Against Institutionalized Religion


23. Feb. 2012, 23:51

Against Institutionalized Religion

There is a great issue in how the major theistic faiths are viewed today, primarily in the case of the Abrahamic religions. Religion began its philosophical existence by the innocuous attempts of early humans at science and philosophy. Unfortunately, these attempts were poisoned with immoral initiatives, particular sacrifice or murder in the name of some god. The Torah, the Bible, and the Koran are some of the most immoral books out there, especially the Bible, and that opinion is nearly hackneyed, but still should be said for those who have never thought about the issue before. These monotheistic religions have few arguments going for them (besides barely related arguments for simpler deism), and most of the modern day “arguments” are either overtly tautological or emotional in origin to be worthy of serious consideration. If the grounds for the Israelite – Palestinian war aren't religious, then on what basis could they be considered? Since when was mass psychological projection considered healthy? Humans subconsciously love to be in denial as a defense mechanism against psychological trauma. (“The first step in solving a problem, is admitting you have a problem”). People believing in a “rapture” don’t have their psychosis because they are reading religious texts in error, it is because of the fact that they are reading them.

Most morally good churchgoing peoples in the United States tend to be more of a communitarian kind of religion, in some cases it's called Churchianity because of how the Bible is considered more of a “holy textbook” with certain excepts and lines are drawn away from the more “mythical parts”. Practicing this out of ethnic tradition is probably benign; there are only a few dangers of this manner of organized extortion. Firstly, and possibly the most imminent, would be the indoctrination of children, which I will get to later. Secondly, you are funding a supposedly “non-profit” association fueling what is likely the most unnecessary invented schism among human beings. But in many more ways this is a great sign of progress. The closed-minded hold of religious fundamentalism tends to become significantly more domesticated and rational under this nearly translucent progressive banner. Unfortunately, as long as the Bible is studied in a manner focusing on following the values it presents rather than one of the greatest pieces of literature of its time, there will be people who (mis)interpret the texts by simply reading them.

Teaching a child more secular humanist views, or teaching them about science and ethics would probably grant them greater knowledge, and challenge them more (uncontroversially, ID is easier to understand among children than evolution). So why hold them back intellectually? I'm not going to agree with some other atheists and deists who think creationism should be outlawed from schools, but it should certainly be considered secondary to evolution and other reasonably researched theories. It would make it more difficult to understand biology and heritage without proper knowledge derived from the ideas of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel. It is also unfortunate that many of our government leaders/parties try to profit off of ideas of fundamentalism (the creationist lobby) by creating fear in the Bible Belt and fundies elsewhere. Certain fundamentalist creationist groups also try to discredit scientific groups as anti-religious to further their agendas of spreading doubt in current fact-based theories. The best the creationists can do to prove their “theories” is to base their arguments off of scriptural evidence, rather than something observable or measurable. Even worse are the evangelical politicians in my country, the U.S., who think it's cute using ecclesiastical language in their secular roles as representatives of this country of religious freedom. One of the worst offenders was George W. Bush while he was president, calling the “War on Terror” a crusade (also know as the Tenth Crusade for this reason), ostensibly against Islamic extremism. Nevermind that the Iraq war was an attempt to finish what his father started. And nevermind that the U.S. funded Islamic Mujahideen before, most famously against the U.S.S.R. in the Afghan Civil War in the late 70's.

In an increasingly modernizing world, atheism is the fastest growing “religious denomination”, and for good reason. The arguments for theism have dissolved over the centuries, turning assertions (and persecutions) into questions about where we go after we die. We now know that Poseidon doesn’t cause rainstorms, and Jupiter doesn't lead the victors of war. Most modern religions have their numbers of gods reduced to one, and atheists have one less, arguably the logical next step. That isn't to say there couldn't be a creator at all, which would certainly be an unsubstantiated claim as well, but it seems extremely unlikely that creator or entity would be the god of the Abrahamic religions. There are plenty of better explanations being formulated for all of the natural phenomena we experience every day. I'll end this with the famous words of late antitheist Christopher Hitchens; “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

I'm not typically a writer, but if I get enough positive feedback I might write some more sometime, if and when I feel compelled to do so.

Akzeptierte Übermittlungen
Atheism, Antitheism
Unbestätigte Übermittlungen
Anti Religion


  • Haregewoini

    Hey, I just happened to stumble on this post and often wonder about this topic. It's a very interesting topic. A question: - What do you think of Dostoyevskiy's question (from the Bros. Karamazov): would most people have morals if they did not believe in some sort of after-life judgment? (I simplified the question a bit) Cheers

    28. Mär. 2012, 4:27
  • gl12878

    @Haregewoini I'm glad you asked me this question, and by the way that particular piece of literature poses many other interesting philosophical questions as well. As you posed it, are you postulating that people would lack the necessary ethical framework to act reasonably moral in their daily lives, or that many people wouldn’t be able to justify altruism? It seems to me that since morality precedes religion, it can be factored out to some degree for either question. It is true that although I’m not religious in any traditional sense, I have Judeo-Christian values passed down from my parents. Perhaps without that religious influence I would have different morals in some respect, but for the most part I believe they would be largely similar. A popular trending hypothesis is that morality can come from genetics (although perhaps we have instinctively known this, since the nature versus nurture debate has gone on for ages). It seems odd to me to think that people wouldn’t be able to justify good deeds without spiritual reward. I suppose this kind of reasoning would follow a certain form of Machiavellianism (the end outcome defines the means). Good deeds done only as a means to get into some sort of heaven would lose their value in several ways. If heaven is “equal” to infinite pleasure, then good deeds have relatively little to no effect on the welfare of others and therefore cease to have any significance or meaning. Also, if a donation to a charity is made solely for the purpose that it would further one’s latent place in the coming afterlife, is that action to be rewarded? Perhaps I am alone in the belief that increasing the livelihood of your neighbors can harbor a better future, without need for a god or spiritual compensation. Christopher Hitchens debated extensively on issues like this, and there are plenty of YouTube clips of his speeches. I never agreed with him on everything, especially his politics, but I always enjoyed hearing what he had to say on any topic. I would recommend looking him up if you want to hear more. Sorry if that was a bit more than you asked for.

    8. Apr. 2012, 4:01
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