Religion

All posts tagged Religion

fables

Here are 20 Reasons to abandon Christianity, provided by FreeThoughtPedia – click that link to read in-depth discussion, sources and evidence behind each of the following points:

1. Christianity is based on fear.
2. Christianity preys on the innocent.
3. Christianity is based on dishonesty.
4. Christianity is extremely egocentric.
5. Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality.
6. Christianity breeds authoritarianism.
7. Christianity is cruel.
8. Christianity is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific.
9. Christianity has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex.
10. Christianity produces sexual misery.
11. Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality.
12. Christianity encourages acceptance of real evils while focusing on imaginary evils.
13. Christianity depreciates the natural world.
14. Christianity models hierarchical, authoritarian organization.
15. Christianity sanctions slavery.
16. Christianity is misogynistic.
17. Christianity is homophobic.
18. The Bible is not a reliable guide to Christ’s teachings.
19. The Bible, Christianity’s basic text, is riddled with contradictions.
20. Christianity borrowed its central myths and ceremonies from other ancient religions.

“The conception of the God-idea as held by society in general stands in the same position as the vermiform appendix does to the anatomy of man. It may have been useful in some way thousands of years ago, but today it constitutes a detriment to the well-being of the individual without offering any compensatory usefulness. Agree or disagree with this contention you may, but only when you are made aware of the facts that can be brought to the aid of this conviction. Just as the fundamental principle of justice is outraged when a man or an institution is condemned by jurist or popular opinion when an opportunity is not given to present the facts on both aspects of the case, just so is no man justified in making a decision between theism and atheism until he becomes acquainted with both sides of the controversy. Freethought but asks a hearing and the exercise of the unbiased reason of the man who has not hitherto been made aware of its contentions.” – Dr. D.M. Brooks, The Necessity of Atheism

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“A child in North Carolina spent part of his Easter Sunday morning protesting outside a Winston-Salem church that has vowed not to host any wedding ceremonies until same sex marriage is legalized.”

via Raw Story

http://youtu.be/d7OyJtfmW8k

“Police said Riddle shot and killed his father, Richard Riddle, 52, as he was leaving Easter services at the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ Sunday afternoon.”

via Fox8 Cleveland

Show me, where is God in all of this?
(I don’t believe, but if I were asked to point it out, god would be there in the face of the woman who wanted to give that angry boy a hug.)

I took some time to catch up on the weekend’s news and my favorite blogs yesterday and today.

– I learned that Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Catholic Archbishop of Durban in South Africa said that pedophilia is not criminal, it’s an illness.
– I read that in my home state of Michigan, a federal Judge Blocked the U.S. health-care reform’s mandate requiring employee insurance plans to provide coverage of contraception because a Catholic business owner falsely believes it causes abortion (even though the Catholic Journal published a study that found Plan B does not cause abortions).
– I watched CNN’s news coverage of the Steubenville, Ohio rape verdict. I managed to read a portion of their texting transcripts without vomiting. I read about the teenage girls (the rapists’ relatives) who were arrested for sending death threats to the victim.
– I read about the 1,100-page report that shocked the Netherlands by revealing how 800 Catholic priests and monks abused as many as 20,000 children in their care between 1945 and 1985.
– I read about young girls in Africa who are being bought and sold as “fifth wives,” essentially becoming slaves to the family of the “husband” owner.
– I read yet again about how the testimony of a Muslim woman is half that of a man because some “prophet” long ago thought women were mentally deficient.
– I heard about musician Michelle Shocks ranting on about how God Hates Fags during one of her recent concerts.
– I read about how Arkansas is no longer the strictest state in the nation when it comes to abortion since North Dakota passed the anti-abortion bill – with no exceptions for rape or for the mother or the fetus’ health, making abortion illegal in the state for anyone who is more than five weeks pregnant.
– I read the story of Nabila Sharma who was abused at her mosque by the Imam from the ages of 7 to 11, and how, very similar to Catholic and Jewish communities, the Muslim community covers up such things.

Now, I may not believe in many things that require faith, but here is something I do have faith in – a better future. It may never be a perfect utopia, and I accept that. There may always be humans who seek power and control – that truly is one of the things I cannot change. However, I cannot accept the abuse of authority that renders women and children POWERLESS – not only against the authority of their own churches, but of their own governments and worse yet, their own families – why can’t I accept it? Because as long as I live and breathe, that is something I CAN CHANGE.

I don’t have to believe in God to believe that what you do to the least of your brothers, you do to yourself. We’re all connected. Even more strongly, I believe that SILENCE in the face of oppression or abuse is an act of siding with the oppressor. That’s why I’m over here obsessively talking about the need for women to rise up and escape from the very fundamental religions that teach them from an early age that they are not worthy of equality, that they don’t deserve equal pay, that their opinions are not welcome or valid, that they cannot make intelligent and informed choices for themselves.

Sitting idly by, well, it is not in the cards for a woman like me who fought her way out of the mind-numbing, NEANDERTHAL belief that she is LESS THAN. NOT EQUAL TO.

SUBMIT.

Many of the people I grew up with, the people I consider family and friends, are still raising their sons and daughters to be unquestioningly faithful to a doctrine that requires them to take a literal view of the Bible, a book that emphasizes this very sort of misogyny throughout. It requires them to accept this concept as part of God’s will, his plan, his design, and whether or not you choose to agree, that way of thinking is precisely what leads to the types of stories I listed above – the horrifying stories we all read about in the news every goddamned day in this, the 21st fraking CENTURY!

I can’t sit silently by while women and children are sexually, physically abused, mutilated, enslaved, abandoned… as a victim of abuse, as a mother, as a sister, as a HUMAN BEING, I object! As long as I have a voice, I will not be silenced.

As long as I breathe, I will stand against oppression. Every single day of my life I plan to publicly confirm my stance against any and all religions that resort to brainwashing the naive, emotional manipulation, or psychological/physical torment. I have eyes to see that this is an attempt to to invoke conformity and submission among those who would remain powerless. Ultimately, it lends to the ongoing imbalanced dissonance that leads to the abuse of power at its worst. I’m talking war, slavery, things that are unfolding literally right in front of our eyes.

You can deny that religious texts propagate division, slavery, misogyny, bigotry, racism, pedophilia, and genocide all you want. I know the truth and I am not only free to speak it, but I am obligated. See, that’s where MY faith for the future comes in. I see a future nation where people will not be made to feel ashamed of who they are or who they love. I see a future where girls can get an education without the fear of having acid thrown in their face, being shot at or poisoned. I have faith in a future where a girl can get on a bus without getting gang raped. I have faith in a future where pedophilia, rape, slavery, mutilation etc. are so rare, we are actually surprised to hear about those occurrences in the news – rather than it being something we’ve grown accustomed to. Procuring that future for my daughters, my daughters’ daughters, requires those of us who are free to unshackle the enslaved minds and arm the powerless – not with weapons – but with education.

So if claiming that I reject religion every day of my life, if publicly pointing out the harm religion is presently doing and has done in the past, if encouraging my community of friends and family to employ logic and reason rather than falling back on blind faith and tradition, if arming the powerless makes me an asshole…

I accept that too.

Maybe I’ll turn out to be the loudest asshole you’ve ever met.

“When Mohammed once had captured a fortress inhabited by a tribe of Jews, his judgment was, “The men shall be put to death, the women and children sold into slavery, and the spoil divided amongst the army.” Then, trenches were dug, some seven hundred men were marched out, forced to seat themselves in rows along the top of the trenches, beheaded, and then tumbled into a long gaping grave. Meanwhile, the Prophet looked on until, tiring of the monotonous spectacle, he departed to amuse himself with a Jewess whose husband had just perished.

He continued these conquests until, at his death, in 632, he was the master of nearly all Arabia and revered almost as a god. Yet, when Omar, his first lieutenant, captured Jerusalem in 636, he ensured the conquered Jews and Christians free exercise of their religion, and the security of their persons and their goods. But when the Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099, they massacred all the Mohammedans, and burnt the Jews alive. It is estimated that 70,000 persons were put to death in less than a week to attest the superior morality of the Christian faith.”
– Excerpt from Chapter 3, The Necessity of Atheism by Dr. D.M. Brooks

Read it for free thanks to Project Gutenberg

Examine the Bible and the Quran and you will find very similar verses in regards to belief/disbelief, war, and cruelty. Please offer me some sort of evidence why I should follow your god, because from where I sit, yours is no greater or lesser in might and morals than theirs.

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Compare:
Deuteronomy 17
If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; Deut 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

Psalm 14:1 says: “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.”

Revelation 21:8 “But for the cowardly and UNBELIEVING and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

http://youtu.be/ni5vwwbK9Nc

Evolution Genesis and Revelations

I may have mentioned before that I used to be a devoutly religious Creationist. I earnestly believed that evolution was a trick Satan used to lead people away from Christ just as I was taught from an early age. I was so convinced that I refused to participate in any conversation that might attempt to change my mind, often resorting to frustrated tears when I could not verbalize why I believed as I did despite the scientific evidence. When pressed, I’d parrot those arguments that I’d heard righteous folk use, for instance, “if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” and I’d fall back on my Vacation Bible School education regarding The Missing Link. To my shame, I often resented people who would try to enlighten me. I believed they were agents of Satan trying to persuade me from the path of righteousness. Questioning the true word of God was forbidden. I believed this well into my mid-20s. Allow me, if you will, to tell you a brief but amusing story about this time in my life.

Tony, my first husband, returned home after a trip to our local Jellybean’s with a book he picked out for me. I initially thanked him, then I looked at the title – Evolution Genesis and Revelations by C. Leon Harris. I thought maybe reading this book would give me a little fuel for my argument next time someone tried to talk to me about evolution. It wasn’t until a couple days later when I sat down to read it that I realized I’d misinterpreted the title. On the side of the bright yellow binding were the words, “Evolution: Genesis and Revelations” but earlier I mistakenly read it as though it were punctuated with a comma – “Evolution, Genesis and Revelations.”

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Stumped, I flipped the book over to read the back panel. It began thus:

“In this comprehensive history of evolutionism, C. Leon Harris has combined primary source readings with clear, pertinent background information, to provide a solid basic understanding of the ways scientists have arrived at today’s views of evolution.”
Pissed, I marched the book right over to Tony. “Why would you give this to me?!” I demanded to know.
“I thought you might like to read it,” came his reply.
“But it’s about evolution…” I argued.
“Yeah, I know.”
“Why would I want a book about evolution?” I remember being really angry about it.
“I… I don’t know… I guess I just figured you might like to know more about it…” he stammered.
“About EVOLUTION?! I know all I need to know! It’s a lie! You know I am a Christian! This goes against everything I believe in! How could you bring this evil book into our house?”
I reminded him what the Bible said about him being the head of our household and that he was supposed to guide me and our children in the ways of the Lord. I refused to even look at the book. If memory serves, I attempted to throw it away, yet a couple days later, it ended up back on the bookshelf where it sat, untouched.

We eventually divorced in the years that followed, and I went on to find work in Detroit doing graphic design. One day, I had that old familiar argument with a coworker revolving around evidence for evolution. I was sadly uneducated and misinformed about many aspects of science and history, so it was an argument I lost. I went home that evening and decided to do some research with the full intention of going back the next week with some proof for my beliefs, or at least some evidence to refute his claims, which might in turn leave an opening for God to work in a way that would eventually change his mind so that he would not be lost to sin. Needless to say, things didn’t quite happen that way.

My weekend of Internet research became a lengthy quest that would go on for over a decade and would ultimately result in my acceptance of evolution despite my initial vow that nothing would sway me from my Creationist viewpoint. I’ll spare you the details of my personal journey, except to say that my education was a slow and painful process. At first, I rejected anything that was presented from the scientific community if it didn’t coincide with the Bible and kept what was left… it wasn’t much. In fact, even today, one would be hard pressed to find any argument for a young earth sans logical fallacies because they all come back to a matter of faith in the unprovable and untestable. What I did have were a few discussions from Creationists pointing me toward the concept that the widely accepted scientific method for carbon dating was in itself flawed. I researched and clung to this idea for a regrettably long time and would present it when given an opportunity in online forum discussions, only to have it respectfully shot down time and again with evidence – at the time, evidence I refuted because I didn’t fully comprehend. My ignorance was obvious to everyone but me.

In time, I came to accept that I didn’t know enough about the science behind the theory of evolution, and I felt as though God was challenging me to learn more in order to present a valid argument against it – and my prayer was that God would then work through me to win the lost souls of those misguided scientist types. That’s where this book comes back into the picture.

Just now, I walked over and pulled it from the shelf. Much to my chagrin, its bright blue lettering on a nearly neon yellow cover, once hideous in appearance to me, still proclaims: “EVOLUTION Genesis and Revelations” sans punctuation. There are markings inside that tell a story all their own. For instance, if you started at Chapter 1, Prescientific Concepts of the Origin of Species: Genesis, you’d find highlighted or underlined text and arrows that point to phrases and concepts I was prone to agree with at the time. The state of Tennessee prosecuting Thomas Scopes for teaching evolution in a public school was given as an example at one point and I remember thinking to myself, “see, I’m not so stupid for believing in Creation!” Underlined!

But then flip the pages a bit further and a pattern emerges. I highlighted text that confused and baffled me. I highlighted text that directly affronted my beliefs! And flip even further in, you’d find places where I noted text that required further study on my behalf. I wasn’t just going to take this guy’s word for it, was I? I didn’t quite like the implications and I didn’t get the technical jargon so early on, reading was laborious but I stuck with it.

Then, around Chapter 4, Born Again: the Revival of Science in the Renaissance, you might notice something truly remarkable… the annotations become fewer and fewer. No, it’s not because I stopped reading the book. It’s because I STARTED reading it! I was learning so much about history! I was coming to have a better understanding of and appreciation for the scientific method! By chapter eight when he goes into Neo-Darwinism, there are only dog-eared pages to mark spots of particular interest, I was too engrossed to care about locating a pen!

This book has been on my shelf for 17 years. I don’t read it, it’s outdated. Something I once considered Satan’s evil tool was merely words on pages explaining something I never before bothered to learn. It opened my mind, now I hunger for more! Over the last 10 years, I’ve applied myself to learning more about the fields of science that interest me and I no longer feel guilt or shame for abandoning those Creationist beliefs from my youth. It’s hard not to feel a tinge of resentment when I think about all those years I spent grasping for answers in the dark, clinging to my security blanket of faith!

I wouldn’t necessarily hold this one book fully accountable for my mindshift, nor would I say that evolution turned me into an atheist – that’s a much more complex story, one I’ll save for another day – but I WILL say that this book is one I’ll keep on the shelf as a gentle reminder to keep an open mind. For me, it symbolizes how people can and do change. I’m living proof. And like Paul Simon says, “Proof is the bottom line for everyone.”