Thursday, October 18, 2007


Joe said:
"Christianity and Islam are no worse than any other religion. It's religion itself that is the scam. Of course Communism is up there too, but at best it's a distant second."

This is a popular view. There was an interesting comment on it on, of all places, South Park. Since Matt and Trey make fun of religious figures, many people have assumed they were atheists, and were surprised when they denied this in interviews. One of them said that he (like me) has a kind of belief, but it would be very involved to explain.

So they did a show (a really good science-fiction two-parter) which contained a reaction to that famous book The God Scam. (No wait, that's not the title. It's The God Delusion. But looking for it, I found this amazing site.) Like they said in the commentary to the show, these are such big and complex subjects, that they focused in the show on one of the central tenets of the book: that without religion, there would be significantly less war in the world. They believe that this is a falsehood, man is war-like for some reason, and he will always find something to fight about. In the show, they have a future atheist world where the various atheist factions wage wars about which of their beliefs is the more logical.

As for me: all religions sound silly to outsiders, sure. But how about the dominant "scientific" theory, that everything arrived from nothing in a big explosion? Without explaining what was before or how it came about? That's as silly as anything.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure that war would exist even if religion didn't. Just like we probably won't ever rid ourselves of war (I wouldn't mind being wrong about that), we're unlikely to ever rid ourselves of religion. Some believe that we're hardwired to believe in that sort of thing, whatever form it takes. We're probably hardwired for war too, unfortunately.

I'm not an atheist, but an agnostic. Someone (I can't remember who) said that atheism is just another kind of faith. I agree with that. I don't think that we can rule out a god or gods. I can't go any further than that, just admitting the possibility.

The Big Bang theory is at least based on some evidence. Like any theory, it could eventually be proven wrong, but probably not entirely wrong. The theory of evolution, evolved since Darwin. That's how science works. The hardcore religious people out there want science to work the way religion does - they believe it should not change, that it should be able to prove and explain everything in one go.

That said, religion and war do seem to go hand in hand, and without religion - or at least without religious intolerance - while there would probably still be war there might not be as much of it.

Alex said...

Couple of quick points.

In "1984" religion had been banned, but mass feeling was directed by a figure of hate, Emanuel Goldstein. The war flip-flopped between being against East-Asia and Eurastia. (Kinda like the swing between fighting Iraq and Iran, I sometimes wonder if that was a typo in the Pentagon.)

In "Farenheit 451" politics and religion had faded to naught through censorship and public feeling. The only thing worshiped, and vacuously at that, was The Walls, the big screen TV's. A war still carries on, but it was political and economic, hardly mentioned in the news, and not really impacting the populace at large.

Finally, "Canticle for Leibowitz", second part "Fiat Lux" shows a run in between a scientist and an technologically aware order of monks. There they admit that rainbows are caused be refracted light, and not divine intervention after the great flood. They, the order, accommodate scientific learning by having faith based on what great power may have seeded the big bang, and what divine guidance brought life into being from "star stuff".

It is a shame that organized religion is the cause of so much strife in the world. But as I said in an earlier post, people will always mistrust or focus hate/fear on others for being different.

Anonymous said...

The only thing worshiped, and vacuously at that, was The Walls, the big screen TV's.

It's funny how we're getting closer and closer to that. TVs are getting bigger and bigger.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not religious. My Lord Jesus detested such things. Religion is man's idea and Christ is God's answer.
And yes, even without religion there would still be war because of the sin in mens hearts.
Be well all :)

Anonymous said...

Praise Jesus! Praise Him! Yeah! Praise the Lord! Testify!

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Good one there, Steve. :-D

"But how about the dominant "scientific" theory, that everything arrived from nothing in a big explosion?"

When science steps outside of its field to claim it knows all, it makes a fool of itself. Or rather, I should talk about the science people.
Even God couldn't give us a principle so perfect that we couldn't mess it up. It takes great talent to be so screwy. :-(

I've always felt that Jesus of Nazareth was a great guy to listen to. Amazing stuff he said, for a society 2,000 years ago. (It's no wonder the edgy people found it urgent to execute him!) I don't need to believe in some virgin birth or some resurrection: divine inspiration was in his words, which is more than enough. It's a pity he was soon turned by some Temple Merchants into a registered brand, with heaps of artificial additives that prove harmful to your moral health. What part of "My Kingdom is not of this Earth" was hard to understand, huh?

At least, muslims can claim the excuse that Muhammad was an openly admitted military conqueror, it's a historical fact. But "Mr J." did not live by the sword...

In any case, I feel the real bane is not exactly religion, technically it's dogmatism. The Dogma implies that you're to follow what the leader sez, even if his name is Osama or Torquemada. You stop believing, and start blindly obeying. "Capisce, pasan?"
This is what happens when too many people are afraid to think with their own minds. Perhaps out of fear for the responsibility? "I was just following orders, oh Lord"?

I've known very well several dogmatic religious people for a good part of my life. They end up bitter, miserable, pitiful. But yet they refuse to learn.
Here's one tip for all you folks out there: if your child turns out to have a drug addiction, to be homosexual, or whatever God-frowned shame, the priority is NOT to besiege the church 24/7 in trance prayers (literally). Talk to your child, communicate, try to open your mind and heart and understand him/her, and maybe you won't lose him/her forever. Even God can't help those who don't help themselves, those are His Rules. It's called freedom of will and choice.

Creation gave us the most sophisticated thinking organ in the known Universe. It's just a hunch I have, but maybe we're meant to USE the darn thing...

Anonymous said...

I think that we've gotta be spiritual instead of being religious. Lets believe in God in any form a particular individual likes for God and then pray without even havin' a religion.

Anonymous said...

However, my mother really gave me a brainstorming point yesterday, when I asked her on why should we have to be strictly religious even if you’re already a good person. Her reply was, if I want something perfectly, then you would have to do something perfectly like the God wished isn’t that logic. If God simply gave you a hut instead of villa that you’ve wished for would you be satisfied with it? Secondly, if you’re just spiritual at a very young age but not religious, then you would still become religous as you grow up as there’s a very strong reason on why we would and the answer is that she doesn’t know, its a miracle. If you don’t, then this means that we’re great sinners that God doesn’t want us. Thirdly, people without any religions are not at all respect by the soceity, king, and or any intellect as you can’t to trust them so in a nutshell, freethinkers, liberal people are the ones that can’t be trusted. Fourthly, people who don’t see race, religion, culture, or caste as a barrier to choose their partners only do so for personal benefit and are like hooligans, vagabonds, or pagans as they have no barriers at all and these people have no respect from any one and are the most hated. They are also abused by their in-laws. Race, caste, religion, and culture is important to keep a soceity civilised, dignified, cultured , and educated. A developed, respected human being should have proper barriers in every aspect of his/her living. Fifth, humanity was only brought about by religion, you see yoga, was brought about by Hinduism, without a religion, there’s no order, and people would be like vagabonds and drug-addicts. Religion is something which spoils a person, religion is something that makes a person, so in a nutshell, a right religion like Hinduism or Christianity makes a right person. Lastly, my mother warned me not to be an atheist as these people are forgiven by God until they reach a point in life when they see religion as their ultimate path and become more religious than an average person when they realise it, I am afraid that you would also do so. For example, Mother Theresa.

David Evans said...

"But how about the dominant "scientific" theory, that everything arrived from nothing in a big explosion?"

There is solid evidence for the big explosion, aka the Big Bang. As to "from nothing" there are reasonable conjectures about the cause of the Big Bang. They have to be conjectures, because we don't have a complete theory of how matter behaves at very high density and temperature.

I would put up science's evidence base against religion's any day.