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The COVID19 SCAMdemic... Biden Moves To Outlaw Acorns, Limit Squirrel Immigration

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Thanks to everyone for stopping by. 24M

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zrickety

The Fixer
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riceburner

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Any very religious people in here that would like to provide feedback or pushback on my manifesto?


I haven’t been to a church, short of a funeral (at a Lutheran church which is very laisse Faire) for a long time. Recently was my first time stepping foot in a Catholic Church. Seeing some of the religious practice anew got me thinking.

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge; how it is obtained, what knowledge is, the scope and validity of it, etc. I have become interested in it over the years.

Some 15 years ago I decided I was an atheist; perhaps even a staunch atheist. My whole life to that point I was likely one as well but hadn’t really applied the ‘epistemology’ to it yet, to take the idea of religion seriously and try to contend with myself whether or not I truly believed it or not; somewhat because I hadn’t yet cared enough about my position either way, and the nagging feeling of ‘what if I’m wrong’ and therefore the following fear of going to hell for blasphemy or not believing. But for various, somewhat separate reasons I came to my conclusion that religion/s are false beliefs and have no bearing on reality.

How does one come to such conclusions? Is it the same way somebody else could fall into a religion? Turns out, no. This will be an attempt to find pathways between separate ideas, tying them together, and venn-diagramming the playscape of concepts that I think about from day to day. Funny thing, having gone to church refreshed the compelling feeling to write something that few will read, but it’s my way of collecting my own thoughts.



So, I am going to try to do that now. I will be writing about the following topics, tying them together, proving via (admittedly) largely conjectural logic how many of the points become nails in the coffin, or how even if one of my ideas can somehow be falsified, it doesn’t allow room for religious beliefs to seep back in as possible alternatives.

I do not know everything about everything. I hardly know anything about anything. Therefore, it is likely much of what I say ahead could be picked apart, falsified, or expanded upon further. These are just the thoughts of an earthling with his own experiences, and beliefs about belief. However, many of the concepts ahead truly tie into the web of reality and are based upon science. Science cannot be argued with, except with more science. At some point, one needs to accept the claims about science as being thorough enough to sufficiently put a stake in the ground that cannot be pulled back out and readjusted in any meaningful sense.

Here are the concepts I will cover, somewhat in order:

  • What is religion, essentially?
  • Positive claims and their validity
  • Difference in religions
  • Difference from person-to-person religions
  • Timeline of religions
  • Relationships with religious deities
  • Time spent on religions throughout cultures
  • Where morals come from
  • What people actually believe, and why they/wish to believe it
  • Expectations of prayer, belief, and practice
  • Contrary science
  • Moral reasons to / not to believe
  • Biblical issues, issues between bibles and testaments of the bibles
  • The timeline of religions and the context to the timeline of humanity
  • Odd practices in religions
  • Odd general stories and details about religions
  • The good that the Church or practice or belief in a religion provides (in reality)
  • And how those goods are secular but allocated incorrectly
  • Taxes and money
  • The actual strain that it puts on people and holds them back
  • Wars and deaths in the name of religion
  • Peace and wisdom without religion





SO, WHAT IS RELIGION, ESSENTIALLY?

A religion is a belief or practice which commemorates ‘historical events’, ‘people’ who ‘existed’, and worships previous, current or future deities, who have varying scopes depending on the specific religion. I am a white male in his mind 30’s, raised in Central USA. As such I will largely speak to the Christian and related Catholic religion for the main context of this admitted manifesto of sorts.

All religions generally have some core claims that something happened which is beyond what is possible by any other people, such as being born from a virgin, coming back from the dead, or existing in a location outside of time and space, yet can affect our real lives. Also, they claim that we continue to exist, for better or worse, when our lives end. Generally, supernatural, or miracles are words associated with this concept.

From the get-go, obviously we are going to have some problems with this. What can do things that 100% of other humans cannot? How do we know any of this could be factual? What bearing could any of it have to do with us if it were true? How is this documented? How well has the documentation held up over the years? How does it tie into the context of our culture? And most importantly, how does it tie into the concept of what is scientifically knowable and observable?






POSITIVE CLAIMS AND THEIR VALIDITY

I do not have to prove that a God does not exist. We all know that in court, no one is asked to prove they did not do something. Instead, one must prove that they did do something. In religion, a positive claim is being asserted. These claims need to be proven. The first of many major fallacies of religious beliefs is that they are not proven. In fact one needs to have faith for a religion to work for them. Religions are not provable. The defendant is innocent. Much more on this later; there are also several (Current) positive claims being made throughout our culture, from many different religious groups. Each claim to be the truth. Imagine being a judge in this scenario, where many people are saying one crime was committed, no other crimes have been committed, and none have proof that anything has happened. What a waste of time.

This may seem like an easy out to any intently reading believers who have or have not come across this concept before. One may wish to say, no, prove a god does NOT exist! Prove Jesus did NOT resurrect from his death! Unfortunately, time only moves in one direction, and the past no longer exists. Also it is way too far back to find a clear conclusion on the happenings of Mr. Christ. Also unfortunate is the fact that the most expert forensics available in the day of Christ failed to accurately capture proof of his existence and the happenings of his existence. The only available documentation, really, is in the scriptures of the bible/s which statements may mesh in general but do not fully corroborate.






DIFFERENCE IN RELIGIONS

There are many differences between the various religions in terms of their specific positive claims. They speak of different people, different stories, different rules of practice, different end results of following those practices, different locations, different timelines.

There are also many similarities between religions. They all (mostly) claim many of the same general facts, and once all of the ‘fat’ is removed from them, a basic premise is, there is/was a god who created and controls the universe to some extent. Worshipping this god in the correct way may affect how you spend eternity. Sounds important to get right.

I will always approach this argument from the same perspective. What happens if you were born on an island and lived your entire life alone? What if you never heard a single thing about religion, and what it offers? What if you are deaf dumb and blind? What if you were aborted or miscarried? What happens to your soul? Do Dogs have souls? Do ants have souls? Do microorganisms have souls? In general, it seems you will perish. And, through no fault of your own.

What if you were born in the wrong area of the world, or at the wrong time? What if you were born in the middle east and practice Hinduism, but the correct religion to follow was Catholicism as taught in Hispanic cultures? What happens to your soul then? Some may argue that a god will see that you were practicing religion and let you into heaven, but this cannot quite be the case. After all, blasphemy.

No matter how you dice it, IF ANY religion is, or ever was correct, that means right off the bat, that the vast majority of people (around 100 BILLION people at this point) will have gone to hell through no fault of their own, for not following that specific religion.

But what if they WERE taught *insert correct religion here*? Think Jehovah’s witnesses, retreats, etc. At least they had the chance to change their ways! But alas, no, that idea sucks. It would be like being told as a grown up that other very basic tenants of your life are completely wrong, and you need to change your ways; i.e., you need to be a firefighter instead of a lawyer. It’s not your fault that that is not going to happen. If it is, we must also keep in mind that we were designed the way we are, and God has some level of control of our circumstances and designed how we deal with things internally and externally, which again is quite cruel. Like cramming 100 hamsters in to a 1x2 foot cage and starving all but 20 hamsters.

The result of these lines of thinking is, none of these can be right. Moreover, it makes more sense to follow none of them. Why is that? If you follow one of them, you are accepting their positive claims which cannot be proven, remember? If you follow one religion, why can’t you follow all religions? They all claim they are the ONLY true religion and that all others are false. They effectively cancel each other out. Further, each religions logic sways you to believe them in the same ways; a book says so, many people follow the religion, you must, or X will/wont happen to you, and onward.

Finally, let’s be reminded, that there have been similar accounts of religions similar to Christianity throughout the ages of humanity. The story has always restarted and taken its own life throughout time.






DIFFERENCE FROM PERSON TO PERSON RELIGIONS

Leaving the difference of the literal religions aside, lets look at religious people one on one.

Now, we might be able to classify people as ‘Christian’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Catholic’, ‘Lutheran’, etcetera. We can say, ‘oh, he is a Christian, he believes these 10 commandments, mostly follows the New Testament and onward’. However, humans are (biblically!) imperfect beings. Nobody follows anything to the T, and nobody truly can.

Very few people have read the entire bible (I would guess 1 in 100 people maybe?) – from any set of bibles which exist or have existed. I, for the record, am among most people, who spend very little time even flipping the pages.

Lets say you sat down and read the entire bible. You study it thoroughly, so as to comprehend it in its entirety. Those who do this have issues with each other. Even if you do indeed read the whole bible and follow its every instruction (more on that later, but please don’t stone gays, own slaves, kill those who steal, sacrifice goats, and other things it has to say), there is so much nuance in reality and life that no one can truly follow a religion entirely. Who could possibly say that is OK? You just need to be forgiven, right? How do you know you are truly forgivable, for it does not necessarily say this in the bible. If its not said in the bible, how do we know it is valid in the context of religion?

Many who HAVE read the bible come out as atheists at the end of it, because they find the bible to be such a poor account of historical facts. The bible has no bearing on any reality we now know to be true. It becomes very clear that the bible was written by sheep herders trying desperately to find ways to control people and create order in society, which later became washed as a concept, into supporting humanities quest for ‘salvation’, ‘enightenment’, ‘moral framing’, and a general hopefulness for life.

Back to theists, however - most people, in fact, have very fragmented beliefs about what their religion means to them. Most may tacitly believe whatever core tenants have been drilled into them since they were children, but do not think far beyond that. Some may have heard other portions of what the beliefs entail due to, of course, having different life experiences and different offerings at their church or time. How can we reconcile this? We cannot. At all. And, yes, you can say the same about atheists who all will also have their own nuance about how it works and doesn’t work, but the only claim an atheist truly makes is ‘God does not exist’, or a general retreat from accepting religious doctrine. There is no nuance in that general statement.






TIMELINE OF RELIGIONS

Related to the different religions in general, there is a timeline of all cultures, cultural practices, beliefs and onward. The human experiment is ongoing and evolving all the time. Time only moves in one direction. Again we approach the question, what if, along with being in the wrong place to experience a religion, what if you are in the wrong time as well?

Languages change. Meaning of words change. ‘Silly’ is an adjective prescribed to people who are zany, clumsy, without manners, or being funny. Really, silly is derived from the word ‘blessed’. What the fuck is this horseshit?

How are we supposed to decode the old language of the bible or any other scripture? The Hebrew languages that the bible have been translated multiple times. The original (if one could ever call anything original about the Late Pagan religions) set of books have been translated, expanded, debunked, re-written, and of course much of the meaning is truly lost over time. Not to mention, again, the stories within the bible do not even corroborate! Different direction is given for similar situations, stories have different timelines, accounts of unfolding events, and much more.

It is not surprising to see, at this point, most people do not even deal with actually reading the bibles, even though in my opinion that would be the most important part of being in a religious cult. You know, being familiar with the most closely related documentation to it.

What does going to Church truly serve? Some guy in the same century as you contextualizing stories cherry picked from the book to help you feel like you have a safe place in heaven as long as you continue to keep going and believing whatever they tell you is like a Chicken saying the farmer has his best interests at mind – until he gets his head chopped off all of a sudden.

In fact, related to the timeline of religion, one should realize that those who apparently saw the events of Jesus unfold were the most religious people ever. Anyone around who did not directly observe it are once-removed from the events. Their descendants now need to believe what their parents or friends saw or heard about. And here we are, some 2000 years later passing along fishing stories. We are approximately 100 generations or so removed from the story. If details change in each generation as well as each iteration during the generation, there could be 10,000 changes to account for by simple math. All for what is clearly an imagined story.

No wonder culture is so fragmented. No wonder so many people can simultaneously exist within our roughly functional culture while maintaining entirely different opinions about all sorts of things.






RELATIONSHIPS WITH RELIGIOUS DEITIES

Also different from peoples succinct beliefs about religion are each individuals ‘relationship’ with their deities. At face value, of course, we know there is no way to test whether someone has an imaginary friend, or some sort of real friend they communicate with via telepathy. Maybe they are intergalactic pen pals.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Do you just feel it? How do you know which religious deity you are communicating with? How do you know it’s not one humanity has never properly defined, and that you are communicating or acting in the right way?

Churches are the main means of enforcing the idea that one can walk alongside God, and have God in their life. Personally, I think this works via a few methods.

  • People are born into the religion and are prepositioned to believe what the authority figures of the church tell them. This is an extension of their own parents bringing them to Church and stressing the importance of it.
  • Those who go to Church and allow it to guide their moral reasoning allow the 10 commandments and the general guise of a ‘Good Christian’ lifestyle define their lives.
  • People go to Church during feelings of hardship, duress, loss, love, and other arrays of emotions.
  • When people feel hopeless, distressed, have lost a loved one, feel love during a marital ceremony, etc., their conscious allows the pastor to ‘baster’ their brains with an idea. They inject a connection between their emotional feelings (which are often pronounced from day to day feelings when NOT at Church) and God, Jesus, etc.
  • Later, when people feel like they need support in their life, they think they feel Jesus by their side.





HOW DO WE KNOW WE ARE ACTUALLY COMMUNICATING CORRECTLY OR WE WERE COMMUNICATED TO?

Keeping the above sentences and questions in mind, along with the bible/s, it is impossible to know that any God has ever communicated anything to us. Had they, it was a one time, one way communication, and there was no way to verify we got the message down correct while the goat-fuckers scribed everything in stone, or on parchment paper, whatever the fuck.

Obviously, we are on a 8000 mile wide rock hurling through space around a sun which is 23 trillion miles away from the NEXT NEAREST STAR, let alone wherever the next planet that harbors life (let alone sentient human life that worships a creator of the universe). We are quite alone here on our rock, and while it is most certain life exists outside of the earth, we may never truly have a way to verify it, or connect with it in any meaningful way.






TIME SPENT ON RELIGIONS THROUGHOUT CULTURES

It really is amazing that life exists – really, practically a miracle. Think about this, which is scientific, proven until expanded upon, which can only move the yardsticks around very slightly, if at all. Doing so at any point does NOT nullify the story and it DEFINITELY does not introduce a ‘god exists’ posit.

15 billion years ago, the universe was the size of a plank length, which is some billions of times smaller than an atom. We humans struggle with orders of magnitude, large numbers, great distances, and times greater than human lifetimes, but try your best.

15 billion years ago, the universe began a rapid expansion and has been expanding and cooling ever since. All the energy that will ever exist started then and continues to diffuse until all energy is effectively spent. Our sun is a star. It is a third generation star, meaning other stars died and composed the matter that our star is made of. Importantly, this re-formation of matter creates more complex matter. Perhaps a fourth generation star creates even more complex matter, but we are pretty certain we have the table of elements largely completed at this point in time. This complex matter created our sun a mere 4.7 billion years back, and our earth along with all other planets formed from the remains and some other space debris. Life did begin on earth as soon as it was able to, meaning there was water and the crust had cooled down enough to not burn it off.

The first life on earth actually transformed the atmosphere to have oxygen and killed itself off, allowing other forms of life (all living in the great oceans) eventually thrived on. Photosynthesis began, and life really has a foothold on continuing.

Only ~300 million years ago is when the great dinosaurs ruled the earth, in the grand scheme of things that seems like a very SHORT time ago but in fact it was quite far.

We humans like to think that humanity is in the year 2023, so accounting for the 4000 ‘BC’ years, we have accounted for approximately 6000 years of humans. However, we have been anatomically human for some 2 million years, with very close relatives stretching back to nearly 8 million years ago! This is to say, if ONLY humans are sentient enough to be able to comprehend the fact that we exist, we are the universes way of experiencing itself. Isn’t that something.

And yet, we take shortcuts to thank a god for creating and controlling what is otherwise an incredibly vast, long lasting universe that is largely inhospitable to life, only to have made this very one planet which harbors life. What a joke. The universe will effectively ‘last’ forever, but the smallest stars will burn for perhaps trillions of years before burning out entirely, leaving the universe cold and basically dead.

We have been praying to gods since many thousands of years ago, basically since we were collected enough to have methods of communicating. Obviously, we prayed for rain, food, warmth, shelter, life and onward. And today we pray to win football games, and for Jimmy to get a perfect exam score, and for Aunt Irma’s cancer to go away, and for soldiers fighting wars against other countries and religious deities to come back safe and victorious (from both sides of the pond).

A monumental amount of the human experience has been wasted asking invisible friends to lend a hand. It may be the truth that people would dance around for days on end praying for rain. When it rained, they falsely assumed that the dancing was the only reason the Gods gave them rain. Perhaps it was early on bullshit assumptions like this, that we are still so fucked today.






WHERE MORALS (AND BABIES) COME FROM

Selfish gene theory, too, has much to do with why we do what we do. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that we often time suck at following truth. We know we should eat right and exercise but eating chips and watching tv on the couch is so easy to do, and feels good – if not saltier, and less strenuous. The truth is, what allows genes to reproduce is often gets passed along. As long as we can mate, some genes get passed along. It’s not a given that EVERYTHING we do passes along, but a lot of it!

Our ancestors had hard times finding fruit, meat, and water. When we find fruit, our brains would light up and take in as much of the natural sugars as possible. Now, we can’t avoid eating chocolate bars.

Morals are similar, in how they are constructed.

Many will take almost all points made so far and say ‘well wait, now, if there was no religion, we would all just be running around killing and raping eachother!’.

This is very, very false. We follow morals for selfish gene reasons. If one sets out to cause harm, they need to be aware that harm may return to them. If we are helpful and nice, we may be invited into the tribe and fed, and maybe even get to reproduce.

Morality is an odd thing that takes many forms; avoiding punishment, seeking reward, chasing opportunities, avoiding harm, attempting to do something first, attempting to do something last, and onward.

It is odd that morality even exists. Again, we are in a universe full of molecules. We are molecules. Between us is more molecules of different varying compositions. And some 500 million years from now the molecules of the sun will consume it all, and it was all for nothing. Whether we found ways to beat our gene agendas, achieve world peace, defeat climate change and resource depletion, and get not the 101 billionth child to be born but the trillionth, one day, we will all be dead.

It seems like an exercise in futility, to live at all, sometimes. After all, being comprised of molecules and genes, essentially, my body is just a huge group of genes following their own agenda, which is simply to survive and reproduce. And as such, most of our morals are simply an extension of that.

But definitely they were not crammed into our brains by God. God is not moral. God gives people cancer. God causes droughts and hurricanes. God causes miscarriages. God makes people gay which get stoned for being gay because God said so. God provided some sort of shitty vague message to us around 2000 years ago, one time, by sacrificing a guy who now lives along side him judging us. And we are all stuck here, with more clues leading toward the fact that we are evolved beings in a 100 billion lightyear wide universe that will be consumed by our own sun if our genes don’t kill ourselves off first, and no actual clues leading toward an apparent salvation.

We do not get morals from God. God’s moral landscape is akin to a parent telling a child to not do something ‘because I said so’, ‘or else’, or ‘if you do this you will get a reward’. It should be abundantly clear that short of dealing with children who are still absorbing the vastly complex moral framework of society, that the real world is very much not godlike.

Self-acclaimed deeply religious people may claim to have superior morals to others that are not religious, or follow separate religions. From person to person, if we could actually find metrics to measure ‘how moral someone is’, we may find that to be true in some cases. Indeed, some people ‘just wanna sin’ and avoid religious practice while fulfilling a life of crime.

But anyone who is more moral than another is simply more in tune with reality and having a deep and nuanced understanding of how people interact with eachother and their environment. If somebody followed the moral practices and prescribed by the Bible, I believe many would talk about them negatively behind their back, for spending an inordinate amount of time conspiring against other religious practicing people, attempting to stone gays, wanting to kill their unmarried daughter because someone had sex with them, etc.

Obviously, we have an odd middle ground, where there are, indeed, people who ‘believe they believe’ religion very deeply, and are also quite reasonable, moral, and otherwise smart people. I think this is a display of human shortcoming, and the ability to simultaneously act one way and believe you are acting another way. At minimum they are acting in accordance with the cherry picked sermons they have grown up on, which obviously is not all bad. Having attended a fair number of sermons, I never left feeling like I was necessarily misguided, or told to do something immoral. Afterall, ‘help thy neightbor!’ is good advice. But it isn’t something God had to tell us. We simply figured it out on our own and now have drawn false connections to the proprieter.






WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE, AND WHY THEY /WISH TO BELIEVE IT

Peoples specifics on the stories of God, Jesus, the rapture, the great flood, the talking snakes, the goats, etc, will vary. But its important to know WHY they believe anything at all.

Really, the only reason we believe anything – short of, because we were taught it as kids as this 2000 year plus odd tradition that simply everyone seems to follow to varying extents – is that we need this imaginary guy to look after us during our life, and we need to make sure we are in heaven when we die. And in this big, scary, futile universe, many people, I think, have issues with realizing this. We don’t like to feel alone. We don’t like to think that one day our lights will simply turn off. We don’t like to think that everything we try so hard to do is all for nothing. We don’t like to think that people die for no reason – just because. We want there to be justice. We want things to make sense. We want to fill in the gaps of our knowledge.






EXPECTATIONS OF PRAYER, BELIEF, AND PRACTICE

When we practice, pray, or believe something like this, we are expecting a reward. We expect to pray for a sick loved one and that God will look after the countless trained professional doctors administering medicines that took decades to produce and work in a sterile and curated environment using rare resources that we cleverly learned how to use. So we can thank God when the patient comes out alive on the other end.

Take note of the inconsistencies when we pray and what we assign/thank God for and what we do not. Again, thousands of years back, to perhaps over the last 100 years, people prayed for rain. Knowing what we know now about weather patterns and what forces of nature drive rain, it is patently absurd to pray for rain. And it always was, we just did not know it then.

Lets start with a simple but extremely common example of what people pray for. People pray quite constantly for their loved ones in war to come home safe. We send people to kill or defend us from being killed by others. We set up these conflicts in the first place, then expect an imaginary god to look out for us. Meanwhile, of course, people on the other side of the pond are doing the same exact thing. So let’s start with this question: If side A wins, does that mean their God was the correct/existing God to pray to, and that God listened and administered the magic corrective action to bring some portion of their soldiers home safely? Are both Gods existing but one happened to be more powerful or caring than the other? Also consider that for a God to keep any troop safe, this necessarily means that they must be successful in combat – in other words, this God decided to take one nations side on the conflict and aid in the killing of people. People that God is supposedly trying to save. Unquestionably, this is offensive no matter how we look at it. People are alone on this globe. People start conflicts, fight over resources, control, or self defense and we use game theory to effectively kill each other in a form of damage control. There is no god at play here.

Or, let’s look at a family member in medical distress. Lots of people pray for them. Obviously, not everyone makes it out alive. Gods plan, right? Do we thank god if they do make it out alive? Do we only thank god for this one persons life being spared, or again, do we go down the line of cause and effect that brought us to such a world where we have medical professionals and the scientific methods that brought us to the point of being able to do anything other than pray to help ourselves out of injury and illness? Do we thank god for cancer? Do we thank God for weak limbs and car accidents? Do we thank God for miscarriages? Do we expect young cancer patients, mentally ill, and miscarriage children to go to heaven, since they are innocent to having not learned the message of Jesus?

We may notice some patterns here, and appropriately so. The more duress a person is under, the less control they have, the less security they have, the more they will lean to faith to help pull them through. Here we are in America in the 21st century. Never before have we had so much material wealth and comfort or control in our lives. We life better than the greatest kings of the 19th century at this very point in time. Naturally some of us (me, at least) aren’t fogged by the mental shortcomings that typically lead people to lean on religion for comfort and peace. I personally have not been wronged too severely in my life. I haven’t been subject to extreme unjust, nor have I personally been in grave danger many times. I have only lost a few family and friends to extreme causes. My country/area has not been under attack by others. This may or may not always be the case for me; looking to the future I do see much dystopia. Our carbon pulse of using extreme amounts of energy to continually expand the human footprint on the earth is coming over the hill and this will cause extreme amounts of conflict and loss, some of which will certainly be seen in my lifetime. But I am fortunate enough to have had opportunity to learn, logically, scientifically, rationally, and with a clear mind, much of how the world works. I will never know just how far any rabbit hole of information leads, whether the butterfly effect is real (i.e., something as minor as a butterfly flapping its wings causing down chain effects that bring us to exactly where we are right now), or if what anyone does has much or little real pull in the trajectory of the future.

Akin to this, some do refer to ‘Gods Plan’. As in, a supreme controller of the universe has everything that ever happened and everything that ever will happen fully planned out, and there is no control that anything has to change it. Related, is the idea that free will doesn’t exist. It cannot, in principle, be unproven. Going back a few entries to gene theory and how morality works, we can break down how our minds work much, much further, to the molecular and even the atomic level. We do understand, largely, how stars work, and how they effect gravity, and how elements are made from them and other processes. These immense reactions and creation/destruction of matter is under no control except the very laws of nature that have been pinned down by our great scientists. By extension, of course all living things are subject to the same laws.

Consider who you are at this moment. Define yourself as well as you can; for example, I am a white male in his early 30’s, straight, generally bright, sometimes funny, with a propensity to understand, be nice, nonconfrontational, with strong aptitude for creativity. I like cars, engineering problems, futurama, and hip hop. I enjoy the various sorts of food that are available in my area. I live in the Chicago area. Really, nothing about any of this was really my will. I didn’t decide to be born in the 90’s. I didn’t decide to be born near Chicago. I didn’t create or influence any of my influences, societal norms, etc. Neither did my parents and onward. It simply doesn’t work going backward in time. Does it work going forward, though? You can try as you might to prove you have free will by moving your right arm erratically, jumping around, and changing yourself as hard as you can. But really, was it you, the author of your own thoughts? Are you the author, or is it the collection of neurons and electric pulses in your brain, the collection of matter that comprises you, a carbon and hydrogen and oxygen composure that the majority of matter in the universe is made of?

God having created and controlling everything, to the lack of free will are generally synonymous theories. Except, there is more proof for the latter, as there is no proof for God.




CONTRARY SCIENCE

We have a list of cognitive deficiencies longer than anyone can list. Humans prefer simple shortcuts to frameworks of reality, so much so that we resort to myth when needed to just make it all make sense – even if it actually makes no sense. We follow others, we assign authority, we make things up, we make stories, and we create rules to fit our own objectives. We have lots of control, yet we have no control (above).

Like praying for rain, there is much we have not known throughout the ages. I won’t go too far into this, as these arguments have been made at great length already, but the concept of God keeps becoming more and more obscure. We call this the ‘God of the Gaps’. Once we learned how rain worked, God no longer is the arbiter of rain, but perhaps the sunlight. Once we discover how stars work, God becomes the director of human well being. Once human healthcare was sorted out by rigorous science, God becomes who we thank for life in the first place. We have largely defined all aspects of how life came to be. At no point in the process did a God come into the picture; not in a scientific test, not in our telescopes, not in our microscopes. Not in our elements, not in our particle accelerators. Not in our history, and not in our future. At this point, those who are desperately trying to hold onto religious beliefs are at a point of simply saying ‘God is everywhere’. God (by gods definition) is transcendent, outside of space and time. You know, like an imaginary friend. The idea of God is delusional.




MORAL REASONS TO / NOT TO BELIEVE

Is it moral to believe in God/religion/practices? Growing up where I did, it certainly seemed like it. Going to church once in a while, its unshakable to notice the nice, generally elder people at the church. The care and compassion are impossible to ignore. If anything, me being the skeptical heathen I became during my teens, I would probably be the least moral seeming person there. Well, of course, I wasn’t truly practicing the religion!

We often meet people who have been through hard times, with grand stories of how they took god into their heart and now have everything all figured out. I haven’t met a mean pastor, I haven’t (in general anyway) met immoral people who ‘truly practice’.

So on the surface it does seem quite fair, whether the practice of faith is true or not, that it provides a solid moral grounding for people. Indeed, at this point in time, it may. Alcoholics Anonymous is run amok with religious practice, and to be fair, AA is one of the only – and definitely the most successful – avenues struggling alcoholics have to escape it all and get back on track. I haven’t been to a non-religious funeral yet.

To all of this, I have a few points to make.

Remember, religion has been with us since humans have been human. Somehow, against all odds, it remains with us, in our culture. During the development of our ethics and morals, religion was assigned to their origin and practice every step of the way – so much so, in fact that parents still bring children to church against their will to make sure they become moral adults. Understanding where morals truly come from, we know, when looking at it soberly, humans are absolutely NOT bound to religion simply in order to become moral beings. After all, remember that we now have 8 BILLION people around the globe, all of which practice different religions and gods, or lack of gods! And as a reminder, they simply can NOT be all correct at the same time! Either one is correct, or all of them are simply wrong and misguided interpretations of how we came to be, how we must act, and where we go when we die. A kid that was not forced to go to Church each Sunday during their childhood will likely grow up to be just as decent a human as if he hadn’t.

However, early exposure to religious ideals, especially very strict ideals, does have effects on children that do propagate into adulthood. The following is a list of traits somebody may harbor who was raised very religiously, and for fun, how an atheist may compare:

  • Religious person:
    • Atheist:
  • Outgrouping other nations which follow other religions. Liking everyone who identifies with a similar religion.
    • Admittedly, also likely to group people together based on having religious beliefs at all, and then categorizing which are more batshit crazy.
  • Plugging faith into situations which require rational problem solving, which may lead to undesirable outcomes
    • Either a rational approach to possible arrays of solutions or perhaps a rightful hopefulness about it.
  • Misappropriately thanking God when outcomes come out well
    • Thanking doctors for their full responsibility. Admitting luck.
  • Hating gays, because their bible and following culture disapproves homosexual activity.
    • Not hating gays based on any 2000 year old book. An ability to soberly see that sexuality is not under one’s control and certainly not anyone else’s business.
  • Thinking everyone except those in their religious group will burn in hell forever
    • Knowing full well that nobody ever has or ever will burn in hell for any amount of time. Doing all they can to ensure justice can exist on this earth during the only life we know we have.
  • Thinking they will go to heaven, which puts them above others
    • Understanding we will not go to heaven as it does not exist. We are on a level playing field with others during this one lifetime.
  • General gullibility
    • Skepticism
  • Virtue signaling to others, and thinking they are moral when in fact they aren’t/might not be
    • Often taking a humble approach based on possibly having a better understanding of morality.
Now, this list is not exhaustive by any means, but it should be easy to identify how and why many of these traits are possible, and indeed probable for some.

We also must take a step back about both groups:

Being part of a religious association does mean that the person is subject to the involvement of the group-think. Of course that person is free outside of the practice to be whoever the fuck they want to be. In fact, they can go right ahead and ‘Sin all week, and be forgiven on Sunday’, as the saying goes. And of course, as a great many do, they may just tacidly go to church, generally extract the ‘feel good’ aspect/s of going to church, enjoying the music and company, and resetting their own internal compass to ‘be a good person’. And that is fine. BUT, they DO experience, whether they realize it or not, at least a little (and usually a LOT) of brainwashing from others. The experience of being within a group while under the influence of the brainwashing enforces that they actually believe the teachings – like any cult!

An Atheist, by stark contrast, is truly only defined by one thing – they reject the idea of supernatural beings, gods, and religion! That is the ONLY thing that makes somebody an atheist. They may be great over all people; they may be absolutely rotten people. I have been generally defined by others as a great, nice guy (thank God!). Other atheists may be murdering, raping thieves – you know, like the goat fuckers that wrote the bibles. From here we can categorize atheists a little further by how they came to be atheists:

  • They were born and raised by non-followers or devout atheists, and never cared about religion (probably thought it was just weird). Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious, or not.
  • Raised religious, realized it makes absolutely no sense in the context of real life, and decidedly left it behind. Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious, or not.
  • Raised religious, came into real life trouble, saw ‘God’ totally wipe all of their hopes way despite desperate prayer, and became nihilistic non-believers. Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious or not.
  • Good or bad people that became terrible people and do not wish to ever face their decisions and therefore default to deciding there is no God. These people likely do not have a great internal compass to begin with.
The point here is, all people may be good or bad, and following a religion generally has fuck-all to do with it. And religious or not, here is a small list of horribly immoral things people do, have done, and will do in the future:

  • Enslaving other humans – this is allowable to do in both the new and old testament. Nowhere in the bible does it ever state ‘though shall not own another human being’.
  • Extracting great amounts of material from the surrounding environment and turning it into items which provide us comfort or otherwise tickle our fancy (or pickle). Destroying habitats for the other living creatures in the process
  • Eating animals. Sure, ‘God gave man dominion over the earth and animals’, but do you think what he meant by that was “cram as many chickens into a warehouse as possible and force feed them so that they grow from chicks to 32 lb non-avian birds in a few weeks and then slaughter them, and grind their meat together so that up to thousands of individual bird remnants can occupy the same chicken nugget”?
  • Starting great wars where we kill other human beings
  • Being complicit in letting other people or animals starve to death
  • Ignoring that fact that North Korea exists in its current state
  • Uprating Miley Cyrus music videos and Reggaeton Producers
  • Wishing bad upon others, or wishing ourselves to come out on top of all situations no matter what it means for others
Truth be told, humans are far from moral creatures, but this is a hard pill to swallow, understandably so. Morality again breaks down here into multiple Fragments. Morality is defined from philosophers as the ability to discern and act upon what one has control over; to do the greatest amount of good and also the least amount of harm. This always exists on a spectrum – you may not have full control over what you can do (if you live in the city, you can’t grow your own plants to eat instead of fast food chicken sandwiches, if you were born during the great American slavery saga, you would be outcasted or killed for not partaking in owning a slave). Sometimes you cannot do something good without also doing something bad (say, removing all pedophiles from society would be great, but to do it would require a massive breach of personal data to identify all of them).

Morality can also be defined again as how beings come about to do themselves the most good from moment to moment. This is really how people generally act – anything good we do is usually just to ensure that we aren’t outcasted, continue to receive good treatment/money/food/shelter/sex from others, don’t get beaten up/robbed/killed/go to jail, etc. You may do good things at work, but you go to work for money, and for status. You go to Church to go to heaven, avoid hell, and feel accepted into a group.








BIBLICAL ISSUES, ISSUES BETWEEN BIBLES AND TESTAMENTS OF THE BIBLES

I haven’t read much of any bible, yet. Maybe I should. At this point in my life, knowing where I currently stand, would doing so strengthen or weaken my position? Seriously. Mentioned before, very few people actually waste any time reading the bible. They are either interested in what God himself (through the apostles/people convicted of his teachings through Jesus, anyway) had to say, or they aren’t interested. Does this not say something about what people really believe? People say they believe in God and his teachings through Jesus Christ. Pinned to a wall, they may proclaim this faith is true to them. But how true is it, really? Now, no one says they must read the bible to go to heaven. And maybe that’s why; maybe it’s just people following the easy route, and taking the bare minimum to hope they go to heaven. Fair enough! But I don’t know. If I had access to the workings and teachings of someone who could transcend time and matter – someone who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead – I would probably want to read his work quite intently. Sounds interesting, at least. Alas, I don’t really care to read the buy-bull. And neither does anyone else, apparently.

The thought of this always struck a chord with me, anyway, but few look at things this way. Few question what they actually believe and why.

Maybe some don’t wish to read the bible, because they know deep down that it would be a waste of time. It’s hard to read, as it is based on translations upon translations upon translations. It is dry. Oh, is it dry! I can just imagine some excerpt out of it like “and then bestoweth he, John the Baptist arrived at the mountain after forty days and asked Lazareth ‘why have you forgotten my sheep?’ and Lazareth replied, ‘I believe you haveth the wrong person. Go back forty days and check with your neighbor. Now I shall covet your wife until you return.” – or something like that. Maybe, people are scared that reading the bible will put great strain on their faith. Afterall, faith is individual, comprised of things we tell ourselves to be true. The less that we can have interfering with that, the better our faith. The less information, the better. No news is good news.

Based on what I’ve gathered, there is really not much to be learned from the bible/s. It is a collection of stories from people who were around ‘at the time’ of Jesus. It sounds like many of the stories contradict each other. There is little sense to be made of any moral ‘teachings’ – if anything, it can be obvious to spot that the teachings offer little in the way of thinking for oneself, and a lot for how to effectively be controlled by others. What to do when your daughter is raped? Kill your daughter out of shame, of course! How often should you beat your slaves? What should I do? Exactly what Jesus tells me!

Many may hear arguments about how brutal the bible is and interject ‘oh, but that’s the OLD testament!’. There is a zeitgeist that somehow the old testament, written by violent sheep herders who did an assortment of awful things were somehow overtaken by the teachings of the new testament, which has more to do with the stories of Jesus. Somehow the old testament simply gets tossed out (which, as a reminder, is still the word of God by all accounts) and we just accept the new testament! Problem solved, right? However, the stories in the new testament are actually just as dilapidated as the old. Moral unreasoning exists just the same in the new. If anything, the new offers LESS wisdom than the old!

The bible is simultaneously a waste of time and also the most published book in the history of all books. How this came to be is a bigger mystery than the story of Jesus himself.


THE TIMELINE OF RELIGIONS AND THE CONTEXT TO THE TIMELINE OF HUMANITY

Context, context, context!

A few entries back I painted the true-as-we-currently-understand picture that the universe is nearly 15 billion years old – and that is just to the point of singularity/big bang. We cannot see any further back with our telescopes, but we do see that far back. All methods of the scientific method point us in this direction, and this direction only – a some-15 billion year old universe that began very small and simple and has been expanding and complexifying ever since. It is on a trajectory to expand forever and slowly all stars will burn out until entropy is essentially complete – all energy will have been expended. It does not appear we experience a ‘big bounce’ at this point, i.e., the universe re-contracting into a point of singularity, and then banging back out – again.

Billions is a big number. 15 billion (years) is roughly twice the number of humans currently alive today.

100 years (the average human lifetime) is 0.00000000666 repeating (lol 666) percent the age of the universe. That is a lot of zeros.

Humans, being around and ‘documented’ for a mere 2 million years on the earth amounts to 0.00013% the age of the universe. In other words, if we put the entire age of the universe into a 24 hour time period, humans would be ‘born onto the earth’ during the last .1872 minute of the day – about the last 11 seconds. Jesus would have died .01 seconds before midnight. Midnight is now.

So what? I mean, I guess it would point out a few things; God made this universe so long ago, put us in during the last ‘millisecond’ of time in the grand scheme of things. Right after jesus, everything was probably as perfect (To God’s standards) as it ever would be, and its literally devolved from there. Every day we stray further from God. What a sad, stupid little story that is.

Also, more context, this time from a different angle. Humans started drawing on cave walls around 65,000 years ago. Maybe THIS is when we were pretty much ‘human’. Evolution takes a LONG time if you didn’t know. So to answer fundamentalist questions, no, a human never fucked a monkey. A monkey didn’t give birth to a human. Quit asking stupid fucking questions; I return to you, how do we know Mother Mary wasn’t just a whore and didn’t want her dad to kill her for ‘getting raped’?

Since 65,000 years ago, humans looked to the stars for answers. We wanted RAIN. We wanted shelter. We wanted food. We wanted the damn forest fires to stop. It likely took some great amount of time for religion to be organized at all; it was all song and dance up to the point of the great Egyptians, who against all odds managed to build the pyramids some 4-6,000 years ago in the name of their religion. Now, it took many thousands of slaves to perform the work, but one needs to hand it to the Egyptians for absolutely nailing it – they documented their teachings very well on the walls. The Ancient Egyptians appear to have used two constellations to align their pyramids in a north-south direction – the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. This alignment is so precise that their north-south positions are within an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees. There are sight holes in the greatest pyramid that allows direct sight to the north star (which turned out to be Venus, once we had telescopes). Then, the Egyptians mysteriously passed away. Their gods did nothing to save them and their amazing efforts, unfortunately, were futile.

Other great religions made their way across the world; think of the Mayans, for example, many great Asian religions, in fact it was quite a while before the Roman religions started to take a foothold on humanity. Sadly it was indeed constructed on the concept of a virgin birth, which is nothing new; virgin births include Romulus and Remus, twin founders of Rome, from the virgin Rhea Silvia. In ancient Egypt, Ra (the Sun) was also from a supposed virgin mother. Horus was the son of the virgin Isis. The Phrygo-Roman god, Attis, was born of a virgin, Nana, on December 25. He, too, went on to be killed and was resurrected. In ancient Greece, Dionysos was the son of either the virgin Semele or the virgin Persephone. Persephone was also the virgin mother of Jason. And Plato’s mother, Perictione, was a virgin.

~2000 years ago humans were becoming more advanced. We were also becoming more out of control. At this point in time we had around 200 million people alive. People were starving. People were fighting. People were raping and pillaging. Something had to stop it – a new version of the same ole religion came to the rescue, which helped keep peoples wrists slapped, taxed, and otherwise at bay for a fear of a new fake hell.

The list goes on of virgin births by the way, Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient China all have their share of them and none is more or less believable than any other myth.




ODD PRACTICES IN RELIGIONS

Have you ever stopped to just consider how weird it is, what people do in churches? Anything can seem weird in life, depending how far from it you step back. But generally we are all just going about our day doing whatever necessary things to keep the lights on. Cooking, cleaning, laughing, going to the bathroom, having sex, working, building, demolishing, growing, trimming, sleeping.

What do we do in churches? Now, going to class is similar; we sit down and let someone stand at the front of the room professing knowledge to us which we sit quietly and soak it in. But what about when you’re at a church? Stand! Sit! Kneel on your knee! Talk to someone together who isn’t even there. Talk about someone who may or may not have existed, and certainly not as the profound man defined to be, over two thousand years ago. Eat a wafer, have a sip of wine which is supposedly Jesus blood – subjectively, of course. Sing weird hymns. Bless eachother. Oh, and give money to someone for it so their building can continue to exist free of paying taxes.

Outside of church, religious people do a few other things; mostly, pray before eating, again, thanking someone who didn’t actually produce the food. Ideally, here is how I would pray:

Thank you, wife (or me) for buying this house with kitchen and cooking this food. Thank you, grocery store, for buying this food from someone else, stocking it, then selling it to me at a profit. Thank you, factory, for producing these taco shells, and thank you, meat processing plant, for shredding these cows alive. Oh, and thank you, farm, for raising the cattle. Thank you landscapers for cutting down the trees and tilling soil to grow soy to feed the cows. Thank you earth for having somewhat regular rain patterns on the ground, or for storing water in enough locations to make it feasible to pump water onto the crops.

Oh, and I sure hope uncle Joe recovers from his recent illness! Maybe I should give him a call to check in on him instead of just saying that, and then telling him I asked an imaginary friend to cure him.




THE GOOD THAT THE CHURCH OR PRACTICE OR BELIEF IN A RELIGION PROVIDES (IN REALITY)

I know, this has all seemed pretty harsh on the nitty gritty about religious practice. There is just so much to pragmatically point out about it. I also did point out that people generally follow the path of least resistance. Why on Gods green earth would people put themselves through so much hassle, going to church, paying them hard earned cash, and carrying these odd beliefs throughout their lives? Surely, there must be something good about it.

I’m sure there is. Well, as an atheist, I must acknowledge the secular benefits of practicing.

  • Being part of an ingroup: A lot of people don’t have strong social circles. Note that for the most part, when you go to a church outside of weddings or funerals, the majority of participants are older. Many of their friends and family have passed away or abandoned them. Going to a church is, if nothing else, warm and welcoming. People smile at you and beam down at you for attending this matter of utmost importance. You can tell someone there an issue you are going through and they will acknowledge it in front of others for you.
  • This is something that is otherwise lacking in real life culture. Many people stick to seeing their immediate friends and family, outside of school and work. Church provides another culture to be a part of. School, work, and often times, family, do not provide much in the name of condolence, support, and emotional help. At work, you gotta work. You are literally paid to do things for others there. They help you with a paycheck. At school, you pay to be there. You obtain their services and leave. They work for you in a very narrowly defined scope. With friends, you want to do fun things and enjoy eachother. Blessed are those with close friends who offer anything above that. Family is the place outside of all other places where you either relax, cook, clean, raise children, get raised, get scolded, and everything else. Church is different.
  • Religions organize to make (some) good things happen. Most notably in the form of collecting donations. This is a great thing, also largely lacking in culture otherwise. Get together, donate toys, food, clothes or money to others. This is a great thing. It is simply misaligned with doing it for God. And much of the money gets absorbed into the management of the building, and in extreme cases, guys like Joel Osteen.
  • Note: In most cases of donating, there is a power law where the more money that gets donated, powers ultimately arise to control and administer the money. Some amount of it is almost always lost in the process. This is not always a bad thing. If you want to go give $20 to one homeless man, you are cutting out the middle man and doing some good. If you want to give millions of dollars to the homeless cause, it will require some management to keep it going, and there will be some parasitic loss here. A balance may be stricken between how these organizations do it and how churches do it.
  • But wow, the money! In the U.S., faith based institutions account for about $378 billion dollars per year. If this were taxed, we could seriously consider doing some things like paying off national debt, starting something like universal basic healthcare, helping to pay off student loans (which are growing at 1.7 TRILLION USD per year), etc. The crux is, of course, it would break into the amount of good that the church can donate. But also we don’t know how much of this money is simply absorbed by people beyond a reasonable point. Many pastors live – for free! – based on managing and pastoring at the church. You gotta make a living, sure, and its not necessarily a BAD job to do (ethically speaking), nor too easy or too hard. But wow. Up the line there are definitely cases of money laundering, not to mention the other fun things some churches try to hide, like pedophilic catholic priests.
  • Churches provide a location to commemorate a dead person, bless a newly born person, and wed people.
  • I just view this as ‘the place’ to do this stuff, generally. Thankfully many marriages can and do take place outside of churches now, because the same amount of divorces happen regardless of where the original wedding took place and whether they were blessed by a pastor or not.
  • Providing hope to the hopeless. More on this at the end; in a nutshell, churches provide false hope by rationalizing that someone died 2,000 years ago for you and will be waiting for you after you die to take you into heaven where you are re-united with other dead people – hopefully people you particularly liked and also went to heaven. Would be a real shame if everyone that ever mattered to you didn’t quite make it to heaven, and you’re stuck with Grandma Fran.. and Aunt Karen.
  • So, some good can come out of going to Church and practicing religion. But seriously, note that all of these things can be done having never stepped foot in a church, and taking anything the bible has to say seriously.





THE ACTUAL STRAIN THAT RELIGION PUTS ON PEOPLE AND HOLDS THEM BACK

Perhaps a summary of much of the above, but I see a great deal of strain that belief puts of people. Life is hard, it is futile. There is little we have control over despite our best efforts. There has been death and famine as far back as the history books go. Viruses plague us. Mosquitos kill millions of people each year, if cancer doesn’t get to them first. Innocent people get run over by drunk drivers. Drunk drivers need to live knowing they killed someone on accident. We in the first class society life in a weird place and time. We live better than the kings of old, but we want more. The reason we live so well is due to billions of years of stored sunlight brought to surface in the name of fossil fuel, and the fact that America gained a foothold – perhaps a chokehold – on the rest of the world as soon as fossil fuels were discovered. Now, the rest of the world lives at the brink of starvation, barely staying afloat, to produce things for us to consume. Yet, America is home to the greatest rate of suicide. People aren’t happy. Perhaps this is partially to knowing the circumstances in which we live. Also notable is the fact that so few of us have perished at the hands of war due to others; short of 9-11, all I can think of is the attack on our Hawaii base during WWII, in terms of innocent civilians being at risk of great danger by another nation.

You can work really hard to get out of the lower class, but largely you stay in whatever class you are born in. You are subject to the same corporations that manage to keep the rest of the world from getting to ahead of themselves. We work for these corporations and then pay them to consume their goods. It’s sad, isn’t it? We get taxed for the money we make, pay taxes on what we buy, then get taxed when we die. Of those taxes, nearly 50% goes to defense. 25% goes to social security which is bound to go away by the time my generation tries to retire.

We also exist in the age of information. We are constantly bombarded with unspeakable tales of bad news, both in our own back yards and around the globe. What can you do with this information other than absorb it? I am reminded of a damn good analogy. You are walking past a pond, and see a little girl in the middle of the pond, clearly struggling not to drown. Noone else is around. Safe to say, most people would jump right into that pond, and save the little girl. Now imagine the same situation but there are two girls in it, on near opposite sides of the pond. Both appear to be struggling the same amount and you only have enough time to feasibly save one before the other surely drowns. What do you do now? Now, imagine hearing a very sad story about one starving child in Africa. Only you are told about this sole child, their story, and the supporting evidence to know it is true. Perhaps even $100 can save their life. Would you do it? Most would say yes, if I had an extra $100 I would surely send it. But interestingly enough, most people don’t. And just know it is exceedingly easy to send $100 to even one lucky individual in Africa. What if then, however you learn the sole child also has two brothers and sisters in the same exact situation? What if you learn this is the case for millions of children across the world? The higher the number, the less we care. We can NOT care. There is simply too much to even start to address; the $100 means nothing.

Tough crowd. Tough life. American Christians can sleep well at night thinking everyone will be saved in the end; varying beliefs on the spectrum about who gets saved and just how; Christian or not. You too, will be saved from this world that God put us on; like it is some sort of silly test. The good guys always win. All will be right in the end. Not on earth, though. Some Christians also harbor that belief that one day all people will be taken from the earth; the bad people go to hell and the Christians go to heaven. What a weird thing to believe.

It takes a lot of mental leaps to believe God is watching over you and perhaps millions of others. You need to realize, if he is, he is also NOT watching over billions more. He set the trap in the middle of the forest; now it just depends which lucky bear happens to step into the trap.

Religion is hard to believe at any point in time, but especially now, in face of all the science we have uncovered. What if the science is nothing more than God (or the devil) testing us? What if it is all so undeniably true, what we have before us regarding space, evolution, and so much that contradicts things said in the bible, and most of the claims made in the bible so hard to solve, but the inverse is actually true, and we go to hell for being gullible to it? Yet again, the context of our time is so crucial here. Just ~200 years ago, we would not be privy to some 95% of the knowledge we now possess. All we would have is our personal experience, many more people in our little isolated cultures all practicing the same religions, hardly knowing others exist out there and what they practice. If I was born back then, no way would I be writing what I have laid out here. I wouldn’t know any of it.

That is the crux of the epistemology of this whole ordeal.
 

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Any very religious people in here that would like to provide feedback or pushback on my manifesto?


I haven’t been to a church, short of a funeral (at a Lutheran church which is very laisse Faire) for a long time. Recently was my first time stepping foot in a Catholic Church. Seeing some of the religious practice anew got me thinking.

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge; how it is obtained, what knowledge is, the scope and validity of it, etc. I have become interested in it over the years.

Some 15 years ago I decided I was an atheist; perhaps even a staunch atheist. My whole life to that point I was likely one as well but hadn’t really applied the ‘epistemology’ to it yet, to take the idea of religion seriously and try to contend with myself whether or not I truly believed it or not; somewhat because I hadn’t yet cared enough about my position either way, and the nagging feeling of ‘what if I’m wrong’ and therefore the following fear of going to hell for blasphemy or not believing. But for various, somewhat separate reasons I came to my conclusion that religion/s are false beliefs and have no bearing on reality.

How does one come to such conclusions? Is it the same way somebody else could fall into a religion? Turns out, no. This will be an attempt to find pathways between separate ideas, tying them together, and venn-diagramming the playscape of concepts that I think about from day to day. Funny thing, having gone to church refreshed the compelling feeling to write something that few will read, but it’s my way of collecting my own thoughts.



So, I am going to try to do that now. I will be writing about the following topics, tying them together, proving via (admittedly) largely conjectural logic how many of the points become nails in the coffin, or how even if one of my ideas can somehow be falsified, it doesn’t allow room for religious beliefs to seep back in as possible alternatives.

I do not know everything about everything. I hardly know anything about anything. Therefore, it is likely much of what I say ahead could be picked apart, falsified, or expanded upon further. These are just the thoughts of an earthling with his own experiences, and beliefs about belief. However, many of the concepts ahead truly tie into the web of reality and are based upon science. Science cannot be argued with, except with more science. At some point, one needs to accept the claims about science as being thorough enough to sufficiently put a stake in the ground that cannot be pulled back out and readjusted in any meaningful sense.

Here are the concepts I will cover, somewhat in order:

  • What is religion, essentially?
  • Positive claims and their validity
  • Difference in religions
  • Difference from person-to-person religions
  • Timeline of religions
  • Relationships with religious deities
  • Time spent on religions throughout cultures
  • Where morals come from
  • What people actually believe, and why they/wish to believe it
  • Expectations of prayer, belief, and practice
  • Contrary science
  • Moral reasons to / not to believe
  • Biblical issues, issues between bibles and testaments of the bibles
  • The timeline of religions and the context to the timeline of humanity
  • Odd practices in religions
  • Odd general stories and details about religions
  • The good that the Church or practice or belief in a religion provides (in reality)
  • And how those goods are secular but allocated incorrectly
  • Taxes and money
  • The actual strain that it puts on people and holds them back
  • Wars and deaths in the name of religion
  • Peace and wisdom without religion





SO, WHAT IS RELIGION, ESSENTIALLY?

A religion is a belief or practice which commemorates ‘historical events’, ‘people’ who ‘existed’, and worships previous, current or future deities, who have varying scopes depending on the specific religion. I am a white male in his mind 30’s, raised in Central USA. As such I will largely speak to the Christian and related Catholic religion for the main context of this admitted manifesto of sorts.

All religions generally have some core claims that something happened which is beyond what is possible by any other people, such as being born from a virgin, coming back from the dead, or existing in a location outside of time and space, yet can affect our real lives. Also, they claim that we continue to exist, for better or worse, when our lives end. Generally, supernatural, or miracles are words associated with this concept.

From the get-go, obviously we are going to have some problems with this. What can do things that 100% of other humans cannot? How do we know any of this could be factual? What bearing could any of it have to do with us if it were true? How is this documented? How well has the documentation held up over the years? How does it tie into the context of our culture? And most importantly, how does it tie into the concept of what is scientifically knowable and observable?






POSITIVE CLAIMS AND THEIR VALIDITY

I do not have to prove that a God does not exist. We all know that in court, no one is asked to prove they did not do something. Instead, one must prove that they did do something. In religion, a positive claim is being asserted. These claims need to be proven. The first of many major fallacies of religious beliefs is that they are not proven. In fact one needs to have faith for a religion to work for them. Religions are not provable. The defendant is innocent. Much more on this later; there are also several (Current) positive claims being made throughout our culture, from many different religious groups. Each claim to be the truth. Imagine being a judge in this scenario, where many people are saying one crime was committed, no other crimes have been committed, and none have proof that anything has happened. What a waste of time.

This may seem like an easy out to any intently reading believers who have or have not come across this concept before. One may wish to say, no, prove a god does NOT exist! Prove Jesus did NOT resurrect from his death! Unfortunately, time only moves in one direction, and the past no longer exists. Also it is way too far back to find a clear conclusion on the happenings of Mr. Christ. Also unfortunate is the fact that the most expert forensics available in the day of Christ failed to accurately capture proof of his existence and the happenings of his existence. The only available documentation, really, is in the scriptures of the bible/s which statements may mesh in general but do not fully corroborate.






DIFFERENCE IN RELIGIONS

There are many differences between the various religions in terms of their specific positive claims. They speak of different people, different stories, different rules of practice, different end results of following those practices, different locations, different timelines.

There are also many similarities between religions. They all (mostly) claim many of the same general facts, and once all of the ‘fat’ is removed from them, a basic premise is, there is/was a god who created and controls the universe to some extent. Worshipping this god in the correct way may affect how you spend eternity. Sounds important to get right.

I will always approach this argument from the same perspective. What happens if you were born on an island and lived your entire life alone? What if you never heard a single thing about religion, and what it offers? What if you are deaf dumb and blind? What if you were aborted or miscarried? What happens to your soul? Do Dogs have souls? Do ants have souls? Do microorganisms have souls? In general, it seems you will perish. And, through no fault of your own.

What if you were born in the wrong area of the world, or at the wrong time? What if you were born in the middle east and practice Hinduism, but the correct religion to follow was Catholicism as taught in Hispanic cultures? What happens to your soul then? Some may argue that a god will see that you were practicing religion and let you into heaven, but this cannot quite be the case. After all, blasphemy.

No matter how you dice it, IF ANY religion is, or ever was correct, that means right off the bat, that the vast majority of people (around 100 BILLION people at this point) will have gone to hell through no fault of their own, for not following that specific religion.

But what if they WERE taught *insert correct religion here*? Think Jehovah’s witnesses, retreats, etc. At least they had the chance to change their ways! But alas, no, that idea sucks. It would be like being told as a grown up that other very basic tenants of your life are completely wrong, and you need to change your ways; i.e., you need to be a firefighter instead of a lawyer. It’s not your fault that that is not going to happen. If it is, we must also keep in mind that we were designed the way we are, and God has some level of control of our circumstances and designed how we deal with things internally and externally, which again is quite cruel. Like cramming 100 hamsters in to a 1x2 foot cage and starving all but 20 hamsters.

The result of these lines of thinking is, none of these can be right. Moreover, it makes more sense to follow none of them. Why is that? If you follow one of them, you are accepting their positive claims which cannot be proven, remember? If you follow one religion, why can’t you follow all religions? They all claim they are the ONLY true religion and that all others are false. They effectively cancel each other out. Further, each religions logic sways you to believe them in the same ways; a book says so, many people follow the religion, you must, or X will/wont happen to you, and onward.

Finally, let’s be reminded, that there have been similar accounts of religions similar to Christianity throughout the ages of humanity. The story has always restarted and taken its own life throughout time.






DIFFERENCE FROM PERSON TO PERSON RELIGIONS

Leaving the difference of the literal religions aside, lets look at religious people one on one.

Now, we might be able to classify people as ‘Christian’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Catholic’, ‘Lutheran’, etcetera. We can say, ‘oh, he is a Christian, he believes these 10 commandments, mostly follows the New Testament and onward’. However, humans are (biblically!) imperfect beings. Nobody follows anything to the T, and nobody truly can.

Very few people have read the entire bible (I would guess 1 in 100 people maybe?) – from any set of bibles which exist or have existed. I, for the record, am among most people, who spend very little time even flipping the pages.

Lets say you sat down and read the entire bible. You study it thoroughly, so as to comprehend it in its entirety. Those who do this have issues with each other. Even if you do indeed read the whole bible and follow its every instruction (more on that later, but please don’t stone gays, own slaves, kill those who steal, sacrifice goats, and other things it has to say), there is so much nuance in reality and life that no one can truly follow a religion entirely. Who could possibly say that is OK? You just need to be forgiven, right? How do you know you are truly forgivable, for it does not necessarily say this in the bible. If its not said in the bible, how do we know it is valid in the context of religion?

Many who HAVE read the bible come out as atheists at the end of it, because they find the bible to be such a poor account of historical facts. The bible has no bearing on any reality we now know to be true. It becomes very clear that the bible was written by sheep herders trying desperately to find ways to control people and create order in society, which later became washed as a concept, into supporting humanities quest for ‘salvation’, ‘enightenment’, ‘moral framing’, and a general hopefulness for life.

Back to theists, however - most people, in fact, have very fragmented beliefs about what their religion means to them. Most may tacitly believe whatever core tenants have been drilled into them since they were children, but do not think far beyond that. Some may have heard other portions of what the beliefs entail due to, of course, having different life experiences and different offerings at their church or time. How can we reconcile this? We cannot. At all. And, yes, you can say the same about atheists who all will also have their own nuance about how it works and doesn’t work, but the only claim an atheist truly makes is ‘God does not exist’, or a general retreat from accepting religious doctrine. There is no nuance in that general statement.






TIMELINE OF RELIGIONS

Related to the different religions in general, there is a timeline of all cultures, cultural practices, beliefs and onward. The human experiment is ongoing and evolving all the time. Time only moves in one direction. Again we approach the question, what if, along with being in the wrong place to experience a religion, what if you are in the wrong time as well?

Languages change. Meaning of words change. ‘Silly’ is an adjective prescribed to people who are zany, clumsy, without manners, or being funny. Really, silly is derived from the word ‘blessed’. What the fuck is this horseshit?

How are we supposed to decode the old language of the bible or any other scripture? The Hebrew languages that the bible have been translated multiple times. The original (if one could ever call anything original about the Late Pagan religions) set of books have been translated, expanded, debunked, re-written, and of course much of the meaning is truly lost over time. Not to mention, again, the stories within the bible do not even corroborate! Different direction is given for similar situations, stories have different timelines, accounts of unfolding events, and much more.

It is not surprising to see, at this point, most people do not even deal with actually reading the bibles, even though in my opinion that would be the most important part of being in a religious cult. You know, being familiar with the most closely related documentation to it.

What does going to Church truly serve? Some guy in the same century as you contextualizing stories cherry picked from the book to help you feel like you have a safe place in heaven as long as you continue to keep going and believing whatever they tell you is like a Chicken saying the farmer has his best interests at mind – until he gets his head chopped off all of a sudden.

In fact, related to the timeline of religion, one should realize that those who apparently saw the events of Jesus unfold were the most religious people ever. Anyone around who did not directly observe it are once-removed from the events. Their descendants now need to believe what their parents or friends saw or heard about. And here we are, some 2000 years later passing along fishing stories. We are approximately 100 generations or so removed from the story. If details change in each generation as well as each iteration during the generation, there could be 10,000 changes to account for by simple math. All for what is clearly an imagined story.

No wonder culture is so fragmented. No wonder so many people can simultaneously exist within our roughly functional culture while maintaining entirely different opinions about all sorts of things.






RELATIONSHIPS WITH RELIGIOUS DEITIES

Also different from peoples succinct beliefs about religion are each individuals ‘relationship’ with their deities. At face value, of course, we know there is no way to test whether someone has an imaginary friend, or some sort of real friend they communicate with via telepathy. Maybe they are intergalactic pen pals.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Do you just feel it? How do you know which religious deity you are communicating with? How do you know it’s not one humanity has never properly defined, and that you are communicating or acting in the right way?

Churches are the main means of enforcing the idea that one can walk alongside God, and have God in their life. Personally, I think this works via a few methods.

  • People are born into the religion and are prepositioned to believe what the authority figures of the church tell them. This is an extension of their own parents bringing them to Church and stressing the importance of it.
  • Those who go to Church and allow it to guide their moral reasoning allow the 10 commandments and the general guise of a ‘Good Christian’ lifestyle define their lives.
  • People go to Church during feelings of hardship, duress, loss, love, and other arrays of emotions.
  • When people feel hopeless, distressed, have lost a loved one, feel love during a marital ceremony, etc., their conscious allows the pastor to ‘baster’ their brains with an idea. They inject a connection between their emotional feelings (which are often pronounced from day to day feelings when NOT at Church) and God, Jesus, etc.
  • Later, when people feel like they need support in their life, they think they feel Jesus by their side.





HOW DO WE KNOW WE ARE ACTUALLY COMMUNICATING CORRECTLY OR WE WERE COMMUNICATED TO?

Keeping the above sentences and questions in mind, along with the bible/s, it is impossible to know that any God has ever communicated anything to us. Had they, it was a one time, one way communication, and there was no way to verify we got the message down correct while the goat-fuckers scribed everything in stone, or on parchment paper, whatever the fuck.

Obviously, we are on a 8000 mile wide rock hurling through space around a sun which is 23 trillion miles away from the NEXT NEAREST STAR, let alone wherever the next planet that harbors life (let alone sentient human life that worships a creator of the universe). We are quite alone here on our rock, and while it is most certain life exists outside of the earth, we may never truly have a way to verify it, or connect with it in any meaningful way.






TIME SPENT ON RELIGIONS THROUGHOUT CULTURES

It really is amazing that life exists – really, practically a miracle. Think about this, which is scientific, proven until expanded upon, which can only move the yardsticks around very slightly, if at all. Doing so at any point does NOT nullify the story and it DEFINITELY does not introduce a ‘god exists’ posit.

15 billion years ago, the universe was the size of a plank length, which is some billions of times smaller than an atom. We humans struggle with orders of magnitude, large numbers, great distances, and times greater than human lifetimes, but try your best.

15 billion years ago, the universe began a rapid expansion and has been expanding and cooling ever since. All the energy that will ever exist started then and continues to diffuse until all energy is effectively spent. Our sun is a star. It is a third generation star, meaning other stars died and composed the matter that our star is made of. Importantly, this re-formation of matter creates more complex matter. Perhaps a fourth generation star creates even more complex matter, but we are pretty certain we have the table of elements largely completed at this point in time. This complex matter created our sun a mere 4.7 billion years back, and our earth along with all other planets formed from the remains and some other space debris. Life did begin on earth as soon as it was able to, meaning there was water and the crust had cooled down enough to not burn it off.

The first life on earth actually transformed the atmosphere to have oxygen and killed itself off, allowing other forms of life (all living in the great oceans) eventually thrived on. Photosynthesis began, and life really has a foothold on continuing.

Only ~300 million years ago is when the great dinosaurs ruled the earth, in the grand scheme of things that seems like a very SHORT time ago but in fact it was quite far.

We humans like to think that humanity is in the year 2023, so accounting for the 4000 ‘BC’ years, we have accounted for approximately 6000 years of humans. However, we have been anatomically human for some 2 million years, with very close relatives stretching back to nearly 8 million years ago! This is to say, if ONLY humans are sentient enough to be able to comprehend the fact that we exist, we are the universes way of experiencing itself. Isn’t that something.

And yet, we take shortcuts to thank a god for creating and controlling what is otherwise an incredibly vast, long lasting universe that is largely inhospitable to life, only to have made this very one planet which harbors life. What a joke. The universe will effectively ‘last’ forever, but the smallest stars will burn for perhaps trillions of years before burning out entirely, leaving the universe cold and basically dead.

We have been praying to gods since many thousands of years ago, basically since we were collected enough to have methods of communicating. Obviously, we prayed for rain, food, warmth, shelter, life and onward. And today we pray to win football games, and for Jimmy to get a perfect exam score, and for Aunt Irma’s cancer to go away, and for soldiers fighting wars against other countries and religious deities to come back safe and victorious (from both sides of the pond).

A monumental amount of the human experience has been wasted asking invisible friends to lend a hand. It may be the truth that people would dance around for days on end praying for rain. When it rained, they falsely assumed that the dancing was the only reason the Gods gave them rain. Perhaps it was early on bullshit assumptions like this, that we are still so fucked today.






WHERE MORALS (AND BABIES) COME FROM

Selfish gene theory, too, has much to do with why we do what we do. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that we often time suck at following truth. We know we should eat right and exercise but eating chips and watching tv on the couch is so easy to do, and feels good – if not saltier, and less strenuous. The truth is, what allows genes to reproduce is often gets passed along. As long as we can mate, some genes get passed along. It’s not a given that EVERYTHING we do passes along, but a lot of it!

Our ancestors had hard times finding fruit, meat, and water. When we find fruit, our brains would light up and take in as much of the natural sugars as possible. Now, we can’t avoid eating chocolate bars.

Morals are similar, in how they are constructed.

Many will take almost all points made so far and say ‘well wait, now, if there was no religion, we would all just be running around killing and raping eachother!’.

This is very, very false. We follow morals for selfish gene reasons. If one sets out to cause harm, they need to be aware that harm may return to them. If we are helpful and nice, we may be invited into the tribe and fed, and maybe even get to reproduce.

Morality is an odd thing that takes many forms; avoiding punishment, seeking reward, chasing opportunities, avoiding harm, attempting to do something first, attempting to do something last, and onward.

It is odd that morality even exists. Again, we are in a universe full of molecules. We are molecules. Between us is more molecules of different varying compositions. And some 500 million years from now the molecules of the sun will consume it all, and it was all for nothing. Whether we found ways to beat our gene agendas, achieve world peace, defeat climate change and resource depletion, and get not the 101 billionth child to be born but the trillionth, one day, we will all be dead.

It seems like an exercise in futility, to live at all, sometimes. After all, being comprised of molecules and genes, essentially, my body is just a huge group of genes following their own agenda, which is simply to survive and reproduce. And as such, most of our morals are simply an extension of that.

But definitely they were not crammed into our brains by God. God is not moral. God gives people cancer. God causes droughts and hurricanes. God causes miscarriages. God makes people gay which get stoned for being gay because God said so. God provided some sort of shitty vague message to us around 2000 years ago, one time, by sacrificing a guy who now lives along side him judging us. And we are all stuck here, with more clues leading toward the fact that we are evolved beings in a 100 billion lightyear wide universe that will be consumed by our own sun if our genes don’t kill ourselves off first, and no actual clues leading toward an apparent salvation.

We do not get morals from God. God’s moral landscape is akin to a parent telling a child to not do something ‘because I said so’, ‘or else’, or ‘if you do this you will get a reward’. It should be abundantly clear that short of dealing with children who are still absorbing the vastly complex moral framework of society, that the real world is very much not godlike.

Self-acclaimed deeply religious people may claim to have superior morals to others that are not religious, or follow separate religions. From person to person, if we could actually find metrics to measure ‘how moral someone is’, we may find that to be true in some cases. Indeed, some people ‘just wanna sin’ and avoid religious practice while fulfilling a life of crime.

But anyone who is more moral than another is simply more in tune with reality and having a deep and nuanced understanding of how people interact with eachother and their environment. If somebody followed the moral practices and prescribed by the Bible, I believe many would talk about them negatively behind their back, for spending an inordinate amount of time conspiring against other religious practicing people, attempting to stone gays, wanting to kill their unmarried daughter because someone had sex with them, etc.

Obviously, we have an odd middle ground, where there are, indeed, people who ‘believe they believe’ religion very deeply, and are also quite reasonable, moral, and otherwise smart people. I think this is a display of human shortcoming, and the ability to simultaneously act one way and believe you are acting another way. At minimum they are acting in accordance with the cherry picked sermons they have grown up on, which obviously is not all bad. Having attended a fair number of sermons, I never left feeling like I was necessarily misguided, or told to do something immoral. Afterall, ‘help thy neightbor!’ is good advice. But it isn’t something God had to tell us. We simply figured it out on our own and now have drawn false connections to the proprieter.






WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE, AND WHY THEY /WISH TO BELIEVE IT

Peoples specifics on the stories of God, Jesus, the rapture, the great flood, the talking snakes, the goats, etc, will vary. But its important to know WHY they believe anything at all.

Really, the only reason we believe anything – short of, because we were taught it as kids as this 2000 year plus odd tradition that simply everyone seems to follow to varying extents – is that we need this imaginary guy to look after us during our life, and we need to make sure we are in heaven when we die. And in this big, scary, futile universe, many people, I think, have issues with realizing this. We don’t like to feel alone. We don’t like to think that one day our lights will simply turn off. We don’t like to think that everything we try so hard to do is all for nothing. We don’t like to think that people die for no reason – just because. We want there to be justice. We want things to make sense. We want to fill in the gaps of our knowledge.






EXPECTATIONS OF PRAYER, BELIEF, AND PRACTICE

When we practice, pray, or believe something like this, we are expecting a reward. We expect to pray for a sick loved one and that God will look after the countless trained professional doctors administering medicines that took decades to produce and work in a sterile and curated environment using rare resources that we cleverly learned how to use. So we can thank God when the patient comes out alive on the other end.

Take note of the inconsistencies when we pray and what we assign/thank God for and what we do not. Again, thousands of years back, to perhaps over the last 100 years, people prayed for rain. Knowing what we know now about weather patterns and what forces of nature drive rain, it is patently absurd to pray for rain. And it always was, we just did not know it then.

Lets start with a simple but extremely common example of what people pray for. People pray quite constantly for their loved ones in war to come home safe. We send people to kill or defend us from being killed by others. We set up these conflicts in the first place, then expect an imaginary god to look out for us. Meanwhile, of course, people on the other side of the pond are doing the same exact thing. So let’s start with this question: If side A wins, does that mean their God was the correct/existing God to pray to, and that God listened and administered the magic corrective action to bring some portion of their soldiers home safely? Are both Gods existing but one happened to be more powerful or caring than the other? Also consider that for a God to keep any troop safe, this necessarily means that they must be successful in combat – in other words, this God decided to take one nations side on the conflict and aid in the killing of people. People that God is supposedly trying to save. Unquestionably, this is offensive no matter how we look at it. People are alone on this globe. People start conflicts, fight over resources, control, or self defense and we use game theory to effectively kill each other in a form of damage control. There is no god at play here.

Or, let’s look at a family member in medical distress. Lots of people pray for them. Obviously, not everyone makes it out alive. Gods plan, right? Do we thank god if they do make it out alive? Do we only thank god for this one persons life being spared, or again, do we go down the line of cause and effect that brought us to such a world where we have medical professionals and the scientific methods that brought us to the point of being able to do anything other than pray to help ourselves out of injury and illness? Do we thank god for cancer? Do we thank God for weak limbs and car accidents? Do we thank God for miscarriages? Do we expect young cancer patients, mentally ill, and miscarriage children to go to heaven, since they are innocent to having not learned the message of Jesus?

We may notice some patterns here, and appropriately so. The more duress a person is under, the less control they have, the less security they have, the more they will lean to faith to help pull them through. Here we are in America in the 21st century. Never before have we had so much material wealth and comfort or control in our lives. We life better than the greatest kings of the 19th century at this very point in time. Naturally some of us (me, at least) aren’t fogged by the mental shortcomings that typically lead people to lean on religion for comfort and peace. I personally have not been wronged too severely in my life. I haven’t been subject to extreme unjust, nor have I personally been in grave danger many times. I have only lost a few family and friends to extreme causes. My country/area has not been under attack by others. This may or may not always be the case for me; looking to the future I do see much dystopia. Our carbon pulse of using extreme amounts of energy to continually expand the human footprint on the earth is coming over the hill and this will cause extreme amounts of conflict and loss, some of which will certainly be seen in my lifetime. But I am fortunate enough to have had opportunity to learn, logically, scientifically, rationally, and with a clear mind, much of how the world works. I will never know just how far any rabbit hole of information leads, whether the butterfly effect is real (i.e., something as minor as a butterfly flapping its wings causing down chain effects that bring us to exactly where we are right now), or if what anyone does has much or little real pull in the trajectory of the future.

Akin to this, some do refer to ‘Gods Plan’. As in, a supreme controller of the universe has everything that ever happened and everything that ever will happen fully planned out, and there is no control that anything has to change it. Related, is the idea that free will doesn’t exist. It cannot, in principle, be unproven. Going back a few entries to gene theory and how morality works, we can break down how our minds work much, much further, to the molecular and even the atomic level. We do understand, largely, how stars work, and how they effect gravity, and how elements are made from them and other processes. These immense reactions and creation/destruction of matter is under no control except the very laws of nature that have been pinned down by our great scientists. By extension, of course all living things are subject to the same laws.

Consider who you are at this moment. Define yourself as well as you can; for example, I am a white male in his early 30’s, straight, generally bright, sometimes funny, with a propensity to understand, be nice, nonconfrontational, with strong aptitude for creativity. I like cars, engineering problems, futurama, and hip hop. I enjoy the various sorts of food that are available in my area. I live in the Chicago area. Really, nothing about any of this was really my will. I didn’t decide to be born in the 90’s. I didn’t decide to be born near Chicago. I didn’t create or influence any of my influences, societal norms, etc. Neither did my parents and onward. It simply doesn’t work going backward in time. Does it work going forward, though? You can try as you might to prove you have free will by moving your right arm erratically, jumping around, and changing yourself as hard as you can. But really, was it you, the author of your own thoughts? Are you the author, or is it the collection of neurons and electric pulses in your brain, the collection of matter that comprises you, a carbon and hydrogen and oxygen composure that the majority of matter in the universe is made of?

God having created and controlling everything, to the lack of free will are generally synonymous theories. Except, there is more proof for the latter, as there is no proof for God.




CONTRARY SCIENCE

We have a list of cognitive deficiencies longer than anyone can list. Humans prefer simple shortcuts to frameworks of reality, so much so that we resort to myth when needed to just make it all make sense – even if it actually makes no sense. We follow others, we assign authority, we make things up, we make stories, and we create rules to fit our own objectives. We have lots of control, yet we have no control (above).

Like praying for rain, there is much we have not known throughout the ages. I won’t go too far into this, as these arguments have been made at great length already, but the concept of God keeps becoming more and more obscure. We call this the ‘God of the Gaps’. Once we learned how rain worked, God no longer is the arbiter of rain, but perhaps the sunlight. Once we discover how stars work, God becomes the director of human well being. Once human healthcare was sorted out by rigorous science, God becomes who we thank for life in the first place. We have largely defined all aspects of how life came to be. At no point in the process did a God come into the picture; not in a scientific test, not in our telescopes, not in our microscopes. Not in our elements, not in our particle accelerators. Not in our history, and not in our future. At this point, those who are desperately trying to hold onto religious beliefs are at a point of simply saying ‘God is everywhere’. God (by gods definition) is transcendent, outside of space and time. You know, like an imaginary friend. The idea of God is delusional.




MORAL REASONS TO / NOT TO BELIEVE

Is it moral to believe in God/religion/practices? Growing up where I did, it certainly seemed like it. Going to church once in a while, its unshakable to notice the nice, generally elder people at the church. The care and compassion are impossible to ignore. If anything, me being the skeptical heathen I became during my teens, I would probably be the least moral seeming person there. Well, of course, I wasn’t truly practicing the religion!

We often meet people who have been through hard times, with grand stories of how they took god into their heart and now have everything all figured out. I haven’t met a mean pastor, I haven’t (in general anyway) met immoral people who ‘truly practice’.

So on the surface it does seem quite fair, whether the practice of faith is true or not, that it provides a solid moral grounding for people. Indeed, at this point in time, it may. Alcoholics Anonymous is run amok with religious practice, and to be fair, AA is one of the only – and definitely the most successful – avenues struggling alcoholics have to escape it all and get back on track. I haven’t been to a non-religious funeral yet.

To all of this, I have a few points to make.

Remember, religion has been with us since humans have been human. Somehow, against all odds, it remains with us, in our culture. During the development of our ethics and morals, religion was assigned to their origin and practice every step of the way – so much so, in fact that parents still bring children to church against their will to make sure they become moral adults. Understanding where morals truly come from, we know, when looking at it soberly, humans are absolutely NOT bound to religion simply in order to become moral beings. After all, remember that we now have 8 BILLION people around the globe, all of which practice different religions and gods, or lack of gods! And as a reminder, they simply can NOT be all correct at the same time! Either one is correct, or all of them are simply wrong and misguided interpretations of how we came to be, how we must act, and where we go when we die. A kid that was not forced to go to Church each Sunday during their childhood will likely grow up to be just as decent a human as if he hadn’t.

However, early exposure to religious ideals, especially very strict ideals, does have effects on children that do propagate into adulthood. The following is a list of traits somebody may harbor who was raised very religiously, and for fun, how an atheist may compare:

  • Religious person:
    • Atheist:
  • Outgrouping other nations which follow other religions. Liking everyone who identifies with a similar religion.
    • Admittedly, also likely to group people together based on having religious beliefs at all, and then categorizing which are more batshit crazy.
  • Plugging faith into situations which require rational problem solving, which may lead to undesirable outcomes
    • Either a rational approach to possible arrays of solutions or perhaps a rightful hopefulness about it.
  • Misappropriately thanking God when outcomes come out well
    • Thanking doctors for their full responsibility. Admitting luck.
  • Hating gays, because their bible and following culture disapproves homosexual activity.
    • Not hating gays based on any 2000 year old book. An ability to soberly see that sexuality is not under one’s control and certainly not anyone else’s business.
  • Thinking everyone except those in their religious group will burn in hell forever
    • Knowing full well that nobody ever has or ever will burn in hell for any amount of time. Doing all they can to ensure justice can exist on this earth during the only life we know we have.
  • Thinking they will go to heaven, which puts them above others
    • Understanding we will not go to heaven as it does not exist. We are on a level playing field with others during this one lifetime.
  • General gullibility
    • Skepticism
  • Virtue signaling to others, and thinking they are moral when in fact they aren’t/might not be
    • Often taking a humble approach based on possibly having a better understanding of morality.
Now, this list is not exhaustive by any means, but it should be easy to identify how and why many of these traits are possible, and indeed probable for some.

We also must take a step back about both groups:

Being part of a religious association does mean that the person is subject to the involvement of the group-think. Of course that person is free outside of the practice to be whoever the fuck they want to be. In fact, they can go right ahead and ‘Sin all week, and be forgiven on Sunday’, as the saying goes. And of course, as a great many do, they may just tacidly go to church, generally extract the ‘feel good’ aspect/s of going to church, enjoying the music and company, and resetting their own internal compass to ‘be a good person’. And that is fine. BUT, they DO experience, whether they realize it or not, at least a little (and usually a LOT) of brainwashing from others. The experience of being within a group while under the influence of the brainwashing enforces that they actually believe the teachings – like any cult!

An Atheist, by stark contrast, is truly only defined by one thing – they reject the idea of supernatural beings, gods, and religion! That is the ONLY thing that makes somebody an atheist. They may be great over all people; they may be absolutely rotten people. I have been generally defined by others as a great, nice guy (thank God!). Other atheists may be murdering, raping thieves – you know, like the goat fuckers that wrote the bibles. From here we can categorize atheists a little further by how they came to be atheists:

  • They were born and raised by non-followers or devout atheists, and never cared about religion (probably thought it was just weird). Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious, or not.
  • Raised religious, realized it makes absolutely no sense in the context of real life, and decidedly left it behind. Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious, or not.
  • Raised religious, came into real life trouble, saw ‘God’ totally wipe all of their hopes way despite desperate prayer, and became nihilistic non-believers. Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious or not.
  • Good or bad people that became terrible people and do not wish to ever face their decisions and therefore default to deciding there is no God. These people likely do not have a great internal compass to begin with.
The point here is, all people may be good or bad, and following a religion generally has fuck-all to do with it. And religious or not, here is a small list of horribly immoral things people do, have done, and will do in the future:

  • Enslaving other humans – this is allowable to do in both the new and old testament. Nowhere in the bible does it ever state ‘though shall not own another human being’.
  • Extracting great amounts of material from the surrounding environment and turning it into items which provide us comfort or otherwise tickle our fancy (or pickle). Destroying habitats for the other living creatures in the process
  • Eating animals. Sure, ‘God gave man dominion over the earth and animals’, but do you think what he meant by that was “cram as many chickens into a warehouse as possible and force feed them so that they grow from chicks to 32 lb non-avian birds in a few weeks and then slaughter them, and grind their meat together so that up to thousands of individual bird remnants can occupy the same chicken nugget”?
  • Starting great wars where we kill other human beings
  • Being complicit in letting other people or animals starve to death
  • Ignoring that fact that North Korea exists in its current state
  • Uprating Miley Cyrus music videos and Reggaeton Producers
  • Wishing bad upon others, or wishing ourselves to come out on top of all situations no matter what it means for others
Truth be told, humans are far from moral creatures, but this is a hard pill to swallow, understandably so. Morality again breaks down here into multiple Fragments. Morality is defined from philosophers as the ability to discern and act upon what one has control over; to do the greatest amount of good and also the least amount of harm. This always exists on a spectrum – you may not have full control over what you can do (if you live in the city, you can’t grow your own plants to eat instead of fast food chicken sandwiches, if you were born during the great American slavery saga, you would be outcasted or killed for not partaking in owning a slave). Sometimes you cannot do something good without also doing something bad (say, removing all pedophiles from society would be great, but to do it would require a massive breach of personal data to identify all of them).

Morality can also be defined again as how beings come about to do themselves the most good from moment to moment. This is really how people generally act – anything good we do is usually just to ensure that we aren’t outcasted, continue to receive good treatment/money/food/shelter/sex from others, don’t get beaten up/robbed/killed/go to jail, etc. You may do good things at work, but you go to work for money, and for status. You go to Church to go to heaven, avoid hell, and feel accepted into a group.








BIBLICAL ISSUES, ISSUES BETWEEN BIBLES AND TESTAMENTS OF THE BIBLES

I haven’t read much of any bible, yet. Maybe I should. At this point in my life, knowing where I currently stand, would doing so strengthen or weaken my position? Seriously. Mentioned before, very few people actually waste any time reading the bible. They are either interested in what God himself (through the apostles/people convicted of his teachings through Jesus, anyway) had to say, or they aren’t interested. Does this not say something about what people really believe? People say they believe in God and his teachings through Jesus Christ. Pinned to a wall, they may proclaim this faith is true to them. But how true is it, really? Now, no one says they must read the bible to go to heaven. And maybe that’s why; maybe it’s just people following the easy route, and taking the bare minimum to hope they go to heaven. Fair enough! But I don’t know. If I had access to the workings and teachings of someone who could transcend time and matter – someone who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead – I would probably want to read his work quite intently. Sounds interesting, at least. Alas, I don’t really care to read the buy-bull. And neither does anyone else, apparently.

The thought of this always struck a chord with me, anyway, but few look at things this way. Few question what they actually believe and why.

Maybe some don’t wish to read the bible, because they know deep down that it would be a waste of time. It’s hard to read, as it is based on translations upon translations upon translations. It is dry. Oh, is it dry! I can just imagine some excerpt out of it like “and then bestoweth he, John the Baptist arrived at the mountain after forty days and asked Lazareth ‘why have you forgotten my sheep?’ and Lazareth replied, ‘I believe you haveth the wrong person. Go back forty days and check with your neighbor. Now I shall covet your wife until you return.” – or something like that. Maybe, people are scared that reading the bible will put great strain on their faith. Afterall, faith is individual, comprised of things we tell ourselves to be true. The less that we can have interfering with that, the better our faith. The less information, the better. No news is good news.

Based on what I’ve gathered, there is really not much to be learned from the bible/s. It is a collection of stories from people who were around ‘at the time’ of Jesus. It sounds like many of the stories contradict each other. There is little sense to be made of any moral ‘teachings’ – if anything, it can be obvious to spot that the teachings offer little in the way of thinking for oneself, and a lot for how to effectively be controlled by others. What to do when your daughter is raped? Kill your daughter out of shame, of course! How often should you beat your slaves? What should I do? Exactly what Jesus tells me!

Many may hear arguments about how brutal the bible is and interject ‘oh, but that’s the OLD testament!’. There is a zeitgeist that somehow the old testament, written by violent sheep herders who did an assortment of awful things were somehow overtaken by the teachings of the new testament, which has more to do with the stories of Jesus. Somehow the old testament simply gets tossed out (which, as a reminder, is still the word of God by all accounts) and we just accept the new testament! Problem solved, right? However, the stories in the new testament are actually just as dilapidated as the old. Moral unreasoning exists just the same in the new. If anything, the new offers LESS wisdom than the old!

The bible is simultaneously a waste of time and also the most published book in the history of all books. How this came to be is a bigger mystery than the story of Jesus himself.


THE TIMELINE OF RELIGIONS AND THE CONTEXT TO THE TIMELINE OF HUMANITY

Context, context, context!

A few entries back I painted the true-as-we-currently-understand picture that the universe is nearly 15 billion years old – and that is just to the point of singularity/big bang. We cannot see any further back with our telescopes, but we do see that far back. All methods of the scientific method point us in this direction, and this direction only – a some-15 billion year old universe that began very small and simple and has been expanding and complexifying ever since. It is on a trajectory to expand forever and slowly all stars will burn out until entropy is essentially complete – all energy will have been expended. It does not appear we experience a ‘big bounce’ at this point, i.e., the universe re-contracting into a point of singularity, and then banging back out – again.

Billions is a big number. 15 billion (years) is roughly twice the number of humans currently alive today.

100 years (the average human lifetime) is 0.00000000666 repeating (lol 666) percent the age of the universe. That is a lot of zeros.

Humans, being around and ‘documented’ for a mere 2 million years on the earth amounts to 0.00013% the age of the universe. In other words, if we put the entire age of the universe into a 24 hour time period, humans would be ‘born onto the earth’ during the last .1872 minute of the day – about the last 11 seconds. Jesus would have died .01 seconds before midnight. Midnight is now.

So what? I mean, I guess it would point out a few things; God made this universe so long ago, put us in during the last ‘millisecond’ of time in the grand scheme of things. Right after jesus, everything was probably as perfect (To God’s standards) as it ever would be, and its literally devolved from there. Every day we stray further from God. What a sad, stupid little story that is.

Also, more context, this time from a different angle. Humans started drawing on cave walls around 65,000 years ago. Maybe THIS is when we were pretty much ‘human’. Evolution takes a LONG time if you didn’t know. So to answer fundamentalist questions, no, a human never fucked a monkey. A monkey didn’t give birth to a human. Quit asking stupid fucking questions; I return to you, how do we know Mother Mary wasn’t just a whore and didn’t want her dad to kill her for ‘getting raped’?

Since 65,000 years ago, humans looked to the stars for answers. We wanted RAIN. We wanted shelter. We wanted food. We wanted the damn forest fires to stop. It likely took some great amount of time for religion to be organized at all; it was all song and dance up to the point of the great Egyptians, who against all odds managed to build the pyramids some 4-6,000 years ago in the name of their religion. Now, it took many thousands of slaves to perform the work, but one needs to hand it to the Egyptians for absolutely nailing it – they documented their teachings very well on the walls. The Ancient Egyptians appear to have used two constellations to align their pyramids in a north-south direction – the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. This alignment is so precise that their north-south positions are within an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees. There are sight holes in the greatest pyramid that allows direct sight to the north star (which turned out to be Venus, once we had telescopes). Then, the Egyptians mysteriously passed away. Their gods did nothing to save them and their amazing efforts, unfortunately, were futile.

Other great religions made their way across the world; think of the Mayans, for example, many great Asian religions, in fact it was quite a while before the Roman religions started to take a foothold on humanity. Sadly it was indeed constructed on the concept of a virgin birth, which is nothing new; virgin births include Romulus and Remus, twin founders of Rome, from the virgin Rhea Silvia. In ancient Egypt, Ra (the Sun) was also from a supposed virgin mother. Horus was the son of the virgin Isis. The Phrygo-Roman god, Attis, was born of a virgin, Nana, on December 25. He, too, went on to be killed and was resurrected. In ancient Greece, Dionysos was the son of either the virgin Semele or the virgin Persephone. Persephone was also the virgin mother of Jason. And Plato’s mother, Perictione, was a virgin.

~2000 years ago humans were becoming more advanced. We were also becoming more out of control. At this point in time we had around 200 million people alive. People were starving. People were fighting. People were raping and pillaging. Something had to stop it – a new version of the same ole religion came to the rescue, which helped keep peoples wrists slapped, taxed, and otherwise at bay for a fear of a new fake hell.

The list goes on of virgin births by the way, Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient China all have their share of them and none is more or less believable than any other myth.




ODD PRACTICES IN RELIGIONS

Have you ever stopped to just consider how weird it is, what people do in churches? Anything can seem weird in life, depending how far from it you step back. But generally we are all just going about our day doing whatever necessary things to keep the lights on. Cooking, cleaning, laughing, going to the bathroom, having sex, working, building, demolishing, growing, trimming, sleeping.

What do we do in churches? Now, going to class is similar; we sit down and let someone stand at the front of the room professing knowledge to us which we sit quietly and soak it in. But what about when you’re at a church? Stand! Sit! Kneel on your knee! Talk to someone together who isn’t even there. Talk about someone who may or may not have existed, and certainly not as the profound man defined to be, over two thousand years ago. Eat a wafer, have a sip of wine which is supposedly Jesus blood – subjectively, of course. Sing weird hymns. Bless eachother. Oh, and give money to someone for it so their building can continue to exist free of paying taxes.

Outside of church, religious people do a few other things; mostly, pray before eating, again, thanking someone who didn’t actually produce the food. Ideally, here is how I would pray:

Thank you, wife (or me) for buying this house with kitchen and cooking this food. Thank you, grocery store, for buying this food from someone else, stocking it, then selling it to me at a profit. Thank you, factory, for producing these taco shells, and thank you, meat processing plant, for shredding these cows alive. Oh, and thank you, farm, for raising the cattle. Thank you landscapers for cutting down the trees and tilling soil to grow soy to feed the cows. Thank you earth for having somewhat regular rain patterns on the ground, or for storing water in enough locations to make it feasible to pump water onto the crops.

Oh, and I sure hope uncle Joe recovers from his recent illness! Maybe I should give him a call to check in on him instead of just saying that, and then telling him I asked an imaginary friend to cure him.




THE GOOD THAT THE CHURCH OR PRACTICE OR BELIEF IN A RELIGION PROVIDES (IN REALITY)

I know, this has all seemed pretty harsh on the nitty gritty about religious practice. There is just so much to pragmatically point out about it. I also did point out that people generally follow the path of least resistance. Why on Gods green earth would people put themselves through so much hassle, going to church, paying them hard earned cash, and carrying these odd beliefs throughout their lives? Surely, there must be something good about it.

I’m sure there is. Well, as an atheist, I must acknowledge the secular benefits of practicing.

  • Being part of an ingroup: A lot of people don’t have strong social circles. Note that for the most part, when you go to a church outside of weddings or funerals, the majority of participants are older. Many of their friends and family have passed away or abandoned them. Going to a church is, if nothing else, warm and welcoming. People smile at you and beam down at you for attending this matter of utmost importance. You can tell someone there an issue you are going through and they will acknowledge it in front of others for you.
  • This is something that is otherwise lacking in real life culture. Many people stick to seeing their immediate friends and family, outside of school and work. Church provides another culture to be a part of. School, work, and often times, family, do not provide much in the name of condolence, support, and emotional help. At work, you gotta work. You are literally paid to do things for others there. They help you with a paycheck. At school, you pay to be there. You obtain their services and leave. They work for you in a very narrowly defined scope. With friends, you want to do fun things and enjoy eachother. Blessed are those with close friends who offer anything above that. Family is the place outside of all other places where you either relax, cook, clean, raise children, get raised, get scolded, and everything else. Church is different.
  • Religions organize to make (some) good things happen. Most notably in the form of collecting donations. This is a great thing, also largely lacking in culture otherwise. Get together, donate toys, food, clothes or money to others. This is a great thing. It is simply misaligned with doing it for God. And much of the money gets absorbed into the management of the building, and in extreme cases, guys like Joel Osteen.
  • Note: In most cases of donating, there is a power law where the more money that gets donated, powers ultimately arise to control and administer the money. Some amount of it is almost always lost in the process. This is not always a bad thing. If you want to go give $20 to one homeless man, you are cutting out the middle man and doing some good. If you want to give millions of dollars to the homeless cause, it will require some management to keep it going, and there will be some parasitic loss here. A balance may be stricken between how these organizations do it and how churches do it.
  • But wow, the money! In the U.S., faith based institutions account for about $378 billion dollars per year. If this were taxed, we could seriously consider doing some things like paying off national debt, starting something like universal basic healthcare, helping to pay off student loans (which are growing at 1.7 TRILLION USD per year), etc. The crux is, of course, it would break into the amount of good that the church can donate. But also we don’t know how much of this money is simply absorbed by people beyond a reasonable point. Many pastors live – for free! – based on managing and pastoring at the church. You gotta make a living, sure, and its not necessarily a BAD job to do (ethically speaking), nor too easy or too hard. But wow. Up the line there are definitely cases of money laundering, not to mention the other fun things some churches try to hide, like pedophilic catholic priests.
  • Churches provide a location to commemorate a dead person, bless a newly born person, and wed people.
  • I just view this as ‘the place’ to do this stuff, generally. Thankfully many marriages can and do take place outside of churches now, because the same amount of divorces happen regardless of where the original wedding took place and whether they were blessed by a pastor or not.
  • Providing hope to the hopeless. More on this at the end; in a nutshell, churches provide false hope by rationalizing that someone died 2,000 years ago for you and will be waiting for you after you die to take you into heaven where you are re-united with other dead people – hopefully people you particularly liked and also went to heaven. Would be a real shame if everyone that ever mattered to you didn’t quite make it to heaven, and you’re stuck with Grandma Fran.. and Aunt Karen.
  • So, some good can come out of going to Church and practicing religion. But seriously, note that all of these things can be done having never stepped foot in a church, and taking anything the bible has to say seriously.





THE ACTUAL STRAIN THAT RELIGION PUTS ON PEOPLE AND HOLDS THEM BACK

Perhaps a summary of much of the above, but I see a great deal of strain that belief puts of people. Life is hard, it is futile. There is little we have control over despite our best efforts. There has been death and famine as far back as the history books go. Viruses plague us. Mosquitos kill millions of people each year, if cancer doesn’t get to them first. Innocent people get run over by drunk drivers. Drunk drivers need to live knowing they killed someone on accident. We in the first class society life in a weird place and time. We live better than the kings of old, but we want more. The reason we live so well is due to billions of years of stored sunlight brought to surface in the name of fossil fuel, and the fact that America gained a foothold – perhaps a chokehold – on the rest of the world as soon as fossil fuels were discovered. Now, the rest of the world lives at the brink of starvation, barely staying afloat, to produce things for us to consume. Yet, America is home to the greatest rate of suicide. People aren’t happy. Perhaps this is partially to knowing the circumstances in which we live. Also notable is the fact that so few of us have perished at the hands of war due to others; short of 9-11, all I can think of is the attack on our Hawaii base during WWII, in terms of innocent civilians being at risk of great danger by another nation.

You can work really hard to get out of the lower class, but largely you stay in whatever class you are born in. You are subject to the same corporations that manage to keep the rest of the world from getting to ahead of themselves. We work for these corporations and then pay them to consume their goods. It’s sad, isn’t it? We get taxed for the money we make, pay taxes on what we buy, then get taxed when we die. Of those taxes, nearly 50% goes to defense. 25% goes to social security which is bound to go away by the time my generation tries to retire.

We also exist in the age of information. We are constantly bombarded with unspeakable tales of bad news, both in our own back yards and around the globe. What can you do with this information other than absorb it? I am reminded of a damn good analogy. You are walking past a pond, and see a little girl in the middle of the pond, clearly struggling not to drown. Noone else is around. Safe to say, most people would jump right into that pond, and save the little girl. Now imagine the same situation but there are two girls in it, on near opposite sides of the pond. Both appear to be struggling the same amount and you only have enough time to feasibly save one before the other surely drowns. What do you do now? Now, imagine hearing a very sad story about one starving child in Africa. Only you are told about this sole child, their story, and the supporting evidence to know it is true. Perhaps even $100 can save their life. Would you do it? Most would say yes, if I had an extra $100 I would surely send it. But interestingly enough, most people don’t. And just know it is exceedingly easy to send $100 to even one lucky individual in Africa. What if then, however you learn the sole child also has two brothers and sisters in the same exact situation? What if you learn this is the case for millions of children across the world? The higher the number, the less we care. We can NOT care. There is simply too much to even start to address; the $100 means nothing.

Tough crowd. Tough life. American Christians can sleep well at night thinking everyone will be saved in the end; varying beliefs on the spectrum about who gets saved and just how; Christian or not. You too, will be saved from this world that God put us on; like it is some sort of silly test. The good guys always win. All will be right in the end. Not on earth, though. Some Christians also harbor that belief that one day all people will be taken from the earth; the bad people go to hell and the Christians go to heaven. What a weird thing to believe.

It takes a lot of mental leaps to believe God is watching over you and perhaps millions of others. You need to realize, if he is, he is also NOT watching over billions more. He set the trap in the middle of the forest; now it just depends which lucky bear happens to step into the trap.

Religion is hard to believe at any point in time, but especially now, in face of all the science we have uncovered. What if the science is nothing more than God (or the devil) testing us? What if it is all so undeniably true, what we have before us regarding space, evolution, and so much that contradicts things said in the bible, and most of the claims made in the bible so hard to solve, but the inverse is actually true, and we go to hell for being gullible to it? Yet again, the context of our time is so crucial here. Just ~200 years ago, we would not be privy to some 95% of the knowledge we now possess. All we would have is our personal experience, many more people in our little isolated cultures all practicing the same religions, hardly knowing others exist out there and what they practice. If I was born back then, no way would I be writing what I have laid out here. I wouldn’t know any of it.

That is the crux of the epistemology of this whole ordeal.
First of all, brevity is the soul of wit. (I very briefly skimmed through your post, as probably 99% of viewers will do)

I don't subscribe to any particular religion, but I do believe spirituality is an important aspect of life. Many people rely on religion for guidance in their life, which can be very helpful - especially for people struggling with things like addiction, trauma, etc.

Living everyday believing it is your duty to god to live your best life and to provide security and love to your family and those around you, as well as avoiding a life of degeneracy will have better results than waking up and jerking off to porn everyday, doing drugs, banging random drunk hoes, and living a life of hedonism

You can have morals if your an atheist but whos morals do you genuinely believe will be stronger when tested? Someone who is god-fearing or someone who doesn't believe in a higher force? Ask yourself this- which city has SIGNIFICANTLY less crime and suffering? A staunchly religious city such as Dubai or a godless, hedonistic city like Los Angeles?
 

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Any very religious people in here that would like to provide feedback or pushback on my manifesto?


I haven’t been to a church, short of a funeral (at a Lutheran church which is very laisse Faire) for a long time. Recently was my first time stepping foot in a Catholic Church. Seeing some of the religious practice anew got me thinking.

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge; how it is obtained, what knowledge is, the scope and validity of it, etc. I have become interested in it over the years.

Some 15 years ago I decided I was an atheist; perhaps even a staunch atheist. My whole life to that point I was likely one as well but hadn’t really applied the ‘epistemology’ to it yet, to take the idea of religion seriously and try to contend with myself whether or not I truly believed it or not; somewhat because I hadn’t yet cared enough about my position either way, and the nagging feeling of ‘what if I’m wrong’ and therefore the following fear of going to hell for blasphemy or not believing. But for various, somewhat separate reasons I came to my conclusion that religion/s are false beliefs and have no bearing on reality.

How does one come to such conclusions? Is it the same way somebody else could fall into a religion? Turns out, no. This will be an attempt to find pathways between separate ideas, tying them together, and venn-diagramming the playscape of concepts that I think about from day to day. Funny thing, having gone to church refreshed the compelling feeling to write something that few will read, but it’s my way of collecting my own thoughts.



So, I am going to try to do that now. I will be writing about the following topics, tying them together, proving via (admittedly) largely conjectural logic how many of the points become nails in the coffin, or how even if one of my ideas can somehow be falsified, it doesn’t allow room for religious beliefs to seep back in as possible alternatives.

I do not know everything about everything. I hardly know anything about anything. Therefore, it is likely much of what I say ahead could be picked apart, falsified, or expanded upon further. These are just the thoughts of an earthling with his own experiences, and beliefs about belief. However, many of the concepts ahead truly tie into the web of reality and are based upon science. Science cannot be argued with, except with more science. At some point, one needs to accept the claims about science as being thorough enough to sufficiently put a stake in the ground that cannot be pulled back out and readjusted in any meaningful sense.

Here are the concepts I will cover, somewhat in order:

  • What is religion, essentially?
  • Positive claims and their validity
  • Difference in religions
  • Difference from person-to-person religions
  • Timeline of religions
  • Relationships with religious deities
  • Time spent on religions throughout cultures
  • Where morals come from
  • What people actually believe, and why they/wish to believe it
  • Expectations of prayer, belief, and practice
  • Contrary science
  • Moral reasons to / not to believe
  • Biblical issues, issues between bibles and testaments of the bibles
  • The timeline of religions and the context to the timeline of humanity
  • Odd practices in religions
  • Odd general stories and details about religions
  • The good that the Church or practice or belief in a religion provides (in reality)
  • And how those goods are secular but allocated incorrectly
  • Taxes and money
  • The actual strain that it puts on people and holds them back
  • Wars and deaths in the name of religion
  • Peace and wisdom without religion





SO, WHAT IS RELIGION, ESSENTIALLY?

A religion is a belief or practice which commemorates ‘historical events’, ‘people’ who ‘existed’, and worships previous, current or future deities, who have varying scopes depending on the specific religion. I am a white male in his mind 30’s, raised in Central USA. As such I will largely speak to the Christian and related Catholic religion for the main context of this admitted manifesto of sorts.

All religions generally have some core claims that something happened which is beyond what is possible by any other people, such as being born from a virgin, coming back from the dead, or existing in a location outside of time and space, yet can affect our real lives. Also, they claim that we continue to exist, for better or worse, when our lives end. Generally, supernatural, or miracles are words associated with this concept.

From the get-go, obviously we are going to have some problems with this. What can do things that 100% of other humans cannot? How do we know any of this could be factual? What bearing could any of it have to do with us if it were true? How is this documented? How well has the documentation held up over the years? How does it tie into the context of our culture? And most importantly, how does it tie into the concept of what is scientifically knowable and observable?






POSITIVE CLAIMS AND THEIR VALIDITY

I do not have to prove that a God does not exist. We all know that in court, no one is asked to prove they did not do something. Instead, one must prove that they did do something. In religion, a positive claim is being asserted. These claims need to be proven. The first of many major fallacies of religious beliefs is that they are not proven. In fact one needs to have faith for a religion to work for them. Religions are not provable. The defendant is innocent. Much more on this later; there are also several (Current) positive claims being made throughout our culture, from many different religious groups. Each claim to be the truth. Imagine being a judge in this scenario, where many people are saying one crime was committed, no other crimes have been committed, and none have proof that anything has happened. What a waste of time.

This may seem like an easy out to any intently reading believers who have or have not come across this concept before. One may wish to say, no, prove a god does NOT exist! Prove Jesus did NOT resurrect from his death! Unfortunately, time only moves in one direction, and the past no longer exists. Also it is way too far back to find a clear conclusion on the happenings of Mr. Christ. Also unfortunate is the fact that the most expert forensics available in the day of Christ failed to accurately capture proof of his existence and the happenings of his existence. The only available documentation, really, is in the scriptures of the bible/s which statements may mesh in general but do not fully corroborate.






DIFFERENCE IN RELIGIONS

There are many differences between the various religions in terms of their specific positive claims. They speak of different people, different stories, different rules of practice, different end results of following those practices, different locations, different timelines.

There are also many similarities between religions. They all (mostly) claim many of the same general facts, and once all of the ‘fat’ is removed from them, a basic premise is, there is/was a god who created and controls the universe to some extent. Worshipping this god in the correct way may affect how you spend eternity. Sounds important to get right.

I will always approach this argument from the same perspective. What happens if you were born on an island and lived your entire life alone? What if you never heard a single thing about religion, and what it offers? What if you are deaf dumb and blind? What if you were aborted or miscarried? What happens to your soul? Do Dogs have souls? Do ants have souls? Do microorganisms have souls? In general, it seems you will perish. And, through no fault of your own.

What if you were born in the wrong area of the world, or at the wrong time? What if you were born in the middle east and practice Hinduism, but the correct religion to follow was Catholicism as taught in Hispanic cultures? What happens to your soul then? Some may argue that a god will see that you were practicing religion and let you into heaven, but this cannot quite be the case. After all, blasphemy.

No matter how you dice it, IF ANY religion is, or ever was correct, that means right off the bat, that the vast majority of people (around 100 BILLION people at this point) will have gone to hell through no fault of their own, for not following that specific religion.

But what if they WERE taught *insert correct religion here*? Think Jehovah’s witnesses, retreats, etc. At least they had the chance to change their ways! But alas, no, that idea sucks. It would be like being told as a grown up that other very basic tenants of your life are completely wrong, and you need to change your ways; i.e., you need to be a firefighter instead of a lawyer. It’s not your fault that that is not going to happen. If it is, we must also keep in mind that we were designed the way we are, and God has some level of control of our circumstances and designed how we deal with things internally and externally, which again is quite cruel. Like cramming 100 hamsters in to a 1x2 foot cage and starving all but 20 hamsters.

The result of these lines of thinking is, none of these can be right. Moreover, it makes more sense to follow none of them. Why is that? If you follow one of them, you are accepting their positive claims which cannot be proven, remember? If you follow one religion, why can’t you follow all religions? They all claim they are the ONLY true religion and that all others are false. They effectively cancel each other out. Further, each religions logic sways you to believe them in the same ways; a book says so, many people follow the religion, you must, or X will/wont happen to you, and onward.

Finally, let’s be reminded, that there have been similar accounts of religions similar to Christianity throughout the ages of humanity. The story has always restarted and taken its own life throughout time.






DIFFERENCE FROM PERSON TO PERSON RELIGIONS

Leaving the difference of the literal religions aside, lets look at religious people one on one.

Now, we might be able to classify people as ‘Christian’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Catholic’, ‘Lutheran’, etcetera. We can say, ‘oh, he is a Christian, he believes these 10 commandments, mostly follows the New Testament and onward’. However, humans are (biblically!) imperfect beings. Nobody follows anything to the T, and nobody truly can.

Very few people have read the entire bible (I would guess 1 in 100 people maybe?) – from any set of bibles which exist or have existed. I, for the record, am among most people, who spend very little time even flipping the pages.

Lets say you sat down and read the entire bible. You study it thoroughly, so as to comprehend it in its entirety. Those who do this have issues with each other. Even if you do indeed read the whole bible and follow its every instruction (more on that later, but please don’t stone gays, own slaves, kill those who steal, sacrifice goats, and other things it has to say), there is so much nuance in reality and life that no one can truly follow a religion entirely. Who could possibly say that is OK? You just need to be forgiven, right? How do you know you are truly forgivable, for it does not necessarily say this in the bible. If its not said in the bible, how do we know it is valid in the context of religion?

Many who HAVE read the bible come out as atheists at the end of it, because they find the bible to be such a poor account of historical facts. The bible has no bearing on any reality we now know to be true. It becomes very clear that the bible was written by sheep herders trying desperately to find ways to control people and create order in society, which later became washed as a concept, into supporting humanities quest for ‘salvation’, ‘enightenment’, ‘moral framing’, and a general hopefulness for life.

Back to theists, however - most people, in fact, have very fragmented beliefs about what their religion means to them. Most may tacitly believe whatever core tenants have been drilled into them since they were children, but do not think far beyond that. Some may have heard other portions of what the beliefs entail due to, of course, having different life experiences and different offerings at their church or time. How can we reconcile this? We cannot. At all. And, yes, you can say the same about atheists who all will also have their own nuance about how it works and doesn’t work, but the only claim an atheist truly makes is ‘God does not exist’, or a general retreat from accepting religious doctrine. There is no nuance in that general statement.






TIMELINE OF RELIGIONS

Related to the different religions in general, there is a timeline of all cultures, cultural practices, beliefs and onward. The human experiment is ongoing and evolving all the time. Time only moves in one direction. Again we approach the question, what if, along with being in the wrong place to experience a religion, what if you are in the wrong time as well?

Languages change. Meaning of words change. ‘Silly’ is an adjective prescribed to people who are zany, clumsy, without manners, or being funny. Really, silly is derived from the word ‘blessed’. What the fuck is this horseshit?

How are we supposed to decode the old language of the bible or any other scripture? The Hebrew languages that the bible have been translated multiple times. The original (if one could ever call anything original about the Late Pagan religions) set of books have been translated, expanded, debunked, re-written, and of course much of the meaning is truly lost over time. Not to mention, again, the stories within the bible do not even corroborate! Different direction is given for similar situations, stories have different timelines, accounts of unfolding events, and much more.

It is not surprising to see, at this point, most people do not even deal with actually reading the bibles, even though in my opinion that would be the most important part of being in a religious cult. You know, being familiar with the most closely related documentation to it.

What does going to Church truly serve? Some guy in the same century as you contextualizing stories cherry picked from the book to help you feel like you have a safe place in heaven as long as you continue to keep going and believing whatever they tell you is like a Chicken saying the farmer has his best interests at mind – until he gets his head chopped off all of a sudden.

In fact, related to the timeline of religion, one should realize that those who apparently saw the events of Jesus unfold were the most religious people ever. Anyone around who did not directly observe it are once-removed from the events. Their descendants now need to believe what their parents or friends saw or heard about. And here we are, some 2000 years later passing along fishing stories. We are approximately 100 generations or so removed from the story. If details change in each generation as well as each iteration during the generation, there could be 10,000 changes to account for by simple math. All for what is clearly an imagined story.

No wonder culture is so fragmented. No wonder so many people can simultaneously exist within our roughly functional culture while maintaining entirely different opinions about all sorts of things.






RELATIONSHIPS WITH RELIGIOUS DEITIES

Also different from peoples succinct beliefs about religion are each individuals ‘relationship’ with their deities. At face value, of course, we know there is no way to test whether someone has an imaginary friend, or some sort of real friend they communicate with via telepathy. Maybe they are intergalactic pen pals.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Do you just feel it? How do you know which religious deity you are communicating with? How do you know it’s not one humanity has never properly defined, and that you are communicating or acting in the right way?

Churches are the main means of enforcing the idea that one can walk alongside God, and have God in their life. Personally, I think this works via a few methods.

  • People are born into the religion and are prepositioned to believe what the authority figures of the church tell them. This is an extension of their own parents bringing them to Church and stressing the importance of it.
  • Those who go to Church and allow it to guide their moral reasoning allow the 10 commandments and the general guise of a ‘Good Christian’ lifestyle define their lives.
  • People go to Church during feelings of hardship, duress, loss, love, and other arrays of emotions.
  • When people feel hopeless, distressed, have lost a loved one, feel love during a marital ceremony, etc., their conscious allows the pastor to ‘baster’ their brains with an idea. They inject a connection between their emotional feelings (which are often pronounced from day to day feelings when NOT at Church) and God, Jesus, etc.
  • Later, when people feel like they need support in their life, they think they feel Jesus by their side.





HOW DO WE KNOW WE ARE ACTUALLY COMMUNICATING CORRECTLY OR WE WERE COMMUNICATED TO?

Keeping the above sentences and questions in mind, along with the bible/s, it is impossible to know that any God has ever communicated anything to us. Had they, it was a one time, one way communication, and there was no way to verify we got the message down correct while the goat-fuckers scribed everything in stone, or on parchment paper, whatever the fuck.

Obviously, we are on a 8000 mile wide rock hurling through space around a sun which is 23 trillion miles away from the NEXT NEAREST STAR, let alone wherever the next planet that harbors life (let alone sentient human life that worships a creator of the universe). We are quite alone here on our rock, and while it is most certain life exists outside of the earth, we may never truly have a way to verify it, or connect with it in any meaningful way.






TIME SPENT ON RELIGIONS THROUGHOUT CULTURES

It really is amazing that life exists – really, practically a miracle. Think about this, which is scientific, proven until expanded upon, which can only move the yardsticks around very slightly, if at all. Doing so at any point does NOT nullify the story and it DEFINITELY does not introduce a ‘god exists’ posit.

15 billion years ago, the universe was the size of a plank length, which is some billions of times smaller than an atom. We humans struggle with orders of magnitude, large numbers, great distances, and times greater than human lifetimes, but try your best.

15 billion years ago, the universe began a rapid expansion and has been expanding and cooling ever since. All the energy that will ever exist started then and continues to diffuse until all energy is effectively spent. Our sun is a star. It is a third generation star, meaning other stars died and composed the matter that our star is made of. Importantly, this re-formation of matter creates more complex matter. Perhaps a fourth generation star creates even more complex matter, but we are pretty certain we have the table of elements largely completed at this point in time. This complex matter created our sun a mere 4.7 billion years back, and our earth along with all other planets formed from the remains and some other space debris. Life did begin on earth as soon as it was able to, meaning there was water and the crust had cooled down enough to not burn it off.

The first life on earth actually transformed the atmosphere to have oxygen and killed itself off, allowing other forms of life (all living in the great oceans) eventually thrived on. Photosynthesis began, and life really has a foothold on continuing.

Only ~300 million years ago is when the great dinosaurs ruled the earth, in the grand scheme of things that seems like a very SHORT time ago but in fact it was quite far.

We humans like to think that humanity is in the year 2023, so accounting for the 4000 ‘BC’ years, we have accounted for approximately 6000 years of humans. However, we have been anatomically human for some 2 million years, with very close relatives stretching back to nearly 8 million years ago! This is to say, if ONLY humans are sentient enough to be able to comprehend the fact that we exist, we are the universes way of experiencing itself. Isn’t that something.

And yet, we take shortcuts to thank a god for creating and controlling what is otherwise an incredibly vast, long lasting universe that is largely inhospitable to life, only to have made this very one planet which harbors life. What a joke. The universe will effectively ‘last’ forever, but the smallest stars will burn for perhaps trillions of years before burning out entirely, leaving the universe cold and basically dead.

We have been praying to gods since many thousands of years ago, basically since we were collected enough to have methods of communicating. Obviously, we prayed for rain, food, warmth, shelter, life and onward. And today we pray to win football games, and for Jimmy to get a perfect exam score, and for Aunt Irma’s cancer to go away, and for soldiers fighting wars against other countries and religious deities to come back safe and victorious (from both sides of the pond).

A monumental amount of the human experience has been wasted asking invisible friends to lend a hand. It may be the truth that people would dance around for days on end praying for rain. When it rained, they falsely assumed that the dancing was the only reason the Gods gave them rain. Perhaps it was early on bullshit assumptions like this, that we are still so fucked today.






WHERE MORALS (AND BABIES) COME FROM

Selfish gene theory, too, has much to do with why we do what we do. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that we often time suck at following truth. We know we should eat right and exercise but eating chips and watching tv on the couch is so easy to do, and feels good – if not saltier, and less strenuous. The truth is, what allows genes to reproduce is often gets passed along. As long as we can mate, some genes get passed along. It’s not a given that EVERYTHING we do passes along, but a lot of it!

Our ancestors had hard times finding fruit, meat, and water. When we find fruit, our brains would light up and take in as much of the natural sugars as possible. Now, we can’t avoid eating chocolate bars.

Morals are similar, in how they are constructed.

Many will take almost all points made so far and say ‘well wait, now, if there was no religion, we would all just be running around killing and raping eachother!’.

This is very, very false. We follow morals for selfish gene reasons. If one sets out to cause harm, they need to be aware that harm may return to them. If we are helpful and nice, we may be invited into the tribe and fed, and maybe even get to reproduce.

Morality is an odd thing that takes many forms; avoiding punishment, seeking reward, chasing opportunities, avoiding harm, attempting to do something first, attempting to do something last, and onward.

It is odd that morality even exists. Again, we are in a universe full of molecules. We are molecules. Between us is more molecules of different varying compositions. And some 500 million years from now the molecules of the sun will consume it all, and it was all for nothing. Whether we found ways to beat our gene agendas, achieve world peace, defeat climate change and resource depletion, and get not the 101 billionth child to be born but the trillionth, one day, we will all be dead.

It seems like an exercise in futility, to live at all, sometimes. After all, being comprised of molecules and genes, essentially, my body is just a huge group of genes following their own agenda, which is simply to survive and reproduce. And as such, most of our morals are simply an extension of that.

But definitely they were not crammed into our brains by God. God is not moral. God gives people cancer. God causes droughts and hurricanes. God causes miscarriages. God makes people gay which get stoned for being gay because God said so. God provided some sort of shitty vague message to us around 2000 years ago, one time, by sacrificing a guy who now lives along side him judging us. And we are all stuck here, with more clues leading toward the fact that we are evolved beings in a 100 billion lightyear wide universe that will be consumed by our own sun if our genes don’t kill ourselves off first, and no actual clues leading toward an apparent salvation.

We do not get morals from God. God’s moral landscape is akin to a parent telling a child to not do something ‘because I said so’, ‘or else’, or ‘if you do this you will get a reward’. It should be abundantly clear that short of dealing with children who are still absorbing the vastly complex moral framework of society, that the real world is very much not godlike.

Self-acclaimed deeply religious people may claim to have superior morals to others that are not religious, or follow separate religions. From person to person, if we could actually find metrics to measure ‘how moral someone is’, we may find that to be true in some cases. Indeed, some people ‘just wanna sin’ and avoid religious practice while fulfilling a life of crime.

But anyone who is more moral than another is simply more in tune with reality and having a deep and nuanced understanding of how people interact with eachother and their environment. If somebody followed the moral practices and prescribed by the Bible, I believe many would talk about them negatively behind their back, for spending an inordinate amount of time conspiring against other religious practicing people, attempting to stone gays, wanting to kill their unmarried daughter because someone had sex with them, etc.

Obviously, we have an odd middle ground, where there are, indeed, people who ‘believe they believe’ religion very deeply, and are also quite reasonable, moral, and otherwise smart people. I think this is a display of human shortcoming, and the ability to simultaneously act one way and believe you are acting another way. At minimum they are acting in accordance with the cherry picked sermons they have grown up on, which obviously is not all bad. Having attended a fair number of sermons, I never left feeling like I was necessarily misguided, or told to do something immoral. Afterall, ‘help thy neightbor!’ is good advice. But it isn’t something God had to tell us. We simply figured it out on our own and now have drawn false connections to the proprieter.






WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE, AND WHY THEY /WISH TO BELIEVE IT

Peoples specifics on the stories of God, Jesus, the rapture, the great flood, the talking snakes, the goats, etc, will vary. But its important to know WHY they believe anything at all.

Really, the only reason we believe anything – short of, because we were taught it as kids as this 2000 year plus odd tradition that simply everyone seems to follow to varying extents – is that we need this imaginary guy to look after us during our life, and we need to make sure we are in heaven when we die. And in this big, scary, futile universe, many people, I think, have issues with realizing this. We don’t like to feel alone. We don’t like to think that one day our lights will simply turn off. We don’t like to think that everything we try so hard to do is all for nothing. We don’t like to think that people die for no reason – just because. We want there to be justice. We want things to make sense. We want to fill in the gaps of our knowledge.






EXPECTATIONS OF PRAYER, BELIEF, AND PRACTICE

When we practice, pray, or believe something like this, we are expecting a reward. We expect to pray for a sick loved one and that God will look after the countless trained professional doctors administering medicines that took decades to produce and work in a sterile and curated environment using rare resources that we cleverly learned how to use. So we can thank God when the patient comes out alive on the other end.

Take note of the inconsistencies when we pray and what we assign/thank God for and what we do not. Again, thousands of years back, to perhaps over the last 100 years, people prayed for rain. Knowing what we know now about weather patterns and what forces of nature drive rain, it is patently absurd to pray for rain. And it always was, we just did not know it then.

Lets start with a simple but extremely common example of what people pray for. People pray quite constantly for their loved ones in war to come home safe. We send people to kill or defend us from being killed by others. We set up these conflicts in the first place, then expect an imaginary god to look out for us. Meanwhile, of course, people on the other side of the pond are doing the same exact thing. So let’s start with this question: If side A wins, does that mean their God was the correct/existing God to pray to, and that God listened and administered the magic corrective action to bring some portion of their soldiers home safely? Are both Gods existing but one happened to be more powerful or caring than the other? Also consider that for a God to keep any troop safe, this necessarily means that they must be successful in combat – in other words, this God decided to take one nations side on the conflict and aid in the killing of people. People that God is supposedly trying to save. Unquestionably, this is offensive no matter how we look at it. People are alone on this globe. People start conflicts, fight over resources, control, or self defense and we use game theory to effectively kill each other in a form of damage control. There is no god at play here.

Or, let’s look at a family member in medical distress. Lots of people pray for them. Obviously, not everyone makes it out alive. Gods plan, right? Do we thank god if they do make it out alive? Do we only thank god for this one persons life being spared, or again, do we go down the line of cause and effect that brought us to such a world where we have medical professionals and the scientific methods that brought us to the point of being able to do anything other than pray to help ourselves out of injury and illness? Do we thank god for cancer? Do we thank God for weak limbs and car accidents? Do we thank God for miscarriages? Do we expect young cancer patients, mentally ill, and miscarriage children to go to heaven, since they are innocent to having not learned the message of Jesus?

We may notice some patterns here, and appropriately so. The more duress a person is under, the less control they have, the less security they have, the more they will lean to faith to help pull them through. Here we are in America in the 21st century. Never before have we had so much material wealth and comfort or control in our lives. We life better than the greatest kings of the 19th century at this very point in time. Naturally some of us (me, at least) aren’t fogged by the mental shortcomings that typically lead people to lean on religion for comfort and peace. I personally have not been wronged too severely in my life. I haven’t been subject to extreme unjust, nor have I personally been in grave danger many times. I have only lost a few family and friends to extreme causes. My country/area has not been under attack by others. This may or may not always be the case for me; looking to the future I do see much dystopia. Our carbon pulse of using extreme amounts of energy to continually expand the human footprint on the earth is coming over the hill and this will cause extreme amounts of conflict and loss, some of which will certainly be seen in my lifetime. But I am fortunate enough to have had opportunity to learn, logically, scientifically, rationally, and with a clear mind, much of how the world works. I will never know just how far any rabbit hole of information leads, whether the butterfly effect is real (i.e., something as minor as a butterfly flapping its wings causing down chain effects that bring us to exactly where we are right now), or if what anyone does has much or little real pull in the trajectory of the future.

Akin to this, some do refer to ‘Gods Plan’. As in, a supreme controller of the universe has everything that ever happened and everything that ever will happen fully planned out, and there is no control that anything has to change it. Related, is the idea that free will doesn’t exist. It cannot, in principle, be unproven. Going back a few entries to gene theory and how morality works, we can break down how our minds work much, much further, to the molecular and even the atomic level. We do understand, largely, how stars work, and how they effect gravity, and how elements are made from them and other processes. These immense reactions and creation/destruction of matter is under no control except the very laws of nature that have been pinned down by our great scientists. By extension, of course all living things are subject to the same laws.

Consider who you are at this moment. Define yourself as well as you can; for example, I am a white male in his early 30’s, straight, generally bright, sometimes funny, with a propensity to understand, be nice, nonconfrontational, with strong aptitude for creativity. I like cars, engineering problems, futurama, and hip hop. I enjoy the various sorts of food that are available in my area. I live in the Chicago area. Really, nothing about any of this was really my will. I didn’t decide to be born in the 90’s. I didn’t decide to be born near Chicago. I didn’t create or influence any of my influences, societal norms, etc. Neither did my parents and onward. It simply doesn’t work going backward in time. Does it work going forward, though? You can try as you might to prove you have free will by moving your right arm erratically, jumping around, and changing yourself as hard as you can. But really, was it you, the author of your own thoughts? Are you the author, or is it the collection of neurons and electric pulses in your brain, the collection of matter that comprises you, a carbon and hydrogen and oxygen composure that the majority of matter in the universe is made of?

God having created and controlling everything, to the lack of free will are generally synonymous theories. Except, there is more proof for the latter, as there is no proof for God.




CONTRARY SCIENCE

We have a list of cognitive deficiencies longer than anyone can list. Humans prefer simple shortcuts to frameworks of reality, so much so that we resort to myth when needed to just make it all make sense – even if it actually makes no sense. We follow others, we assign authority, we make things up, we make stories, and we create rules to fit our own objectives. We have lots of control, yet we have no control (above).

Like praying for rain, there is much we have not known throughout the ages. I won’t go too far into this, as these arguments have been made at great length already, but the concept of God keeps becoming more and more obscure. We call this the ‘God of the Gaps’. Once we learned how rain worked, God no longer is the arbiter of rain, but perhaps the sunlight. Once we discover how stars work, God becomes the director of human well being. Once human healthcare was sorted out by rigorous science, God becomes who we thank for life in the first place. We have largely defined all aspects of how life came to be. At no point in the process did a God come into the picture; not in a scientific test, not in our telescopes, not in our microscopes. Not in our elements, not in our particle accelerators. Not in our history, and not in our future. At this point, those who are desperately trying to hold onto religious beliefs are at a point of simply saying ‘God is everywhere’. God (by gods definition) is transcendent, outside of space and time. You know, like an imaginary friend. The idea of God is delusional.




MORAL REASONS TO / NOT TO BELIEVE

Is it moral to believe in God/religion/practices? Growing up where I did, it certainly seemed like it. Going to church once in a while, its unshakable to notice the nice, generally elder people at the church. The care and compassion are impossible to ignore. If anything, me being the skeptical heathen I became during my teens, I would probably be the least moral seeming person there. Well, of course, I wasn’t truly practicing the religion!

We often meet people who have been through hard times, with grand stories of how they took god into their heart and now have everything all figured out. I haven’t met a mean pastor, I haven’t (in general anyway) met immoral people who ‘truly practice’.

So on the surface it does seem quite fair, whether the practice of faith is true or not, that it provides a solid moral grounding for people. Indeed, at this point in time, it may. Alcoholics Anonymous is run amok with religious practice, and to be fair, AA is one of the only – and definitely the most successful – avenues struggling alcoholics have to escape it all and get back on track. I haven’t been to a non-religious funeral yet.

To all of this, I have a few points to make.

Remember, religion has been with us since humans have been human. Somehow, against all odds, it remains with us, in our culture. During the development of our ethics and morals, religion was assigned to their origin and practice every step of the way – so much so, in fact that parents still bring children to church against their will to make sure they become moral adults. Understanding where morals truly come from, we know, when looking at it soberly, humans are absolutely NOT bound to religion simply in order to become moral beings. After all, remember that we now have 8 BILLION people around the globe, all of which practice different religions and gods, or lack of gods! And as a reminder, they simply can NOT be all correct at the same time! Either one is correct, or all of them are simply wrong and misguided interpretations of how we came to be, how we must act, and where we go when we die. A kid that was not forced to go to Church each Sunday during their childhood will likely grow up to be just as decent a human as if he hadn’t.

However, early exposure to religious ideals, especially very strict ideals, does have effects on children that do propagate into adulthood. The following is a list of traits somebody may harbor who was raised very religiously, and for fun, how an atheist may compare:

  • Religious person:
    • Atheist:
  • Outgrouping other nations which follow other religions. Liking everyone who identifies with a similar religion.
    • Admittedly, also likely to group people together based on having religious beliefs at all, and then categorizing which are more batshit crazy.
  • Plugging faith into situations which require rational problem solving, which may lead to undesirable outcomes
    • Either a rational approach to possible arrays of solutions or perhaps a rightful hopefulness about it.
  • Misappropriately thanking God when outcomes come out well
    • Thanking doctors for their full responsibility. Admitting luck.
  • Hating gays, because their bible and following culture disapproves homosexual activity.
    • Not hating gays based on any 2000 year old book. An ability to soberly see that sexuality is not under one’s control and certainly not anyone else’s business.
  • Thinking everyone except those in their religious group will burn in hell forever
    • Knowing full well that nobody ever has or ever will burn in hell for any amount of time. Doing all they can to ensure justice can exist on this earth during the only life we know we have.
  • Thinking they will go to heaven, which puts them above others
    • Understanding we will not go to heaven as it does not exist. We are on a level playing field with others during this one lifetime.
  • General gullibility
    • Skepticism
  • Virtue signaling to others, and thinking they are moral when in fact they aren’t/might not be
    • Often taking a humble approach based on possibly having a better understanding of morality.
Now, this list is not exhaustive by any means, but it should be easy to identify how and why many of these traits are possible, and indeed probable for some.

We also must take a step back about both groups:

Being part of a religious association does mean that the person is subject to the involvement of the group-think. Of course that person is free outside of the practice to be whoever the fuck they want to be. In fact, they can go right ahead and ‘Sin all week, and be forgiven on Sunday’, as the saying goes. And of course, as a great many do, they may just tacidly go to church, generally extract the ‘feel good’ aspect/s of going to church, enjoying the music and company, and resetting their own internal compass to ‘be a good person’. And that is fine. BUT, they DO experience, whether they realize it or not, at least a little (and usually a LOT) of brainwashing from others. The experience of being within a group while under the influence of the brainwashing enforces that they actually believe the teachings – like any cult!

An Atheist, by stark contrast, is truly only defined by one thing – they reject the idea of supernatural beings, gods, and religion! That is the ONLY thing that makes somebody an atheist. They may be great over all people; they may be absolutely rotten people. I have been generally defined by others as a great, nice guy (thank God!). Other atheists may be murdering, raping thieves – you know, like the goat fuckers that wrote the bibles. From here we can categorize atheists a little further by how they came to be atheists:

  • They were born and raised by non-followers or devout atheists, and never cared about religion (probably thought it was just weird). Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious, or not.
  • Raised religious, realized it makes absolutely no sense in the context of real life, and decidedly left it behind. Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious, or not.
  • Raised religious, came into real life trouble, saw ‘God’ totally wipe all of their hopes way despite desperate prayer, and became nihilistic non-believers. Went on to become good or bad people just like anyone else, religious or not.
  • Good or bad people that became terrible people and do not wish to ever face their decisions and therefore default to deciding there is no God. These people likely do not have a great internal compass to begin with.
The point here is, all people may be good or bad, and following a religion generally has fuck-all to do with it. And religious or not, here is a small list of horribly immoral things people do, have done, and will do in the future:

  • Enslaving other humans – this is allowable to do in both the new and old testament. Nowhere in the bible does it ever state ‘though shall not own another human being’.
  • Extracting great amounts of material from the surrounding environment and turning it into items which provide us comfort or otherwise tickle our fancy (or pickle). Destroying habitats for the other living creatures in the process
  • Eating animals. Sure, ‘God gave man dominion over the earth and animals’, but do you think what he meant by that was “cram as many chickens into a warehouse as possible and force feed them so that they grow from chicks to 32 lb non-avian birds in a few weeks and then slaughter them, and grind their meat together so that up to thousands of individual bird remnants can occupy the same chicken nugget”?
  • Starting great wars where we kill other human beings
  • Being complicit in letting other people or animals starve to death
  • Ignoring that fact that North Korea exists in its current state
  • Uprating Miley Cyrus music videos and Reggaeton Producers
  • Wishing bad upon others, or wishing ourselves to come out on top of all situations no matter what it means for others
Truth be told, humans are far from moral creatures, but this is a hard pill to swallow, understandably so. Morality again breaks down here into multiple Fragments. Morality is defined from philosophers as the ability to discern and act upon what one has control over; to do the greatest amount of good and also the least amount of harm. This always exists on a spectrum – you may not have full control over what you can do (if you live in the city, you can’t grow your own plants to eat instead of fast food chicken sandwiches, if you were born during the great American slavery saga, you would be outcasted or killed for not partaking in owning a slave). Sometimes you cannot do something good without also doing something bad (say, removing all pedophiles from society would be great, but to do it would require a massive breach of personal data to identify all of them).

Morality can also be defined again as how beings come about to do themselves the most good from moment to moment. This is really how people generally act – anything good we do is usually just to ensure that we aren’t outcasted, continue to receive good treatment/money/food/shelter/sex from others, don’t get beaten up/robbed/killed/go to jail, etc. You may do good things at work, but you go to work for money, and for status. You go to Church to go to heaven, avoid hell, and feel accepted into a group.








BIBLICAL ISSUES, ISSUES BETWEEN BIBLES AND TESTAMENTS OF THE BIBLES

I haven’t read much of any bible, yet. Maybe I should. At this point in my life, knowing where I currently stand, would doing so strengthen or weaken my position? Seriously. Mentioned before, very few people actually waste any time reading the bible. They are either interested in what God himself (through the apostles/people convicted of his teachings through Jesus, anyway) had to say, or they aren’t interested. Does this not say something about what people really believe? People say they believe in God and his teachings through Jesus Christ. Pinned to a wall, they may proclaim this faith is true to them. But how true is it, really? Now, no one says they must read the bible to go to heaven. And maybe that’s why; maybe it’s just people following the easy route, and taking the bare minimum to hope they go to heaven. Fair enough! But I don’t know. If I had access to the workings and teachings of someone who could transcend time and matter – someone who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead – I would probably want to read his work quite intently. Sounds interesting, at least. Alas, I don’t really care to read the buy-bull. And neither does anyone else, apparently.

The thought of this always struck a chord with me, anyway, but few look at things this way. Few question what they actually believe and why.

Maybe some don’t wish to read the bible, because they know deep down that it would be a waste of time. It’s hard to read, as it is based on translations upon translations upon translations. It is dry. Oh, is it dry! I can just imagine some excerpt out of it like “and then bestoweth he, John the Baptist arrived at the mountain after forty days and asked Lazareth ‘why have you forgotten my sheep?’ and Lazareth replied, ‘I believe you haveth the wrong person. Go back forty days and check with your neighbor. Now I shall covet your wife until you return.” – or something like that. Maybe, people are scared that reading the bible will put great strain on their faith. Afterall, faith is individual, comprised of things we tell ourselves to be true. The less that we can have interfering with that, the better our faith. The less information, the better. No news is good news.

Based on what I’ve gathered, there is really not much to be learned from the bible/s. It is a collection of stories from people who were around ‘at the time’ of Jesus. It sounds like many of the stories contradict each other. There is little sense to be made of any moral ‘teachings’ – if anything, it can be obvious to spot that the teachings offer little in the way of thinking for oneself, and a lot for how to effectively be controlled by others. What to do when your daughter is raped? Kill your daughter out of shame, of course! How often should you beat your slaves? What should I do? Exactly what Jesus tells me!

Many may hear arguments about how brutal the bible is and interject ‘oh, but that’s the OLD testament!’. There is a zeitgeist that somehow the old testament, written by violent sheep herders who did an assortment of awful things were somehow overtaken by the teachings of the new testament, which has more to do with the stories of Jesus. Somehow the old testament simply gets tossed out (which, as a reminder, is still the word of God by all accounts) and we just accept the new testament! Problem solved, right? However, the stories in the new testament are actually just as dilapidated as the old. Moral unreasoning exists just the same in the new. If anything, the new offers LESS wisdom than the old!

The bible is simultaneously a waste of time and also the most published book in the history of all books. How this came to be is a bigger mystery than the story of Jesus himself.


THE TIMELINE OF RELIGIONS AND THE CONTEXT TO THE TIMELINE OF HUMANITY

Context, context, context!

A few entries back I painted the true-as-we-currently-understand picture that the universe is nearly 15 billion years old – and that is just to the point of singularity/big bang. We cannot see any further back with our telescopes, but we do see that far back. All methods of the scientific method point us in this direction, and this direction only – a some-15 billion year old universe that began very small and simple and has been expanding and complexifying ever since. It is on a trajectory to expand forever and slowly all stars will burn out until entropy is essentially complete – all energy will have been expended. It does not appear we experience a ‘big bounce’ at this point, i.e., the universe re-contracting into a point of singularity, and then banging back out – again.

Billions is a big number. 15 billion (years) is roughly twice the number of humans currently alive today.

100 years (the average human lifetime) is 0.00000000666 repeating (lol 666) percent the age of the universe. That is a lot of zeros.

Humans, being around and ‘documented’ for a mere 2 million years on the earth amounts to 0.00013% the age of the universe. In other words, if we put the entire age of the universe into a 24 hour time period, humans would be ‘born onto the earth’ during the last .1872 minute of the day – about the last 11 seconds. Jesus would have died .01 seconds before midnight. Midnight is now.

So what? I mean, I guess it would point out a few things; God made this universe so long ago, put us in during the last ‘millisecond’ of time in the grand scheme of things. Right after jesus, everything was probably as perfect (To God’s standards) as it ever would be, and its literally devolved from there. Every day we stray further from God. What a sad, stupid little story that is.

Also, more context, this time from a different angle. Humans started drawing on cave walls around 65,000 years ago. Maybe THIS is when we were pretty much ‘human’. Evolution takes a LONG time if you didn’t know. So to answer fundamentalist questions, no, a human never fucked a monkey. A monkey didn’t give birth to a human. Quit asking stupid fucking questions; I return to you, how do we know Mother Mary wasn’t just a whore and didn’t want her dad to kill her for ‘getting raped’?

Since 65,000 years ago, humans looked to the stars for answers. We wanted RAIN. We wanted shelter. We wanted food. We wanted the damn forest fires to stop. It likely took some great amount of time for religion to be organized at all; it was all song and dance up to the point of the great Egyptians, who against all odds managed to build the pyramids some 4-6,000 years ago in the name of their religion. Now, it took many thousands of slaves to perform the work, but one needs to hand it to the Egyptians for absolutely nailing it – they documented their teachings very well on the walls. The Ancient Egyptians appear to have used two constellations to align their pyramids in a north-south direction – the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. This alignment is so precise that their north-south positions are within an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees. There are sight holes in the greatest pyramid that allows direct sight to the north star (which turned out to be Venus, once we had telescopes). Then, the Egyptians mysteriously passed away. Their gods did nothing to save them and their amazing efforts, unfortunately, were futile.

Other great religions made their way across the world; think of the Mayans, for example, many great Asian religions, in fact it was quite a while before the Roman religions started to take a foothold on humanity. Sadly it was indeed constructed on the concept of a virgin birth, which is nothing new; virgin births include Romulus and Remus, twin founders of Rome, from the virgin Rhea Silvia. In ancient Egypt, Ra (the Sun) was also from a supposed virgin mother. Horus was the son of the virgin Isis. The Phrygo-Roman god, Attis, was born of a virgin, Nana, on December 25. He, too, went on to be killed and was resurrected. In ancient Greece, Dionysos was the son of either the virgin Semele or the virgin Persephone. Persephone was also the virgin mother of Jason. And Plato’s mother, Perictione, was a virgin.

~2000 years ago humans were becoming more advanced. We were also becoming more out of control. At this point in time we had around 200 million people alive. People were starving. People were fighting. People were raping and pillaging. Something had to stop it – a new version of the same ole religion came to the rescue, which helped keep peoples wrists slapped, taxed, and otherwise at bay for a fear of a new fake hell.

The list goes on of virgin births by the way, Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient China all have their share of them and none is more or less believable than any other myth.




ODD PRACTICES IN RELIGIONS

Have you ever stopped to just consider how weird it is, what people do in churches? Anything can seem weird in life, depending how far from it you step back. But generally we are all just going about our day doing whatever necessary things to keep the lights on. Cooking, cleaning, laughing, going to the bathroom, having sex, working, building, demolishing, growing, trimming, sleeping.

What do we do in churches? Now, going to class is similar; we sit down and let someone stand at the front of the room professing knowledge to us which we sit quietly and soak it in. But what about when you’re at a church? Stand! Sit! Kneel on your knee! Talk to someone together who isn’t even there. Talk about someone who may or may not have existed, and certainly not as the profound man defined to be, over two thousand years ago. Eat a wafer, have a sip of wine which is supposedly Jesus blood – subjectively, of course. Sing weird hymns. Bless eachother. Oh, and give money to someone for it so their building can continue to exist free of paying taxes.

Outside of church, religious people do a few other things; mostly, pray before eating, again, thanking someone who didn’t actually produce the food. Ideally, here is how I would pray:

Thank you, wife (or me) for buying this house with kitchen and cooking this food. Thank you, grocery store, for buying this food from someone else, stocking it, then selling it to me at a profit. Thank you, factory, for producing these taco shells, and thank you, meat processing plant, for shredding these cows alive. Oh, and thank you, farm, for raising the cattle. Thank you landscapers for cutting down the trees and tilling soil to grow soy to feed the cows. Thank you earth for having somewhat regular rain patterns on the ground, or for storing water in enough locations to make it feasible to pump water onto the crops.

Oh, and I sure hope uncle Joe recovers from his recent illness! Maybe I should give him a call to check in on him instead of just saying that, and then telling him I asked an imaginary friend to cure him.




THE GOOD THAT THE CHURCH OR PRACTICE OR BELIEF IN A RELIGION PROVIDES (IN REALITY)

I know, this has all seemed pretty harsh on the nitty gritty about religious practice. There is just so much to pragmatically point out about it. I also did point out that people generally follow the path of least resistance. Why on Gods green earth would people put themselves through so much hassle, going to church, paying them hard earned cash, and carrying these odd beliefs throughout their lives? Surely, there must be something good about it.

I’m sure there is. Well, as an atheist, I must acknowledge the secular benefits of practicing.

  • Being part of an ingroup: A lot of people don’t have strong social circles. Note that for the most part, when you go to a church outside of weddings or funerals, the majority of participants are older. Many of their friends and family have passed away or abandoned them. Going to a church is, if nothing else, warm and welcoming. People smile at you and beam down at you for attending this matter of utmost importance. You can tell someone there an issue you are going through and they will acknowledge it in front of others for you.
  • This is something that is otherwise lacking in real life culture. Many people stick to seeing their immediate friends and family, outside of school and work. Church provides another culture to be a part of. School, work, and often times, family, do not provide much in the name of condolence, support, and emotional help. At work, you gotta work. You are literally paid to do things for others there. They help you with a paycheck. At school, you pay to be there. You obtain their services and leave. They work for you in a very narrowly defined scope. With friends, you want to do fun things and enjoy eachother. Blessed are those with close friends who offer anything above that. Family is the place outside of all other places where you either relax, cook, clean, raise children, get raised, get scolded, and everything else. Church is different.
  • Religions organize to make (some) good things happen. Most notably in the form of collecting donations. This is a great thing, also largely lacking in culture otherwise. Get together, donate toys, food, clothes or money to others. This is a great thing. It is simply misaligned with doing it for God. And much of the money gets absorbed into the management of the building, and in extreme cases, guys like Joel Osteen.
  • Note: In most cases of donating, there is a power law where the more money that gets donated, powers ultimately arise to control and administer the money. Some amount of it is almost always lost in the process. This is not always a bad thing. If you want to go give $20 to one homeless man, you are cutting out the middle man and doing some good. If you want to give millions of dollars to the homeless cause, it will require some management to keep it going, and there will be some parasitic loss here. A balance may be stricken between how these organizations do it and how churches do it.
  • But wow, the money! In the U.S., faith based institutions account for about $378 billion dollars per year. If this were taxed, we could seriously consider doing some things like paying off national debt, starting something like universal basic healthcare, helping to pay off student loans (which are growing at 1.7 TRILLION USD per year), etc. The crux is, of course, it would break into the amount of good that the church can donate. But also we don’t know how much of this money is simply absorbed by people beyond a reasonable point. Many pastors live – for free! – based on managing and pastoring at the church. You gotta make a living, sure, and its not necessarily a BAD job to do (ethically speaking), nor too easy or too hard. But wow. Up the line there are definitely cases of money laundering, not to mention the other fun things some churches try to hide, like pedophilic catholic priests.
  • Churches provide a location to commemorate a dead person, bless a newly born person, and wed people.
  • I just view this as ‘the place’ to do this stuff, generally. Thankfully many marriages can and do take place outside of churches now, because the same amount of divorces happen regardless of where the original wedding took place and whether they were blessed by a pastor or not.
  • Providing hope to the hopeless. More on this at the end; in a nutshell, churches provide false hope by rationalizing that someone died 2,000 years ago for you and will be waiting for you after you die to take you into heaven where you are re-united with other dead people – hopefully people you particularly liked and also went to heaven. Would be a real shame if everyone that ever mattered to you didn’t quite make it to heaven, and you’re stuck with Grandma Fran.. and Aunt Karen.
  • So, some good can come out of going to Church and practicing religion. But seriously, note that all of these things can be done having never stepped foot in a church, and taking anything the bible has to say seriously.





THE ACTUAL STRAIN THAT RELIGION PUTS ON PEOPLE AND HOLDS THEM BACK

Perhaps a summary of much of the above, but I see a great deal of strain that belief puts of people. Life is hard, it is futile. There is little we have control over despite our best efforts. There has been death and famine as far back as the history books go. Viruses plague us. Mosquitos kill millions of people each year, if cancer doesn’t get to them first. Innocent people get run over by drunk drivers. Drunk drivers need to live knowing they killed someone on accident. We in the first class society life in a weird place and time. We live better than the kings of old, but we want more. The reason we live so well is due to billions of years of stored sunlight brought to surface in the name of fossil fuel, and the fact that America gained a foothold – perhaps a chokehold – on the rest of the world as soon as fossil fuels were discovered. Now, the rest of the world lives at the brink of starvation, barely staying afloat, to produce things for us to consume. Yet, America is home to the greatest rate of suicide. People aren’t happy. Perhaps this is partially to knowing the circumstances in which we live. Also notable is the fact that so few of us have perished at the hands of war due to others; short of 9-11, all I can think of is the attack on our Hawaii base during WWII, in terms of innocent civilians being at risk of great danger by another nation.

You can work really hard to get out of the lower class, but largely you stay in whatever class you are born in. You are subject to the same corporations that manage to keep the rest of the world from getting to ahead of themselves. We work for these corporations and then pay them to consume their goods. It’s sad, isn’t it? We get taxed for the money we make, pay taxes on what we buy, then get taxed when we die. Of those taxes, nearly 50% goes to defense. 25% goes to social security which is bound to go away by the time my generation tries to retire.

We also exist in the age of information. We are constantly bombarded with unspeakable tales of bad news, both in our own back yards and around the globe. What can you do with this information other than absorb it? I am reminded of a damn good analogy. You are walking past a pond, and see a little girl in the middle of the pond, clearly struggling not to drown. Noone else is around. Safe to say, most people would jump right into that pond, and save the little girl. Now imagine the same situation but there are two girls in it, on near opposite sides of the pond. Both appear to be struggling the same amount and you only have enough time to feasibly save one before the other surely drowns. What do you do now? Now, imagine hearing a very sad story about one starving child in Africa. Only you are told about this sole child, their story, and the supporting evidence to know it is true. Perhaps even $100 can save their life. Would you do it? Most would say yes, if I had an extra $100 I would surely send it. But interestingly enough, most people don’t. And just know it is exceedingly easy to send $100 to even one lucky individual in Africa. What if then, however you learn the sole child also has two brothers and sisters in the same exact situation? What if you learn this is the case for millions of children across the world? The higher the number, the less we care. We can NOT care. There is simply too much to even start to address; the $100 means nothing.

Tough crowd. Tough life. American Christians can sleep well at night thinking everyone will be saved in the end; varying beliefs on the spectrum about who gets saved and just how; Christian or not. You too, will be saved from this world that God put us on; like it is some sort of silly test. The good guys always win. All will be right in the end. Not on earth, though. Some Christians also harbor that belief that one day all people will be taken from the earth; the bad people go to hell and the Christians go to heaven. What a weird thing to believe.

It takes a lot of mental leaps to believe God is watching over you and perhaps millions of others. You need to realize, if he is, he is also NOT watching over billions more. He set the trap in the middle of the forest; now it just depends which lucky bear happens to step into the trap.

Religion is hard to believe at any point in time, but especially now, in face of all the science we have uncovered. What if the science is nothing more than God (or the devil) testing us? What if it is all so undeniably true, what we have before us regarding space, evolution, and so much that contradicts things said in the bible, and most of the claims made in the bible so hard to solve, but the inverse is actually true, and we go to hell for being gullible to it? Yet again, the context of our time is so crucial here. Just ~200 years ago, we would not be privy to some 95% of the knowledge we now possess. All we would have is our personal experience, many more people in our little isolated cultures all practicing the same religions, hardly knowing others exist out there and what they practice. If I was born back then, no way would I be writing what I have laid out here. I wouldn’t know any of it.

That is the crux of the epistemology of this whole ordeal.
Do you really expect anyone to read all that?
 

anotero

Autocross Champion
Location
Hither and thither
Car(s)
Mk7 GTI
You can have morals if your an atheist but whos morals do you genuinely believe will be stronger when tested? Someone who is god-fearing or someone who doesn't believe in a higher force? Ask yourself this- which city has SIGNIFICANTLY less crime and suffering? A staunchly religious city such as Dubai or a godless, hedonistic city like Los Angeles?

Dubai is anything but a staunchly religious city.
 

Chad13762

Go Kart Champion
Location
Henderson NV
God is a needy low self-esteem bitch. He's all powerfull and created a universe with imperfect creatures. They need frequently tell him he's awesome and do what he says or they'll be punished. Maybe he kind of gets off watching the chaos of it all.

God lacks stick-to-it-ness. He put in a lot of effort up front, but then moved on (got bored I guess.) I understand, I have a lot of unfinished projects that I started with initial enthusiasum, but quickly got bored with.

God is a shitty communicator. He leaves enough ambiguity to ensure no one can figure out exactly what he wants, or how the best tell him he's awesome. He leaves it to his imperfect creatues to argue, fight, and kill over thier interpetation of what he wants.
 
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Subliminal

Autocross Champion
Location
Vegas
Car(s)
Slow FWD VW Hatch
Dubai is anything but a staunchly religious city.
It may not be the strictest form of Islam but the legal system is based upon Sharia law. Strict drug laws, homosexuality is illegal, you can even be arrested for cursing. You're telling me that's not staunchly religious compared to the Western world?
 

Subliminal

Autocross Champion
Location
Vegas
Car(s)
Slow FWD VW Hatch
God is a needy low self-esteem bitch. He's all powerfull and created a universe with imperfect creatures. They need frequently tell him he's awesome and do what he says or they'll be punished. Maybe he kind of gets off watching the chaos of it all.

God lacks stick-to-it-ness. He put in a lot of effort up front, but then moved on (got bored I guess.) I understand, I have a lot of unfinished projects that I started with initial enthusiasum, but quickly got bored with.

God is a shitty communicator. He leaves enough ambiguity to ensure no one can figure out exactly what he wants, or how the best tell him he's awesome. He leaves it to his imperfect creatues to argue, fight, and kill over thier interpetation of what he wants.
who hurt you?
 

Subliminal

Autocross Champion
Location
Vegas
Car(s)
Slow FWD VW Hatch
Walk around NYC with a "Jesus is Gay" shirt, then try walking around Dubai with a "Muhammad is Gay" shirt and see how that works out for you
 
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