Tag Archives: religion-faith

Religion vs Methamphetamines

Got a response on my Religion Promotes Crime page.

Hi, Folks!
We all need to be open-minded and avoid being a bigot and an attitude of a doctrinaire.
As a free-thinker, I believe it’s one’s upbringing, surroundings, mind-frame, outlook and attitude that decides and determines one’s lifestyle and future.
Any Religion, for that matter, is not at all to blamed for all the evils that exists or are committed by individuals. As such, you cannot generalize on any count.
Every Religion, without any exception, teaches and preaches humanitarian values that lead to welfare of mankind and every society.
All Religions’ teachings are ethical and spread moralism.
God’s blessings on Patriarch Abraham, Lord Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Lord Buddha, Lord Zoroaster, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Baha’ Ullah, Lord Nanak Devji, Lord Mahavir!
Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Bahaism, all are good Religions, leading you, ultimately, to the same God-Rabb-Elohim-Allah-Khuda-Yazdaan-Bhagwaan-Eshwar-Deo-Dei, all leading us to the same path of peace and propagating humanity.
Please don’t blame the Religions, blame your own misunderstanding and lack of awareness, your mental level, as you are unable to grasp and understand the true meaning and message of the Holy teachings of all Religions.
I shall do a treatise on this subject, later on, in more details.
Hope, for the time being, this shall be a food for thought.
God bless ye all!

And this is my reply:

Free thinkers decide their lifestyle and future based on facts, science, and real-world cause and effect, not on what they’ve been told or what makes them feel comfortable within their culture.

If I wrote an article about methamphetamine and point out that meth users statistically commit more crime, does that make me bigoted toward meth users? No. If I met a meth user and automatically assumed he was a thief, that would be bigotry on my part. I do not do that. I also do not automatically assume every religious person is a criminal. That would be bigotry. But simply pointing out logical cause-and-effect and showing statistics cannot be construed as bigotry. It’s a very manipulative argument that you’ve made, trying to paint yourself as a victim because real-world facts don’t match your world view. I am not under any obligation to ignore reality to make you feel better.

You say, “All Religions’ teachings are ethical and spread moralism.” but notice how you’ve offered not one piece of evidence to support this. Not one statistic about religious individuals, not one example of real-world cause and effect. Not even a personal anecdote. I could just as easily say “meth addiction promotes ethical behavior and moralism. Every meth lab, without exception, provides humanitarian values that lead to welfare of mankind and every society.”
That statement I just made has the exact same validity as yours because neither of us has offered a single piece of evidence.

Religion: It’s Just not Worth It

Today I got a response to a recent blog post, Why I Need to be Outspoken About Atheism, a short post I made about a few old friends who did crazy, destructive things because of religion. Since I get so few comments on anything other than my WordPress plugins, I figured I’d give Steve’s comment it’s own post.

I find your experiences horrifying as well, sadly I see that none of them disprove God but instead prove the easy degree to which human nature is perverted to violence, and self destruction. While this happens in the name of religion, it also happens for many other reasons. Many of these reasons are intertwined within each other wealth, and the lack of it, respect, a sense of belonging, and the list goes on. Having grown up surrounded by those who believed everything from Satan to the idea that they were vampires who could go out in daylight, what I find is not that God does not exist, but that human beings need the ability to separate fact from fiction. The idea that certain books of the bible for example are literal truth is laughable, many are creation stories and myths the same as any other culture, it doesn’t mean they aren’t important, but the stories of Adam and Eve hold as much truth for me as the stories of Oberon and Titania. This does not mean that I doubt a higher power is responsible for the creation of my universe, only that the only human way to understand this is to be carefully grounded in reality. I am sorry that religion, and specifically the Christian religion has done you so much harm, it should never have happened that way. I would love to converse intelligently as I have often found that discussions with Atheists yield more religious truth than those who dub themselves, “believers,” because the believers never try to understand their faith, and outsiders see things differently. I hope you take this message in the spirit it was given, and I look forward to reading some of your work, your writing just in response to this comment seemed clear, concise and well thought out.

My Response:

Thanks for commenting, Steve. I appreciate the attention.

My blog post wasn’t trying to disprove the existence of God. That’s a whole other topic which I tend to avoid. Many other atheist blogs are doing a great job of scientifically and logically arguing against the existence of God, but I feel those arguments frequently fall flat, particularly with non-believers, because God is largely an emotional issue rather than a logical one. I prefer to focus on the emotional benefits of Atheism and leave the proving and disproving to the scientists.

It’s true that “human nature is perverted to violence, and self destruction” by many different things, but that does not excuse religion from doing it too. A drunk driver cannot argue that because sober people sometimes fall asleep at the wheel, he’s not responsible for endangering people’s lives. If you compare drunk driving statistics with my religion and crime statistics, you’ll see that a relatively small percentage of automobile accidents are actually alcohol related, while the overwhelming majority of crime in the United States is committed by people under the influence of religion. Why should religion get a free pass when we hold other things accountable?

This discrepancy is particularly obvious when you remember that alcohol companies do not tell the public that alcohol will make you a better person. They never claim that it’s necessary for a  happy marriage or that non-drinkers have no morals.

You say that human beings need the ability to separate fact from fiction, and with that I completely agree. That’s exactly why I write these posts. Unfortunately the mere concept of God is a part of that fiction. (Well… in all honesty it’s not unfortunate for me. I love living in a world without God. These are our lives. We can be whoever we want to be and build ourselves up to whatever we might want for ourselves.) Once you believe in God, you open the door to any other kind of spiritual belief. If God is possible, anything is possible, so I don’t think it’s fair to imply that people who believe in witches or Satan are any crazier than someone who merely believes in God.

You may have abstracted your belief in God out away from your day-to-day life. You probably (just taking a guess here) believe in evolution, for example, but think it’s guided by a distant hand that doesn’t interfere directly with us, but nevertheless is looking out for us. That’s fine for you, and it may work for now, but unfortunately it legitimizes the next guy who comes along and believes in a more direct kind of God who talks to people and tells them to jump off bridges.

Take certain hard drugs like heroin or cocaine for example. The majority of people who use these drugs are responsible users, only doing it once every few years or just trying it out a couple times in their life. A coke dealer might point to this majority of people to legitimize what he does, but there’s always going to be the occasional person who takes it to the next level and seriously damages themselves.

The real question should be, ‘is it worth it?’ Does the benefit of something justify the risk and long-term problems associated with it? For things like heroin or cocaine, I think they most likely do not. From what I’ve witnessed in my life, religious people see little to no benefit from religion. They are not smarter; they are not happier; their relationships don’t last any longer; they’re not any better at dealing with grief or hardship; they’re not any more successful; and they’re not any better at maintaining their lives than anyone else. It’s just a different way of seeing life and people seem to defend it based on little more than it’s just how they’ve always seen things. Most don’t even seem to enjoy going to church. When something provides so few real, tangible benefits but then causes my friends and neighbors to jump off bridges and go on killing sprees, I say no; It’s definitely not worth it.

All Dogs go to Heaven

I found this page hilarious. Two competing churches putting up a series of reader-board signs, arguing with each other. I think this is a good demonstration on how inconsistent religion really is. Every church claims their way of looking at their religion is the only right way, and they can never agree, yet when arguing with outsiders, they all claim that they’re unified.

If all churches had the same attitudes that Our Lady of Martyrs has, I’d have a much more difficult time being an atheist, but unfortunately, most seem to be more like the Cumberland Presbyterian.

So this back-and-forth started with Martyrs putting out their sign saying “All dogs go to heaven” and the church across the street responded with “Only humans go to heaven read the Bible”. Now, I don’t know what the Bible actually says about this idea of pets getting into heaven, so I can’t argue it on that point, but on a purely emotional level, the idea that the cats and dogs that we love and include in our family aren’t deserving of the same afterlife is kinda disturbing. Considering the degree to which people love their cats and dogs, this seems emotionally and spiritually repulsive to me and is a wonderful example of how religion can strip a person of compassion and empathy.

Two churches located across the street from each other. At least the Catholics have a sense of humor.

Bible Commentary Out of Context?

So here’s a comment from someone about my Genesis Bible Commentary that I felt I should address, even though it’s not really saying much. So here it is:

Dude…I got 4 words – “Way – Out – Of – Context.” Reread, and this time flush the cynicism. You’re not doing yourself aaaany favors. Sometimes, when we try to make a fool out of something, we ourselves are made the fool instead.

** 1Godless fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt.
They do disgusting things.
There is no one who does good things.
2The Lord looks down from heaven on Adam’s descendants
to see if there is anyone who acts wisely,
if there is anyone who seeks help from God.

And my response:

How come you didn’t give me any examples of what’s taken out of context? It’s not like I took a quote from the middle of the Bible without reading the surrounding verses. I started from the very beginning of the Bible, and as far as I know, didn’t leave anything out prior to the 28th chapter. If you don’t give a specific example, or outline your reasoning for saying it’s out of context, then it’s hard for me not to jump to the conclusion that you’ve merely heard the phrase “out of context” in religious arguments before and thought it sounded good.

However, I think what you may be talking about is a context that exists either outside of the Bible, or in later chapters of the bible. This reminds me of something that frequently happens in serious writers group meetings:

A young writer who thinks he’s all hot stuff and brilliant shows up to a writers group with a story or the first chapter of his novel, and the group starts work-shopping it. After the group reads it, they all say the same basic thing: it sucks. The characters aren’t believable, the plot doesn’t make sense, the emotion is too melodramatic, etc.

The writer then gets defensive because he’s got such a deep emotional investment in his writing. He immediately says “Well, you’ve got to understand the context…” and goes on to talk about character backgrounds or differences in culture or things that come later in the story. The group then must stop him and say, “Hey, when someone sits down to read your book, you’re not going to be there standing over their shoulder to explain things. Any context you need the reader to have must be contained in your story. That’s all you have is your words on the page. You can’t assume your reader is going to have any of the same preconceptions or values as you.”

I think what might be an issue is that you are thinking too much like an agnostic/non-religious person. You’re looking at the bible from the perspective of someone who has already formed their moral viewpoints based on logic, compassion, and real-world cause-and-effect. In normal situations that’s a very good thing, but for this discussion I think it’s confusing your perspective.

If you publish a book in the United States in 2011, for example, you can make a number of assumptions about your readers. You can assume they believe slavery is wrong, they believe women should be treated as equals, and they all know what a car is. The Bible, on the other hand, was written 2000 years ago and needs to be able to apply to all the cultures throughout the whole planet that have existed since then, and cannot afford to make any of those assumptions. Most of the moral assumptions we make in our society can’t be made here, because not all cultures have the same moral values. All necessary context must be pulled entirely from the words on the page.

When you read the Bible you’re coming from your own modern perspective which has been thoroughly infiltrated (thankfully) by science and logic. Your conscious logic twists and manipulates the meanings of the Bible to fit your non-religious, agnostic preconceptions about right and wrong, so that you can pretend like your moral values came from this book rather than from the atheist hidden deep in your heart.

When I read these 27 chapters from the Bible, I chose to do whatever I could to turn off all my preconceptions about moral values, right and wrong, and the state of the spirit world. I did everything I could to make my mind a blank slate, and judge the verses based on nothing but the words on the page. It was difficult, and I’m not sure how good a job I did, but that is what I tried to do, and this Bible commentary is honestly what I came up with, and is what I believe I would be thinking if I truly did have absolutely no moral or spiritual preconceptions… which isn’t even possible, but it’s a fun hypothetical.

Now, admittedly, there was some cynicism. I just couldn’t help it, because the conclusions I was coming to were so insane that I just couldn’t help but be cynical about them. Obviously I couldn’t free myself of my atheist bias, but I did the best I could.

Now, if you think I’m just manipulating and misrepresenting a good book into something twisted and wrong, then please try an experiment for me: go randomly select a Disney movie, then try to find a way to perceive it as promoting slavery or some other form of serious moral degradation in the same way the Bible does. Find some humanist or atheist brochures and try to do the same thing. Let me know what you come up with.

——————————————-

So next, to address the Bible quote you threw out, I must say, I don’t see how that relates to anything you’re trying to say. It’s just a way for you to express your hatred of non-believers through the proxy of the Bible.

Have you ever heard the theory that the people who are most hateful toward gays are doing so because they are afraid of their own homosexual tendencies? I think this is often true of many people who show such vehement hatred toward atheists. You don’t want to admit that many, or even most of your perceptions about life and morality come from places that have nothing to do with your religion, many of which contradict the Bible or religious teachings. You’re terrified and ashamed of that little independent thinker that’s trapped deep inside you, so you lash out at anyone who openly admits to being one.

Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors

Here’s another comment made on my 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime page. He also made some other comments, which I addressed in my three previous blog posts.

What you call Christians are not exactly Christians, since they have been raised by atheists in the American school systems and indoctrinated with atheistic propaganda. They are a kind of Chimera.

This can explain why especially American Christians are often not internally coherent in their moral logic. However, I must say that many things you defend are equally inconsistent with sound reasoning.

Masturbation, while enjoyable to many, is a detriment to creation of family, a biological necessity. Fertility rates decrease during a time when one masturbates regularly.

Homosexuality, while compelling for many, is likewise a detriment for similar reasons to masturbation, though without the decrease in fertility. However, if you are taking on the feminine role in the relationship the estrogen levels can be driven quite high, suppressing the testosterone and consequently diminishing the fertility – not that it matters, since it is not so likely a homosexual will take the opportunity to procreate with a woman.

The biological necessity as an organism to procreate is about as materialistic as you can get. Yet, many materialists denigrate its significance in order to protect their views that homosexuality should be protected – chiefly because it is a stand that brings in supporters against their hated opponents, Christians.

What do you think?

And my response:

I think it’s a pretty convenient argument to make whenever a Christian behaves in an immoral manner, you just say, “Oh, well that wasn’t a real Christian.” It pretty much guarantees that you can do no wrong. Too bad nobody ever points out the fake Christians before they do something awful.

Now, if you think all the immoral behavior seen in Christians is actually coming from atheist propaganda, then that’s a testable theory. If you were to analyze all the Christians who were home-schooled under a purely Christian mode of thinking, do you really think the statistics would be any different? Do you really think they’d be dramatically more moral than their atheist or fake-Christian counterparts?

And if atheist propaganda is so evil and corrupting, then why aren’t atheists committing more crime?

——————

So, masturbation and homosexuality are wrong because they diminish our ability to procreate? Are you worried that these things will take over society and everyone will stop having straight sex? Even if that were even remotely possible, what would stop people from loving babies and consciously wanting more of them or wanting to continue the species?

Are you seriously afraid human beings will stop making babies and go extinct because we’re masturbating or having too much gay sex, or are you simply grasping for straws in your argument? I mean, lets be honest, you know you first decided that homosexuality and masturbation were wrong, then you came up with these arguments to justify your opinion.

If procreation is so important, why are religions not opposed to other things that reduce procreation, such as birth control? I’m sure there’s a lot of food additives out there that reduce our fertility more than homosexuality, so why doesn’t the church ever take issue with things of that nature? Why are people who choose not to have children not considered evil too?

And why is procreation so important anyway? Are you not aware of the overpopulation issues on our planet, the fact that a billion people struggle for food every day and live packed into endless cities, or the fact that many unwanted children are roaming the streets? Why are homosexuals and masturbators so evil for not contributing to these problems?

——————-

Now, this talk about feminine relationship roles and estrogen levels kind of surprised me. Do you actually have any gay friends? Have you read about studies on homosexuality? I would be very curious to hear what you actually have to support your estrogen levels theory.

——————–

And in your last paragraph, you pull out that “materialism” word again, which seems to be a subtle way of demonizing us, implying that we don’t care about anything other than physical objects. I don’t think it’s fair to be labeled something I am not.

I’d never heard of materialism until I was accused a few months ago of believing in it, so I don’t know much about it. From what I’ve seen, however, it seems to be a simple physics theory that helps us understand how the universe works. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with moral values or what people should or shouldn’t value on a human level. You’re taking a simple theory regarding physics and blowing it up into something that tells us what values we should hold as human beings.

Now, you ended by claiming that atheists are hateful toward Christians. Admittedly there is some truth in this. You must understand that many atheists have been deeply hurt by religion, possibly because they were religious themselves, or were influenced by religion, and it drove them to make poor life choices, such as myself, or because they were hurt by someone trusted in the faith, or because someone they knew did something horrible in the name of religion, or because they watched it destroy someone’s life.

However, we don’t wish anyone to be punished for their beliefs the way many wish hell on us. Threatening someone with hell and wishing them to suffer for all eternity is deeply hurtful and can be worse than threatening someone with a knife, and if hell is actually real, then it is significantly worse. I don’t see atheists using fear in that way. We also don’t purposefully try to hurt feelings the way religious individuals call us abominations and claim we’re in league with Satan or say that love drives us insane. Some of us can be hateful toward religion, true, but for the most part, we are not hateful toward the people involved in religion. We see you as victims, not as hated enemies.

 



Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Atheists Don't Believe in Love?
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Response to 22 Ways
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Atheists Don’t Believe in Love?

The last two days I’ve posted a couple responses to comments made by the same reader, on my page, 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime. Here’s  one responding to some of the individual points I made, and then another one relating to the statistics I quoted that show prisons are incredibly packed with religious people. Here’s another of his comments, followed by my response.

The stability of a person’s personality in response to moral dilemma’s is dependent on whether they are willing and able to change their behavior to match the moral expectations.

If they cannot or are ultimately unwilling to conform to their view of moral requirements, even if the unwillingness is at a subconscious level, then they must adjust in other ways. There is contradiction, which indicates a logical adherence in the first place, and negates some of your previous arguments.

It is true that some of these people go mad. It is similarly true that many atheists have gone mad due to incoherence of their materialistic views of people and others’ persistent love towards them. Love drives atheists mad.

I’d agree with your first statement, though I don’t understand how it’s relevant. I believe religion affects a person’s willingness and ability to change their behavior.

Now, in your second paragraph, you kind of lost me. Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. What contradiction are you talking about? Is it based on the theory you present in the third paragraph…

…and your third paragraph just blew me away. You seem to be claiming that atheists don’t believe in love. “Love drives atheists mad”, you say.

Seriously? I don’t even know how to respond to that.

But I’ll try.

You accused me of using a straw man argument in a previous comment, but take a look at your assertion of our “materialistic views” and your theory that atheists can’t understand why people feel love. I mean, talk about changing your opponent’s viewpoint to something easier to attack! I fear the real issue may be that you can’t understand or feel love without connecting it to your God, and simply assume that no one else can either.

I’ve never claimed to be a materialist. I don’t know any atheists who have claimed to be materialists. This is a term that at this point is intended to demonize a segment of the population more than it is an actual description of a viewpoint. The idea of materialism may be important when getting physics to work, but that doesn’t mean it applies to moral behavior or emotions. Don’t assume that we only care about material things and that love isn’t important to us, simply because we don’t have grand, supernatural fantasies to explain our emotions. We feel just as much as anyone else. We love just as much as anyone else. We have just as much passion, compassion, and drive for life as anyone else. Our relationships are just as successful. Our marriages last just as long (slightly longer according to some studies). We create just as amazing artwork. And we strive, just as much as anyone else, to make the world a better place.



Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Response to 22 Ways
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Religious Criminals are Liars?

Yesterday I posted a response to a comment made by a reader on my 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime page. He made a few other comments on the page, so here they are, followed by my responses:

You also ignore the prison ministries that have tried to change prisoners’ attitudes toward life. Many of them become Christians in order to convince the parole board they have changed. They hope to be let out sooner than expected. When they poll religious views of prisoners they all say they are innocent of their crimes and they suddenly believe in God. So the point you’ve made is absurd.

Well, I think you ignored the second little statistic at the top of the page that talked about religious training. This is referring to religious training as children, before they ever became criminals.

You say that prison ministries are trying to change attitudes, but the statistics show that people are more likely to recommit after being in prison, so they’re not doing the greatest job of it, and yet churches everywhere continue to claim that religion makes you a better person.

You then say that many become Christians to appeal to the parole board, but in your previous comment you claimed that our prisons are controlled by atheists and they heavily discriminate against theists, which accounts for the statistics. If this were true, why would these prisoners be doing this?

If you talk to prisoners you find that, for many of them, religion is all they have, and it means a tremendous amount to them. It’s hard to fake that. Even if they were faking it, they would still be surrounded by religion. They’d still have to read the books and attend church to keep up the facade. If religion is really so affective at making people good, wouldn’t all that religious immersion have at least some positive affect on them?

Now, this is totally unrelated and irrelevant to this conversation, but I had to throw in the point that, for a criminal looking for parole, joining a religion and claiming innocence are two very different things. I don’t see how a parole board is going to want to parole someone who is obviously guilty, but still in denial. It seems like the prisoners would be shooting themselves in the foot by claiming innocence. I personally think it’s likely that there’s more innocent prisoners admitting guilt for the sake of the parole board than guilty people claiming innocence.

However, your point here is a real world, testable defense, and I like that. If this were true, we could confirm it scientifically with further testing.

——————————————

I think your reaction to the statistics at the top is an emotional one, so lets try looking at this in a hypothetical, less emotional context.

Let’s say you’ve got a multi-billion dollar, international company that sells nothing but products that prevent cancer. Most people in the world believe they work. The scientists that tested the products all believe they work, and they have a number of chemical and logical formulas to back up their assumptions.

But then, once deployed into the real world, a few people start doing statistical analysis of the people using these products and finds that on average, they are actually more likely to gain cancer, not less, at least from a statistical perspective.

The company would then make defenses. “The test group wasn’t large enough”, “the analysts were biased”, “those people were all living under power lines”, “they weren’t using the products properly.” They’d have explanations for these statistics, and many of them would be convincing. However, neither the company nor its loyal customers are able to provide any other statistics to counter the originals, nor can they produce any solid evidence that their explanations are correct.

Now, would it be ethical at this point to simply write off these statistical findings as irrelevant and rely on the data that came from the labs or the company’s advertising, or our inherent belief that these products work?

No. These are people’s lives we’re talking about here. If there’s any evidence that these products don’t do what they claim to, we have a moral obligation to explore more deeply, to do everything we can to produce real world, confirmable evidence, and to really address the issue, rather than just attacking people who bring it up and sweeping it under the rug.



Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors
Atheists Don't Believe in Love?
Response to 22 Ways
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Response to 22 Ways

I received a few comments the other day on my page 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime and I’d like to respond to some of this person’s points. I added the numbers to his paragraphs to more easily reference them in my response.

1) Do you know how cliche this is?

2) Your use of statistics is ridiculous. If a law is controlled by antagonists of religion then many practitioners of religion will be in prison and many who are opposed to religion (atheists) will be free.

3) Your first point shows your argument is weak by the fact that you do not accurately represent your opponent’s viewpoint. It is a straw man you are attacking, not an actual practice. Therefore, your point is empty.

4) The second point shows similar weaknesses in your argument, though you are starting to espouse your worldview at this point. We see that you are a materialist, which in itself is untenable. You must turn off your compassion switch for others to redefine such abstractions and invisibles as Love in materialist terms of chemicals and neurons firing.

5) The third point is a very good point, indeed! There are many, not only religious adherents, who believe this. Atheists have been just as guilty. Consider the Socialist Communist movements that led up to Soviet Communism. Lenin had the same feelings about a grand scheme, related to the flow of inevitable events of the universe. In his case, time proved him right, though temporarily so.

6) In point number four you return to that weakness again. You obviously have not stepped inside a church and listened to your opponent since about the 1960′s have you?

7) Point 5 is more futility based on your straw man. It also reveals your narrow definition of logic. To have prioritized dependencies on the origins of morally causal relationships does not exclude logic, but deepens it to a realistic model of the world. So having a view of a reward and a punishment from a higher being than us actually emulates the society we have built anyway. The metaphorical modeling, whether religion models our society or society models our religion, it works. What doesn’t work is the pressure put on a majority of people when the system they live in tries to ignore their practices as a legitimate expression of life. It always erupts into social upheaval.

8 ) I doubt you will approve my comment and it is probably too long to post. So this is likely a waste of time. Likewise, my experience with atheists and antagonists of religion is that they are too narrow minded to allow opposing views. It is fear that drives them to do it.

9) What do you think?

And my response:

1) I think calling this page cliche is more of an attempt to discourage people from talking about these issues than it is a real rebuttal. Being cliche isn’t relevant to whether or not these theories are true. The image of a beer drinking football fan is cliche too, but that doesn’t mean football fans don’t drink beer.

For me, however, this isn’t cliche. It’s not like I copied my theories from anywhere. I wrote this page long before I had ever read any atheist blogs, articles or books.

I was in my early twenties before I realized these statistics existed. I had always assumed prisons were full of mostly atheists, since I had always been told that religion makes you a better person. It never occurred to me that people would be so irresponsible as to claim something prevents crime without statistical or at the very least, anecdotal evidence.

2) So basically you’re saying that our laws in America are almost entirely controlled by atheists–despite the fact that the majority of the population is Christian–and that we atheists are so biased and hateful toward theists that we can somehow get away with discriminating against them to absurd levels? What about all the judges and police who are Christians? They’re incriminating the same ratios of people. You’re not going to convince me of anything by throwing out a massive, unconfirmed conspiracy theory.

3) So if I understand you, you’re saying that religions don’t teach the idea that hell is where ‘evil’ people or people of the wrong religion go to suffer? People talk about hell all the time. I see signs in front of churches threatening it. I’ve had friends tell me I was going to burn there because of my beliefs. It sounds like your church might not teach this kind of thing, as I know many do not, and I’m glad. I respect that. I’m not attacking those churches in that particular point. I’m not claiming these 22 points apply in an absolute manner to all religions, but you can’t deny that many churches do teach this concept of hell and the religious community as a whole doesn’t do much to try to convince them to stop.

4) Now, with this, I think you took issue with the fact that I mentioned neurons firing in the brain. Being aware that emotions exist as chemicals and electrical impulses in the brain does absolutely nothing to dampen those emotions. If anything it heightens human emotions and the magic of our existence because you realize it’s all born out of millions of years of the beautiful symphony that is evolution, and that it’s so fragile that we can’t afford to take it for granted. I have too much passion and compassion to be willing to dumb down this massive, mind-bogglingly amazing system of our lives, to something as simple as, “This awesome guy up in heaven made it.”

5) I don’t see how a real atheist could get caught up in any kind of great plan, unless it was something admittedly man made like a government plan. Anything “related to the flow of inevitable events of the universe” is not an atheistic belief. Thats one of the things we specifically don’t believe in is “inevitable events of the universe”, at least when it comes to human issues. It’s true that a few atheists have gotten involved in some nasty government related things, but the atheism was not a motivating factor. Just because a few people have done something wrong doesn’t excuse churches from promoting that same wrongdoing, particularly when they are claiming that they prevent said wrongdoing.

6) Again, I’m not talking about all churches here. Many don’t promote the concept of hell, and again, I respect that and this point is not directed at them. However, it’s very common to hear from people of many different religions that hell is necessary for a moral society.

7) So I’m not sure if I follow what you’re saying in this one. In paragraph 3 and 6 of your comments, you seem to be saying that I’m ignorant for thinking that religions teach that hell is a place of punishment for bad people. Then here in #7 you refer to that ignorance again, but then you tell me that a punishment in the afterlife works very well to keep society in order. You’re promoting the very thing you claim religions do not promote… unless I completely misunderstood what you were saying in 3 and 6.

So you’re saying here that the “metaphorical modeling” of heaven and hell, “works”. Unfortunately, I think the statistics at the top of the page kind of fly in the face of that statement. Admittedly, those statistics could be biased, confused, or otherwise incorrect, but you’ve offered no examples, statistics, or even anecdotal evidence to support your assertion that a religious system works. All you seem to be going on is the fact that you believe it intensely and that many others do too. Show me some real-world evidence. The proof is in the pudding.

Then your final comment in this paragraph also caught me: “…the system they live in tries to ignore their practices as a legitimate expression of life…” This reminds me very much of all the times I’ve seen atheists called abominations and the times I’ve been told I would burn in hell for what I believe.

8 ) Of course I approved your post, and thankfully the hamsters on the wheels powering the GoDaddy servers were not too tired that day and the script did not crash when you tried to post. And no, this was not a waste of time. I assure you that I’m very flattered you took so much time and effort in your response, and I do appreciate it.

I’ll also say that it’s not fear that drives me to do all this, but compassion for all the people I’ve known, including myself, who were hurt or even killed by religion. If I was afraid of something, I’d keep my mouth shut and just go with the flow.

9) I think you’re a very intelligent person and I’ve enjoyed this debate session (perhaps another will be coming tomorrow regarding another of your comments.) I think you could greatly benefit from exploring skepticism or agnosticism, perhaps even atheism, on a personal level. Get to know what it actually feels like to be one of us, in the same way that I took a couple years in my early twenties to vehemently believe in God and explore that part of me.

 



Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors
Atheists Don't Believe in Love?
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

The Scientologist Job

Over the past year I’ve sort of built up a collection of short true stories to post on this site. I started posting one every Friday which will go through March, April and possibly to the end of May. Last Friday I posted Just a Coincidence, a story about the time I had what other people would claim was a psychic occurance when everything in my life broke down at the same moment.

Anyway, some of the true short stories I wrote were so short that they didn’t justify their own page, so I’ll make simple blog entries and post them randomly to supplement the bigger true stories I post on Fridays. Here’s one tiny little true story about Scientologists:

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Around 2007 I got an email from the church of Scientology. They had been searching for a Flash developer with UI coding experience, and found my portfolio at www.kalinflash.com. They also noticed that I liked to write science fiction.

The email didn’t specifically mention an interview process, and the wording seemed to suggest they already knew they wanted to hire me. They were offering competitive wages, though they didn’t mention the specific rate. I would need to move to California, but they offered several thousand dollars in moving expenses.
The creepiest part of the offer, which they seemed to see as one of the most attractive features, was that my salary would include room and board.
I did not reply to the email.

Paralyzed Without Fear – Benefits of Atheism and Logic

This is the first and only time this has ever happened to me, but a few nights ago I had a very strange occurance. I woke up at about 4:00 AM, in the near pitch-blackness of my bedroom, and found myself paralyzed. I tried to sit up, but couldn’t. I tried to lift an arm, and could not, so I started trying every little part of my body that I could think of, and somehow, nothing was working. My mind and body had been disconnected.

This reminded me of that scene in ET when the kid wakes up to see the alien and can’t move and he tries to scream and his throat is all dry. I thought to myself, that’s what’s happening to me. Somehow, some connections in my brain simply misfired. Since we all got here through evolution, which is basically a system of randomness, naturally, our minds and bodies would be a disorganized and hacked together hodgepodge of different technologies. In the programming world, we call them “kludges”, some code you write that works, but you know it’s not the proper or organized way to do it. Well, if you really study the human mind and body, you will find kludge after kludge after kludge, which somehow all works together (for the most part) due to millions of years of intense QA testing, or as the scientists call it, “natural selection”.

But once in a while, our mind or body hits an unforeseen situation and it just glitches out. As I lay in my bed wondering how long I would be trapped and helpless, I realized this was simply a glitch in my programming and I just sighed internally. Then I thought, you know, if I was a superstitious or religious person, I would be terrified out of my mind right now, and I’d almost say I laughed at the thought, even though I couldn’t make any movements or sound.

Then I heard voices. Whispering.

My first thought was that I was hearing someone upstairs or downstairs talking. I focused, but no, the sound was clearly whispering, coming from somewhere just behind me. It got louder and louder, and I focused on it, trying to make out what the voice was saying.

Is someone playing a prank on me? I thought. One of my buddies broke into my house, gave me a paralyzing drug and is now whispering in my ear to give me a good scare.

No, none of my friends are that creative. It’s just a glitch of the mind.

So as I listened to this whispering, I tried again to move, and could not. My body was frozen. I tried to scream, hoping maybe I could get the neighbors to come down. Or maybe if I just heard some noises from the neighbors it would snap my mind out of this trance. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make a sound.

I thought maybe I could just wait it out, but decided that it would probably be better for me to keep trying, hoping I could find a different perspective on the situation that would force my mind to reload whatever software it uses to control the rest of my body.

But throughout this whole thing, I was thinking in the back of my mind that this would be a completely different situation if I was spiritual or religious. This would be a sign from the devil, or some evil presence trying to steal my soul. A spiritual believer would have been traumatized for days over this, but because I’m an atheist, it’s just another funny story about how evolution did not create a perfect or even logically organized creature.

Then, all of a sudden, something changed in my mind. I can’t put a finger on what it was exactly, I just suddenly knew that I was no longer paralyzed. The voices faded away. I tried moving my arms, and bingo, they worked. Then I tested my legs and they worked. A moment later I was crawling out of bed to walk around my room, making sure my body was back to normal. I went to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat, and that was that.

So that’s what it’s like when you’re an atheist and something scary happens. You don’t get scared unless there’s an actual, logical reason to get scared. I can’t tell you how much of a benefit this has been for me over the years, knowing that I alone command my life and emotions. It breaks my heart to see so many people still living in fear of things they know don’t exist and know could never happen.