Thoughts In Transitu

Some criticisms of religion

Preface: my experience is primarily with Christianity so this post will largely be based on that. However, due to similarities between the Abrahamic religions, most if not all of these criticisms will apply to Islam and Judaism as well.

In no particular order…

It tells you that you deserve to burn in hell forever simply for the crime of being born. Yep, the major religions claim that because of original sin*, every human being who ever lived (other than Jesus, of course) deserves to suffer forever in hell. Every single fucking one of us. Who deserves that? Even for people who really deserve to be punished, how long can someone even understand what they’re being punished for? Isn’t God supposed to be merciful? Oh but he lets you off the hook if you believe some implausible stuff, but it has to be the very specific implausible stuff that he wants you to believe.

God is jealous? Jealousy. The most petty of human emotions, and we’re supposed to believe that an all powerful being that created the entire universe feels jealous when we worship “false idols”. Take those Justin Bieber posters down, ladies. God is feeling inadequate.

God has a compulsive need to be constantly worshiped? Again, such a flawed human trait. Why would an all powerful being need all that validation?

You’re putting your faith in peoplePeople claim that they follow the teachings of their holy book, whatever it may be, but those books are so vague and filled with contradictions that they can be used to endorse or condemn anything, so you rely on people to tell you to believe. People. You’re elevating the opinions of people to that of the status of a god.

Other stuff that makes religion suck: Misogyny, homophobia, endorsement of genocide, endorsement of rape, child abuse, etc.

*Original sin: A man made from dirt and a rib-woman ate a forbidden apple because a talking snake tricked them. Sin is inherited through jizz which is why Jesus needed to be born of a virgin.

I Hate Religion, And Jesus Too

Atheism is not a religion

Since atheism is the disbelief in deities, it depends on the existence of religion to exist. If it weren’t for other people believing in deities, no one would call themselves “atheist” because atheism is defined by the rejection of this belief. No religion depends on the existence of other belief systems in order to exist.

Also, atheism isn’t a worldview that consists of a strong belief in science or that the universe is meaningless or that there’s no morality and it isn’t belief in evolution. Some of these things might be common among atheists or things that play a role in reasons why some people are atheists, but the term “atheist” itself only refers to the disbelief in deities. So I think it’s a little misleading when the argument is made that atheism is a religion too and it takes faith to believe in atheism, etc. Atheists don’t have faith, they lack faith.

Peace

God’s Bloodlust

There are many examples of God’s thirst for blood in the old testament but right now I want to highlight one in particular. The book of Deuteronomy is full of fun laws. One of them goes as follows:

If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. The shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21

How can one account for God being so seemingly evil in passages like this? Isn’t God supposed to be all-loving and compassionate? I’ve heard the argument made that “we just can’t understand God. God is mysterious. His ways are higher than our ways. We cannot understand them.”

The thing is when looking at a passage like this, it no longer seems so mysterious if you think of it as something that was made up by people who lived thousands of years ago and had an extremely narrow world view. This is exactly the kind of thing you would expect people like that to make up.

An Interesting Predicament

So, people who believe that accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior is the only way to escape eternal damnation have an interesting logical predicament on their hands. There are two possible scenarios that this rule can produce, neither of which seem to make much sense.

Scenario one: non-believers honestly do not believe that Jesus was the son of God.

In this case, we have a problem because it doesn’t seem right that an all-loving, all-knowing and all-just God would punish people for honestly not believing something. This is because belief isn’t a choice. I’ll give a bit of an extreme example but it will illustrate my point. Suppose I told you that the universe was created by a brotherhood of cosmic leprechauns. You wouldn’t believe this for a second. Now suppose I told you that the universe was created by a brotherhood of cosmic leprechauns who will ban you to an eternity of unbearable torture in an afterlife if you deny their existence. Would you be able to then, honestly believe in the cosmic leprechauns? Belief is an automatic reaction to propositions. If someone doesn’t believe that a Jewish carpenter who lived two thousand years ago was the son of God but also was God at the same time simply because it seems outlandish to them, how is it just for that God for punishing them for not believing? It just doesn’t seem right.

Scenario two: everyone knows that God exists and Jesus was his son, but deny it so that they can continue living their sinful lives.

This is one way I’ve seen Christians try to remedy the problem with scenario one. Suppose everyone knows deep down that Jesus was the son of God. Then it wouldn’t be quite so outrageous for God to punish them somehow. But what person in their right mind would deny Jesus knowing that they are doomed to hell? We’re talking about hell here. Fire and brimstone. The worst possible suffering for eternity. You would have to be absolutely insane to willingly accept that fate, just so that you can indulge in 70 to 90 years of sin. Besides, there really isn’t any reason why you can’t accept Jesus and just keep on sinning. In the end, all he really cares about is that you believed in him. So maybe everyone who denies Jesus is insane. Well, then it isn’t really right for God to punish them in this scenario, either.

So, if you’re a Christian, how do you reconcile this problem?

So this is supposed to be a pro-Christian video, but it actually illustrates how ridiculous the whole concept of salvation is. I wonder what was in the last guy’s file. Rape? Murder? A life of dealing heroin? But he gets to go to heaven since he believed in Jesus while the guy who built wells in Africa burns for eternity. Hilarious.

The only thing emotions tell you is how you feel

They do not tell you that the song on the radio, street signs, or chance encounters with old friends is God communicating with you, that the universe is all part of one single consciousness, or answer any other metaphysical questions.

It’s the perfect day to reflect on the fact that the most popular religion in the world is one of human sacrifice. Today we commemorate that the previously insatiable blood lust of Yahweh was finally quenched with the brutal murder of his son who is also somehow him.

"Just Have Faith"

One of the problems I had that acted as a seed to my deconversion from Christianity was the idea that you’re supposed to have a personal relationship with God. But how could I have a relationship with a being that seems to be so hidden? The response to this I got was that ”you can’t hold God to the same standards that you hold people to. He’s an entirely different kind of entity, so you would expect your relationship with him to be completely different that that with a human.” So what does a relationship with God actually look like? I sometimes got a really cryptic answer like ”each person’s relationship with God is different so it’s impossible for one person to describe their relationship with God to another.” Needless to say, I didn’t find this answer very satisfying.

The most direct answer I got to this question was probably that “you read the bible and pray and from that you try to figure out what God wants you to do. Then you go out and do it and see how it goes and continue praying about it and then try to get the feeling from God whether you think he thinks you are supposed to be doing that. If you feel like God still wants you to do that then keep doing it. If you don’t then try to figure out what God wants you to do. Also look out for any signs in your day to day life that you think might be messages from God.”

This seemed to be a more substantive answer but the problem was that I was already reading the bible and praying but I never “felt” any mystical force pushing me to do anything. At this point, I would imagine that the advice from most Christians would be that I just needed to have more faith. The problem with having more faith is that when I tried to have more faith, I would momentarily get a feeling that I identified as being “closer to God”, but this would always immediately be followed with the feeling that I was simply creating God in my mind. The only way to overcome this feeling would be to have even more faith. There just wasn’t any way I could do this because to me, this is an obvious recipe for self delusion. I later came to the opinion that that is what the entire blueprint for having a relationship with God is all about. You read a cryptic, ancient text that can be interpreted an infinite number of ways, go into a state of deep meditation and attempt to communicate with the spirit that is being written about, keep yourself attuned to any strange feelings that you get, and then attribute those feelings to be affirming the validity of the overall faith system. The way I see things, this is no way to discover truth.