Monday, February 15, 2010

Marcus Brigstocke On Religion

This is great. Everyone should see this. A funny take on the sad truth.

I am often forced to contemplate whether or not religion is harmful inherently to our existence or if only through its misuse and abomination. These days, I cannot see the difference. The question is essentially - Is religion itself bad? Or do humans do bad things in the name of religion? What's the difference? Again, I don't see one. As Voltaire famously wrote, "As long as people believe absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities."

No one pondered and studied this question more than Thomas Paine. Fortunately for us, he wrote, with great eloquence, on the subject in The Age of Reason. Interestingly - considering the pre-Darwinian context of his writings, one stands in amazement of his insight. He knew the origin of the world around him was greater than the church's explanation. But the church's adherence to flawed explanation and its efforts to restrict further examination (one can only suppose because its fear of the truth) was the aim of Paine's dissatisfaction. Consider this passage from the above mentioned text:

"[W]hen a system of religion is made to grow out of a supposed system of creation that is not true, and to unite itself therewith in a manner almost inseparable therefrom, the case assumes an entirely different ground. It is then that errors, not morally bad, become fraught with the same mischiefs as if they were. It is then that the truth, though otherwise indifferent in itself, becomes an essential, by becoming the criterion, that either confirms by corresponding evidence, or denies by contradictory evidence, the reality of the religion itself."

All religions are built upon lies and deceit. The idea that good will eventually come from them is irresponsible. It is an idea overdue for abandonment.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Do We Ask Too Much From God?

Dear God,

Please create us in your image, shape us, shape our lives, oh wait - create the universe first, create the Earth, create the sky above us, create all the species (both living and extinct), create the seasons for us to air condition, and please God I really need that raise. Please send us your son for us to kill and ignore, no wait, for us to adore for the rest of time or until you call us up to heaven - I know it's coming soon, and please make it soon before this foreclosure goes through, did I mention that raise? Please God, how about those Saints in their first Superbowl this Sunday? You know, I have $100 on them and I already promised 10% to Rick Warren's Mega Crutch for the rest of his hair plugs - and goddamn, they're called the Saints for chrissake! (sorry, and sorry). Anyway, could you also favor the country I happened to be born in for all matters (especially wars)? Please guide our lives, tell us whom to marry, whom to love, guide me in voting for the right (Right?) candidate, guide my career decisions, habits, friendships and acquaintances. Also, please look after Grandma and her surgery, please look-after all the babies - wait not those babies, these babies. Please make the weather nice so I can go mountain biking tomorrow, please help me understand fossils and science in general. I really need that raise God. Please create other "false" religions for us to compare ourselves to, and later annihilate. And if a plane crashes somewhere with 200 people on board, please save at least 1 so we can call it a miracle and not lose faith, so help us God. In God We Trust,

"Die stimme der vernunft ist leise."