Extreme Religion, Score God: Untold Millions, Atheists: 0March 23, 2007 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Atheism, Beliefs, evolution, Religion, social comment | 9 Comments
Unlike many atheists I know, I didn’t start out as a Christian who, at some point, began questioning the bible. Growing up I was exposed to hardly any religion at all. I knew the other kids went to church, and talked about the bible, god, and Jesus, but I couldn’t really relate to what they were talking about. I didn’t even know what a bible looked like and if my parents owned one I never saw or heard of it. My parents mentioned god from time to time so I assume they believed. Though we never attended any kind of services or observed any religious practices my parents were dismayed to find out I didn’t believe in god. They learned this when I was in my teens, so I’m sure they thought I was just going through a phase. They are the sort of people who don’t question anything, except possibly whether or not I might have been switched, at birth, with their real child. In truth, I never believed anything about god even when I was very little, I just didn’t know I was allowed not to believe so I kept it to myself.
I don’t remember exactly when, but probably sometime during my preteen or very early teen years I was a wee bit curious about what went on in churches and temples. Aside from a few weddings and Bar Mitzvahs I had never been inside a house of worship. So I attended a couple of church services with friends and realized it wasn’t for me. Most of the friends I had at the time didn’t like going to church, they said that their parents made them go. Why?
Since religion is a belief system how is it possible to be born a religion? Babies are born equipped with only the basic instincts to satisfy hunger and comfort. We come into the world as blank slates so our belief systems can only develop as we experience and learn about the world around us. At least, that would be the natural progression if children didn’t have religion crammed down their throats.
Instead most children are raised in the religion of their parents. They are taken to church and Sunday school where rather than being taught to think for themselves, they are indoctrinated at such tender ages, that it will never occur to most of them that they have choices. They won’t know they can choose a different religion or no religion. They are often not encouraged, or given the opportunity to think for themselves, learn, and make informed choices. What really seems odd to me is when the parents are each of a different religion and their children are raised to be both, the contradiction here just baffles the hell out of me. I could go on and on but I don’t even know where to start, and surely won’t know where to stop.
Why do those believers start their children so young? What are they afraid of? Is the idea of one’s children growing up with a different life philosophy than his/her parents so horribly unthinkable that they must take whatever measures possible to insure this won’t happen?
I have, on occasion, jokingly remarked that I am a devout atheist. I have read that Einstein used to say he was a religious atheist. This statement is often taken out of context and could be one of the reasons that some people think atheism is a religion. What Einstein was saying was similar to someone saying they exercise or diet religiously but so far I haven’t heard anyone claim that exercising or dieting is a religion.
There has been a lot of discussion on this blog about god, creationism, evolution, and atheism. Most of the religious people I know do not take the bible literally. They do not believe in creation and accept the science of evolution as fact. They tell me that the bible is metaphoric and not meant to be taken literally. Several of my Christian friends, who are quite knowledgeable about the bible, have told me the bible contradicts itself in many instances. My Jewish friends have told me the same thing. So, I wonder then how can anyone take the bible literally and use it as proof of anything? I think the answer is in some of the comments on this blog, where the posters contradict themselves.
They employ circular reasoning as it is the only kind available to make such arguments. Those, fundamentalists, that that take the bible as literal fact scare me. If you read this blog and the comments by the “God Squad” you will see that they make the assumption that only a believer in a supernatural power possesses any moral or ethical values. Either they think it is ok to be insulting to someone who doesn’t share their beliefs, or they are so deeply indoctrinated that they know not what they do.
Let’s take a look at that moral code of the holier than thou, shall we? Let’s see now just how many witches were killed, in Salem, by atheists? Score: Christians 24, Atheists 0. And let us not forget the carnage of The Inquisition, The Crusades, religious wars in Ireland, terrorists attacks, and all the crap going on in the middle east at present, just to name a few. I don’t even know the score for these, except that for atheists it is always 0. These are examples of what happens when religion is taken to the extreme, when you take your particular religious book as the last word so that your view of the world becomes so warped you think it is ok to throw insults and bombs. Granted, insults and terrorism are at opposite ends of the scale, but the reasoning (or lack of) behind it is all the same. That’s why just as extreme sports are more dangerous than regular sports, so is extreme religion.
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