Embracing Christ… and other bad ideas.
I got this e-mail the other day from a reader. I don’t normally post reader e-mails (although we do state on our site that we reserve the right to do so). I am posting this one because it is very reflective of several “middle-ground” e-mails we get from believers. They agree with some of what we say, but have problems with other things, and just can’t let go of their god beliefs. It isn’t “fan” mail and it isn’t “hate” mail. Below is what Andrew Wakelam sent me… and my response.
"Mmm, Jesus, do you work out?"
“Read several articles on your site and I gotta say, you guys have some compelling evidence to back up your claims about Jesus, the bible, and religion in general. (I’ll have to do some more research to see how reliable some of those claims really are.) Anyway, I have a question. If I don’t get an answer that’s fine, but if I did it would be greatly appreciated. (I am not trying to rope you guys into a debate; I would genuinely appreciate an honest answer.)
Here goes: As atheists, you believe that religion is one of the core reasons for war and death in the world. For the world to truly become a place of peace and tranquility, you claim we must seek and attain personal enlightenment beyond the realms of mere faith and religious practice. This automatcially excludes the idea of God. My question is, if this is the case, then why is the world becoming an increasingly crapppier place? I am the first to admit that believers (christians as well as other denominations) are just as responsible for this as anyone. Alienation, hate, wars, etc. All are a result of intolerance. But that is not Jesus’ fault. His was a message of love to all peoples. Self-proclaimed christians have followed your advice. We have embraced the selfish idea of doing whatever feels good, and thrown the servant’s attitude which we are supposed to have out the window(except, of course, on Sundays). Most of the people in this world, including christians, are following your creed of ‘do whatever you feel is right and are compelled by science to do.’ So again I ask the question, if your way is supposed to work, then why is the world growing worse and worse by the minute? (By the way, that evidence is concrete. Go to any archive and you’ll see that divorce, rape, murders, kidnappings, wars, etc. are all on the rise in almost every region globally. Over 28 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking alone.)
You probably don’t care, but here is something to think about. If we as a people sincerely made an effort to die to ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and actually follow Jesus and what he said (Luke 9:23), just imagine what kind of world we would be living in right now. I actually agree with you guys on one point. Holding onto religious practice is futile; instead, we need to embrace Christ.
Thank you for your time.”
First of all, our premise is that Jesus never existed at all. There is substantial evidence to support this (start here: http://www.atheismresource.com/the-bible – buy the book). The world isn’t “getting worse”. Society is adjusting, but the happiest countries on the planet (and the ones with the lowest crime) have the lowest amount of religion: http://www.atheismresource.com/2010/the-happiest-countries-have-the-lowest-rates-of-religiosity The news covers the world now more than ever before and we are more accurate with our statistics, but, with advances in medical and scientific knowledge, humans are better off today than they have ever been in the past. Many people think the US would be better if us atheists left. Watch this video for some disturbing (backed up) facts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbef07aQtB8&feature=player_embedded
I never claim the the atheist community has the answers and should be emulated. I simply claim that the religious community is leading us blindly down an alley to nowhere. The moral compass associated with the bible has many errors. That doesn’t mean we can’t take good from it… but it was written by man, not any god. Humans are amazing creatures and have the ability to do amazing things. Focusing on some unprovable afterlife and 2,000 rules set up in a book that has been soooo revised, edited, and changed over the centuries simply takes focus off of advancing humanity and helping one another.
I hope this give you some look into how we believe. Secular Humanism is about using science and human ingenuity to fix the world’s problems… instead of praying about them. There are over 5,000 gods that have been created over human history. You are an atheist to all of them minus one. We just go one god further than you. What makes your god unique? Honestly, there isn’t anything. And, there is ZERO proof for his existence. If you want to live based on the “good” parts of the bible, fine. That doesn’t hurt anyone. But, if you are one of the 20% of fundamentalists in this country that feels that the earth is only 6,000 years old, prayer heals, Jesus is coming back soon, men are superior to women, gays are evil, evolution is a myth, and the bible is the unalterable word of god, then I have a problem with you. If not, no problems here… your beliefs don’t hurt me.
I always tell Christians, “If you use your religion as a crutch, I won’t come up and knock it out from underneath your arm. But, if you beat me or anyone else I love over the head with it, then I reserve the right to smash it into a million pieces.”