buildit wrote:Well thankfully the mind police allow me to have equal baskets. I can have one full of scientific knowledge which enriches my intellectual life and a basket full of words from men alive 2000 years ago who battled the oppression those who were right by rule of law. They couldn't fully explain their experiences but proclaimed them as holy events. This basket enriches my soul and teaches me good from evil. Take either one and I am not the man I am today and would be poorer because of it.
Mind police? What are you talking about? You imply that all atheists, especially those who were raised secularly, have a low morale and cannot tell right from wrong, which is clearly not the case. You don't have to be a believer to be good and vice versa. (Although I would point out that atheistic countries in the world today seem to have the lowest crime rates while the most religious, like those in the Middle East and Africa, are war-torn and in great conflict.)
Need I also point out the conflict between Protestants and Catholics; and disagreements between Sunnis and Shiites? If the so-called holy scripture was the perfect word of God, shouldn't we expect it to be more coherent and less immoral? Shouldn't all who subscribe to it have an understanding? And why does it not reach everyone if god is so powerful and merciful? Why the test of the ridiculous concept of blind faith? Why is the Leader saying: "you have to be a fool to enter my kingdom - believe without proof"?
In the Bible, Jesus orders his acolytes to kill non-believers. It also sanctions slavery and all sorts of discrimination. And they all disagree! Many gods or just one? Or a trinity? Why is Mormonism claiming to be more complete than Christianity when it was initially racist and forced to change? why is Islam claiming to be the last revelation and the unalterable word of God? In Hinduism, the doctrine of sati says widows must be burned on the dead husband's funeral pyre. Also, religion in general has a tendency to suppress sexual urges, which, in itself, is unhealthy. It also urges you to believe in the supernatural and claims that miracles exist. To imply that you know a miracle when you see one is to imply that you know all there is to know about the universe and how it works. The great philosopher David Hume taught us this. A scientist will test the unusual event in order to learn more. He does not proclaim something to be a miracle without knowing exactly what took place for he knows that there is still a lot to learn and that illusions also exist.
The Quran speaks of holy war, martyrdom, and death to non-believers. The Bible expresses its fair share of amorality/immorality with Deuteronomy and Leviticus, where people of other faiths deserve the sword; and where Yahweh sanctions the rape, torture, and murder of men, women and children. Such crimes are okay when ordered by the Almighty. And before I forget, homosexuality, a supposed flaw in God's creation, is an abomination. Hmmm...
It also dares Abraham to kill his own son Isaac as proof of faith in a hideous test. And remember how Abraham would be viewed today if he claimed to hear the voice of God in his head! The people who were saved from Sodom, who were supposed to be God's exemplary human creation and therefore the only individuals worth saving from the city of sin, then went on to get drunk in a cave and committed incest. The Ten Commandments are just atrocious. Some are wasted in revering a jealous god. The good ones are just tediously obvious. None of the commandments protect children from abuse and religious paedophiles rejoice. (The Church protects them anyway.) Meanwhile, Prophet Muhammad's youngest wife is only nine! As I said before, God's recipe for morality can and has been improved greatly by secular humanists all over the world. (Thankfully enough, we evolve!)
As for science, it can determine human values by showing us what benefits the human race. Because of this, it can certainly help us to come up with an improved brand of morality where religion is not required. Religion, as far as I can tell, has become outdated because it is a product of mankind's infancy. (I recommend "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris.)
Basic morality precedes the great monotheisms of the world: fact. It also has an evolutionary explanation. One read of Richard Dawkins's "The Selfish Gene" and you will see why the selfish
gene, which has a tendency to preserve its kind if it is highly adaptive, can lead to altruism being expressed by its organic "armours" (our living bodies, i.e. us). (It is all mechanistic and nothing to do with divine revelation.)
Think about it. Are you telling me that if you stop believing in God there is nothing stopping you from killing, raping and stealing? Are you telling me that you are only good because so-called revelation has bribed you with a heaven whilst simultaneously threatening you with a hell? Do you not see how analogous this is with the idea of Santa Claus, his presents, and his naughty list?
Religion degrades human beings. It tells them they are incapable of thinking for themselves. It tells them they are no good and need to be saved. As Christopher Hitchens once said, "created sick, ordered to be well." He pointed out that the relationship between the invisible man and his willing servants is a sadomasochistic one. He will test you to see how faithful you are. He tells you that you must love him. He tells you he is infinitely good and all merciful whilst paradoxically reminding you that you should fear Him because His wrath is mighty and He could smite you. He is the absolute ruler for all time and there is no escape from Him. He dictates to you in this life and the next. It is a celestial dictatorship from which there is no appeal. He sent a supposedly innocent to die for your sins (no logic, no justice) and you owe Him. As much as they tell you He gave you free will, you do not really have a choice. (In fact, neuroscientific experiments pretty much demonstrate that free will is only an illusion.)
The tenets of this old religion do not really teach you to distinguish good from evil. Religion, in fact, blurs the lines and is schismatic by nature. It encourages discrimination. It hijacks the good that comes from human beings and sources it as divine in origin. "It could only have come from God," they say. The ruler can do anything, even kill by the millions, and His servants say He moves in mysterious ways. All it takes is for the servant to have a change of heart, to stop believing, and he is lynched, even today, like a heretic.
An Order that proclaims "holy" what it can't explain isn't enriching you, it is deceiving you. It encourages you to believe in a fantasy and to give up on the search for real answers. Searching for real answers is what science does, and with this you can marvel at its discoveries. This is what is enriching. It is enriching and humble because it claims that it does not know everything but that it is at least trying to understand.
The other side, on the other hand, claims to know without proof. It claims to be absolutely certain that there is a God and has nothing to show for itself. It also claims to know the mind of God, which is a very dangerous affair.Now, I leave you with a quote:" Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks "That's enough of that. It's time to intervene," and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don't lets appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person."
- Christopher Hitchens
Here he is in all his glory:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQgHds6eIJ0
Thomas Hobbes once said that dreams are the source of such religious interpretations. In our infancy, we learned to trust wrong interpretations. Freud himself would tell you God is the product of wishful thinking by an individual who fears the unknown. It can be comforting to imagine that a Father watches over you all the time. But there is also something sinister about this. an Orwellian dystopia where you can be accused of thought crime (you don't even have to do anything). The Big Brother in the sky!