Religion is no excuse…
Religious Rationale is Bullshit…and Needs to Be Called Out
I have written numerous posts over the last few months chastising many religious opinions. The most common responses to this type of criticism are quite predictable. Dissenters often point out that their beliefs are valid because the bible, Jesus (and other religious figures), their religious leaders, the dogma/doctrine of their religion, etc all say it is okay and even offer encouragement for them to believe what they believe. Dissenters often also point out that, as an atheist, I do not have a right to comment. This argument is known to many atheists—“how can we as atheists criticize religion from outside the faith? As non-members, we cannot fully understand the tenets.” Both points of dissent are bullshit.
I want to call bullshit on the many opinions that various religious people hold for the above reasons. Religions, based on holy books from the Bronze Age are not a solid basis for making 21st century decisions. The internet is chock-full of sites illustrating the atrocities committed in the bible and the many examples of poor morality—found in both the Old and New Testaments. The same holds true for other holy books. There really is no need for me to enter a long discussion on that today. Jesus (and other religious figures) knew no more about the universe than your average middle school student, so they are out also. This is not an attack on them directly, the facts of the matter is that the knowledge was just not available. The dogma/doctrine of modern religions are largely based on the holy books or holy figures so they are also out by default. Religious leaders base their opinions on the three discredited ideas above, so they are out. Lastly, and this is important. If we, as a society are to make policies and hold valid opinions based on holy books and deities, it is imperative that the religious offer concrete proof on the validity of those ideas. It becomes imperative to prove that they are true.
The second attempt often used to discredit atheists can only be qualified as absurd. The idea that as an atheist I cannot be possibly as well educated on theology or any aspect of religion as a theist is plain nonsense. For starters, most atheists were theists at one point and rejected the teachings of religion based on the same knowledge you claim we cannot know. Second, an atheist who was never a theist has access to the same material and can be as learned on the relevant subject matter as anyone else. I find that whenever people try to disqualify others from a debate before the debate starts, usually have weak arguments.
I want to look at a few examples where religion is the often the driving force behind opinions either in support or opposition to a controversial topic in today’s world.
Religion cannot be used as excuse to oppose same-sex marriage. It is an embarrassing position for theists to take. The only way to come to this conclusion is to either take the bible literally or to cherry pick the parts that may fit an argument against same sex marriage. In order to make a legitimate claim against same-sex marriage based on religion we would also need to make similar claims to uphold the stoning of adulterers, the killing of children who disrespect their parents, cursing and using god’s name in the same phrase would also lead to death. The book that religious people are either taking literally or cherry picking parts from that oppose same sex marriage advocates all of the above as well. It may be a good read, but really has no place in today’s social and political climate. Using the bible to justify a position towards same-sex marriage is bullshit. Railing against the homosexual lifestyle is nothing more than bigotry. Religion cannot be used as an excuse for bigotry. Religious bigotry is still bigotry and any way to try to circumvent this argument is bullshit.
Religion cannot be used as a means to oppose abortion. There is nothing in any of the holy books that explicitly states when human life begins. There cannot be. The science of the matter was unknown. In fact, for many centuries Christians believed that male sperm was actually miniature humans. We now know this is false. The idea that life starts at conception, based on the bible is bullshit. The moronic Arizona idea that life starts two weeks before conception, based on religion is bullshit. By all means dear readers you have the right to be pro-life. However, you cannot base your opinion on religion and be expected to be taken seriously—particularly when we factor in the rights of the woman involved. If folks want to make some scientific claims supporting a pro-life stance then a discussion can begin. Religion cannot be used as an excuse to be pro-life and/or anti-women’s rights. Using religion to uphold an anti-abortion stance is bullshit.
Religion cannot be used as a means to uphold a view for the origins of the universe. The religious texts are from the infancy of our species. The authors had almost no knowledge about the reality of the universe. This is a fact. If creationists and ID proponents do not like that fact, that is not anyone else’s problem. Creationism and ID are bullshit. Period. If someone disagrees with that statement then they need to be educated. Religion cannot be a shield for ignorance in the 21st Century.
This blog could continue for many more pages, however, I have made my point. Religion has no place as a rationale for justifying modern policies and beliefs. It is outdated at best and just plain false at worse. Numerous atheist writers have made recent comments regarding the mocking of religions—the most famous being Richard Dawkins, the most recent to my knowledge is Daniel Fincke in a post at Camels With Hammers yesterday. While Fincke does not, I believe use the word “mock”—his view can be summed up in this quote:
“Religions do not deserve the support of the rules of politeness when it comes to their truth and falsity. The public sphere should not revere indiscriminately everything that tries to halo itself with the name of religion. The secular public sphere should feel no such shyness about sacrilege, blasphemy and treating religion rudely less it implicitly be in the political thrall of the religious sphere.”
I completely agree with Daniel and Dr. Dawkins. Religious views do not deserve special treatment. This is even more valid in my opinion when they are used as rationales for modern day policy. Religion is not an excuse. Religious rationale is often bullshit. When we see it used, we need to call it what it is.
Thanks for Reading. I look forward to your comments.
If you have a blog please feel free to promote it on my “Promote Your Blog” page above.
If you would like to share your story of how you became an atheist, please do that on my “Share your Atheism Story” forum. Our stories may help to encourage others with similar feelings to know that life is more than just okay without god(s).