The Problem With Religion

Around the middle of December, Danica wrote a post on her blog, Love Over Religion, that she entitled,”Wager” (she doesn’t waste words on any of her post titles 🙂 ). While the post itself was quite good, it was a comment she made in response to one of her visitors that really impressed me. With her permission, I’ve included it here. See if her thoughts don’t resonate with you as well.

The problem with religion is that it allows groups of people to justify cruelty towards others. At their core, each religion harbors discrimination against those who are not part of it. Unless you are an incredibly open Christian, you can probably test this by asking yourself if God is going to permit Muslims, Hindus, atheists, homosexuals, Jews into heaven. If your answer is no to any of these, you can clearly see that your version of God discriminates against that group of people. And if he does, why shouldn’t you? If your answer was yes, they will all be in heaven, then I congratulate you for being a wonderful human being, but regret to inform you that you don’t believe the Bible. I don’t believe it, which is why I left religion. It didn’t make sense to me to be in a club that I didn’t fundamentally agree with.

Religion, Christianity specifically, has been used to justify slavery and genocide in the past, as you mentioned. I think it’s safe to say that most Christians would not be okay with slavery or genocide. But in subtle ways, religion continues to “justify” cruelty. Ask any gay couple that have cried themselves to sleep because the religious right is fighting so hard to keep them from having access to dignity and respect. Ask the teenager who has received beatings and emotional abuse because her parents won’t accept her nonbelief. Ask the Muslim that has been spit on, or the child at school that has been ridiculed for being part of the only non-Christian family in a small town. I know someone in her 90’s who had to live her entire life in secret, apart from her family and those who claimed to love her, because her Christian family wouldn’t accept the truth of who she was. While over in the Middle East, people are dying daily, mothers, children, young fathers, over this thing called “religion.” I believe that until we can free ourselves from this ancient system of beliefs in gods and myths, a system that wreaks havoc on our natural inclination towards love and acceptance for one another, this misery and tragedy will continue. That doesn’t mean necessarily that belief in science promotes goodwill. However, there is no underlying clause in science or reason that divides us into groups. There is no suggestion in science that a supernatural entity will give this group everlasting life, and throw all the rest into the fire.

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“Of course it’s true. It’s in the Book”

I found this article rather interesting but not because it talks about the age of the bible. What I found most fascinating was the revelation (to some) that:

… the absolute oldest scrap of Christian writing that has been recovered to date is a fragment of the Gospel of John, written around 125 CE.

The writer goes on to add:

To be clear, this is indeed a “scrap” which is barely as big as a credit card, with text on the front and back.

A scrap. Barely as big as a credit card. Written nearly 100 years after the death of Yeshua.

Yet there are innumerable believers who are certain the scriptures in existence today are the bona fide reports of the life and death of their “Jesus.” Further, they are certain (because their leaders told them so) that the writers were eyewitnesses and wrote down the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And that every word in their holy book is based on irreputable fact.

Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how some people will believe anything that someone tells them and never bother to investigate for themselves. For example, care to take a guess on how many Christians will ever read the referenced article?

 

Think You Know Paul the “Apostle”? Think Again.

Arch directed me to this article about Paul. The writer totally mirrors my thoughts and opinions.

Those of you who know me through my book are aware of my feelings about Paul. He is such a fraud that I try to undermine his “authority” every chance I get!

Following is the beginning of the article to give you a sampling:

Paul was a Pharisee.  One day he had a ‘revelation’.  He changed his name from Saul to Paul, and straightway preached his revelations about the ‘Christ’ in the synagogues.  Paul continued to have new ‘revelations’ that spoke ‘of’ and ‘for’ a Christ, but he was glaringly silent about the actual life of Yahushua (Jesus) and his teachings.  In Paul’s epistles we find him using the words ‘Christ, Son of God, grace, redemption, resurrection, etc.’, but we learn little or nothing about Yahushua and his actual teachings.  They’re virtually absent from Paul’s epistles.  What we learn about are Paul’s revelations.  Roughly 50% of the New Testament (13 epistles) is from Saul, a man who neither knew Yahushua in the flesh, nor was instructed by the apostles.  Rather, he taught by unsubstantiated revelation, Ezekiel 13:2-9.

Paul considered himself the ‘apostle’ to the Gentiles, primarily because his doctrine (called ‘that way’, Acts 19:9, 23) was rejected by Jewish Christians and the Asian churches alike; and he was forced to seek converts who knew nothing of Yahudim (Jewish) customs and the Law.  Paul’s doctrine was adverse to the teachings of Yahushua; and he was often in conflict with James, Peter, and John; the real apostles.  And by the way, Paul was not an apostle.

Paul spent an inordinate amount of time defending himself and his teachings from accusations of guile, lies, and covetousness.  None of the real apostles were so accused.  Paul’s core philosophy of justification by faith and abolition of Torah Law stands in opposition to Yahushua’s statements in the gospels.  Paul thought nothing of lying or practicing pagan customs if it meant gaining a new convert to his own brand of salvation, Romans 3:7, I Corinthians 10:14-21, 9:19-22.

Paul’s words speak for themselves.  His use of personal pronouns in his epistles (I, me, my, mine) is three times that of any other writer.  Paul urged his followers to follow him.  He preached by revelation.  Paul preached his doctrine in the ‘name’ of Christ, but his teachings were not in alignment with Yahushua’s teachings, John 5:43.

Think this is just one person’s opinion? I urge you to do some research. Outside of the bible, Paul is shown for what he really is by dozens of scholars. Further, whether Christians want to admit it or not, they are following the teachings of Paul … not Jesus.

Life … and Death

This is an excerpt of a comment I made on another blog. I felt it needed repeating here.

I think the primary reason behind why nearly every Christian believes in God/Jesus is because it’s just too difficult for some people to live in this world on their own. Rather than rely on their own natural-born source of power, they must turn to an invisible “supernatural” being to help them handle life.

The thing is … this “being” is really all in their mind. And if they could/would just recognize and accept that, they might discover the pure joy of living and being part of this magnificent universe … no strings attached.

In addition to those who are unable to face life on their own, many find death even more fearful and must seek solace in an imaginary afterlife.

Certainly, none of us know what’s happens at life’s end, but why does it matter? Why is it so difficult to accept that this is the only life we have? We didn’t know anything before we were born … why must it be different when we die?

Stepping Out of the Mire

In a recent post, Siriusbizinus wrote:

Not everyone can make that step. Leaving faith behind is a long process of unpacking emotions, thoughts, feelings, and other trauma associated with indoctrination and forcing oneself to believe the unbelievable.

I would add … but it’s well worth the effort!

I became a believer in my early 20’s. I had little to no “indoctrination” up to that time as my parents were not religious (father was lapsed Catholic, mother was indifferent). So when “the event” happened, I jumped in full-force.

And, during “those” days, I believed. I mean, I TRULY BELIEVED!!

I lived and breathed Jesus. I was totally convinced this was the ONLY way to live and anyone who couldn’t see that was, well, blind. There simply was no other way. And the “unsaved” surely needed to be told how to “get right” with God … or else!

Today, as I read some of the postings and comments made by believers on Christian blogs (e.g., holdingforthhisword, truthinpalmyra, etc.), it’s not surprising to see their fervor and dedication as they “preach the word” to their non-believing visitors.

It’s also not the least bit surprising that no matter how many facts are presented related to the inconsistencies and fallacies of their belief, they often belittle the writer because they feel that anyone outside the faith simply doesn’t have the “holy spirit” to open their eyes to “The Truth.”

And the thing is … I can totally see/feel where they’re coming from because I was there! Living in the (so-called) cocoon of safety that Christianity represents, you believe there is absolutely no better way to live your life — and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool of the first degree.

That’s why siriusbizinus’ statement that “not everyone can take that step” (leave the faith) is right-on. There are those who will never leave. The indoctrination is so deep and so complete that to take such a step would be like leaping across the Grand Canyon.

Nonetheless, just as Christians have the driving need to evangelize the world with their stuff and nonsense, so the atheists/non-believers feel they must counter it with facts, reason, and rationality in hopes someone will take that step out of the mire.