- Published on Monday, 28 February 2011 06:12
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1526
Why do people like me and all the other active atheists go on-line and tell the world that there is no god and that religions are deceiving us (or trying to)? It's already been said by any number of people from Socrates, to Bertrand Russell to Christopher Hitchens - isn't that enough? Well no it's not. If all the priests and ministers and pastors never uttered another word from a pulpit and if no-one ever tried to convince their children that they should believe in mythical creatures and if all the religious people in the world kept their beliefs to themselves, then there would be no need to speak out. But none of that happens - we are subjected to a constant barrage of propaganda and if it were not answered, many would assume there was no answer and would go steadily down the slippery slope of irrational faith.
The first error that blogs like this one try to correct is the idea that a god needs to be invented to explain things that some people cannot understand. Since god has been invented by many different men (strangely, no women?), he takes many different forms - Jaweh, Jesus, Allah and all the Hindu and primitive gods (some samples at right). Further, each religion or sect paints a slightly different version - otherwise there would be many thousand fewer religions. Correcting the beliefs that people have can be done with logic but this is continually needed since many people cannot follow rational logical arguments and need to have it explained in many different ways. But if people are swayed by faith then they are letting emotion make their choices and emotional arguments need to be used.
And even if that argument is lost, it's also worth pointing to the many major errors made by all the people who set themselves up as experts on what form god would take and what he would say and do and want from us. And for that matter, that god is a male and thinks like a man.
So why not write a book? Many do - if you want to make a complete case for any proposition, you need more words than can be put in an article like this. So books are needed. But how many people (world-wide) read books? Not everyone even has the opportunity or wants to read books on why there is no god.
But (dare I say it?) thank god for the Internet!! (A great figure of speech!). The invention of the internet by engineers and scientists has made it possible to spread facts and opinions and questions across the world. No longer do we believe because we don't know any better. We can find out for ourselves.
It's also important to me that not only do I encourage people to think for themselves and question their beliefs but that I also encourage other related values like free-speech, human rights and democratic freedom. If you question your religious belief, you should also be applying that free-thinking to your political and ethical beliefs.
Some people refuse to criticise for fear of upsetting people - in extreme cases even offending people. But if someone believed that murdering or stealing was OK and they acted on it - should we just leave them alone? No. And since religion leads to bad behaviour, we should speak up about it too. To be clear, if people kept their beliefs to themselves and never acted on their beliefs (never preached at me, never went on jihad, never abused women, never hated others etc), then there would be no need to change their beliefs. Sadly, the world is not like that.