Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to tell real faith from false faith

In the bible, there is a story that will help you test if you have real faith, or false faith. It is the story of Abraham and Isaac. You know the story. Abe takes the son he’s always dreamed of having, Isaac, and prepares to kill him to appease god. The story is horrific, barbaric, immoral, disgusting, abusive and just plain mean. Yet it is held as the pinnacle of faith by christians, jews and muslims. So I get to bash three religions for the price of one.

Some people tell me that I’ve got it wrong; that the story isn’t bad at all. They say that god didn’t allow Abe to kill Zac. They tell me that it was just a test. They tell me god wouldn’t ask people to do that today.


First, Abe believed god wanted him to kill his son. He didn’t think the devil wanted him to kill his son; he thought that GOD wanted him to kill his child. Abe didn’t know it was a test, and he MEANT to do it before god stopped him. So clearly, we can see that god likes people to kill their kids, and that people who believe he exists should expect god to ask them to kill their children.

I find that appalling. That is an evil deity who should never be able to influence people. That is a malevolent god who has no claim to justice or morality.

Then they want me to think this couldn’t happen today. But it does. We saw with the Camping May 21, 2011 prediction that people tried to kill themselves and their children because they thought god was coming for them. It DOES happen today. If you think these people are delusional, please explain how you can differentiate their delusions from your beliefs.

So here’s my point. Let’s say you hear GOD tell you to kill your child. Take for granted that there IS a god, and that he is the one who gives you the instruction. In other words, you KNOW (somehow) that this IS god, and that he wants you to kill your child. What would you do?

I know my answer. I’d tell god to take a flying leap. Actually, I’d use lots of vulgar language and ask god to do unspeakable acts to himself in a dark corner. But I’m an atheist. What would the believer do? Would the believer consider it, even for a moment? What does that say about the influence of religion on morality? How are people good WITH god?

It seems to me that in order to get anyone to even consider this cruel and heinous atrocity, you’d first have to believe the god of the bible “has a plan” or “knows what he’s doing” and “have faith in him”. Utter nonsense. Even if my child would be lucky enough to be spared at the last second, why would I do that to him? My morals are higher than that. My morals do not allow me to abuse my child that way.

This story is a great example of how faith is harmful. It shows why people should not believe in gods that would ask us to harm our children. It is how religion is harmful, and it’s right in the bible.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Angry Atheist

I’m often asked why I’m so mad at god. Why do I make such a fuss over the fact there is no god? Why can’t I just live and let live? Did something bad happen to make me into an atheist?

I’m no madder at god for not existing than I am mad at Santa Claus for not existing. They both simply do not exist. I get angry when I see the harm religious belief does to people and to society. The harm is demonstrable and very real, even if the god is imaginary. We recently had a false rapture alarm. The world was supposed to end and it didn’t. Some would say that there was no harm in people placing advertisements and billboards stating that May 21, 2011 was going to be the day jesus came back. But there WAS harm. One lady tried to kill her daughters and herself. Another man spent his whole life savings, over $140,000, on advertisements that helped spread the word the end was nigh. That’s real harm. It angers me that people were dupped into doing these things. It makes me mad that the people that started the myth of the end of the world don’t have to answer for this. It infuriates me that they are able to hide behind “normal” people who hold similar beliefs.

Those “normal” people are everyday Christians. These are people who scoffed at the May 21 date, but not at the ridiculous idea that jesus was coming back. The only thing they thought was silly was the date. That makes me angry. It isn’t that the guy got the date wrong; it’s that the idea of the world coming to an end like it is described in revelations is nonsense. But people accept some crazy and just reject the part of the crazy that can actually be falsified.

Sometimes, people tell me that focusing on all the harm done by religion is fruitless. They tell me that religion does good things too. I even get cited examples like Mother Teresa and Gandhi. Both of these examples are bad examples. Mother Teresa was given millions of dollars in charitable donations, yet her Home for the Dying in Calcutta has no running water, no beds, no doctor on staff. The number of improvements Mother Teresa made after getting all that money was 0! She WANTED people to suffer. That’s sadistic. She is a horrid example of good done by religion. And why are Christians using Gandhi as an example? He wasn’t Christian! He seems a bad example as well.

In any case, the good religion does is not a balancing factor for the evil it commits. Imagine if I said, “Well, Hitler did some great things for his economy, so that makes up for the evil he committed.” You’d laugh, right? You should. In the same way the good religion does cannot counter the evil it causes. And I would assert that there is no good that religion does that cannot be done without religion. I would even go further and say that if the good done by religion would be even better if religion was not involved. It really bothers me when I hear of missionaries giving people food and bibles. Just give them food. Forget the useless superstition.

The point is that I see real harm caused by religion, and no good that comes only from religion. When people use religion to bar people from getting married, that is harmful to everyone. When people use religion to car women from healthcare, that harms everyone. When religion causes people to think the world is ending, that harms everyone.

And when people realize that this is the only life we get, it makes this life all the more precious. Then we can come together and make rational decisions. We have to do it. There is no god to help us. God isn’t here; we are.