Religion

I share 99% of my genes with chimps and gorillas – so do you!

I do not set out to promote hatred or disrespect. I set out to promote debate and stand up for freedom, equality and tolerance.

If you are of a religious persuasion and are easily upset by the outspoken views of a devout atheist and antitheist who believes all religion is medieval superstition then this is probably not your scene. If you proceed you will be offended. My advice is to stay out!

However, if you are religious and open-minded you may want to enter the debate.

If you are an atheist, antitheist, agnostic or couldn’t care less then you might find this interesting.

I wish nobody harm and would support your right to believe in whatever you want.

The one thing I know is that if there is a god then it must be me. I am the only thing I can be 100% sure exists.

If I had been born in Pakistan I’d believe in Mohamed, in Louisiana it would be Jesus and in India I would have believed in Shiva, Ganesh and the rest.

Fortunately my parents did not indoctrinate me with their views. I am sceptical about everything. As far as I’m concerned all religion is based on superstition. All religions will die away. We’ve already forgotten Baal, Isis, Zeus and a hundred thousand others that were all equally believed to be the answer.

We create religion because we are trying to understand the wondrous universe, our short lives and to come to terms with death. We are programmed to try to understand and find answers.

There are no answers. There are not even any questions.

The Earth is not flat; it is a sphere.

We live on a tiny planet in an outer spiral of a small galaxy called the Milky Way. Our sun is one of trillions of stars in our small galaxy. There are trillions of galaxies many of which are much bigger than ours.

I find it a trifle arrogant to suggest that anyone is part of a small tribe that God chose to speak to and created the whole universe for their benefit. That is clearly bollocks. Though to the indoctrinated it makes perfect sense.

I believe that the setting up of religious schools, madrassas and any other means of indoctrinating children is child abuse.

I do not attack your faith – I attack your religion.

china6 025
Faith is a personal thing.
I regard all faiths as primitive superstition for those unable to accept reality.
I respect your right to believe whatever you wish.
I will attack your desire to impose your beliefs on others.
I urge that you argue your case with passion!
I will passionately oppose your misogyny, sexism, racism, arrogance and irrationality.
I want the women in my world as equals.
I do not want women consigned to life behind prison walls of cloth or brick, seeing life through a restricted slit, unable to drive, denied a vote and subject to different laws.
Women have beautiful bodies and minds. I want them able to run, breathe and help direct the world as equals.
I believe in equality.
We are all equally important regardless of gender, race, intelligence, disability or colour.
We are alive and we can contribute.
No one is the chosen one of any fictitious god.
I believe in the Big Bang and science.
I have grown up and put fairy tales behind me.
It seems laughable to me to believe that any god waited four billion years to reveal himself to a bunch of primitive, semi-illiterate tribes living in the wilderness in the Middle East, India or anywhere else on this jewel of a planet.
I do not believe in the wisdom of the ancients.
Our ancestors were equally intelligent but they lacked knowledge, scientific method, technology and the understanding all that brings.
They were ignorant.
There is little that we have to learn from them.
Their intuitive introspection has been superseded and proved erroneous.

So Oph Why are you so angry?

I am angry at anyone or any doctrine that causes young baby girls to scream as their genitals are mutilated with blunt razor blades

I am angry over any doctrine that brainwashes young kids.

I am angry because I hear of brutal sadistic Shia thugs torturing and slaughtering Sunni’s in the name of God.

I am angry because I hear of brutal sadistic Sunni thugs torturing and slaughtering Shia’s in the name of God.

I am furious that islamist barbarians hacking off the heads of innocent Christians.

I am furious because I hear of pogroms, crusades, inquisitions, and genocides in the name of fictitious Gods.

I am furious every time I see women in sacks, with no rights, not able to vote, drive or go out of the house.

I am furious when I hear of idiots talking about an after-life when there is no evidence of any God, after-life or religious purpose. It is all farcically fanciful.

I am furious when I think how much progress has been held back by the idiocy of religion.

I am furious when I think of Persia – the seat of civilisation, agriculture, writing and maths – stultified into the dark ages for 1500 years because of religion.

I am infuriated when I hear bigoted immigrant newcomers to my country telling me my ways are wrong and that they want to impose what I consider to be primitive barbaric laws on me and my family.

I am furious when I hear of primitive cultures, hidebound, bereft of ideas, rejecting all western values and progress, yet quite happy to use western products such as Kalashnikovs, high explosives and electric lights when it suits them.

I am indescribably incensed by the idiocy of religions promoting large families and opposing contraception when the world population is 7 billion and growing, swamping ecosystems, consuming finite resources at an alarming rate, creating mass extinctions and altering the whole balance of the biosphere.

I am furious at the thought that people can be persecuted, threatened and even tortured and killed for daring to speak out against the insanity of religion.

So what are you happy with Oph?

I am happy to believe that humans are capable of using their intelligence for the good of all living creatures and themselves.

I am happy when I see people smiling, helping one another and caring for other living things.

I am happy when I hear of people opposing cruelty, conserving nature, and using their intelligence.

I am happy when I see beauty, hear beauty, taste beauty and touch beauty.

I am happy when I love and am loved.

I am happy when we are in harmony with the world.

I am an extremely tolerant easy going individual. I do not want everyone to think like me. I am appalled by the mess we have made in the world and I hold religion, politics and greed to be the worst culprits. I am perfectly happy for people to believe whatever daft rubbish they want as long as they do not try to shove it down anyone else’s throat or get shirty when someone points out that it’s bollocks.

This is a blog for the future.

The wisdom of the ancients:

Seemingly earthquakes in Japan are created by a gigantic underground catfish bashing its tail around. There is a monk in a temple looking after a huge rock which is pressed on the catfish to keep it still. Ho hum.

32 thoughts on “Religion

  1. Religion is not just a simplistic belief in a God in the sky and an afterlife in paradise or hell. It lays down guidelines on how to conduct your life and respect fellow humans eg. the Lord’s Prayer, the obligation in Islam to feed and welcome strangers into your home and to respect the beliefs of others, the forbidding of killing others except in self-defence, the respect for all forms of life and its right to exist in Buddhism & numerous other exam-ples

  2. For a lot of people it is precisely a belief in god in the sky and an afterlife – for which there is no evidence at all.
    The morality aspects and respect I believe are basic human characteristics that evolved because we are pack hunters who used intelligence and cooperation to overcome more powerful beasts. You have to trust your fellow hunters or you get weeded out. Morality is not a product of religion. I am not religious and I am a moral person, more so than many of the religious people I know.
    You only have to look at the way religion has been used by various States to control and exploit people (from Rome to slaves in the South of the USA).
    Seemingly a lot of people need the discipline of a moral code laid down by some ‘authority’. I don’t.
    I applaud the whole tenet of respect, fellowship and basic morality. It is a great shame that the religions do not practice it more. We might see a lot more pleasantness, a lot fewer bombings, stonings, beheadings and forced religious conversions. We might also see women treated better and not excluded from society, voting, driving and having equal right. We might see a lot less poverty, exploitation and destruction of the planet.
    I would defend people doing what they feel is right as long as it does not injure others. I defend people’s right to believe whatever they chose- or to cease believing it. Seemingly many other people do not. I despise and oppose all those who would force their views on others – particularly when it comes to brain-washing children.

    • The Romans were multitheistic until Constantine converted to Christianity well past the peak of the Roman Empire. The Romans built their their Empire on military strategy, discipline and might, organisational skills and their engineering and construction abilities not on religious faith. People who use religion as justification for the killing of civilians etc are a small minority. You are transposing their acts onto all who follow that specific religion as if the majority endorse them. They don’t. You target women who cover up (“wear sacks”). There are examples of social pressure backed in some cases by the force of law to compel women to dress modestly outside the home in some countries but not in most. I find it interesting that there appears to be a recent development of women of Pakistani ancestry who are British born and who are choosing to wear hijabs
      or even burqas. You have assumed without supporting evidence that they are being forced to dress like this.
      You don’t see them in Pakistan as frequently as here which suggests to me that they are adopting this form of dress as a way of emphasising their identity in a state where it acceptable for young women to dress scantily and be drunk in public.

      • I agree with you. The Romans were multitheistic until it started to fall apart and Constantine introduced Christianity as a unifying force. If he had introduced Christianity at that time it probably would never have developed into a world religion. It would have remained a minor Jewish cult.
        I would defend anybody’s right to wear what they like. I would also passionately verbally attack anybody who wishes to impose their views on others or force them to have to conform to a dress code or other practices. It is well documented that women in Saudi Arabia do not have the same freedoms as men – driving cars being a good example. It is well documented that women in a number of countries have been forced to wear burqas and whipped in the streets if they do not conform. There is strong opposition in many countries to women being educated. We hear of school’s being blown up and women attacked. This is outrageous and surely cannot be defended. It is not acceptable, in my eyes, for their being different rules for different genders.
        If women wish to adopt a medieval costume for whatever reason, of their own volition, that is a different matter. I would support them as long as there are not good reasons to prevent this. I do not believe it is always appropriate.
        Then there is the absurdity of apostasy where someone deciding that they no longer believe is sentenced to death. Or blasphemy where someone who is said to have insulted the religion, god or prophet is sentenced to death.
        Everybody, religious or atheist, should be prepared to accept ridicule or argument and answer back by strongly standing up for their belief and position. When it descends to threats, intimidation and violence it is reprehensible. I can be friends with people of all faiths or no faith. That is not a problem for me and I enjoy discussing their views, reasons and beliefs.
        Some people, however, are too intolerant of others. They wish to inflict their views on others.
        Unfortunately these are not always isolated instances or small minorities. These practices are barbaric.
        In the past, and in certain places in the present, we have seen theocracy’s (and I would suggest that England and most other European countries were theocracies in which there were strict enforced religious practices and persecution of other religions) inflict torture and horrendous executions in the persecution of other religions. My grandfather worked at Smithfield market where they used to burn Catholics alive. Witches, women who practiced an older religion, were regularly tortured and executed. It was only with the advent of the enlightenment and the divorcing of religion from the State that we were able to develop a secular freedom and scientific progress.
        Faith should be a personal choice and not imposed. That is all I am saying. I personally view it all as primitive superstition. I should have the right to say that and defend victims of intolerant religious persecution.

  3. The biggest mass murderer in history, who killed millions between 1948 and 1996 in addition to most of the sparrows in Peking, did not believe in a God.

    • Hi Bede, Yes that is true. Mao was a monster. A bit of a typical paranoid sociopath like a lot of political leaders. I’m not sure what Pol Pot believed in either. Human beings are intrinsically cruel, vicious and nasty. But we can also be pleasant, friendly and altruistic. That’s the conundrum.
      What we need to solve is how we can develop the positive side of human nature, refrain from putting psychopaths in power, avoid war, violence and hatred as quick answers to problems and build a better world.
      I personally believe that a step on the road to a better future is to do away with all religions and nations and build a brotherhood of mankind based on a charter put together by a global body such as the United Nations. That charter would ensure the rights and freedoms of all human beings, black, white, brown, pink and yellow, male, female, gay and transgender, able bodied or disabled, intelligent or stupid, rich or poor etc etc. It would be a world of freedom and equality in which there was respect for the planet and everyone’s beliefs and feelings and room for the whole gamut of life.
      I do not accept that we humans are not capable of doing that. We have the intelligence and technology.
      We need to limit our population and solve the problems we are creating, put an end to greed and selfishness, raise people out of ignorance and poverty and create a happy world.
      But then I’ve always been an optimistic idealist!
      If there weren’t millions of us optimistic idealists I think we would not have got as far as we have!
      Long live the optimistic Idealists! Let’s change the world!!

      • I admire your optimism and idealism but the cynic in me knows it is as ephemeral as the flower power of 1967. It could work only in small communities like a commune then you could easily find it develops into a Jonestown debacle. I think you show some hypocrisy when you argue for control in population growth. Is this not “in my back garden”? We are animals and eventually we will largely disappear from our present form as the dinosaurs before us, who remain only in bird form. You attribute many of the social issues you dislike to religion but social structure and social development played a greater part in creating them. Religion can be a valuable medium for unifying people.

      • I hear what you are saying but I don’t agree. I’ve been through my religious period when I had faith in some underlying mystical reality, was looking for coincidences and building them up into mystical connections, was looking for underlying truths and wisdom. I was looking for meaning in life. I was looking for a universal mind. I do not believe there is one.
        So if there is no god creator then the basis of all religious belief has gone.
        The moral codes I find muddled and contradictory. They are usually so unclear that people can read into them what they want. People can use the texts to support war, murder and retribution as well as love, understanding, forgiveness and peace. I prefer something less open to interpretation and misuse.
        The history of religions show they come and go along with all kinds of beliefs, ceremonies, religious garb and ways of grabbing the attention of the god or gods of the moment.
        Our present religions will follow the same course.
        I believe that history indicates that religion has done far more harm than good. It has no basis and is best replaced with a better reasoned set of values and structure for living.
        I believe we can do that on a global basis. It is not just for communes or cults. We have mass media now. The world has moved on. Now is the time for idealists and optimists to set the zeitgeist. Now is the time for a new age of reason and enlightenment.
        The sixties ideals can be harnessed to create a new age of freedom and respect!
        Perhaps it’s time for you to stop being so cynical and join us in building that better world?
        The sixties idealism was not ephemeral. It lives on in all sorts of ways and has transformed the planet. The Green Movement, Feminism and the anti-capitalist movements are but three. What made you think it was ephemeral? I have spent my career putting that fairness, equality and thinking into practice. The sixties idealism lives and continues to transform!

  4. Most ‘atheists’, for want of a better word, come from homes ,where either a) the Parents were ,themselves ,Non -religious,.themselves,perhaps ,from atheistic parental influences,or, B).were ,themselves, INFLICTED ,by Parents who, were’Christian’,of one denomination,or ,another, perchance,..BUT ,forced their kindlings ,into ‘submission’. rather than gently guiding them ,into adulthood..c).had ,or met,somehow ,’Church’ folk,who are absolutely …..NOTHING like’true’ christians,( who ,are taught to not ‘Judge’ others)..but, come across as way OVER -the-top,in their systematic DRIVE,to ‘convert'( ‘everybody MUST be ‘converted’..’Come out Fighting’ (roy Harper)..one may THINK ,it is one’sown ‘conjectures’/Intellect/’free-thinking’ ,but, i submit, that OFTEN,..NOT always, we ARE a huge PRODUCT, of our chidhood Environment(s)……..whereas , if one were to actually AVOID ,all /any Human Influences, come AWAY from ALL of our ‘pre-c0nceived’ notions,..about ,a so-called ‘creator’,,..and,, just .be OPEN!!.i meaN, TOTALLY NON-prejudicial…….i was gutted, when my dear mother passed away, (1990),..could find absolutely NO solace,whatever(continually Crying,days/weeks)..i RAN ,into a nearby ‘church’ , i knew of(YES, Church!!!!!)..already had an inkling that ‘GOD’ existed,in my INNER being, all i can say is….my Life ,was TRANSFORMED, suddenly , i stopped Crying (completely),..felt a huge PEACE ,come over me, id never known ,before,.i just KNEW this ‘unpopular’ Jesus Christ, was REAL..ALL my friends ,joined me ,there, came off (Supernaturally) huge IMPOSSIBLE Drug-addictions(i’m talking Heroin,here)..and, (isnt it just Horrible)……became …’Christians’!!…….C.S. Lewis ,once reported, after Examimining the Christian FAITH(its,NOT, by the by,a ‘religion’)…….that he was forced, .to BELIEVE,(He,himself had been a huge EXPERT, previously, on ‘World MYTHS’).YET, he was THE most miserable,of Believers,there EVER was!!!!!!He admitted ,that just about EVERYTHING,inside of him, did NOT,NOT, .want to believe!!!!!!!!..i would put it to you, have you been ‘conditioned’, as a so-called 60’s ‘free -thinker’.(i was),into being SO ,SO ,SO against there actually being a REASON,why ,we are here(other than bland ‘evolution’),or,against Accepting ,a possibility, ………………that you are WRONG!!..respectfully, Anthony Browne

      • Why would they need DNA analysis? It’s a social psychology study, is it not? That’s if it exists & was adequately controlled to exclude selectiveness.
        Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

    • There is always a possibility of being wrong. But when I look at the huge misery caused by organised religion, the hatred, the violence, the crusades, jihads, torture, hypocrisy, monks fornicating, priests abusing boys, inquisitions, burnings, beheadings, wars and witch-hunts, when I read the medieaval writings with their contradictions, outmoded thinking, misogyny, homophobia and sexual repression, when I see how states, religions, individuals have used their power, when I see the stultification of whole countries – even if there was a god I’d be rebelling against it. Religion is used, abused and made into power that had created vast evil.
      I am glad to be an antitheist. Religion has been the greatest repressive force in the world. I’m sure it can be personally very comforting and reassuring. Know a tree by its fruits. The fruit of religion is pain, intolerance and enslavement. The worst abuse of children is indoctrination.

      • Same applies to “non-religious” societies eg China under Mao, Russia under Stalin. It’s a human trait expressed through ritual
        Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

  5. Yeah I quite agree Bede. Evil is not restricted to religions. There have been evil politicians, leaders, and individuals of all hues (Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin …… It just so happens that religion has been used by a number to commit evil.

    • Don’t grasp this theory. Are you saying atheism is genetically inherited? If so, that is unfounded. In the nature/nurture debate the only certain inherited characteristic is colour – eyes, hair etc.
      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

      • Hi Bede,
        This site seems to be playing up. It must be the volume of traffic. It seems the questions and replies are not marrying up. What I replied was to the scientific proof that we have 99% of our meaningful genes the same as a chimp. In effect we are a third group of chimps because we are so closely related.
        As for the genetic basis of the inheritance of atheism – that is unfounded. Though there are indications that our behaviour may well be inheritable. What is clear with religion is that it is probably the result of childhood indoctrination in most cases – it is nurture rather than nature.

      • Yes, I understand that. 1% is a big difference. I was referring to atheism as an inherited trait, which I doubt
        Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

    • Hi Anthony,
      Thanks for your comment it was much appreciated!!
      I hope this comes through to you. No. I haven’t ignored your post. I did reply but the site seems to be playing up a bit and putting things in the wrong place. There’s nothing I can do about that. It seems to be a fault with the system.
      Here is the response I gave again:
      There is always a possibility of being wrong. But when I look at the huge misery caused by organised religion, the hatred, the violence, the crusades, jihads, torture, hypocrisy, monks fornicating, priests abusing boys, inquisitions, burnings, beheadings, wars and witch-hunts, when I read the medieaval writings with their contradictions, outmoded thinking, misogyny, homophobia and sexual repression, when I see how states, religions, individuals have used their power, when I see the stultification of whole countries – even if there was a god I’d be rebelling against it. Religion is used, abused and made into power that had created vast evil.
      I am glad to be an antitheist. Religion has been the greatest repressive force in the world. I’m sure it can be personally very comforting and reassuring. Know a tree by its fruits. The fruit of religion is pain, intolerance and enslavement. The worst abuse of children is indoctrination.

  6. Anthony Browne…then stop using capital letters when you post, it means that you’re shouting and it is also very distracting.
    Organised religion….should be banned. You can believe whatever you like, as long as it’s legal, but don’t try to indoctrinate anyone else.

    • Quite agree Dave. Organised religion is a power structure. Indoctrination of children is abuse. Religion has done an immense amount of harm.
      I am tolerant of anyone believing whatever they like as long as they do not try to impose it on others!

      • What’s teaching if it’s not indoctrination? Organised religion has been beneficial also. It has brought people together in a common goal. There will always be people who exploit others whether it be through the instrument of religion, money, teaching whatever. It’s absurd to blame all the world’s ills on religion
        Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

  7. Teaching doesn’t have to be indoctrination! It can be investigation, exploration or discussion. That’s good teaching. It has moved on (apart from within the Tory party) from the regurgitation of memorised facts. Education should encourage the critical senses and encourage creativity, questioning and disbelief. Good education is the opposite of indoctrination.
    My students weren’t clones of me. They were questioning individuals who challenged all dogma.
    I do not blame religion for all the ills – just many of them. Politics, greed and selfishness are responsible for others. Then there’s mental illness and character traits such as those people who have a propensity towards violence, war, aggression, intolerance, racism, sexism …..
    Religion has been one of many sources of evil.

    • A scenario of “fact” has to be presented before investigation, exploration, discussion can take place. A teacher has the power to manipulate that scenario in accordance with his own belief system. Let me give you an example:a teacher is presenting a history of rock series of lectures. He spends a disproportionate amount of time lecturing about his favorite artist who is known but not a major artist in the history of rock on any objective view. For the sake of argument, let’s say Roy Harper. That’s indoctrination in my view.I had a formal education from 1953-1970 then again from 1988-1991. I wouldn’t agree that my educational experience comprised the simple memorisation & regurgitation of facts. Of course many facts need to be memorised such as spellling, grammar & maths so we can thereafter communicate articulately with each other but in my experience students have always been encouraged to be proactive in the learning process.
      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

      • A range of views can be postulated objectively without bias encouraging exploration and debate. That is good education.
        Obviously anyone doing a History of Rock Music who does not give a large proportion of time on Britain’s greatest poet singer-songwriter who, despite his present lack of recognition, is on a par with Dylan would not be giving a balanced view.
        I do agree that teachers, by means of emphasis, can give a false impression that could, because of the power they exert, be viewed as indoctrination.
        We have to guard against all forms of indoctrination.

  8. I’m with you, I’m an atheist and I’m a good person. I am too much of a coward, however, to start a discussion like this (because of the inevitably following debate) so I admire you for doing so! Luckily, I live in a mostly atheist country (with some of the lowest crime and corruption rates in the world). Maybe religion makes some people happy, gives them meaning, comforts them when they fear death. I sometimes think how nice it would be to feel like that. But I can’t force myself.

    • Well thank you for joining in. It is good to hear that you agree with me that religion is not the source of good and morality. I think it is often quite the opposite. Religious people can be extremely unpleasant, intolerant and vicious. Religion is divisive.
      There is nothing brave about starting a debate like this. If we want to make the world a better place we have to talk about the big issues. Even if people cannot agree they can at least listen and hear the opposing view.
      All views and people are welcome on my blog (unless they are racist, sexist or violent).

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