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Codex Reorganization and Revision

Over the next few weeks The Humanist Codex will be undergoing significant reorganization and revision. Some articles will be moved or be taken down for maintenance.

For the Codex itself, Apologies, Critiques, and Positions will be split and re-sorted more appropriately, and most of the essays will be updated and revised.

The references will be re-sorted and upgraded into a new index system allowing for easier sorting by tag.

We appreciate your patience during the change.

Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore…
To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of Reason
~Martin Luther

 

 

Let’s start with a question.  It’s a simple yes or no question, but it’s a scary one; both frightening and yet breathtakingly simple. I’ve seen every kind of dodge to avoid answering it: it’s inconsequential, it won’t change anything, the premise behind it can never be known so why bother asking, even asking is a deep offence…  but stick with me, because this question immediately and definitively gets to the core of your moral and existential character.

The question is this: If God didn’t exist, would you want to know?

Now think about that honestly for a minute. Don’t worry, it’s not blasphemy, I’m not suggesting He doesn’t exist.  I’m simply asking you to reflect on your own values, both as a person and as a moral agent.  If He didn’t, would you want to know? What would be more important to you, comfort and emotional security, or the truth?

I, for one, would very much like to believe in God.  The world is filled with terrible injustices, and the idea that someday they will all be tallied and accounted for is really quite comforting.  I’m also lonely, in a spiritual sense; there’s nobody quite like me on the planet, and while that uniqueness is wonderful, it’s isolating too.  The existence of God would bring me joy and a sense of companionship.

But those aren’t even the best reasons.  The biggest reason I want to believe is that I really want to know that I’ll see my children, and my parents, when we’ve all passed away.

Oh, I want there to be a God.

So if He brings me comfort and joy, and it’s just my personal belief, maybe the truth of it doesn’t matter.  Indeed, if that was all there was to it, then it seems to me that we should leave all beliefs unbruised.

But when is a personal belief really just personal?

For the most part, you act on your beliefs (in fact, you’re really morally obligated to).  If you think that homosexuality is a sin, you’ll try to steer people from it.  Now that’s not unreasonable, but your beliefs certainly aren’t personal anymore, are they? Your beliefs actually affect a great many people (and the effect is cumulative.  When a gay teen is bullied, beaten, murdered, or shamed into suicide, it’s not the personal belief of one person to blame, but a choir of homophobic rhetoric from ministers, politicians, and good, everyday God-fearing people).

Since your belief in a theistic god (Yahweh, Adonai, Allah, Jehovah, if we were just to stay within within the Abrahamic religions) informs how you interact in the world—how you treat people—it becomes morally imperative that you have some justification for those beliefs.

No one in the KKK thinks that they are racist (after all, it’s not racist if it’s true).  But the world be a better place if they could ignore what they wanted to be true, what was gratifying to believe, and instead just examine their beliefs and how they came by them.  The world would be a better place if those who had used the bible to defend slavery, or practice forced conversion, or burned witches, had all come to their senses sooner.

Now there’s been a great deal of moral progress since the dark ages, but are we done? Are we at the height of it? Every generation has thought itself the apex of morality and progress, the final product of our moral evolution. But they’ve never been right. Ever. So what are the chances that we’ve gotten all the right answers to how we should treat our fellow man? There may be more, quite a lot more, that we need to do, but which we keep outside the realm of honest examination.

Unexamined belief, even with the best of intentions, has led to some of the worst suffering in history. You can say you don’t have to examine your beliefs because you know you’re right,  but that’s the defense of every klansman, slaver, and inquisitor.

“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” –Jesus, Luke 19:27 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” –Jesus, Matthew 10:34
“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” –Jesus, Luke 19:27 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” –Jesus, Matthew 10:34

The largest dogmatic organization in the world, the Catholic Church, does in fact examine its own beliefs.  They have changed positions quite a lot in the last 100 years, and they appear on the precipice of a significant shift in tone towards homosexuals, and maybe women too.  But if, 100 years from now, our treatment of homosexuals and of women are looked down upon with the same disgust we now have for slavery, we’re the ones responsible for not holding the church accountable. Every moral advancement has come from people challenging dogmatic beliefs, and has been opposed by those who felt we had reached the apex of morality already. That I can tell, the latter have never been right; there’s always room for improvement.

Truth is the moral bedrock of civilization.  You can’t convict the guilty or set the innocent free—you can not have justice—without truth.  In fact, it’s impossible for anyone unwilling to actively pursue truth (even when it conflicts with their beliefs or things they wish were true) to make any claim to morality. Simply put: if you’re going to believe in a higher power, particularly in a theistic god with specific commandments and injunctions that you’re going to impose in some way on others, you’ve a moral obligation to try to get the right one.

That’s a tall order.

There are several thousand sects of Christianity(1)The World Christian Encyclopedia lists 55,000 denominations of Christianity in 238 countries.  However, while many of these are indeed separate organizations, most do not differentiate belief in any meaningful way.  When including only those with salient differences in belief, the real number is far closer to 3,000. alone.  Most of these (Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Prosperity, Mormon, Baptist, Evangelical, etc) are exclusive; they excommunicate the other sects (and since none of these are a majority, it means that if you’re a Christian, you believe that even most Christians are going to hell(2)Christians sanitize this fact. You are either “saved” or “not saved”. If youàre a Christian, but of the wrong denomination, you are no more saved than a Jew, Hindu, or atheist.).  In fact Jews, Muslims, and Mormons can’t agree, even within themselves, which moral teachings can safely be ignored and which can’t, and that’s just the Abrahamic theologies; there are the three billion people who have never heard of Moses, Abraham, or Jesus.

Indeed, nearly every sect of every theistic religion in history has had two things in common: first, they believe that they hold the key to salvation and moral behavior to the exclusion of everyone else. Second, tenants of their faith oppress and marginalize some people, while revering others.

So how do you pick? How do you know who is right?

At this point, giving up and just choosing the one you like best seems as good a plan as any. Indeed, this is what almost everybody does. Despite the claim that religion makes you moral, you actually use your innate morality and judgement to choose a religion that makes sense to you. If that church begins to get a little radical for you, you convert to another faith(3)Indeed most religions don’t actually lead on moral issues. From anti-semitisim, slavery and forced conversion, to the protection of rapists, the burning of witches, and homosexuality, the church leads from behind, and is dragged, kicking and screaming, into more tolerant positions already claimed by civilized societies, and even then only when they are confronted with irrelevancy, obsolescence, and a dearth of parishioners. People use their own moral judgement to pick a religion. It’s much easier to say that it’s impossible to know, or to claim mystical intuition (that you “just know” the truth, that you feel it in your bones) and find a church that will re-enforce your currently held beliefs (and you can go ahead and pick any set of beliefs you want, somewhere out there is a church that agrees with you), than it is to do the unsettling work of consciously examining your beliefs and their consequences.

But if doing the right thing were easy, everybody would do it.  Failure to think about these things is simply the abdication of our greatest responsibility and our greatest faculty, that which allows us to make our way through the world and make good decisions: reason.

Most theistic religions approve of reasoning when it comes to supporting their faith, reasoning out what the faith of Abraham or Job can tell us, but strongly discourage reasoning when it comes to questioning the faith or the logic of it’s tenants.  They make it an a priori issue which impedes reflective thought: by definition, faith is belief in the absence of reason.  As soon as you have a reason to believe something, it’s no longer faith, it’s knowledge.  Faith cannot exist in the presence of reason; they are mutually exclusive.  Indeed, Christians have go so far as to make knowledge quite literally “the forbidden fruit”, the acquisition of which constitutes original sin(4)Bertrand Russel famously pointed out that there isn’t a single word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence).  The result: questioning your faith is a sin, and supplanting doubt with mystical certainty a virtue.

This is a recipe for disaster.

The the faith approach takes a heavy dose of denial to overcome one obvious fault: it’s phenomenally arrogant. Whatever your faith, most people alive today, with faith no less strong than your own, believe (and nearly all throughout history have believed) that you’re wrong. No matter how strong your faith, you cannot commit it to reality by a force of will.  If you could, then the right religions would be the most extreme ones; I doubt anyone reading this can claim faith stronger or more certain than that of say, the People’s Temple of Jim Jones, ISIS, Heaven’s Gate, or the 9/11 hijackers.

“Kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man”
–Moses, Numbers 31:17-18

The strength of your belief has no bearing on whether those beliefs are true.  And no matter how strong your faith, how devout your practice, how righteous your conviction, mystical certainty as exercised throughout the ages, from human sacrifices to the burning of witches, has always been a bad tool for making moral judgments.

Indeed, mystical certainty is perhaps the worst tool for decision making ever.

For the entirety of man’s 200,000-year history, in every civilization, in every tribe, we’ve invented gods which are said to intervene in our daily affairs.  I say “invented”, because even the most devout Catholic and the most hardened atheist have one thing in common—they believe that over 99.9% of these gods, which man has believed in, put his faith in, murdered and died for, from Anunnaki and Kukulcan, to Osiris and Poseidon, must be invented–fairy tales—man made myths. The theist is actually an atheist regarding nearly all of it, only a tiny point of contention between the two: the theist withholds from the list of conjured deities a single god, or set of gods, which he or she believes is quite obviously real (and that, surprisingly enough, he or she has identified the correct one).

If the Catholic can understand why he doesn’t believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, then that he can understand why the atheist doesn’t think Jesus was either.

Knowing in your heart that you’ve identified the correct theistic belief is intoxicating in its appeal to your ego.  After all, if you found the correct religion when the vast majority of humans ever to have lived missed it, one of three things must be true:

  1. You are smarter than (or more spiritually in tune, or in some other way superior to) most other people .
  2. You’re favored by God, in His grace such that he had you born in a country where the right religion is accessible, at a time it’s accessible, and steered you to it, and has empowered you to explain to others, on his behalf, how best to live their lives.
  3. You got the right one by dumb luck (which, if true, makes heaven and hell nothing more than a divine lottery game, and would appear to invalidate any point to theism—it’s all a crap shoot).

That kind of appeal to ego, conscious or not, is inextricable from theistic religion, and is a strong disincentive towards honestly examining the validity of your beliefs.

It’s been my experience that when I want something to be true, I have to double check any evidence, since I tend to give far less weight to counter evidence, and extra weight to confirming evidence (I don’t mean to, and it’s taken years of reflection to see that I am as guilty of this as anyone, but I am.  I bias my judgements).  The appeal to ego, the comfort of companionship, the escape from a near constant fear of death, the reassurance of a just world, even if I can’t understand it right now—these are among the most powerful influences a human being can experience.

These factors make genuinely questioning your faith one of the hardest, yet most most courageous things you can do.  It’s not easy, it’s not fun, but it is an act of humility and integrity, an attempt to make yourself a better moral agent.

Of the thousands of gods, hundreds of thousands of sects of worship, only one of two things can be true: Either one of them is right, or they’re all wrong.

If there were no God, would you want to know?

Given that we compulsively make gods, that so many in history have been false, given the inability of any religion to make accurate claims about the natural world, given the overwhelming moral failures these theistic beliefs throughout history, and given the dynamic nature of these beliefs, inability to form any lasting consensus around them (today’s Catholic would have been heretical just 200 years ago) all suggest one thing:

We made it all up.

We’re wired to make it up.  We’ve done it since before we could write.

There are unanswered questions, to be sure.  But inventing a fake answer, while more satisfying, is worse than admitting we don’t know.

It is cruel and heartless not to realize that this is one of the hardest questions one can struggle with.  But the only moral answer to the question “If there wasn’t a God, would you want to know” must be that you have to know.  If there’s no God, moral inquiry can’t even truly begin until we know—there has never been a more divisive force than belief in God.

"We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case." --Christopher Hitchens
“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case.”

Let us, for a moment, forget all of the suffering caused by those who believed they had a personal connection with, or understood the wishes of, God.  So we’ll ignore the long and disgusting history of the use of the Bible, Torah and Koran as a means to further the practice of slavery and warrants for genocide.  Drop, too, acts of terrorism and slaughter between Protestants and Catholics, Shia and Suni, Muslim and Christian, Israelis and Palestinians, and so on.  We’ll ignore the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the burning of heretics and witches, and the Catholic Church’s official policy of anti-Semitism towards Jews and its direct contribution to the Holocaust.  Let’s drop homophobia and misogynisim.  We’ll forgive superstitions like circumcision(5)Circumcision is a medieval and brutal practice. It is mutilation, practiced without consent of the child, which, while having spurious medical justification, inarguably removes the most sensitive and pleasurable part of the penis. Its practice would certainly be illegal if it didn’t have religious warrant. and genital mutilation.  The hypocrisy of the Catholic church (lining their churches with stained glass, gilding Vatican toilet handles in gold, remolding Bishops’ homes for tens of millions, and acquiring million dollar estates—including the church’s gorgeous $30 million Madison Avenue mansion) can all safely be ignored.  Let’s ignore the institutionalized and active covering up the rape(6)I’m sorry, but I must insist we not sanitize this and call it abuse. It was rape. That the church won’t call it by its proper name, and instead tries to mitigate their crimes by manipulating the language and referring to rape simply as “abuse,” marginalizes their victims, and should tell you everything you need to know about their contrition in these matters of (in some cases hundreds) of young boys (and girls, too)(7)Some people seem to think that the new pope is addressing this, but I see little evidence of it. My home town’s own Cardinal Bernard Law, a man I was quite familiar with in my youth, fled Boston ahead of a warrant, and now lives a lavish life in the Vatican, from where, thanks to the wisdom of the Holy See, he is both immune to consequence and cannot be extradited. Indeed, the church continues to defy all efforts to shed light on the depth of the problem, and to shelter the perpetrators on the grounds that protecting the institution is more important than justice, another untenable moral position for which they will one day have to apologize, though not till long after their victims are buried..  The forced conversion of people to Christianity and Islam, Rwandan Christian ministers inciting genocide, American ministers contributing to legislation making homosexuality a capital crime, the hypocritical offering of indulgences—trading money for divinity…

Let’s ignore it all, pretend it didn’t happen.  They’re not the real crime when it comes to theistic religion.

The real crime?

“It is no credit to the orthodox that they do not now believe all the absurdities that were believed 150 years ago. The gradual emasculation of the Christian doctrine has been effected in spite of the most vigorous resistance, and solely as the result of the onslaughts of freethinkers” –Bertrand Russell
“It is no credit to the orthodox that they do not now believe all the absurdities that were believed 150 years ago. The gradual emasculation of the Christian doctrine has been effected in spite of the most vigorous resistance, and solely as the result of the onslaughts of freethinkers” –Bertrand Russell

All theistic religions must, and do, oppose human progress; they attack the process of, and the people who engage in, reasoning.

The power of reason is the most powerful tool we as a species possess, it is the sole source of our success on this planet.  Religion not only does not allow for this success, but actively opposes it.

While religion has been forced back, forced to cede the point that perhaps burning people at the stake for unfavorable weather or crop failure, getting confessions of heretical behavior by forcing rats to burrow into a person’s stomach, and murdering those who engage in open inquiry, aren’t good ideas, it continues its unrelenting opposition both to progress, and to the fruits of that progress (from open heart surgery, to sterilization and antibiotics, to vaccines—all opposed in the name of God).  And despite the universal–I mean complete and total–failure rate of theistic books as guides to the natural world, people still rely on them, both for answers to the natural universe and for moral guidance.  Anyone can easily name five or ten biblical accounts of the world which science has utterly shattered, but I’ve yet to hear a single, just one, account of the natural world where science and the bible have disagreed, and the bible was right.

For two hundred thousand years we had only the smallest of technological advancements (the discovery of fire, agriculture, and basic engineering).  If you survived the first five years of life, you were most likely to die of an abscess of the teeth (when was the last time you worried a tooth was going to kill you?).  The average life expectancy was 32 years old.

That all started to change about 300 years ago.  With the refinement of the scientific method, our understanding of the natural world and our ability to modify it to suit our needs, predict future events, and protect ourselves from disease and extreme conditions, blossomed.  We more than doubled life expectancy, while simultaneously making life easier, longer, more productive, and safer than it’s ever been, curing disease and cutting the infant mortality rate more than a hundred fold.  In that short 300 years we’ve accomplished more in than in the 10,000 years before that, and today’s high school student knows more about history, medicine, physics, gravity, biology, chemistry, the atom, the galaxy, and the nature of space and time itself, than the smartest man alive 200 years ago knew about any of those subjects.

This progress didn’t come from priests, but from people who challenged dogmatic thinking, and was opposed, often violently, by religion.  The discovery that disease in a medieval castle came from throwing human waste into the moat, the sole source of drinking water, flew in the face of those who claimed it was the wrath of an angry God (and who claimed to have the cure, often in the form of a few Hail Marys and some donation to God almighty, which the church would happily accept in his name).

And while secularism has made it harder for religions to impose death on those who challenge them, churches still fiercely oppose progress to the suffering of millions, if not billions, of people: Global Warming is real and its man-made, but like virtually every other scientific discovery in human history, these facts have been deliberately opposed by many theists (most of whom of whom won’t trouble themselves to try to understand how we know this), impeding our response to what may well be one of the greatest challenges mankind has ever faced.  They challenge evolution as “Just a theory”(8)You have to be willfully ignorant of science to not know that a “Theory,” like the theory of gravity, is stronger than a “law”, and considered the highest form of knowledge.  That this level of ignorance exists is a direct result of assaults on science by theists opposed to its findings.), and waste public time and money trying to force a dark age methodology of natural inquiry into classrooms, to roll back progress and square their texts with reality.  We know for a fact that condoms are the best protection against AIDS, overpopulation, and poverty(9)Contraception is one of the most underrated scientific accomplishments of all time. By decoupling procreation from sex, women can wait until they are emotionally and financially ready before having a child, and can limit the size of that family. It is the most powerful tool we have in combating poverty and famine. The Catholic Church, a wasteland of failed moral policy behind it, equivocates on this point, saying it’s okay to prevent births by using math, but not by using chemistry or physics, once again claiming special knowledge of God’s wishes, but this simple tool is barred by the Catholic Church in favor of “abstinence only” programs, conclusively proven to increase transmission of disease and poverty, highlights a staggering hypocrisy: the Catholic Church, which, to be blunt, can’t seem to restrain its own priests—men with vows of celibacy and committed to the service of god—from raping little boys in their parishes, but expects that a married man with AIDS will never have sex with his wife.  There are people, men of power, hoping for war in the middle east, so that biblical prophecy can be fulfilled, and the end times (which have been just around the corner for the last 2,000 years or so) can commence.  And Matthew 6:34, which commands that you “Take no thought for the morrow,” has been used to defend ignoring environmental concerns of any kind (if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, what does it matter?); children need education, workers need retirement programs, and diseases need to be arrested; “Take no thought for the morrow” is inherently immoral when taken to nearly any degree (and while he may disagree, I hope that the pope himself can see that I’m not kidding when I say that I don’t feel safer with nuclear launch codes in the hands of anyone who believes any of this).

Theism is our first attempt at understanding the world, but as astrology gave way to astronomy and alchemy to chemistry, religion must give way to science.  Under no set of circumstances is faith a substitute for reason.

I was raised Protestant (loosely), but was always agnostic (which is a mild form of atheism—agnostics don’t practice theistic beliefs or religious teachings)—so I held firm to a just afterlife, even if 2,000-year-old tales of Jesus did not impress me.  But I’d always had doubts, and after years of thought and debate, reached the conclusion that it was wish thinking.  The truth is that nobody knows what happens when you die, nobody.  If there is something, I suspect it’s nothing we’re even capable of comprehending; imagine the difference between how the ant views the world and a human.  If there’s an afterlife it’s likely to be whole orders of magnitude more different than that… I can’t fathom my concerns about justice would remain intact.

Perhaps it’s a good thing.  I have to kiss my children extra, connect with them emotionally, tell my wife I love her, and be courteous to people on the street—this is my only shot, I had better make it count.

I have no issue with theism, save in the cases where it emboldens reckless and irrational behavior, turns suffering into virtue, denies science and progress, enables rape, murder, and torture, all in the name metaphysical dogma which we all agree must be and has historically been dead wrong at least 99% of the time.

That theism still enjoys such popularity in the face of all of this is actually quite breathtaking.

But not only is there no evidence for theistic claims, not only have they had a staggering failure rate, but they are in fact immoral, commanding us to use clearly fallible faith over our far superior faculties of reason.  As weapons of mass destruction get smaller and easier to make, we get closer and closer to death on a massive scale at the hands of people with only one defense for their actions: faith.

Reasoning is frowned upon in theism because faith cannot withstand the scrutiny of reason.  Nearly all theistic “proofs” for God (or gods) are reducible to two central arguments—the God of the Gaps argument, and a Prime Mover argument.  These arguments are actually two sides of the same coin, they beget each other (Prime Mover is actually a disguised Gaps argument, and Gaps relies on the same fallacious premises as Prime Mover).  The destruction of the Gaps argument is actually quite easy—it’s literally the most employed argument in the history of human discourse, and it’s never been right.  Ever.  Not once.  With the fall of Gaps, 90% of arguments (including Prime Mover) for the existence of any god of any kind are irrecoverable.  Most theists, in order to prove god, rely on deistic arguments (you can’t prove that Jesus was the son of God because, well, something had to start the universe rolling)—a proper understanding of the difference between Theistic and Deistic arguments renders a second lethal blow to Gaps and Mover (at least where theism is concerned) and to the vast majority of the remaining arguments.  What’s left is a reliance on faith (which can’t be employed in a rational discussion) or syllogistic fallacies (like insisting that failure to prove God does not exist means that He does).

Rather than restrict people to a linear argument as one might find in an essay or book, this codex allows you to browse and explore arguments at your leisure and in an order that makes sense to you.  I hope that you can find something useful to you in these pages.

The Humanist Codex

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The World Christian Encyclopedia lists 55,000 denominations of Christianity in 238 countries.  However, while many of these are indeed separate organizations, most do not differentiate belief in any meaningful way.  When including only those with salient differences in belief, the real number is far closer to 3,000.
2. Christians sanitize this fact. You are either “saved” or “not saved”. If youàre a Christian, but of the wrong denomination, you are no more saved than a Jew, Hindu, or atheist.
3. Indeed most religions don’t actually lead on moral issues. From anti-semitisim, slavery and forced conversion, to the protection of rapists, the burning of witches, and homosexuality, the church leads from behind, and is dragged, kicking and screaming, into more tolerant positions already claimed by civilized societies, and even then only when they are confronted with irrelevancy, obsolescence, and a dearth of parishioners
4. Bertrand Russel famously pointed out that there isn’t a single word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence
5. Circumcision is a medieval and brutal practice. It is mutilation, practiced without consent of the child, which, while having spurious medical justification, inarguably removes the most sensitive and pleasurable part of the penis. Its practice would certainly be illegal if it didn’t have religious warrant.
6. I’m sorry, but I must insist we not sanitize this and call it abuse. It was rape. That the church won’t call it by its proper name, and instead tries to mitigate their crimes by manipulating the language and referring to rape simply as “abuse,” marginalizes their victims, and should tell you everything you need to know about their contrition in these matters
7. Some people seem to think that the new pope is addressing this, but I see little evidence of it. My home town’s own Cardinal Bernard Law, a man I was quite familiar with in my youth, fled Boston ahead of a warrant, and now lives a lavish life in the Vatican, from where, thanks to the wisdom of the Holy See, he is both immune to consequence and cannot be extradited. Indeed, the church continues to defy all efforts to shed light on the depth of the problem, and to shelter the perpetrators on the grounds that protecting the institution is more important than justice, another untenable moral position for which they will one day have to apologize, though not till long after their victims are buried.
8. You have to be willfully ignorant of science to not know that a “Theory,” like the theory of gravity, is stronger than a “law”, and considered the highest form of knowledge.  That this level of ignorance exists is a direct result of assaults on science by theists opposed to its findings.
9. Contraception is one of the most underrated scientific accomplishments of all time. By decoupling procreation from sex, women can wait until they are emotionally and financially ready before having a child, and can limit the size of that family. It is the most powerful tool we have in combating poverty and famine. The Catholic Church, a wasteland of failed moral policy behind it, equivocates on this point, saying it’s okay to prevent births by using math, but not by using chemistry or physics, once again claiming special knowledge of God’s wishes

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Jason Cordeiro
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I believe because I choose to. Padre, Filo, Spirit de Sante!

Thomas Rollins
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True atheism is about not believing in a god, nothing more and nothing less. There are no rules or standards.
While I agree that many have used it for a feeling of superiority I disagree about anything that it should stand for.
Far too often atheists try to turn it into something more and create rules or regulations. This is nothing more than their longing to belong to something greater than themselves, aka religion.

John Termaten
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What rules and regulations would that be. You started out with the real idea of what atheism is. It is a non believe in a god, nothing more nothing less.

Thomas Rollins
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Member

I’ve seen everything from atheist should be vegans or feminists, to dictating that we shouldn’t make fun of religion. The list is long

Joshua Walters
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Member

This sounds fun! A Christian here and I would be very interested to listen to these

Scott Campbell
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Member

If God truly did create everything, then he’s to blame for how fucked up everything is. He also created Satan for someone to blame things on.

Joe Roever
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Member

Scott, if we were programmed robots you would be correct. Since we are not and have free will to choose to obey GOD or reject GOD, people are responsible for their own choices. If we were programmed to love GOD would we actually love him or simply be giving a programmed response. Some people choose to reject GOD. Their actions affect others. Does this mean their choices are God’s fault? No it doesn’t.

Jesse Ojeda
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Member

I think the title song “Sympathy for the devil” says it all.

John M. Wells
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Member

I recommend you read The Moral Arc by Michael Sherman.

Samael Stapleford
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Member

Ayyyy Devon Tracey’s line up!

Jason Carper
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Atheists are not a group with a shared belief system. Yes we tend to ridicule but how else done one deal with something so ridiculous as theism. You cant be rational with the unrationable

Juan Luis Castillo
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Member

Rick is ON ♡ fight with reason

Jesse Ojeda
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the earth is not flat. the sun doesn’t go round the earth. thank you America for giving woman a voice and the right to vote.

Ramses Soto-Navarro
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The “them against us” tribal mentality takes over for some non-believers, the same as it does for believers.

Nev Richards
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most of the scientific accomplishments in last 300 yrs were by christian believers in the bible and creation while atheistic regimes destroyed millions. like mao se tung, edie amin, pol pot, hitler, stalin etc

Gondul Valkyrie
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Gondul Valkyrie
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Oh… look at this a German Wehrmacht buckle reading “God is with Us”…. looks like the Nazis were nice little christian boys.

Juan Luis Castillo
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You know what you said is not true.

Nev Richards
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better than false science trying to prove the,”Once upon a time story ——“

Carlos A Bonilla
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Catholics to be precise.

Rich Lapinski
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Hitler was a Christian. And the others did not kill in the name of atheism.

John Termaten
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science flew us to the moon, religion flew into buildings. Just saying, that when we keep on pointing out the short comings on both sides, we never will have an understanding or the respect we all should receive or give.. For me being an atheist is easy. Religion does not make sense to me, and when I try to get some answers from religious people about their beliefs I’m met with condemnation like I will burn in hell, or I have no morals. When they ask me why I do not believe, I just try to explain the contradiction in faith and the behaviour of the people who do believe. My whole attitude is , I will not try to change your mind, so do not try to change my mind. I do respect the believers more then they are respecting me. Only strong and normal conversation without insults can change that. I’m also a humanist, so for the believers, if there is a god, I’m not afraid to stand before him because I’m a decent person who does not do harm to other people.

Nev Richards
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Hi, thanks for sociable reply. Most from this site rubbish me and make sarcastic remarks. I agree with a lot of what yo have said. Religion including the nominal political side of christian religion has a bad record too and the 10,000 divisions in denominations make it difficult to find an answer. I find science about origins and history has these problems too. The religious christians who put you down are not following Jesus teachings to love and feed our enemies. First challenge is about origin theories and many scientists are realising evolution theory cannot work to produce the complexity of cells for life. To be brief I’ll just add this in case you haven’t see it. You can look it up in search also. Information from UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE DVD Expresses the scientific views of: Dr Dean H Kenyon Evolutionary Biologist, one of Leading Chemical Evolutionists Dr Michael J Behe Biochemist Dr Steven C Meyer, philosopher of Science Professor Phillip E Johnson Dr Paul A Nelson Professor of biology William Dembski, mathematician Baylon Uni., Scott Minniah, Molecular Biologist, Uni of Idaho and others who are specialists in various fields In 1969 Dr Dean Kenyon published , “Biochemical Predestination”. It was a best selling book influencing many scientists. It claimed the different complex protiens essential for life had self assembled. (30,000. of them) with the 20 different animo… Read more »

Nev Richards
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Rich Lapinski Hitler was only nominal christian while he used the churches until he gained absolute power. Then he had Christ’s images?? removed and his put up. It’s all on sites about him. You will see he was not a follower of Jesus or His teachings. and the atheistic regimes like USSR and China destroyed millions of their own people and promoted “No God” as the basis of their dictatorships

Paul Street
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god bless! ….sorry a little joke.

Frank Bowman
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religion..and science try to explain our creation…ENJOY IT…BECAUSE NOBODY KNOWS…we just feel sensations…aha..or amen…it will not be resolved…SO LOVE ALL THE FREAKS YOU CAN ! WHILE YOU CAN…CAUSE IT DONT LAST LONG EITHER WAY !!!

Frank Bowman
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i dont dismiss anything…but religion and science were one…until they realized religion couldnt control science…imo…religion created structure…then science could bloom and live without religion…i am not religious man…but i do understand its ginormous impact on humanity…n’est pas ?

Daniel Wyatt
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science is only as good as it also is objectively seeking truth and the betterment of humanity, but here is the paradox… the more advance a society is the less emotionally evolved they are for science facilitates human activity…. this is the dilemma that we need address which I do on my page called critical thinking and emotional intelligence. All of society has progressed ever so slowly since the age of the caveman but government has done more killing and the holding back of humanity more than primitive religion. Sorry I am writing without my reading glasses

Douglas Kiplinger
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Theists need to understand the difference between bestowed meanings and felt meanings. I think bestowed meanings can be considered felt meanings as well.

Koontsqab McFawktard
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Destroy fallacy. Mythology must be observed as it is, or be met with fierce ridicule and reference to reality.

Coddling a believer only teaches them it’s okay to be fucking braindead.

Johnny Go
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My goodness, a real live Facebook tough guy. U have any idea how ridiculous u read?

Koontsqab McFawktard
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Not nearly as ridiculous as your existence IS.

So I’m doin OK.

Jim Lockhart
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Despite your obvious grasp of the truth of Atheism, you have a lot to learn about people.

Jim Lockhart
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Where’s the objectionable tone?
Who is it calling someone’s existance ridiculous?

Koontsqab McFawktard
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Religion must be eradicated. Fuck atheism. ANTI theism is our foundation in salvation as a species.

Koontsqab McFawktard
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Religion must die if we are to survive.

Koontsqab McFawktard
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It MUST…. die…..

Johnny Go
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blahblahblah

Ronald Lacoste
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That the same thing Isis is trying to do, eradicated what they don’t believe. Maybe you guys could hook up. And what’s next after religion is eradicated?

Koontsqab McFawktard
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No, ISIS is killing PEOPLE, dumbass. Last I checked beliefs don’t bleed.

Killing religion has nothing to do with killing people don’t be retarded.

Koontsqab McFawktard
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Dude…. people who openly believe in bullshit stupidstition deserve to be ridiculed.
By adorning an ideology that has been specifically a grand responsible factor of more hatred, genocide, and abuse of all in the environment you place yourself in direct deserving of the very stigma you condone into the world through your faith.

No. This is not accurate. You CANNOT abide BULLSHIT and expect it to get better. Complacency fixes NOTHING.

Johnny Go
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U’re now marked, gay little rabbit.

Larry Ayer
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RAMEN.

Artie Medley
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It still all boils down to people accepting people as people. Much easier, apparently, for Atheists to do than Deists. When rational thought is the prominent thought process in one’s life, it practically disallows spirituality. Playing Devil’s advocate (Ha!), science cannot definitively say what occurred before the “Big Bang”, or that the “Big Bang” did, in fact, happen itself. I, being of sound mind and body, have chosen to believe that we do not have an Almighty Creator. But that doesn’t mean I’m right. For all we know, the Earth was “Created”. This “Creator” might be on his/her/its 200 millionth Earth, where each time life evolves and wipes itself out. Life might be thriving more and more with each passing Earth, yet still still failing in the end. Maybe they’re insane because they keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. Would make a great Twilight Zone episode.

Artie Medley
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As a side note, love listening to Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens, although they’re both fairly condescending as well.

Larry Ayer
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It’s difficult to NOT be condescending, when you’ve said the same things to the same people, over and over for your entire life, and they’re STILL not getting it.

Artie Medley
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It is in that with which I find the true problem. While people like Sam and Christopher SHOULD expect to receive some form of backlash throughout society for their views, a mere defense of those views doesn’t need to be condescending. As an Atheist, I do not take it upon myself to try to correct the mindset of those of faith. They can come at me all they want, but if I retaliate with any level of condescension, it would appear that I would be trying to condemn their current thought process in favor of my own. That is not hiw it should be done. I do not care what anyone believes in, but I know there are those that do care enough about what I believe in, but that’s mostly because they view my views as blasphemous. To be fair, both of the gentlemen mentioned are public figures and were cast even further into the limelight so that they might be depicted as evil instead of brilliant.
I’m glad that backfired.

Douglas Kiplinger
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Hitchens could be condescending and powerfully beliggerent as well, so much so that he could even muscle out the hosts of shows he was invited onto. I have mixed feelings about that – and I’m sure the huge amount of alcohol he took in daily played a big part. Harris is kind of a bore to me, to listen to anyway. I agree(d) with much of what they say(said), but they could definitely say it better.

Artie Medley
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Yep, and Hitchens would have no qualms about letting you know how stupid he thought you were for believing in ANY deity. Very entertaining at times.

Douglas Kiplinger
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I would say don’t meet it head on. Compare it to a dream or something. Or give the person a copy of Oliver Sacks’ “Hallucinations”.

Douglas Kiplinger
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I think Dennett is the best of the “horsemen”, overall. But a lot of atheist thinkers very rarely or never get mentioned. It’s frustrating. It’s like focusing on Drake as a measure of current trends in music because he is so well known.

Artie Medley
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Completely agree. I would even go so far as to say they aren’t true Atheists. A true Atheist isn’t necessarily a “good” person, they’re indifferent, and don’t really hold someone’s beliefs, religious or otherwise, against them. The online belligerence you speak of does nothing beneficial towards anybody.

Artie Medley
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And as far as the one individual that asked Dawkins about their “miracle”? True, any response, from a doubter, would come off as condescending. I, personally, would’ve grilled them. “What did he look like? What did he say? Why you? Did you offer a handshake?”
Then i’d leave them in their glory by saying “That’s so wonderful for you. But, if he ever comes to speak to me, THAT would be a miracle.” lol

Johnny Go
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Artie, people accepting people is meaningless horseshit.

Artie Medley
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I beg to differ, Johnny. I can hear the disgust and contempt in your text, lol. Whereas, with me, I could give two shits whether you worship Corgi’s or Lasagna. By me accepting you, and everyone else that thinks their way is better than anyone else’s, I have no stress.
Meaningless horseshit? Interesting. Acceptance is akin to tolerance…I’m sorry you feel that way.

Joe Ruf
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Gonna be tough to defend atheism while holding onto the rationalist project (a project started by theists). I find that most atheists take the romantic route.

Joe Ruf
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Romantics dealt an eternal blow to rationalism in the 19th century that will never go away. Rationalists have be forced to justify what their reason stands on as reason isn’t self justifying. This is why the rationalists end up back at religion due to the rationalists original fundamental claim that reason well understood is justified because it shares in a divine attribute (this is why science did so well in Europe)

Joe Ruf
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The Humanist Codex You want names or what they said or their effect? Sir Isaiah Berlin (an atheist) has a wonder lecture on the roots of romanticism I highly recommend. But Burke’s conservatism also holds strong against the rationalists as he reverses the question on the enlightenment and asks “who are you to change what has got us to where we are” Suggesting that even if one is an atheist the concession that the institution of the church is so necessary in the formation of European society that attempts to destroy it should be thwarted. In other words orthodoxy over idea unless highly convincing “change what one has to to conservative what one can”. The slow mature wisdom of the landed gentry.

Milber Ferreira Eugenio
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Shut the fuck up …… 🙂

Christopher C. Collard Jr.
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I already know that no “gods” exist. You would need to prove to me that there is a god with solid proof. Like, oh Shit’ it’s a bird, it’s a plane, It’s God… look and see with my own eyes. Until that day comes. There is no such thing as a god, you silly fuckers…

Johnny Go
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Literalist? Then look about you.

There is no hope for the spiritually super-impoverished.

David Boldt
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Great little write up, odd that you accompany it with a picture of some of the smuggest of the smug in the world of atheism.

I like all of them as thinkers and writers but these are not the first names you bring up when discussing with a theist.

David Boldt
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The Humanist Codex thanks for the return! Yes Hitchens (while being the best of all) is not a good one to use, and even I find Dawkins almost unbearably smug. What about Dan Barker? He is the complete package, comm my from hard core Christianity to Atheism, and he is right down the middle! Anyway I think your post is spot on, we have to remember that when you tell someone their deeply held beliefs are childish or asinine the argument is over. Christians do it all the time, but we should not. I often think that only the march of time will see the end of religion and a true age of reason. Adults are for the lost part closed systems, not open for new input. And it seems that most midlife converts come to it themselves, independent from any badgering from the like of us. Anyway good work and keep it up!

Joey Ashbridge
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To religious people we all come off as smug, if not worse. Some people look at me as if I were the devil himself and actually say I am a test of their faith.
With some people you cannot win.
I don’t try to preach, but I will tell people how god was created when it comes up in conversation.

David Boldt
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Joey Ashbridge very true, it’s a borderline impossible conversation. I don’t even like listening to Dawkins, he’s annoying as hell, sounds like a preacher.
So what is the best approach?
I sometimes think there is no point, just ensure that schools remain non-religious and assume that these kids will figure it out. Evolution!

Randy Sanders
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One has only to investigate history to see the truth, but one has to approach it with an open mind and be willing to let go of cultural conditioning when the evidence against it is so over whelming. The vast majority of the worlds population are not capable of that and I for one have quit trying to make others “see the light”.

Randy Sanders
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Religion has become such a divisive force and with our world so globally connected it is having very damaging impact. It was a mostly benign or even beneficial institution for the most of history but that has changed drastically and if we are to survive as a species it needs to die out.

Randy Sanders
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Do socially environmental conditions affect natural selection?

Timothy Bailey
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There is no god

Randy Sanders
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I like the call out for tolerance and reason and the acknowledgement that many atheists are disdainful of any who do not accept it, however it has been my experience that sites like these do little to educate but rather only provide a platform for inane and meaningless argument.

Thomas Calandra
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John Still
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If god didn’t exist, we would create him.

Steven Burke
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He doesn’t, and we did. 🙂

Paul Arroyo
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In the beginning, man created “God”

John Curtis Osborne
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Comes from…

John Curtis Osborne
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As an american-english speaking fool,I tried like mad to find out where this word god cones from……which clan bestowed this curse on us………..everyone on this page is skilled enough to look for him/herself if ya even care to……..the name god doesnt appear to be a vague gathering of combined words and it is distinct, select cultures that coined the term ” to invoke”, “to be invoked” or “thee invoked one”……..Aryan and Germanic roots along with abit of etymology of Sumerian or Mesopotamian words that would eventually become the utterances for El and Allah…….but originally there doesn’t appear to be a Being attached to the word or notion……