Atheism, a Religious Irony

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There is a fair amount of coverage lately about the decline of religious affiliation in our country. The right wing conservatives of the Republican Party seem to be concerned, as if their constituency is fast disappearing along with the moralistic key holders of hetero-sexual marriage and gun rights. The bible thumping adherents of the middle states must be cringing in their pews.

Well, considering that religion has been the root cause of more death, destruction, and misery over these many millennia, I can’t look upon this recent trend as a bad thing. They say the decline comes in part with the influx of immigrants of non-Christian faiths and the rest as a slacking off from Sunday-morning church attendance to a less caustic spiritual existence (whatever that means).

When I was eight years old, my parents informed me that my father was taking steps to answer his “calling” to enter the priesthood. Sure enough, he disappeared from my life for several years as he worked by day and went to Mercer School of Theology at night with the goal of being ordained in the Episcopal Church (that’s catholic-lite to the R.C.s amongst you or catholic without the guilt). Three years later, I rose from my bed with the flu to witness our bishops administer the laying on of hands at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, NY (yes, Episcopalians do have the ‘authority’ of Apostolic Succession). From that day forward I became a PK. Shortly thereafter, we moved into a rectory and began a life that was heavily infused with religion – it was our daily existence. And, I did my part. I trained the acolytes, became a Sunday school teacher, joined the vestry when I was eighteen, and passed the requirements to become licensed as a Lay Reader and a Chalice Administrator. On rare occasions, when my father was sick, I even led the congregation in Morning Prayer. This continued into my adult years.

One day, while showering, I had an epiphany (not of the religious sort) and answered a nagging question: why did I have so much trouble holding my faith? Answer: I never had it in the first place. It was stunning in its simplicity. Something clicked into place at that moment. I realized that most of the teachings of the church didn’t make sense, never did, but I was now free to explore alternatives, and not to stubbornly try for the forced acknowledgment of a faith I didn’t have. I embraced agnosticism for about a month. The exploration ultimately led to atheism.

Now, here’s the irony. The thirty years of religious life, of going to church weekly, if not semi-weekly, of reciting and memorizing countless prayers and creeds never came close to the profound realization I gained from becoming an atheist.

Simply, it is this: imagine, just for a moment that there is no God, that there is no life after death, that your time on earth is truly the only shot you have at living – just picture this for a second. Now imagine how much more the value of a life increases. How much more heinous is a murder, or a war, or neglect of our fellow man given that this is all s/he will ever have. It increases the magnitude of those transgressions beyond understanding. You would no longer be able to suffer life with the thought that it’s all right, that your reward will come after you die. You can no longer take solace in the concept that the evil-doers of the world will suffer an indescribable fate when the Day of Judgment comes. It knocks the system of justice off its well-oiled tracks and trashes thousands of years of assumption. When you free yourself from the constraints that teach against the idea that it’s possible to have evolved into sentient creatures without benefit of a divine magic wand, it liberates your thought process to imagine so many other insightful and meaningful truths.

Atheism taught me this. Atheism taught me to honor the life of every deserving human being. It taught me restraint. It created in me a painful sensitivity to injustice – something which hurts more every day as I read the roundup of news both here and abroad. Take a good hard look at the world – it’s insane and it’s getting worse. Much of it has to do with religion.

Maybe the answer to it all is the paradox of atheism.

48 thoughts on “Atheism, a Religious Irony

  1. True. it’s the conception about God that is fallacious. evolution and god are both real. god does not have a humanly body as we think of him.

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    • Hi Jack,

      Even when I was religious, I knew that God the Father was incorporeal. The only member of the Trinity was supposedly Jesus. Yes, evolution is real – we can see it working before us. God was the answer to those of antiquity and beyond as a measure of dealing with what they couldn’t understand. The concept of God or divinity is outdated, and quite frankly no longer makes sense.

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  2. IIn all that said you did in “Church” ( Catholicism is not the Church) that Jesus left. You never mention reading your Bible, developing a faith that comes from hearing the word of God. You are right in saying you were trying to hold on to a faith your never had. That’s because you never did have faith. Because what you were practicing was not teaching of Jesus. Yes again you were right in saying the world doesn’t need religion to show kindness to your fellow human, you were liberated from being religious not from being a follower of Jesus. Jesus who taught his disciples to love your enemy, feed the poor, serve others, put people’s needs before yours, consider others better than yourself, give to those who ask, pray for those who persecute you, love all mankind. YES THESE ARE TEACHING OF JESUS.
    And though people do good, like yourself you should ask yourself where fires that Good really come from, because wet all know one thing we are not good by any means, you know your dark side better than anyone, and if someone should push your button the right way arty the right time your dark side will be exposed. DO REALLY WHAT GOOD I’D THERE IN YOU, I SAY NON, not I but God, yes God they one you don’t want to acknowledge that He exist.Though you maybe convinced that all you do is purely of you and that there is not consequences to your actions while you live in this earth, I just want to say this in hope that your eyes will be open to the truth.
    This article was not written by you, who ever you are, you think your story from childhood is sentimental enough to confuse the weak at heart and mind. Don’t you realise that you ate bring used by the Deceiver Himself, the Father of lies, This whole article is a lie to keep misleading people from the truth about Jesus’s teaching.
    There is no good in man and the good that we do comes from God.
    From the beginning of time there has been war and yes it has cost many people their lives, and to say it is too be blamed on Religion is somewhat right, because there are some religions that promote war and killing, but when you say religion, I know you are including your Catholic upbringing which indirectly is accusing Christianity. But like I said earlier Catholicism is not Christianity and so is a host of “Christian Churches” To be apart of Jesus Church you would have to be practicing the teaching of Jesus daily. The Church is not all the people who gather in the building on Sunday morning, it’s a Spiritual Kingdom, one that lives in the Hearts of the saints. YOU CANNOT trek who we are by just looking at us because our emblem is in our Hearts. You were never apart of this Kingdom. But if you choose to repent from your ways And out your faith In JESUS you too can be saved. Yes Saved, saved from what you may ask, something that wet don’t see, week it ask goes back to the good you say you do for your fellow human, you claim to have good inherit in you, yet you deny the evil in you, doing you see that you can’t be both, your are either good or bad. Moral or immoral. Can’t you see that even in this world there are consequences for your actions, if you break the law, you have to go before the judge. GOD is trying to help us out here, he didn’t just give us a mind that wet can’t see that there will be consequences for your actions. And if you don’t see this then you can safely say that there is nothing wrong with 911. Though you might go back to blame it on Religion. Your in a cycle, your mind is closed. Open them that you may see the truth, that you need true faith, not religion, you need Jesus, not a group of people claiming to be followers of Jesus and performing rituals every Sunday morning.

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    • Writings and teachings that possibly come from a man named Jesus help to create a solid moral code, and of course in the conduct of my religious life was a very significant study of the bible – probably more in depth than any child outside the Jewish faith. My problem boils down to the question of divinity – I don’t believe it. Anyone can write good things, but that doesn’t mean it’s source can only be that from a god. I do believe that a faith in a divine being arose in antiquity from man’s inability to answer seemingly impossible questions, just like people used to believe that witches ate children.

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  3. prolife isn’t about morals it’s about polotics. States rights no one cares if you value a sack of cells as a human. Also its a health issue laws don’t stop people from doing things for example drugs. Sooooooooo obviously abortion should be legal. Always

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    • John, you are completely wrong. The Pro-Life position is entirely about morality. Calling the unborn a “sack of cells” reveals your denial of logic and science.

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    • Politics are driven by moral choice. Laws are created about abortion as a fleeting attempt to regulate a dilemma that has too many variables. I can think of few problems that have such a propensity for a lose/lose conclusion. The only definite loss is the unborn fetus, but even then there are mitigating circumstances. I am generally pro-life, but try to look at each situation on a case-by-case basis. I have heard every argument for and against, each has merit, none claim victory.

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  4. Even as a full believer in Jesus, I’m actually glad to hear that your experience with Catholicism ultimately ended in your rejection of it. However, at this point was where I wished that you’d have turned to study a non-denominational Christianity rather than an all-out rejection of religion.

    Catholicism is just one denomination of one religion. As seen in the history of Protestants and Catholics, just two denominations of one religion can have very different perspectives. Catholics are very ritual- and church-oriented, as well as supportive of hierarchies within the church. Confession, too; it provides mental relief to some, but I have had many a Catholic friend tell me Confession feels condemning and belittling. It seems common to me in Catholicism and even in some sects of Protestantism that Christians will judge harshly of their own accord, and even judge their own church when the Bible tells us clearly to leave judgement to God. If you cannot love within your own church, how will you be able to spread God’s kingdom, the Kingdom of Love, to those outside it? These statements are the representation of Catholicism I have received only through social interaction and not through experience. They could be inaccurate, but are my basis for discrediting Catholicism.

    Even my denomination in practice has been unappealing to me. Mennonites are based in Evangelism, but the Mennonite church I grew up in regressed into weekly sermons on what we should do and how we should live and lost the big picture–that it is not about ourselves, but it is all about him. I keep my eyes on Jesus. Not on the rituals, my rituals, my practices, church-going, Communion, offering, prayer, whatever. Taking a different path, but to the same destination as you, this is how I became pro-life.

    The belief that all humanity is undeserving, each man, woman, and child to the next, is necessary for the true value in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This is where our salvation manifests. It was given to us in our most undeserving time, and is given evermore, to all who believe in it, until the day he returns as stated in John 3:16. For if salvation was something you could earn, then what good was Jesus’ sacrifice? It would mean nothing at all. From the crucifixion, our sins are washed away by Jesus’ blood. We are set free from the grips of death, from the tragedy in losing a loved one. Grief is a natural emotional reaction to a large loss, and is so stressful that it could commonly knock us off our feet for upwards of 8 months. Knowing that those we love and who believe in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the salvation given to us in it, are already reserved a place in Heaven, no matter what they’ve done or who they are, is calming and reassuring. It frees us from death and the tragedy and grief associated with it.

    But this belief is not a green light for murder, war, and judgement to occur. Jesus was an extremist for love. He did not judge or kill anyone because they did not believe. He loved everyone. I keep my eyes on Jesus for this reason. The new testament states that the two greatest commandments in the Bible is, “Love God and love your neighbor.” The rest, I leave to God. From this statement, I love every last human being on this planet. Yes, I do it because God told me to. But the Holy Spirit has since instilled in me the complete joy in just the act of loving, regardless of any reward or punishment associated with it. Be you a murderer, gangster, communist, nazi, rapist, gay, it makes no difference to me. You are human and you are my neighbor and I will give every last bit of me to make you feel loved. For that could well be the reason a person turns to gangs, or to murder, or to selfishness. They lack love and it certainly may not be their fault. Sure, hold them accountable, but don’t condemn them. Not one soul should have to experience damnation, whether from society or from God.

    This is where I differ from you. In the picture that accompanied this blog post, I found every line relatable except for the last two. I’m glad you set those standards as your own, but not every atheist sets those same standards. For atheism is not a moral set. While not all Christians set the same standards, they have the Bible as a moral set. Sadly, many Christians disregard God’s will for them and go by their self-set standards for whom to love and whom to judge.

    As a missionary religion, I do seek to persuade those I talk to. Or, at least, to the belief in, and a relationship with, Jesus. And as Jesus did, I will do it through unconditional love. For I want all to experience this relationship I speak of. It is an indescribable feeling to know I am free from death, and I know that because Jesus has reassured me of it. I love all, but you can say I am pro-life only for those who have yet to love Jesus. For those who already believe in Him–that’s it: all there is is to believe–then we already have eternal life. Death, at least to me, is not a burden as it is to atheists. I am not afraid to die, for I already can’t wait to be right next to my creator for the rest of eternity.

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    • I was brought up Catholic and what you have said is spot on. I am not here to bash Catholics, but it is our job to feed them the truth. The only thing I would add is that Catholics do judge other peoples sins by what they see, but their own by how they feel. I was there once and I did the same thing, it’s not easy being faithful in this flesh suit we wear.

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    • I didn’t reject any particular sect of Christianity, I rejected the notion that a divine power exists. It’s wonderful that we have the writings of the authors of the ancient scriptures and the alleged teachings of a man named Jesus to help us define a moral code, but beyond that, I cannot subscribe to a faith in the divine.

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      • I’m very interested in this concept and have been for years but from a different aspect. As a student of ancient art and architecture, I get extremely frustrated when people claim that it’s impossible for humans to have made this temple or that pyramid without divine help. I feel that undermines the creative genius that is inherent in us all, and thus limits what we are willing to attempt much less succeed at.

        If religion is used as a crutch for morality I believe it is also used as one for creativity.

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      • It seems that so many are incapable of simply owning up to what they’re good at as well as the fact that they’re unable to find what’s within instead of laying it all at the door of a divine being.

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  5. I feel so sorry for you. You faked it for so long you’ve given up hope of the real deal.
    The real Jesus gives you both the things you mention in your article; a heart for the broken AND a glorious afterlife.

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    • Oh, Kelly, please don’t feel sorry. Family and writing do more for me than Jesus ever did or ever will. I don’t need faith in the divine to get me through. I put my faith in the love of my family – that’s all I need. And, I don’t need an afterlife – the key is to live the best life I can while I’m here.

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    • In case you think I don’t, in the last three or four weeks I gave $480 to someone who needed an operation, $100 to someone who was about to be evicted and was trying to raise money to keep her children in the house, $20 to a guy who needed ferry money to get back to NJ where his car was parked, and $40 to a husband who was stranded with his wheel-chair bound wife at the Trenton station. I don’t post these things because it’s better that these remain anonymous, but I detected a note of sarcasm in your post. If it wasn’t intended that way, then I apologize.

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  6. Interesting column. I am a 63-year-old Catholic but I like to read other’s opinions to see if their points can challenge my preconceptions.

    I do think that faith, (at least Christianity, which is what I am most familiar with), has been a positive influence on humanity. The governments that actively discouraged or outlawed religion (Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party, Stalin’s Communist Party, Mao’s Communist Party and others like Pol Pot,) are responsible for millions of deaths.

    Your comment: “How much more heinous is a murder, or a war, or neglect of our fellow man given that this is all s/he will ever have.”, reminds me of something I read on a Pro-Life Atheist website.”… because life is all there is and all that matters, and
 abortion destroys the life of an innocent human being.”

    What is your opinion about abortion? Or you Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

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    • Awesome question, George. I have struggled with the dilemma of abortion for most of my life. I generally don’t agree with abortion, but I know that situations can be highly complicated. But let me share my take on it.

      The question of when a fetus becomes a human is irrelevant. The moment cellular mitosis begins, if one does nothing – barring other complications, a baby will be born. If you buy a block of wood and begin to create the shape of a person, then put it down, it will not progress until you actively work on it again. Not so with pregnancy. Therefore, any abortion, interferes with the natural process of life – in fact terminates it.

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      • Thanks for your response. I am encouraged by your position. I believe atheists have an even stronger reason to be Pro-Life.

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      • As a Catholic Light Episcopalian who was a member of your dad’s parish and a fellow high school graduate I am intrigued by your atheism. I have a very strong faith In God (not so much in my fellow man), but I also question God and organized and not so organized religion frequently, OK daily. My question to him and you; when does life begin? In artificial reproductive technologies, ART (that continue to be questioned by many of today’s societies) a spark occurs when the sperm is injected into the ovum. I see this as a soul arriving. A dear friend of mine who happens to be clergy and an RN says she sees this as science not God. Thoughts?

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      • Hi June, yes I remember you. I kind of like how you see that spark, but I’m not sure it comes down to science or the divine. Certainly it seems that science can’t quite grasp sentience since those opinions seem to fluctuate and now expand to other creatures. My only fallback is what I mentioned – that without interference a baby will be born. Everything else falls along the spectrum of irrelevant debate. It’s hard to imagine another subject so fraught with complications and permutations.

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  7. I do believe that many who practice religion have true moral standards, they just don’t stand up well to their own individual prejudices. And in the extreme cases cause strife in the name of _____ (insert deity).

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  8. When one reflects on the amount of misery religions – and their influence on government policy – has inflicted on humanity, it’s hard to argue they have a useful purpose.
    America presents an interesting paradox – allegedly the most free society on the planet, housing a plethora of extreme religiosity. Has more serial killers than any other country. Why?

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    • I have actually read other articles on this topic. There are several reasons why the US has the most serial killers.
      First, the US has the third largest population, so just on pure numbers, they should be near the top.
      Next, we enjoy a free and open media, that has the ability to report on serial killers. It is hard to say how many serial killers have been active in communist China, or the Soviet Union, since all information is vetted by the government before being released. A quick example of this is that India had 35,439 inidentified bodies in the year 2000 alone. That’s equivalent to about 10,000 unidentified Americans, which would create a masive media storm here in this country.
      Third, the US is almost fully developed country. With the two most populus countries (China and India), there are large amounts of area which would be considered underdeveloped, so to expect accurate information about deaths/murders from those areas would be a stretch. Throw in the fact that the forensic science used in the US to connect serial crimes would not be widely available in those regions, it may be that there are many serial killers who aren’t identified as such, since they don’t have the databases that we do.
      Finally, studies show that serial killers are more likely to kill for financial gain or for pleasure than any other reason, so the “God made me do it” mailman is a very rare case, even for this rare subcatigorie of murderers.
      There are theories on how the lack of quality mental health care in the US contributes to this, but most studies say that Serial Killers would not be considered “mentally ill” before being identified as the killer, so it’s understandable that they slip through the cracks.
      Another theory is that our lack of gun control laws contributes to the number of serial killers, but only 28% of them use guns. So you can read into that how ever you like.

      Basically, I spent 10 minutes searching the net for these facts to show that there is no relationship between the prevalence of religion in the US and the number of serial killers (strangely, the Soviet Union used to say that serial killers were a specifically a Capitalist problem, while hiding the fact that Andreei Chikatilo was credited with at least 50 murders).

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    • I am an atheist and often hear this argument or one of it’s variants. I could not disagree more.

      Before I state what I think the resolution to this paradox is, here are a few examples from history that will illustrate my point:

      1. Charles the Great (Charlemagne) is considered the person most responsible for creating the first modern concept of Europe and eventually became the Holy Roman Emperor. As a champion of the church, he gave pagans a choice by asking them to form into two lines: the line to convert to Christianity and the line to get your head chopped off. Charles represented both the state and the church in these actions.

      This example shows how systematic murder (and other miseries) done in the name of the church can be seen to have two beneficiaries, the hidden one being the state. It also shows that this type of misery is only possible at the level of the state because institutional violence that isn’t supported by the state is seen as competing with it.

      2. The famous feud between Henry II and Thomas Becket (bishop of Canterbury) centered on a few issues, one of which was the overly light sentences imposed by the church’s ecclesiastical courts on clerics who committed serious crimes like murder and rape. The king wanted these church officials tried in the king’s courts where they would receive more severe sentences.

      This is another example of the mixing of state and religion and shows how their identities can become confused. The ancient regime derived its powers from a religious base and the religion in turn competed with the state in some of its worldly domains.

      3. Most people in the West, particularly in the United States, cannot imagine death and destruction on the scale that it was created under the various communist regimes (wherein through self proclamation religion had no part in policy). To scale it down to a level that can be related to, I’ll give one small example. Near the close of WW2, Russian communist forces were approaching Warsaw to liberate it (in a country that, ironically, had been invaded by the Russians 5 years earlier as an ally of the Germans). As often occurred during these types of liberations, as Allied forces approached the resistance elements within the cities would rise up to hinder the Axis forces in their defense. But Stalin ordered the Red Army to approach but not take the city in order to let those in the resistance be killed. The reason was that he saw the resistance fighters as the same people who would resist communism once he took over in Poland.

      This is a counter example showing how misery at the scale we are talking about does not involve religion but always involves the state.

      The generalization of these examples is that “human misery” caused by human institutions is a function of government, not religion or political view (such as socialism). Based on this, a simpleton might say that the best solution then is to abolish the state and submit to anarchy. That is an undesirable set of circumstances since people tend to come in conflict and need an authority to whom they can appeal.

      I think the best solution so far is the American approach – government should be limited and not allowed to exceed its powers lest bad things happen. Some people may say it is more the democratic nature of American government but I do not – democracies can slaughter too. I also do not think the socialist approach is any good because, by its definition, it requires the state to have all power. To quote an old saying, that is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

      Human misery can come in many forms but misery that derives from social institutions is primarily created by the state. Once this is realized, the paradox referenced above disappears because all of the historical instances of systematic killings and other forms of large scale “misery” assumed to be the responsibility of a religion can be recognized as a wolf (the state) in sheep’s clothing (religion).

      Not all religions are the same, but I’ll say this for Christianity: when you go to some of the most miserable places in the world, where even easily treated diseases are still causing horrific misery, you will find Christians there caring for people. Atheism is not an institution and not capable of coordinated humanitarian efforts and history shows that using the state for this purpose ends up causing more misery than it was trying to cure (but that’s another novel).

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      • Oh, no doubt the “State” is highly complicit in global misery – eg. Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein, but one has only to look at Ireland, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Jihadi as just a few examples of how religion does its part. But, I will copy here something else I answered a post with: “Very often, but their are two benefits: in once case, a person’s religious beliefs are the one thing that sometimes gets them through the day, though I do often consider that to be a self-serving crutch, and the second is the organized religious charities that do attempt to do good things around the world, especially those who avoid trying to persuade someone to convert.”

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      • The short answer:
        If we accept as true that religion caused many of the human miseries we wish to attribute to it, what does it mean that the greatest (by far) human miseries that resulted from human institutions were done by atheists? And I don’t mean pagans of the classical period, I mean 20th century atheists.

        In short, religion is not the cause.

        The long answer:
        I appreciate your comments, thanks. I think you are still missing the wolf hiding among the sheep as all of the examples you gave were examples of the state killing people.

        > Ireland: The modern period’s conflict was created by a) England’s purposeful attempt to subdue the island through re-locating English subjects there and b) the English Corn Laws that fermented Irish republicanism by starving the Irish during the great famine there. The conflict was about Ireland being a part of the United Kingdom, not religion.

        > Crusades: The Pope’s call to government leaders (who were technically vassals of the Pope) to expand the hegemony (which was in turn a reaction to a conquest by another theocracy, the Caliphate).

        > Inquisition: A state’s attempt to deal with overwhelming debt and an empty treasury by absconding wealth from a relatively defenseless group. Note that these same types of events were forced upon diaspora Jewish communities in other states that did not rely on religious authority to kill them (pogroms, etc.). This was plunder, plain and simple.

        > Jihadists: The goal of jihad is ultimately sharia law for one and all. They do not differentiate between religion and the state.

        There’s another way to look at it:

        > Christianity without state power is benign.
        > The state without religious authority is malevolent if not controlled.
        > The state with religious authority is malevolent if not controlled.

        It is true that the state will use religion as a justification for its atrocities. But since this isn’t a necessary condition for the state to justify its actions, I don’t think it is reasonable to lay the blame at the feet of religion. The greatest “human miseries” created by our institutions are arguably due to a lack of religion (not my point of view but it has some validity).

        As I said before, the cause of the miseries (including those justified through religion) created by human institutions is the unfettered state.

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      • Regardless of the reasons why a person/human being takes another life it is the person doing so. Not any form of belief system. To borrow a famouse gun lobby saying guns don’t kill people , people do.

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  9. I am a Christian who fully believes in God. That said you have some great points when it comes to religion and the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic and when I grew up I thought that’s who I was. Until just like you I realized that’s who my parents are not me; so I started to question what I did for the past 24 years of my life. I did have to memorize prayers, and I did have to go to Mass every day, but in all those 24 years I learned nothing and was confused about this so called Catholicism. Religion is like a ball and chain it keeps you bound up, when what you really need is to spread the message outside of the church. I mean what good is it to tell only the people in the church about God, when we need to tell everyone. I worship God and no one/nothing else, I do go to a non-denominational church and I am not scared to miss a week fearing the wrath upon me. I can see how the Church turned you away, it’s all about ritual when it comes to religion when it should be all about him, and that’s where they lose a lot of people. Sir, you have a great day and I wish nothing but the best for you.

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    • Thank you for sharing that, Larry, it was so well said. I never, ever attempt to dissuade someone from their beliefs. Beliefs are highly personal. My mother and my family are still avid church goers and very religious, but you’re right, the church relies too much on blind “faith” and some of it just doesn’t make sense. The church didn’t so much drive me away, as my own questioning made me think otherwise.

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    • Hi Dragono,

      Very often, but their are two benefits: in once case, a person’s religious beliefs are the one thing that sometimes gets them through the day, though I do often consider that to be a self-serving crutch, and the second is the organized religious charities that do attempt to do good things around the world, especially those who avoid trying to persuade someone to convert.

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  10. Pure nonsense! even darwin before his death was convinced that their was a superior being amidst all of his evolution bedtime stories.

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  11. Does that mean a murder in the world of religion mean much less than in an Atheist world? By your reckoning, whoever is a murderer will not be answerable for his/her crime on earth and by extension, we are no better than the wild animals out there? If they are not held accountable for their crime in the hereafter, does it mean it is alright to commit any crime as deem fit by them?

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    • Hey Frederick…

      A murder is a murder is a murder. My point was that without the relief of knowing that they’ve “gone to a better place” that act of murder is even more tragic. Of course they’re accountable, that’s why we have laws and those that enforce them, but I hate to say it – without those laws and being held accountable we are very often no better than wild animals.

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  12. Good for you for honoring the life of every “deserving” human being. Who decides who are deserving or undeserving? What standards do you use. Where do your standards come from? And what do you do about the UNdeserving human beings?

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    • Hi Walter,

      It’s already been decided who is deserving and undeserving, so it’s not up to me. It’s reflected in the laws of our society. In my book, self-centered people whose actions hurt other people, those who have no restraint for criminal behavior, racists, bigots, white supremacists, gangs, religious extremists of every kind (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/18/guess-why-this-christian-terrorist-plot-against-muslims-isn-t-getting-any-press.html), are some of the ones who need to be held accountable. What is up to me is whom I choose to honor, and they are not on the list of those I mentioned.

      My standards? They stem from an upbringing that instilled the concepts of decency and being mindful, for the adherence to the principles of honor, and yes, even chivalry (even though some might accuse me of being sexist because of it – which is so not the case).

      Atheists do not lack a moral code. Ultimately, my point was that religion is failing to serve humanity in a meaningful way.

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      • I like and understand your viewpoint. Religion is for people who have no own moral standards so they need big brother (Jesus, God, Mohammed, Buddha, Vishnu, etc.) to tell them what is right or wrong. That is also true for their lives when it comes to political positions, sports etc.

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      • There is no Pied Piper of Hamelin… only God (whatever the name given by man).

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