- Published on Monday, 14 May 2012 07:11
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1828
For many people, religion is boring and of no consequence - for them, a blog on "no religion" is equally boring. For others, they so passionately hold to their belief in their religion that a blog on atheism is annoying but not likely to change their mind. One commenter on this blog recently suggested another objection when he said: "I do believe that in general, people need to have beliefs, or a belief in something, to keep them grounded. Many find that support in religion of whatever kind it may be for them. With this in mind, I am perplexed by what seems to be your obsessive need to relegate all religious beliefs into one category which you seem to be trying to discredit in any way possible on this blog," I would abbreviate this to say "Religion makes people feel good - to each his own - so why criticise religions?"
I can't speak for others but I can try to explain why I operate an atheist blog.
First and foremost, I believe in truth - I believe that the world would be a better place if everyone understood the truth about how the world got to be here, why we are here and what will happen when we die. To me truth is an important value. By itself, it would be a reason to try to get people to understand that religions do not teach the truth. And before some well-meaning "holy-man" tells me that the great truths of Love, Goodness and other emotional things come from God - I would respond that my definition of Truth is not a philosophical discussion; religions talk about "Truths" with a whole different meaning - that's not what I'm talking about. To me Truth simply means factual, not wrong, not a lie; it does not matter whether you believe it or not, something is either true or not, independent of anyone's belief.
To be clear, individuals may believe something is true or not - but if you take two people, one who believes something and the other does not - only one is right. Only one is a believer in the truth. Truth is independent of beliefs - it could be that only one person or even no-one knows the truth about something. One person could be right and 7 billion wrong. Or vice versa. For example, all people who believe the earth is flat are wrong; the truth is that the earth is spheroid. Galileo was right; millions of Catholics and the Pope were wrong.
Second, all religions teach that there is a God and I believe that there is not. So in my view, a large number of people in this world believe things that are wrong. They therefore make other judgements based on this that are contrary to the facts and probably not in their best interest nor the best interests of the people they come in contact with.
Thirdly, religious beliefs have historically been the reason for many of the atrocities committed. Murders of heretics, the Crusades, persecution of witches and non-believers and more recently, sheltering of priests from prosecution for child abuse. Edicts in Holy Books like the Qur'an have justified maltreatment of women and non-believers. It's hard to justify religions as being "good" or "good for you" or even a way to "keep them grounded".
The fourth reason is that most people are born to a religion and are brought up as if it were true: "of course, why not believe? It feels good". They are told that irrational Faith is good and are not taught to question it or consider the possibility that maybe their religion has errors, or that another religion or even no religion is in fact the truth. By the time many people get to ask themselves about it, they generally just reject a few bits here and there e.g. moderate Muslims reject the teaching on killing infidels.
Given all these reasons (and more if I spend more time thinking about it), writing a blog for the world to see means that others can:
- Find the truth - at least they now have some of the arguments against religion.
- Decide for themselves whether there is a God and if so, is God like the one described by their religion.
- Reject the idea that religious teachings can justify behaviour that is inherently immoral. They will stop using religion to justify evil.
- Stop thinking that Faith is a way to decide truth and acceptable behaviour - logic and rational thinking is the only acceptable way to decide.
If I ignore these things and just keep quiet, then I am doing less that I can to make the world a better place.