Religion is no excuse…

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.

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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).

 

10 thoughts on “Religion is no excuse…

  1. Loren Miller from Bedford, OH, United States

    Religion should be held to the same criteria for use as any other field of study. Are its statements verifiable? Are its hypotheses falsifiable? Are the results it produces repeatable? Can those results be built on for further study and discovery?

    The answer to the above questions in all cases is NO, though this is not news to an atheist. Believers continue to insist that miracles do happen, though under poorly controlled circumstances, usually without the presence of disciplined, objective observers. They will also insist that faith is a valid means of knowing something , even though that "something" may vary wildly from subject to subject. Endless excuses and apologetic responses are frequently forthcoming in response to questions about god's will or miracles or the ridiculous number of contradictions, exaggerations or outright lies found within the pages of their holy book. And of course, because religion is considered to be an integral part of most if not all communities, it is given that excuse.

    I have probably stated this before, but the fact is that religion is the ONLY field of study I'm aware of which cannot verify its supposed facts or its reference text and depends on faith, indeed, insists on it as a means to knowledge. As atheists, we must continuously point out this aberration and let those who want to use it to slip the bonds of logic that The Emperor Has NO CLOTHES … and repeat that until it sinks in.

    Reply
    1. matt greenberg from Norristown, PA, United States

      "but the fact is that religion is the ONLY field of study I'm aware of which cannot verify its supposed facts…"

      you'd have to include Philosophy to that list. although i don't think there are any 'facts' in Philosophy. other than that, i believe you are correct.

      Reply
  2. Grundy from Duluth, GA, United States

    Conservatives use Christianity as an excuse for their agenda and as a rallying cry for their party. There is no better example of this than the anti-gay marriage issue. There are decent arguments on both sides of the abortion issue. However, gay marriage is ONLY an issue because of religion.

    The only rational reason I can see why the Bible is used disproportionately against gays than, say, divorice, is that the loudest protesters are in fact repressed homosexuals. A recent study suggests this (http://gizmodo.com/5906144/homophobia-is-totally-gay-as-proven-by-science) If their sexual desires weren't beaten down by their Bible-thumping community, maybe they could get laid and wouldn't be so angry. :-)

    Reply
  3. The Doubter from Hawera, Auckland, New Zealand

    As with any subject it should the onus is on the teacher or proponent of a topic to explain the reasoning behind something. As the listener or student it is not my job to fill in the gaps or say I understand when I do not. A good teacher does not blame the students if they do not understand or finds fault with the teachings, maybe the teacher needs to become better at teaching or go away and only come back when they can validate their claims??
    So when a religious person tries to tell me or explain their reasoning for their truths, it is not up to me to provide the reasoning and evidence to support what they are saying it is down to them. Make the claim……back it up please, otherwise just shut up!!
    This idea that non-believers are not in a position to understand faith and the ‘truth’ because of our lack of faith or insight is just childish…………………’You don’t have the special all seeing spectacles like I me……therefore you are not special enough to understand!!’…………..what a crock of shit!!!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Religion is no excuse… | Reason Being « Religious Leaders: Misogyny is NOT a virtue! And Civil Law trumps your faith! from Plano, TX, United States

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    1. reasonbeing from Rochester, MN, United States Post author

      I agree, there is some good stuff in there, but as I have written elsewhere, in my opinion the bible should be placed on a library shelf of "ancient fiction". I firmly believe that it is fictitious. However, it is certainly well worth reading. There are some good teachings in it, and some monstrous ones as well. Further, it would be foolish to discount the effect that the bible has had on the various cultures of Western society. It is worth reading for that reason alone. Example: I find Michaelangelo's "Pieta" to be the most impressive piece of art that I have personally ever seen…it would mean less to me if I was ignorant of the bible.

      Reply

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