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Is Religion Bullshit, Or Isn't It?


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Is religion bullshit, or isn't it? Well, taken literally, yes it is. I was once a devout fundamentalist Christian. I was a believer for 15 years of my life, until late 1999 when my Christian beliefs and worldview began to fall apart for lack of evidence. I made the mistake of actually investigating my beliefs, fully expecting to find them in accord with demonstrable reality, since my beliefs were after all "the Truth" from God. I didn't know it when I began my investigation, but I was in for quite a shock. I didn't know it at the time, but my religious beliefs were wrong - terribly, totally wrong - concerning the nature of reality.

 

I was brought up believing in God. I was taught from early childhood that God existed, and I never questioned that belief until 1999, when I was 34-years old. I now know that "God" is just an excuse for ignorance. Wherever there is a lack of knowledge, you can either search for the real answer, or you can insert "God".

 

I was taught by my fundamentalist brethren that the Bible was the "word of God". The Bible in reality - with its contradictions, absurdities, atrocities, myths, fables, and much nonhistorical "history" - hardly represents what I would accept as the "word" of an all-knowing deity.

 

What about Jesus? Isn't he God or at least the son of God? Wasn't he resurrected? Well, no. I believe, based on research, that he lived in history surely, but that he was an itinerant Jewish apocalyptic preacher - one of many in that time and place. The words that he allegedly said in the gospels were put into his mouth decades after his death by anonymous authors, so they can hardly be considered authoritative.

 

I was taught that there was a wonderful heaven waiting for me after I died. In reality - upon investigation - there is no evidence that such a place actually exists. Where is it supposed to be located anyway? According to the Bible, it's up in the sky just above the solid dome firmament in which the stars are fixed! And yet we know now that the sky isn't solid...

 

I was taught that a terrible hell awaits everyone who doesn't believe in the fundamentalist version of Christianity, or in their particular version of Jesus. In reality - upon investigation - there is no evidence that such a terrible eternal BBQ pit actually exists. Where is it supposed to be located? According to the Bible, underneath the (flat) earth. Well, we now know that the earth isn't flat!

 

I was taught that I had a real spiritual enemy in Satan (the Talking Snake). I have realized that there is no evidence that such a being actually exists. In fact, there is no evidence that angels, demons, gods, or devils actually exist. They are the stuff of mythology, not reality.

 

The problem with Christianity isn't that it isn't beautiful in some respects. It is, as far as I'm concerned. The problem is that there is NO EVIDENCE to back up any of its claims. Like all religions, it is based upon myth and emotion, not evidence.

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Bro Jeff,

 

Let me welcome you back to the realm of reality. As you know from your personal experience, proof does not matter at all to believers, except as a means to try and persuade others. Most people believe in irrational religious myths for emotional or sociological reasons. There is an old hymn alled "He Lives" that I used to hear, the words being "You ask me how I know he lives, he lives within my heart".

 

What is not important to a beliver is, is this emotional feeling real or artificially constructed. As a rational atheist, I can point to other such beliefs which are also irrational. I have seen people who believe that another person loves them, when in reality the other person does not. The human mind is incredibly resilient in shoring up its own beliefs. Im my opinion, the emotional mind is primal and can override the analytical, logic part of the mind. It takes training and willingness to search your own feelings and beliefs, which at least in my experience was damned scary.

 

Check out my "Discussion with Amy Marie" in the Colloseum to see this in action. She has admitted that parts of the Bible are unreasonabe to believe, yet she clings to her belief in spite of rational and logical reasons that demolish this belief. In her and many other believers, the analytical points cannot get passed the emotional commitment and emotional feelings that derive from belief.

 

Michael Shermer summed it p quite nicely. People generally arrive at beliefs for emotinal reasons and the more itelligent people are damned good at exlaining and making excuses to retain that belief.

 

Bruce

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BROTHER JEFF!!! I'm so happy to see you!!! ((((HUGS))))

 

Taph

Thanks! It's great to be back! Glory!

 

Thanks for the welcome back, Bruce. I'll check out your discussion with Sister Amy.

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Heya brother Jeff, welcome back! :)

 

(The one good thing about your periodic relapses into fundyism is that we know you'll be back eventually.... we just don't know when ;) )

 

Is religion bullshit, or isn't it?

 

As a non-christian religious person, obviously my reply will not be an unconditional "yes".

Religion, in and of itself, is neutral. Believing in the existence of certain supernatural forces may not be logical and may well sound silly to others (namely atheists :wicked: ), but this very thing of its own doesn't do harm.

What (potentially) does harm is the actions the believer feels motivated to perform due to his faith. It may well be hard to imagine for a US resident, but at least here in Germany, most christians really are quite kind and pleasant people. Of course they never care to actually read their scripture fully and with an open mind (sounds familiar, no?), but as long as their interpretation of the book leads them to behave themselves, I say more power to them. Yes there are people who are okay, even in the great morontheisms of this world.

 

Fundamentalist/literalist religion, now this is another case entirely. There may be some literalist groups of whatever faith who are okay too (don't know for sure, so I have to make some room for the possibility...), but at least for the great abrahamic bullshit cults, I don't see any likelihood for this. The written dogma of them all is too shitty, or at least offers far too much potential for shittyness "legalized by the big guy up in the sky".

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I'd have to say that religion isn't bullshit. It's a crutch, and some people need it to cope with life. I did for a while, and I'm glad it was there when I needed it. The thing with a cruth is, if you get too dependant on it you'll never walk by yourself. I'm glad that at some point I was able to toss it aside.

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Heya brother Jeff, welcome back!

 

(The one good thing about your periodic relapses into fundyism is that we know you'll be back eventually.... we just don't know when)

Thanks! Glory! Those relapses are due to the bipolar illness that I suffer from. I'm just glad that rationality always eventually returns!

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