Harms of Religion

THE  HARM  OF  RELIGION (originally submitted by Todd Peissig)

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To those who say that religion should not be criticized because it provides peace and comfort to believers and,  after all, religion brings no harm to anyone……….. I say to them…..You couldn’t be more WRONG ! ! !   Religions have brought much harm to millions and millions of people throughout our planet’s history.    Here is a list we have put together. You may disagree with some points and see others as trivial. But, as we come across more examples, we will add them. The fact that a list like this can exist and be attributed to such a “peaceful” and “loving” god should sicken you. Try and make a list like this for atheists… good luck.

GRETA CHRISTINA HAS A GOOD LIST TOO (click here to see it)

–THE TWO BIGGEST: Intercessory prayer fixes things (leads to a lack of personal action) and the belief that god is coming back to end the world (leads to lack of environmental stewardship and caring about world wars… which some believe ushers in the return of god).

–Wars

–The Crusades

–The Inquisition

–the 9/11 tragedy

–ethnic cleansing

–suppression of women

–suppression of homosexuals

–fatwa’s

–honor killings

–suicide bombings

–arranged marriages to minors

–human sacrifices

–witch burnings

–systematic sex with children

–prevention of stem cell research

–faith healing

–useless circumcisions

–prevention of minority rights

–promotion of slavery

–the Jim Jones tragedy

–dissolution of family bonds

–genital mutilation

–general misogyny

–religious terrorism

–the Catholic sex scandal cover-ups

–suppression of art and literature

–the Ku Klux Klan

–Islamic gang rapes of woman as punishment

–punishment and suppression of freethinkers

–belief in a better afterlife

–creation of bigotry

–Pope Benedict’s condemnation of condom use for the spread of AIDS in Africa

–missionaries killing heathens

–children dying because their parents prayed to their god instead of getting legitimate medical help

–censorship

–serial killers who claim to be doing the work of Jesus/God/Satan/Allah

–exorcisms that result in death of the victim

–the David Koresh/Waco Texas tragedy

–the Heaven’s Gate tragedy

–discouragement of critical or rational thought

–the indoctrination of children into a religion without giving them a chance to learn about all other religions

–self-flagellation religious rituals (beating oneself until bloody)

–abuse of power/authority by religious leaders

–cults (even those that stockpile weapons)

–the fact that Hitler confessed in Mein Kampf to be doing the work of God

–the Boxer Rebellion in China

–constant bloodshed in the Middle-East

–constant battles over control of Jerusalem

–bloodshed in Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants

–Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions for religious reasons and so that can be the cause or their death unnecessarily if they ever medically need one.

–the suppression of the use of Gardasil in young women to prevent cervical cancer

–the Mumbai, India Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 2008 perpetrated by a Pakistani religious group (Lashkar-e-Taiba) that calls themselves “the Army of God”

–the delay of the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act by right wing groups (especially James Dobson’s group) which finally passed 10 years after his death

–teaching children inaccurate, misleading and outright false concepts in a place called the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

–constant car bombings in downtown Kabul, Iraq (as well as many other cities) by fundamentalist  religious zealots.

–the denial of adoption by loving and qualified parents just because the parents happen to be the same sex ( e.g. Florida’s outright ban on adoption by same sex couples).

–the Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics in 1618 that turned central Europe into a wasteland.

–the Aztecs killed 20,000 people annually to appease the gods.

–the Inca’s sacrificed 200 children in a single ceremony.

–in Tibet priests perform ritual killings.

–the Dravidians in India sacrificed a male child to Kali every Friday evening.

–Islamic jihads that have been going on for over 12 centuries have killed millions.

–in the early 1900′s Muslim Turks waged genocide against Christian Armenians and Greeks.

–Muslim countries today still practice barbaric punishments from their holy books such as amputations for thievery and stoning to death  for adultery.

–Muslim and Hindus took an estimated million lives when Indian became independent from Britain in 1947.

–an Islamic radical tried to blow up a Northwest plane on Christmas day on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009.

–the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1852 by the Mormons.

–the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington D.C. is refusing to continue its’ social services (including feeding the homeless) in protest of the passage of the same-sex marriage bill in the district.

–Pat Robertson said of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people, that the people of Haiti deserved what they got because “they had made a pact with the devil.”

–In March of 2010 nine people in Michigan, calling themselves the Christian Militia, arrested for threatening to kill a police officer and bomb his funeral in hopes of killing many more in order to, as they said, battle the anti-christ.

– In July of 2010 the Vatican declared that ordaining a woman as a priest is as grave an offense as pedophilia.  So in essence a man raping a 6 year old little girl is the same as a woman leading a congregation in prayer.

–a preacher in Florida is advocating the burning of the Koran on the anniversary of 09/11 in 2010 and putting many soldiers in Afghanistan in harm’s way since many Afghani Muslims are now taking their hatred of protest out on them, according to the U.S. military leaders.

–a bigoted member of an Arkansas school board suggested on Facebook that it was ok with him that a “faggot” killed himself (referring to Tyler Clementi’s jump off the George Washington bridge) because after all this is not good “Christian” behavior.

___________________________________________________

Added by readers since original post on 11/29/10

– Cultural genocide of American Indians by Church run boarding schools.

– Manifest destiny take over of North America from American Indians

– Legal hunting of American Indian in California.

– Racial segregation in Australia based on “God given duties”

– Global Warming deniers using the “God will protect us” defense to ignore science and the threat to our planet

….NOW WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT RELIGION DOING NO HARM ?……

  • Wayne Wilson

    "Christianity, with its roots in Judaism, was a major factor in the development of the Western worldview…. A basic Christian belief was that God gave humans dominion over creation, with the freedom to use the environment as they saw fit. Another important Judeo-Christian belief predicted that God would bring a cataclysmic end to the Earth sometime in the future. One interpretation of this belief is that the Earth is only a temporary way station on the soul's journey to the afterlife. Because these beliefs tended to devalue the natural world, they fostered attitudes and behaviors that had a negative effect on the environment." ~Donald G. Kaufman and Cecilia M. Franz, Biosphere 2000: Protecting Our Global Environment, 1996

  • http://volizden.xanga.com/ Volizden

    I might have missed it, but how about.

    Cultural genocide of American Indians by Church run boarding schools.

    Manifest destiny take over of North America from American Indians

    Legal hunting of American Indian in California.

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  • hex

    @volizden

    cultural genocide of indigenous people isn't limited to just north america. take a look at the history of the race relations in australia as just another example, not that the white man's burden (which has a strong tie to his "God given duty") stopped there.

  • http://volizden.xanga.com/ Volizden

    @Hex

    You are absolutely correct, I tend to mention American Indian more as most readers will tend to be American, and so I present something that has more impact to them. But you are 100% correct it not only American Indians, and Aborigines, but almost every other existing tribal culture today, in South America, India, SE Asia..

    I do thank you though for your input.

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  • Adam

    Finally,a site with all of them !

  • Charone

    The killing and raping of woman with albinism in Africa because of the belief that a person with albinism are magical luck and can protect them from AIDS.

  • SEL

    Is no one going to make mention of those Westboro Baptist Church wackos who keep declaring that 9/11 was divine punishment from God for being "Fag-Lovers", and how often they try to protest at the funerals for soldiers with signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates Fags"?

    • Adam

      We live near the Westboro folks. I will definitely add them to the list. They haven't killed anyone yet… but their hate is definitely harmful.

  • http://www.fred.net/tds/ Tom

    You missed two big ones!

    1. Religions (in the form of creationism and Intelligent Design, aka IDiotism) attempt to stop science, our main way of knowing about the world that has been proven time and time again to be effective!

    2. Religions block education! Not only do the IDiots try to change the teaching of solid biology (aka evolutionary theory) but they seclude their children away from actual knowledge.

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  • Mike

    um… two questions (because I'm fascinated with this topic):

    1) Hitler (Mein Kampf "fact" aside), Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Lenin, "Dear Leader" in DPRK – who was their god (or what was their religion)?

    2) If G(g)od/religion is a fabrication of mankind, and warfare, bigotry, hatred, and environmental destruction are a result of religion, isn't mankind the source of it all? In other words, how does one blame a god that doesn't exist?

    • Luis

      We’re not blaming a god we blame the ridiculous beliefs and the dreadful acts made on its name.

    • Semper_5

      Culture of any kind is an organizing principle no different to religion.

      Blaming God for Man is the religion Du Jour – makes it easier to do nothing about the problem of human behavior and feel self-righteously superior while selling pop-hate books and little Red-A’s to people allegedly above religious grouping, religious doctrine, and it’s petty status indicators. The religion of Anti-Religion: Another high-water mark for humanity.

  • Guest 1

    Nice work, keep it growing.

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  • B. Van

    Did I miss the Westboro Baptist Church protesters? You know, that despicable group of “Christians” who protest soldier’s funerals with signs that read, “God hates fags” and so on.

  • Carl Hagan

    There are many many more cases involving the murder and / or abduction of children, and the murder of adults by the Catholic Church, to say nothing of the brainwashing of billions by religions.

    Genocide of 50,000-100,000 Canadian Native Americans by Church run ‘Residential’ boarding schools: UNREPENTANT documentary from http://www.hiddenfromhistory.org
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88k2imkGIFA

    Crimen Sollicitationis, Sex Crimes And The Vatican BBC Panorama Series – Radicalfilms.co.uk
    http://radicalfilms.co.uk/2008/02/12/crimen-sollicitationis-sex-crimes-and-the-vatican-bbc-panorama-series/

    Christopher Hitchens The Intelligence Squared Debate: Is the Catholic church a force for good in the world?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kuzYwzGoXw

  • Kernedr

    Evil within a person is the cause of these tragedies, not religion. Religion can give us ideas and understanding, but they can’t make us kill. Each person must chosen their destination. 

  • Semper_5

    The 20th century was the most secular yet in history. Lets ignore that and stick to the myths of our ancestors and but a few isolated events from the 20th century and pretend like we’re not as gullible in our own behaviors – gloss over the fruits of the 20th century and it’s secular institutions. God didn’t manufacturer, justify, and deploy the atomic bomb. God didn’t build the gas chambers, or crack the whip building the road of bones. God didn’t pardon “enemy” scientists like Shiro Iishi, who experimented on human beings, in exchange for his viral research data to build better weapons. God didn’t bank with the Nazis throughout World War 2 knowingly contributing to the economy that was rounding up human beings like cattle and killing them. God isn’t behind the decision making process that dumps crude oil into the ocean, chemicals into the sky, or destroys the watertable beneath us with gas seam fracking. God doesn’t order drone attacks. God doesn’t withhold cures for diseases to profit on the treatments.

    But yeah, religion does indeed. Profit does. Science does in the name of profit. Democracy does. Communism does. Human beings do. Human’s who believe in a principle – secular or no – strong enough to do wrong under it’s auspices. Human’s just like us. Religious humans.

    It’s a lovely scapegoat – religion – when it’s only isolated to people who believe in the spiritual – or different to we the unbelievers – but its us. It’s only us. That’s the human race that does those things mentioned above. Whether it’s religiously huddling around a flickering candle, or a cross, or the banner of atheism, or a political party, or the atom. It’s us. That’s it.

    It’s a lovely hubris to be able to categorically detach yourself from the actions of others – but religion is hardwired into our brains. It is the organizing principle behind every group in the world secular or mystic. From bankers to the Juggalos to Surfers to Skeptics to democrats tp Republicans to Torries To Communists To Socialists to Zealots. We act as we are because we are superior. We have the props to prove it. Look upon our works, Ye mighty, and despair. It’s all the exact. Group psychology.

    I find it incredible that the internet has become a den of armchair
    philosophers (justifiably) deriding the beliefs of others while avoiding
    scrutiny of their own (inexcusable). Know how many of my friends are dead ’cause they bought into Jesus or Buddha? Zero. Guess how many are dead because they believed what the media was selling them about a glamorous lifestyle of drug use and rock and roll? Read an article on Nick Cave, Kurt Cobain, Or Jim Morrison. If that isn’t hagiographic veneration and fawning tell me what is.

    If there’s a God then it’s absence is understandable. “Whoops. I created a species of idiots who keep doing the same thing generation after generation and believing they are superior than the last by repeating it’s strategies for achieving group status indicators. Whoopsies.” And /if/ that sky is as empty as is claimed then all human history is a blip of mentally-ill groups, frothed into a fervor by doctrine, repeating the idiocies of the past under a new standard, believing in unverified fantasies to justify our actions in resource accumulation and territorial acquisition, blessed by the assertions of our superiors that we should dehumanize the enemy in order to destroy them to “Mock them. Ridicule them.”, and laughing as we brutalize those that believe differently to us beneath our boots. And then the next generation does the same… and on and on.

    And it’s only. Ever. Us. We the righteous are tomorrow’s religious nuts of the past responsible for all the ills of the coming world because we did – nothing – but add to them. Because we can’t love each other. Can’t go without to feed someone else, or house them, or educate them. Because doing the right thing takes too long and doesn’t get us as much. And if we don’t have more than how else do people know we’re better than them? Oh, Jesus-H-Dawkins it’s Black Friday I need to run out and buy stuff. Amen. ;)

    • BPOCD

      Speaking from the asinine point of view that any such god even exists, he sure as hell didn’t prevent any of those things from happening either. He sits by idly and does absolutely nothing. Billions and billions have suffered needlessly because of his incompetence. But of course the christian apologists will use the “free will” argument, blah, blah, blah. The way the christian god is presented, he’s a sadistic, narcissistic sociopath. I’m quite thankful that I’m not a mindless sheep who believes in evil fictional characters, because that’s exactly what your god is. See, I’m an adult. I’m smart enough not to believe in fairy tales.

      • Penumbra

        A: A creator isn’t disproven just because it allows an experiment to progress without Mommying it. Applying our ethics to something with a much broader view seems like hubris. IF there is a God and and afterlife THEN these events would diminish in horror. Just like the living room and the hot meal that awaits after a video game war is shut off.

        B: You’re confusing the role of a God with that of a parent.

        SO: If we all worked together not one atrocity would exist. But instead we each strive after our own gains to appease our own lusts and insecurities and thus the world is a trench of blood and horror. Go volunteer at your local community center if you give a damn, but don’t expect other people to if you won’t.

        If I created the world I’d also make people accountable for their own actions. And it would pain me to watch what we do. It would pain anyone. But if, as an adult, you have kids – and really there’s a moral minefield if you actually believe what you do – do you police their every action to avoid negative consequences?

        • Pavlos

          In reply to your “A.” Actually, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator *is* disproved by the existence and continuation of an “experiment” with such abhorrent results (not to mention that you can’t believe in an omniscient god and call this existence/his creation an “experiment.”)

          In reply to your “B.” You’re confusing (purposefully or not) the concept of a theistic creator god such as the Christian one, with a deity. By definition a theistic concept of a god is one where he is actively participating in, and manipulating, our affairs. In monotheism (Christianity especially), a god is not only a parent, but an overbearing parent throughout his child’s life.

          Furthermore, your Strawman claim about you doing it just like God did ignores the fact that if the creation story is true then the “game” was rigged against us from the beginning. So your notion of accountability is invalid since you are failing to place proper blame to the one responsible. In simple terms, your claim is similar to saying that you’d create a crippled child and then blame her for her disability.

          Lastly, this entire argument of yours is a red herring considering the fact that the article is about religion, not God. You might not have noticed, but some non-theistic religions were included in this list as well.

          And don’t even get me started on the numerous fallacies in your original comment where you’re trying to blame secularism and science for what theists (Christians especially) are responsible for . . . just to point out one of the many unsound arguments in that comment of yours.

          • Penumbra

            My comment addressed religion. People are responsible for all the worlds evils. The idea that the world sucks therefore a Mommy-God-In-The-Sky doesn’t exist is silly.

            So, a scientist with a petri dish full of laboratory aids doesn’t exist because the experiment hurts your feeling? Theology generally places a pretty disinterested and pissed off creator in the sky. Not sure where you get this idea of life should be swell from.

            Your own straw-man about people being born with a disability disproving said creator, again only has worth if I believe that people with disabilities are worthless. I spent 5 years volunteering with disability services across 2 continents. They’re people too. They enjoy life, or not, based on the same petty selfish impulses as your or I. You take it on yourself to bring a kid into this trench of shit, then you
            take responsibility for the possibility for mutation, or damage –
            that’s on you not MGITS.

            Life can suck – no argument. But If you’re on the internet getting your panties in a twist and involving yourself in group dramas (as we both are) it sucks less than 95 percent of the rest of the world. Do something about it. Go volunteer. Things are pretty sweet for us, huh. No complaints, really? But you won’t you want someone elese to volunteer. Someone else to stop the wars. And MGITS to make things AOK. If there is a god I don’t blame it for treating us with indifference. This whole argument has the air of an adult crying over their pants being full of shit and making no effort to clean themselves up.

            Anyway – I find it pretty interesting that a 9 month old post of mine is dug up, to which I reply, and then some white knight with a red letter A on his banner comes charging into install himself in the dialog instead of the person who originally replied to me. What are the odds of that happening by chance do you think? Must be a miracle.

            • Pavlos

              1) This discussion has been resurrected because a FB page just shared the article. No miracle involved.
              2) You seem pretty confident in your assumption of what I have done, or continue to do (or not do), in terms of volunteerism or aid to the less fortunate. Perhaps you need to restrict your presuppositions a bit more before you go using them to accuse/blame others of something.
              3) “People are responsible for all the worlds evils. The idea that the world sucks therefore a Mommy-God-In-The-Sky doesn’t exist is silly.” There is some elementary theology/philosophy lacking in your argument(s) here. The first sentence means you’re either not a Christian, or you’re a cherry-picker Christian. The bible very clearly states that God creates light and darkness, good and evil. That aside (even if we ignore those verses), to say that we are responsible for something is to say that we created it. Which in turn means that God is not the creator of all things.

              The latter sentence (“The idea that the world sucks . . .”) indicates that you either don’t believe in an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God, or you don’t understand what those terms mean. I’ll be happy to explain it to you if you wish.

              I’m also choosing to ignore the fact that you just lumped the worst evils in the world in to the category of “it sucks.”

              3) “So, a scientist with a petri dish full of laboratory aids doesn’t exist because the experiment hurts your feeling? ”

              A scientist doesn’t know the results of the experiment ahead of time. God, supposedly, did and still went through with it anyway. Let me explain it a bit for you. The argument isn’t that any god (scientist) doesn’t exist, it’s that a god who is tri-omni (a scientist with specific qualities), doesn’t exist or isn’t at least 1 of the three “omnis.”

              4) “Not sure where you get this idea of life should be swell from.” I get it from the Christian belief that God is omnibenevolent. By definition such a being would not create anything not meant to be “swell” as you put it. If life is not meant to be “swell” then it was not created by an omnibenevolent being (side note, I’m not sure if you understand these adjectives properly so perhaps you should look up what they mean . . . omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent).

              5) “Your own straw-man about people being born with a disability disproving said creator, again only has worth if I believe that people with disabilities are worthless.”

              You took an analogy and twisted it out of shape. Perhaps you don’t understand analogies very well. In that case, let me explain my original point to you differently. If you believe in God and that he created all things, and that he is tri-omni, then you de-facto believe he did it all purposefully. As such he meant to create people who would turn into “monsters” (also people who would be victims). But he also created the rules which make those monsters guilty. Furthermore, he created the punishment for those people. So God created them sick and ordered them to be well (as Hitchens often said), and then punished them for not being able to be something different than what he created them as. So the responsibility lies with God, not the people, and you have no basis to claim otherwise. Such a God cannot be tri-omni and, therefore, cannot exist.

              • Penumbra

                So your whole point boils down to “There is no God; and besides he’s mean anyway because life isn’t how I want it to be.”?

                Touche.

                • Pavlos

                  Not even close, and I hope you’re not serious about summarizing my point as such.

                  My point, if you want such a condensed version, is that it’s irrational to believe in a god who by definition contradicts his own nature and is, therefore, impossible to exist.

                  You’d be fine if you believed in a “mean” (evil) god. That would actually be rational to an extent. But if you’re a Christian then you believe in a god of love. In fact, he’s supposed to be all-loving (omnibenevolent). As such our existence (reality itself) is contradictory to his nature.

                  That’s the nutshell version of my point in reply to your argument about God.

                  • Penumbra

                    It’s my theological understanding of Christianity (via orthodoxy – The Desert Fathers, Philokalia, &c.) that the existence of God, or, of Jesus, is an unnecessary component in the goal of self betterment in following a doctrine like Christ’s. God was an uncaring and violent force. Christ was an archetype for people to measure themselves against and save themselves from their own pettiness. Just like Buddhism, or Sufism – or any of the many, many, ideologies that were present when we were still learning how to live with one another.

                    The early Christians believed the world was a trench of betrayal and petty lusts, and by addressing and controlling these petty lusts in themselves the decency that would follow from their own acts would be “the grace of God” on Earth. Read Helen Wadell’s book. Noone in the early church was making claims of the supernatural.

                    You are ultimately arguing over whether angels can dance on pin heads, or whether God has a beard, and ignoring the worth of a doctrine – any doctrine — it could be a Saturday morning cartoon extolling gentleness and forgiveness — that allows for a positive change in the individual, and ultimately the larger community as a result.

                    I’m a pessimist – I consider the doctrines of decency in religion were ABSOLUTELY necessary to transition us from barbarous tribal psychopaths killing each other over differences in skin color, and accoutrements – to one where the idea of a multicultural society is even a possibility.

                    Consider the religious behaviors and props of the Dawkin’s style Atheist movement (red letter A’s, Darwin’s Fish, Atheist “churches” etc.)? Religious grouping and tribalism is built into the species.

                    Some religions are better than others – but only in the cultural repurcusions that result from installing gentleness and charity in a species that is a molecule away from a primate. The smug, self important, self righteousness of Ye Culte Ov Dick Dawkins is no different than the petty, vile, behaviors of the Westboro Baptists. People are ugly in groups. The individual can be bettered, and after – the group. It never works the other way. That’s Fascism.

                    If you truly don’t believe in God, or the remote worth of the bible, then this conversation is a meaningless as arguing over Sponge Bob. You’re hurting at looking at a world full of pain and horror, but to be fair — That pain and horror is all on the human race. I don’t see how a loving God is disproven by what we do, anymore than a person is a bad parent because their adult son gets into drug or alcohol abuse. There’s a point where we are accountable for our own actions.

                    And before this descends further into a feeding frenzy of anti-Christianity. I’m just one guy. The only club I belong to in the human race.

                    • Pavlos

                      You’ve now started several new side-discussions and I’m not sure if I should attempt to address all of them or not. We shall see.

                      “. . .this conversation is a meaningless as arguing over Sponge Bob.”
                      What a strange thought to have. So only if you believe in God should you bother discussing God? Am I not allowed to be intrigued by a concept I don’t subscribe to?

                      “I don’t see how a loving God is disproven by what we do, anymore than a person is a bad parent because their adult son gets into drug or alcohol abuse. There’s a point where we are accountable for our own actions.”

                      Indeed, but the two are not equivalent. A parent only creates the child by sharing his/her genetic material with no control over it. God is supposed to have created everything, including the rules which govern it. So, for example, a pedophile is able and willing to rape a child because God made that possible. This doesn’t mean that God is solely responsible for such an abhorrent act, but it doesn’t take much thought to realize that a truly omnibenevolent creator would not make such a thing possible.

                      To make the parent/child analogy more fitting we’d have to imagine a parent who created a “designer baby” intentionally predisposing him genetically to alcoholism, intentionally making alcohol widely available, and purposefully abandoning the child to be alone with the alcohol (leaving nothing but a note behind stating “don’t drink the alcohol.”) Such a parent could not be called loving by any stretch of the imagination.

                      “Consider the religious behaviors and props of the Dawkin’s style Atheist movement . . .”

                      It’s highly inaccurate to go around labeling any group of people a religion. There are certain conditions that must be satisfied and what you described doesn’t even come close.

                      “The smug, self important, self righteousness of Ye Culte Ov Dick Dawkins is no different than the petty, vile, behaviors of the Westboro Baptists.”

                      You can’t be serious. I’m no fan of Dawkins, but even I can see the ludicrousness of such a comparison. It’s one of those statements that are so wrong on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin.

                      “I’m a pessimist – I consider the doctrines of decency in religion were ABSOLUTELY necessary to transition us from barbarous tribal psychopaths killing each other over differences in skin color, and accoutrements – to one where the idea of a multicultural society is even a possibility.”

                      Interestingly enough it’s the exact opposite of that. Religion began when fictive thinking became possible. Groups which were naturally limited to 150 members began growing in size. A system of control became necessary. The combination of ignorance and desire to control lead to superstitious thinking which was wielded by the power-hungry to manipulate the growing masses. As such it enabled our primitive ancestors to abandon Africa and invade the lands of the Neanderthals successfully (something which we failed to accomplish before). So religion was actually the first system of control for the purpose of accumulation of power by the few and the first ever genocide of another humanoid. It didn’t prevent the “barbarous tribal psychopathic” behaviors, it wielded it as a weapon that could be directed at specific targets.

                      “You are ultimately arguing over whether angels can dance on pin heads, or whether God has a beard, and ignoring the worth of a doctrine . . .”

                      Once again, it’s the opposite. The doctrine is so inherently inhumane that only if its originator exists and is accurately portrayed should it even be considered with any seriousness. So first we must examine if God exists and then we can discuss the doctrine. You can try to reduce that to a Strawman (comparing this to beards and dancing angels), but it remains just a strawman with no merit.

                      “God was an uncaring and violent force.”

                      As a former Orthodox Christian myself (and a well educated one on the subject) I can tell you that this is not true by any means. I’m not sure if you’ve been following such alternate version of Orthodoxy, but traditional Orthodoxy does not view God as violent and uncaring. He’s a heavy-handed disciplinarian, but always out of love and compassion. In fact, calling him uncaring is to practically submit to my argument of contradiction. I can put you in touch with some intelligent and articulate Orthodox apologists if you want to become better acquainted with Orthodoxy.

                    • Penumbra

                      I apologize that at some point you’ve been wounded by this ideology. That someone promised you a Mom in the sky and she didn’t come through for you. That’s neither my interpretation, or my interest, to argue against the existence of sky Mom.

                      I can appreciate the value the KJV had on giving us law, and order, to some small degree. And I look forward to seeing, for a little while, how we progress onwards from that. But I’m not going to waste my time arguing against your singular interpretation amongst the many thousands on the planet on your interpretation of the behavior a mythological character in a book of tribal literature — that might represent a larger and real force, or merely a metaphoric abstraction — as if it exists, and he’s a prick. It’s adolescent. The idea that because we don’t have the larger picture and don’t understand how a God could fit into it it therefore doesn’t exist is absolute hubris.

                      I could care less whether people believe in something as long as it has a core morality. Their actions and their behaviors are all that matter. If they take comfort in their beliefs — who cares? I’m no sadist. If there’s nothing then any comfort a transient biological incident can take in a dying world is a rare and beautiful thing and I don’t begrudge anyone for this, and if it benefits society then great. The rule-sets that came from religion gave us law and order, and I can appreciate the necessity for both.

                      If you want to do the world a favor make the first tenet of internet atheism that a practicing pedophile does not deserve to live and do us all a favor.

                      If you prefer the ehtics of a secular society without moral (however misplaced) foundation try China. If you prefer to visit via a screen. Read some academic papers on Chinese ethics, Social ethics, and watch the charming video of people stepping over a dying child on a sidewalk that’s just been hit by two cars. Human social behavior is the issue — not what bullshit we buy into — and of that we are all guilty. No one is superior.

                      But at least with an ideal we are heading upwards from our petty, base humanity. That’s a good thing. That’s social evolution.

                    • Pavlos

                      Strawman arguments, covert ad homs, false dilemma fallacies, the No True Scotsman . . . I’m sorry, but the informal fallacies in your comments are multiplying with every post.

                      Your first paragraph is an amazing display of numerous fallacies used to craft such a short thought. If you think we are discussing a “Mom-in-the-sky” then you’re only arguing against yourself. I’ve explained my position abundantly and at this point you’re either failing to understand it purposefully or you have no choice in the matter.

                      “But I’m not going to waste my time arguing against your singular interpretation amongst the many thousands on the planet ”

                      And yet here you are doing exactly what you are saying you won’t do. You know, there’s no shame in saying “I’m wrong.”

                      “I could care less whether people believe in something as long as it has a core morality. ”

                      Good for you, but what’s the point of this red herring other than to distract from the arguments you can’t seem to counter and are not even attempting to?

                      “If Atheism is going to . . .”

                      A Greek expression that is very fitting as a reply to you: “If my grandmother had wheels she’d be a skateboard.”

                      “How about instead of discussing literary metaphor as if it’s fact just to mock it . . .”

                      You love your Strawman arguments, don’t you? Have I discussed anything about the bible with you? Or any book for that matter? And your suggestion that I discussing anything here purely to mock it is based on . . . what? I’ve been discussing some important philosophical points which have been around longer than Christianity has been anything larger than a regional cult. Perhaps you should stop trying to make my arguments something which they are clearly not.

                      “Why not make the first tenet of internet atheism that a practicing pedophile does not deserve to live and do us all a favor. ”

                      Oh, I see. So it bothers you that people don’t like pedophiles? You’re tired of people using them as the standard of immoral behavior?

                      Aside from the fact that you’ve now started painting a picture of yourself as potentially having something in common with such people, you’re once again missing the point (on purpose or not). I could explain it to you, but this repetition is getting tedious.

                      “If you prefer the ethics of a secular society without moral (however misplaced) foundation try China.”

                      Oh . . . where to begin with this comment. Shall I begin with the obvious fact that you picked one out of many examples which prove you wrong only because that one example is preferable to your argument? Should I simply counter your point by listing the secular countries of the world with no religiously based moral foundation which not only prove you wrong, but do so triumphantly? Should I remind you that the US is also secular (officially anyway) and was not founded on a Christian ideology? Should remind you not to make assumptions about people you don’t know (such as implying that I don’t know anything about China, let alone visited it)? Should I inform you that China has had a moral foundation longer than most countries have existed? Should I inform you that picking one example (which may not even be anything more than a silly internet rumor) does not qualify as the brush with which to paint an entire society? Should pick worse examples from other countries (religious ones, or even theocracies) to make the same case and show you how much worse they are? Truly, I do not know where to begin with such an astonishingly flawed view of the world.

                      “Is it God that offends you? Or, the idea someone is telling you what to do?”

                      Seriously now . . . enough with the Strawman arguments. Enough with the pretense that I must be the perfect copy of a stereotypical atheist as described by “loving” theists. God does not offend me, anger me, bother me, or any such thing. If I were offended by the idea of being told what to do I’d have a much harder time living in a society with rules that are actually enforceable than worry about an imaginary being telling me how to live my life.

                      Now, would you like to get back on topic or not?

                    • Penumbra

                      I don’t know what’s to talk about, man…

                      I mean we’re not moving ideas forward we’re playing soundbites. I’m just meandering through my own beliefs and you yours. The only thing of interest in the whole interaction is this complex set of values you seem to have for communication. This rule-set of formal argument seems kind of odd standard to adhere to. These scarecrows, and ad-hominems et al. are just as meaningless as anything else beyond the immediate necessities of the animal economy. If there is no God and no meaning it doesn’t require discourse. God just doesn’t exist., and soon neither will we, so who cares lets just eat, and sleep, and prepare for death.

                      I mean when you think about it the “word” when used to describe philosophical abstractions of any kind is a lie. Reality does not require degree. The sky is blue. Who cares what shade it is? What function does it serve? Linguistic gymnastics are pointless. Philosophy is a dead language. Science has superseded it.

                      So, if we’re merely meat engines here to rut and conquer territory for our seed and tribe then dialog between any of us should really just be monosyllabic noises to aid in the acquisition of food and shelter. Being socially minded for that which is beyond the immediate needs of our tribe seems a waste of effort being we’re only here to go. And after we slay all the other tribes who believe different things to us then our tribe will only last as long as our resources do, or if by some miracle beyond that, until the death of the sun; or if we get off world and survive beyond that then until the heat death of the universe. So why bother at all? And why try and convince anyone of anything? Thank the black void that the belief in God exists and The Law exists to keep the simple from gutting us all alive in a bloody display of Darwinian superiority.

                      And with that peace we should Eat food, sleep, and enjoy what little sensory pleasure the biological machine that simulates our personality can acquire from life.

                      If there’s no continuation of consciousness, and ultimately no point for life, then why do anything beyond that which is immediately necessary, and even why bother with prolonging the inevitable?

                      Why even have a job just to buy a lot of meaningless objects for the purpose of showing how privileged we are, and how high we rank in our tribe, when we are ultimately just toiling towards death anyway? Who cares what anyone else thinks of us?

                      I mean things like status, and class and the props and baubles both entail are kind of leftovers from the superstitious tribal people we are so clearly nothing like. Those are just remnants of magical thinking and religious caste systems we are totally above as clear headed and rational members of the 21st century. So why would we spend any time acquiring status indicators? Or, displaying tribal standards like say an Apple logo, or a Red-Letter A, or a cross for that matter.

                      Why don’t we just live in an air-conditioned cell and lie on our backs and just breath in and out and eat when necessary and sleep and then die.

                      Sam Beckett wrote many books that amounted to basically just this. They’re just as meaningless as they sound.

                      I mean we should skip all the make-believe and valuing of objects that culture entails and just eat, sleep, prepare for death — oh, and curb our dumb animal urge to procreate. Because it would be a crime against our own ideology and superiority to bring another semi-self aware consciousness into existence to suffer a meaningless painful and potentially torturous existence before dying and ceasing to exist. Isn’t that funny that the intelligence that it takes to make this kind of realization actually diminished my chances of breeding by making it a decision rather than a “mistake” or an adherence to tradition like so many of us are. Almost like intelligence is not a goal of the species. Anyway — now we know better why do we even bother sticking around?

                      In the least, while I work out that last question, I appreciate that the ignorant and barbaric who believe in sky Mom are kept at bay by things like Rock And Roll, Shopping Malls, Social scenes, Culture, the KJV, and “The Law”. It makes just sitting in my air conditioned cell waiting for non-existence that much more peaceful.

                      To me existence is either all of the above or perhaps something much more interesting which alludes me.

                      I have as much proof for either scenarios currently. When I work it out just before I drink the hemlock I shall come down from the mountain and write a best seller called “The Delusion Delusion” and wear a dainty little indicator of my status as head Poombah of all the little anti-anti-believers, and tell them to congregate in my name, and spread my anti-anti-beliefs and mock all those who anti-believe differently and smite them dead so only we chosen can inherit the nothing. Amen.

                    • Pavlos

                      No insult intended by the following comment, but I think you need therapy. You mentioned you’re a pessimist, but this is borderline depressive personality disorder.

                      I’m not even sure if it would be appropriate for me to answer any of your points since I’m worried you might be in a fragile state of mind.

                    • Penumbra

                      I appreciate the concern but I was taking the piss out of the inevitable result of a nihilistic philosophy.

                      If you want to rally against SOME belief – why not all belief that requires make-believe? From God, through the credit system, to status and class, etc.

                      Accepting also the by-product of your belief — that morality is a social construct — but presuming for a moment that pain is bad: what are your feelings on bringing children into the world?

                    • Pavlos

                      I see. Well your first mistake then is to equate atheism with nihilism. Second, I could just as easily return the same baseless reductionism to the theistic ideology and wonder why bother with this life at all? You’re promised unimaginable bliss in the afterlife so by hanging around here any longer (and gleefully too) you’re giving credence to the belief that no sane person actually believes any such thing about the afterlife. A believer hides in the same trench a non-believer does in times of war to avoid being shot. The non-believer understands that being shot would be bad because you only get this one chance at life. But the believer seems to be hiding from a better existence (or he doesn’t really believe what he claims to believe).

                      I actually do oppose all blind belief that is not based on anything rational or provable.

                      Furthermore, you are now assuming that I believe morality is a social construct. Why you assume this I don’t know, but it’s not true. Morality is an evolved biological mechanism.

                      Also, morality is not “pain is bad.” Something is immoral if it’s an unjustified evil act. That’s the broad definition within which there’s room for some socio-cultural relativism.

                      On China, perhaps I need to articulate in more detail my response. You can point to one, or more, isolated incidents, but this does not strengthen your argument that it has anything to do with atheism. I can point out similar examples from the US: religious hospitals dumping dying patients on the sidewalk to die because they didn’t have insurance. The fact that we have such a high rate of poverty in general. Or even the latest viral video of those kids dumping a bucket of urine, feces, and cigarette butts on a kid with autism.
                      I could also point out that the worst human rights violators in the world are religious countries. In fact, the closer a country is to a theocracy, the worse it rates in nearly every category. I could also point out countries such as Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, etc. which are vastly atheistic and yet put almost all other countries to shame when it comes to social responsibility and acts of morality (in fact other countries can’t even compete with them, so they can only be compared to each-other).

                      Lastly, on this topic, the article you shared sort of pointed out the refutation to your argument. This is not a result of atheism, but of a cultural mentality. Just because their culturally accepted views of morality didn’t originate from the Judeo-Christian (neither did the US’s by the way) doesn’t mean it has anything to do with atheism. In fact, with only a cursory understanding of Chinese culture you’d know that they are far from atheistic. You might think they are “godless commies” because of religious and political propaganda, but China has more Christians than the US has people. Those who aren’t Christian are typically Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, or worshipers of obscure religious figures not much known in the West. And from those who declare themselves “a-religious” (not to be confused with “a-theist”), the vast majority are animists (venerating the souls of their deceased family members and other prominent figures). They widely believe in ghosts, ghouls, demonic spirits, angelic apparitions, and other superstitions. To call them atheistic is simply inaccurate. Now the government occasionally does take severe measures against organized religion, but that’s because they fear any group of people with ideological ties. Have you ever heard of “Fallun Gong”? It is an atheistic religion that focuses on meditation and “spirituality” (they are atheistic because they don’t believe there is a creator god, but they do believe in cosmic energy etc.). It is the most aggressively persecuted religion in China. Why? Not because of their spirituality, meditation, belief or lack thereof in a god, or any such thing. They are persecuted because they are popular and the government fears their growing numbers.

                      You can’t just lump everything under the umbrella of theism/atheism and hold those accountable for it.

                    • Penumbra

                      “Morality is an evolved biological mechanism.”

                      Correct.

                      And religion and law bred us like dogs to be that way. So claiming that religion is responsible for all our “evils” is ludicrous. The reverse is true. Re: China. Their reactions are based on generations of repression, and generations of social conditioning. Again this strengthens my argument that religion has value.

                      “A believer hides in the same trench a non-believer does in times of war to avoid being shot.”

                      This is a fallacious concept. Firstly I could reverse the argument and again ask you why you think it’s okay to bring children into such a shitty world and why do you stay around if your presence is merely adding to the resource demand and the pollution and destruction you like to bring up and blame on Sky Mom? And second, as an adult I stick around for my family (no kids!) and friends who rely on me financially and emotionally — whether I believe that consciousness continues or not does not diminish my responsibilities as an adult. Self preservation is for the people that rely on us, too.

                      Some of these concepts your chairing have the distinct whiff of dogma to them — they don’t seem to have be critically parsed.

                      Speaking of Evil. This is a ludicrous notion coming from an atheist. Define “evil” for me in a world without meaning. How can objective morality exist? Public behavior is merely bred into us via culture. Which you agree with — so blaming that which gave us The Law, and a moral framework is having your cake and eating it too. Or, if you believe morality is /more/ than that then perhaps you’re starting to demonstrate faith in something. Or — are you telling me you believe in the myth or the individual? Which is what your left with without a soul — a myth.

                      And again, arguing against you idea of the judeo/christian God is a pointless task with me. Pain exists in the world and if your don’t spend your days dedicated to alleviating it for other people you’re a hypocrite — why does sky Mom have to do that which you can but don’t?

                    • Pavlos

                      Take a moment to think about what you wrote. “So claiming that religion is responsible for all our “evils” is ludicrous.” Agreed, and nobody is saying that religion is responsible for all our evils. But then you go and say “The reverse is true.” If you see why the former is ludicrous, why don’t you see that the latter is just as ludicrous? Unless you mean something different when you say “the reverse.” The reverse of the ludicrous statement is that religion bares no responsibility for any evil. Considering the fact that you wrote this so close to the anniversary of such a famous date (9/11) I’m can’t help but feel baffled but such a statement. And of course 9/11 is but a drop in the ocean of examples proving that statement wrong.

                      “Firstly I could reverse the argument and again ask you why you think it’s okay to bring children into such a shitty world and why do you stay around if your presence is merely adding to the resource demand and the pollution and destruction you like to bring up and blame on Sky Mom?”

                      You just reverted back to a Strawman argument we’ve already covered. You need to let go of this false association of atheism with nihilism. This is just a product of religious indoctrination which is desperate to make atheists look like a sorry bunch of people meandering through a meaningless existence. In fact, I don’t really need to articulate a response, since all that is required for you to understand this on your own is to let go of that false association. The rest just falls into place naturally. Stop assuming I consider existence meaningless, or that I view the world as a shitty place, or people as a burden, etc.

                      Also let go of the “blame on Sky Mom” argument. We’ve covered that already and these responses are getting lengthy on their own without needing extra help from repetition.

                      Now, you say you stick around because of your responsibility to others. If you truly believed in an afterlife you’d understand why this statement is just a poor excuse at an attempt to say something, anything at all, in defense of a lost argument. It also implies that if “tragedy” struck those who depend on you (of course, how could it be tragedy if they are all going to a better place?) that you would immediately end your life. So, really, it is you who sees the world in such an ugly way, so you are just assuming the rest of us must.

                      Also, “Their reactions are based on generations of oppression, and generations of social conditioning. Again this strengthens my argument that religion has value.” You are just completely ignoring my comments, aren’t you? I’ve already explained that China is not now, and has not been historically, a-religious. Their religions are simply not major exports like Christianity, Islam, etc. Even Confucianism (one of the better known to the Western world Asian exports), is a religion. Dynasties have ruled over China for thousands of years. The head of each dynasty is not merely a mortal ruler, but a divine being. Each new dynasty was the equivalent of a forced conversion to a new religion. Religion has shaped their society just as much as many others. They are simply not the religions that you know and understand in the traditional sense.

                      “Without a God/design to existence (whatever it is) humanity ends in a fail state no matter what we do.”

                      “The End” is not synonymous with “Fail.” I think there is a heavy emotional blinder narrowing your logical view of the world.

                      “The fact we continue, and continue to make art, and hold one thing as “good” and another as “evil” is proof of a divine spark to us. Otherwise we would not have progressed beyond predatory tribes.”

                      If you had made such statements earlier on I would never have invested the time in a conversation with you. You can be wrong, and then you can *this* wrong. You packed a lot of “wrong” in such a short sentence. Our progression from “predatory tribes” to cultured tribes has nothing to do with a divine spark. It is nothing more than the biological evolution of our brains which lead to the ability we call “fictive thinking” (being able to think and talk about things not immediately obvious as real or current). In short, a gazelle cannot warn other gazelles of the possible danger down by the river, it can only communicate the visible danger. We are the only animal which can use fictive thinking to such a degree, and this has controlled every aspect of our nature since then.

                      Understanding good and evil is again not proof of any divine spark at all. Even base animals understand these concepts. In fact, some animals have shown to understand good and evil (right/wrong, just/unjust) better than us. It is purely biology. Nurture can have a big impact on such notions, but it can never override the biological core of it completely.

                      “I gotta say it, too — some of these concepts your chairing have the distinct whiff of dogma . . .”

                      Whatever helps you sleep at night I suppose. My thoughts are the product of study, education, and contemplation. You call it dogma, but I can challenge you to find the source of this “dogma” and wish you good luck on your futile endeavor of trying to locate it.

                      “Speaking of Evil. This is a ludicrous notion coming from an atheist. Define “evil” for me in a world without meaning. . . .”

                      I already have. Again, this is long enough and doesn’t need to be longer by virtue of repetition. Remember a few comments ago when we discussed evil and morality? Evil is a unjustified immoral act. Of course, I’ve already asked you several times to stop assuming that atheism means nihilism, but meaning is irrelevant to evil either way.

                      “How can objective morality exist?” It doesn’t; at least not as you mean it. It is objective to the extent that it is shared by us all through our biology (so really it’s inter-subjective), but if you’re claiming that morality is objective then you are saying that even if life ceased to exist in the universe that morality would continue to exist. Which is to claim that an action is right or wrong even when there is no agent to perform any action. That is like wondering what the sound of something which doesn’t exist sounds like.

                      “why does sky Mom have to do that which you can but don’t?”

                      You are insisting on missing the point. I’m not the one asking a deity to alleviate any pain (it is the theist who does that with prayer). I’m pointing out the contradiction in believing in a being which created the pain or the possibility for the pain in the first place. Claiming that I’m blaming a Sky Mom is just as stupid as claiming that I’m angry with it. You can’t blame something you understand doesn’t exist. So my argument, then, is not an “attack” on an imaginary being, it’s merely pointing out the absurdity of the concept that such a being exists.

                    • Penumbra

                      Look, your whole sense of smug self importance relies on a set of objective values. That your being “right” is of some value above everyone who dosn;t think like you do. Without an objective morality then there all is relative in what purpose man is then left with: survival. You can deny nihilism but nihilism is the logical, absolute end state of your ownphilosophy. Just because you don’t consider yourself a nihilist – because you value baubles, or bringing children into this shitheap – doesn’t diminish the truth of the philosophy. You’re having your cake and eating it to – either there’s a point to human existence and we stick around to fulfill this point – or, there is none and each of our lives contributes to all the pain and horror of existence. If our only point is survival then your own philosophy is ultimately an excuse for the permissibility of any human action because ultimately the strong will survive. Your whole morality is a byproduct of religion – just like mine is. And let me make something clear – I consider any human institution that has a dress-code, a set of dogmas, relative values, and behavioral modifiers to be a religion.

                    • Pavlos

                      My smug sense of self-importance and I hope you had a good weekend.

                      Now look at why that first paragraph is yet another Strawman: Despite me telling you that I’m not a nihilist you insist on thinking that I am. You then use all the baggage associated with this philosophy to try and criticize my argument as you want to present it (rather than how it is). As a result you feed your ego by telling yourself you’re right and I’m wrong.
                      The fun thing about Strawman arguments is that ultimately you are only arguing against yourself. They are only effective when there’s an audience to fool, which there isn’t, so now you’re just feeding your ego.

                      Furthermore, you denied once that your depressive view of the world is actually yours, trying to blame it on nihilism, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that you truly feel the world is such a horrible place with nothing but pain and suffering. What you fail to see is that even under nihilism existence isn’t necessarily bleak. You’ve associated an external dictation of meaning with joy to such an extent that you can’t see anything else.

                      Now, I’m not usually one to argue against Strawman arguments, or philosophies I don’t subscribe to, but let me try to put this to rest. Nihilism is the philosophical position that life is meaningless (among other things). Not meaningless in the way you are trying to present it, but in the sense that it’s pointless (like “why bother?”). If you find meaning in existence then you are not a nihilist.

                      You are claiming that unless some external source gives your life meaning then your life can’t have meaning. This is the equivalent of saying that if someone else doesn’t give you a reason to eat your food that there is no reason to eat your food (let alone enjoy it).

                      I can see why you’re so hopelessly in love with this assumption about atheists, but it’s time to let it go.

                      Furthermore, you made two references to morality in that opening paragraph. Your first was a naive understanding of objective morality. Your second was not only wrong even by your own admission, but it was also contradictory to your first statement. Even if morality is purely relative it does not diminish in any way a person’s ability to express indignation at an immoral act. I think you’ve been spending too much time watching Dr. Craig’s videos. Moral relativism does not invalidate morality. In fact, it strengthens it. The moral objectivist can only say something is wrong because he has been made to feel that way (“God created objective moral standards, therefore, I feel 9/11 was bad because God made me so.”). The relativist, however, is condemning such an act because he chooses to consider it immoral.

                      And in case you start telling me again about the negatives of me being a relativist, let me remind you once more than I am not (not in the pure sense anyway).

                      Let me help you understand this better. It’s like the Euthyphro dilemma. “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” If you don’t have much experience with philosophy I don’t expect you to fully understand this question and its implications. But essentially (as it relates to our topic) you are either claiming that something is what it is despite how God feels about it, or that something is what it is only because God feels it should be thus. The former contradicts your monotheistic beliefs. The latter leaves you devoid of making any moral judgements of any act without first receiving guidance from the god you believe decides what’s right and wrong (thus negating your belief in objective morality because nothing is right or wrong until God decides it).

                      Your second paragraph is the kind of mentality I usually don’t bother with because it reveals a severe lack of knowledge and/or understanding. You may not be aware of this, but the first evidence of codified moral laws predate your religion by a few thousand years. The Code of Hammurabi dates back to 1772 BCE. Religions (not just yours) didn’t invent moral codes, they plagiarized them.

                      But here’s the fun part in your argument. You are claiming, by extension, that you don’t know the difference between right and wrong without a religion telling you which is which. Just like you don’t see meaning in life without a deity forcing one upon you, so too for morality. So once you start adding these up you see that you have an ideology which is completely robbing you of any individuality and worth. Your life is meaningless unless someone else gives it meaning. Your ability to discern right from wrong is nonexistent unless someone else tells you what is right or wrong. Is there anything else you have surrendered to outside forces?

                      Let me also make something clear. You can define religion any way you like, but don’t expect others to accept this. Religion has a specific meaning and it’s not up to your personal interpretation. So if you say “religion” I will think of religion, not any group which might fit your subjective criteria. It would be nice if the world worked your way because I could then just define toilet paper as money and live like a billionaire.

                      Re: the other ideologies comment, you’re admitting to coming in to this with biases which are clouding your judgement. For the record I like discussing all important issues. Just because we intersected on this topic doesn’t mean I spend my life devoted to it, just like I’m sure you also have other thoughts besides these.

                      “If you can explain how you don’t belong to any . . .” Easy. My life has meaning to me.

                      Also, re: kids. I’m not dodging the question; I’m trying to explain to you that your question is invalid because your premises are false. I can’t justify bringing kids into a meaningless existence because I don’t believe existence is meaningless. You are, again, constructing a Strawman and arguing against yourself. I wonder how many more times I’ll have to repeat this before it starts making any difference.

                      I’m the zealot? LOL, that’s . . . so reminiscent of school yard games (“I’m rubber and you’re glue . . .”).

                      By the way, if the number of assumptions you’ve made about me where money, you’d be rich. Why do you think I think there’s free will?

                      As a side note, at this point I do want to mention that you are driving me away from this discussion. Your Strawman arguments, your presuppositions, and your personal attacks are becoming tiresome. The fact that I have to repeat things for you so many times is becoming tiresome. You want to accuse me of zealotry but you can’t even see past your own biases even when I make it clear for you.

                      Not to mention that I have allowed this entire conversation to be derailed by your red herrings.

  • Hi

    Dude we are the cause of this….

  • luna

    While I agree that the evils in people cause much of this religion gives them self justification that would not be found otherwise also y’all forgot that teaching children that they are born evil is just demented…

  • Elizabeth Vernon
  • Elizabeth Vernon

    The Magdelene Laundries.

  • Common Sense

    Religion has done none of these things, people have. Your argument that none of these things would have happen, if there was no religion, is asinine at the very least.