Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:59 pm
Religious Bits & Pieces Round 13 Part One
Philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, including those realms of theology, religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate. There's the theist pro side; there's the atheist anti-side. There aren't too many fence-sitters. I'm still in the anti-camp as the following thirteenth helping of “Religious Bits and Pieces” illustrate. Note: Due to length I'll divide this Round into Part One and Part Two.
*You don't need a god to have meaning and purpose in your life.
*There is one trait that the multi-thousands of differing religious belief systems / theologies have exhibited and that is the power of the human imagination to boldly go and imagine imaginary concepts never imagined before. The world would be a less colourful and interesting place without our various mythologies.
*I think there should be mandatory religious and Biblical education in schools since that should ensure a steady stream of atheists growing up and entering the community!
*Religions often do good so as to mask the evil they do, but can now do with impunity.
*The Catholic Church: AIDS is bad but the use of condoms is worse since God does not approve of 'birth control' for any reason. It is apparently taught in Africa by Catholics that using condoms makes "Baby Jesus cry". Weird.
*Then too we had the Catholic Church's Index of Prohibited Books. It wasn't just the Nazis that burned books. Now you've got to be really insecure and unsure of your theology and how to defend it if you have to hide behind a lowered curtain that results by the censoring of divergent opinions. It's just another nail in Christianity's coffin.
*There's no more evidence for informal and disorganised religious belief (like being spiritual without being a member of any formal religious cult / organisation / church) than formally organised religion. It's all just a form of "woo".
*When it comes to religion, "live and let live" True Believers are very much in the minority. (Via Greta Christina).
*Any religion is just a working hypothesis about how life, the Universe and everything, but especially the world, works. As such, that religion is subject to scrutiny and rebuttal and being challenged and corrected as would any other working hypothesis from any other topical area or of subject matter of concern to humans, from the sciences through to political systems.
*We don't tend to go shopping for the brand of religion we want among all of the different and widely differing brands of religion on offer and then picking the most suitable the way we do for the multi brands of packets of biscuits on offer at the supermarket or for a specific brand or fashion label of dress at the ladies fashion shop and clothing department. Instead we keep eating / wearing the same brand again and again and again because that was just the way we were raised. Likewise, we tend to keep the religion that was shoved down our throats when we were kids. This is in part due to tradition (if it was good enough for Mum & Dad its good enough for me) as well as family / social pressure. Of course in some societies the pressure borders on actual physical threats and punishments if you stray from the accepted fold.
*Thanks to Christianity and its all-loving, all-just, all-merciful God, over 50,000 innocent people were tortured and executed - they were called "witches" but were no more actual witches than those who turned the thumb-screws, tightened the rack, and lite the bonfires surrounding the stake. By the way, this practice is still going on in many remote areas in underdeveloped countries. God (and His servants here on earth) should hang their heads in shame for Exodus 22: 18 "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live".
Regarding Religion vs. Science
*According to Leviticus 11: 6 and Deuteronomy 14: 7, hares (i.e. - rabbits) cheweth the cud. This of course is zoological nonsense. Chalk up yet another Biblical oops.
*The universal trend over all of recorded history is that natural explanations have supplanted, usually exceeded in explanatory power, supernatural (i.e. - religious) explanations. I'd bet that's a trend that will keep on keeping on.
Regarding Faith & Belief
*Saying that you just know something (without evidence to back up your knowledge) is just not a pathway to truth.
*If you say your faith trumps evidence then you are totally resistant to both self-correction and resistant to dissent.
*Religious belief is belief in the unverifiable. There's no proof to be found in the religious pudding. Any proof to be found comes after you've kicked-the-bucket and by then it's too little, too late to tell anyone.
*The idea of deciding what's true based on what you want to be true is absurd in the extreme. Reality is what reality is and your beliefs to the contrary are irrelevant. So any belief system that encourages people to ignore reality is a bad belief system and that covers Christianity right down through and including New Age "Woo".
*The prime teaching of monotheistic religious belief in an invisible magic man in the sky is an obvious example known to computer programmers of GIGO - Garbage In; Garbage Out.
*Christian: You have to respect my beliefs.
Atheist: No! I may respect you as being an honest and likeable person but that doesn't mean I have to respect what you believe in.
*You have a right to your private religious beliefs until such time as you cross the line and your religious beliefs enter the public arena and start to harm others.
*It's hypocritical in the extreme for you to bucket the religious beliefs of others when those beliefs don't conform to your beliefs and then expect your religious beliefs to get a free pass.
Regarding Prayer & Miracles
*For the Catholic Church to declare some event as a bona-fide miracle (i.e. Fatima, October 1917), well that's akin to a true believer in Bigfoot or the Yeti declaring that a photograph of an eroded 'primate' footprint in the snow is absolute proof of same. True believers will obviously endorse events that reflect evidence for their true belief.
*The idea that religious faith automatically makes you a good and moral person is absurd in the extreme. Prisons in America, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, etc. are full of Christians. Prisons in Muslin countries are full of prisoners of the Islamic faith. And then too, what about all of those people of the cloth and the collar - like Catholic (and other) priests and other clergy who use their positions of authority to 1) mentally abuse little children with terrifying threats of eternal punishment in Hell and 2) who physically abuse children in their care, especially engaging in sexual abuse. And that's just scratching the surface of the evils committed by those professing religious faith.
Regarding the End Times
*Faith is a crock! Evidence? There have been thousands of precise prophetic forecasts made by the faithful for the End Times; End of Days; the Second Coming; the Rapture; Armageddon; the Apocalypse, etc. There have been multi-millions of faithful believers who have believed those prophets. All such prophecies have failed. None have ever come to pass. Score: the truth of really real reality 1; faith 0.
*We're still waiting!
*Sorry Michele Bachmann and all associated “End Times” fanatics, but another day has come and gone and yet again, God’s a no-show. And Jesus, of Second Coming fame, appears to be a bit tardy as well. Did they forget to set the alarm clocks? Did they miss the bus? Maybe their Holy Chariot had a flat! Michele Bachmann and company might believe that the end is nigh (and has been for quite some considerable time) and the Rapture is imminent (and has been for quite some considerable time as well), but I think it’s pretty safe for you to plan and pay for your next holiday and build up that nest egg for your long years in retirement.
Regarding the Soul / Afterlife
*This may come as a surprise to many but there was no belief in an afterlife in ancient Israeli Jewish communities. The only real reference to an afterlife in the Old Testament is at Daniel 12: 2. That's it. There are no other hits for "life eternal" or "eternal life"; "life everlasting" or "everlasting life"; or "afterlife" or "life after death" or even "resurrection". So there's no location given for an afterlife in the Old Testament because with the one exception there is no concept of an afterlife in the Old Testament and Daniel 12: 2 spoke of no afterlife location. Now that's pretty surprising given the prominence the afterlife gets in the New Testament. Perhaps the afterlife was just an after-thought on God's part as in "gee, it would be great to have some steady supply of new faces and company to talk to me here upstairs on my heavenly throne".
*As long as religions can dangle the afterlife carrot in front of the great unwashed (and also in view of the not so great washed), you'll never get rid of the institution (especially when it employs hundreds of thousands of people and generates billions in income).
Regarding Heaven & Hell
*Regarding reports of those who have had a glimpse of heaven, those who have reported Near Death Experiences (NDEs), why no sightings of extraterrestrials in heaven? Is it because there are no aliens? Is it because aliens don’t go to heaven? Is it because aliens have their own heaven?
*Faithful Christians go to Heaven. Faithful Muslims also go to Heaven. But the Heaven that faithful Muslims go to is probably not the same as the Heaven faithful Christians go to. That would be awkward and somewhat complicated. (via Jason Boyett)
*Actually nobody (as in mortal human True Believers) have ever ascended up to or otherwise gone up to Heaven according to John 3: 13. I'm not sure how that jives with the story of Elijah (2 Kings 2: 1 & 2 Kings 2: 11).
*By the way, nowhere in the Bible will you find Satan's / the Devil's / Lucifer's anatomy described as traditionally pictured. No cloven hooves, no forked / pointy tail, no horns, and no goatee. As for attire, no pitchfork / trident and no red skin-suit.
To be continued in Part Two.