Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Religion and its effects - Documentary BBC - A History of Syria (2013)

Just watch this. This region is complex, but how often do we hear this same thing - religious hatred fueling conflict.

Why? Because of two different religious leaders hundreds of years ago.
Because of a 700 year old bias against another group that "isn't really Muslem."

... If we get rid of religion, how many conflicts like this can we lower or eliminate completely?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let them believe.... no.

Why can I not just let the religious believe whatever they want?

It's a fair question, you'd think. And it's usually followed up by "what harm does it do" or "how does it affect you?" Answering the second answers the first.

What harm does it do?
Every Sunday, millions go and listen to one person they've given authority give their opinions based on a non-scientific, disproven book (or, rather, their interpretation of it.) These opinions then circulate out into the rest of society and affect the way we treat each other, the way we run our schools and country, the way we view the rest of the world. And every sunday they go back to be *re*indoctrinated. Bronze age myths that no longer jibe with how we know the world works are taught to children before they reach school age.

(Not to mention the economic impact of all that money *not* going to take care of food, bills, etc. 10%? Wouldn't you call that a bit of a drain on the economy, both nationally and personally?)

There's a specific directive in our bill of rights that prohibits government endorsement of any religion. That, unfortunately, is being worked around by many groups - to the detriment of equality and education. Religion makes a society *less* just. Religion forces an "us vs them" mentality on its adherents.

How so?

Personally, many Christians will demonize an Atheist. Literally, ignoring (as typical) the inherent contradiction in the statement, they'll call an atheist a satan worshipper. They'll do their best to portray their holy book, and only it, as the source for morality (a sure sign that they haven't actually read the thing,) and imply - or state outright - that if you don't agree with it, you're probably out stealing, raping people, feel free to murder and the like. And instead of actually teaching the difference, religious leaders perpetuate it. Some don't know any better. Some do.

In society? Recently we've had a lot of debates over same-sex marriage. There's no logical reason to deny it - it would make all couples of consenting adults equal, despite a genetic difference. All the arguments against it come down to "God says." Quite honestly, "God" says to murder homosexuals - which is done in some religious countries officially, and here, well, at least we label it a hate crime. Mixed-race marriage, slavery and other bias also tends to have a religious component when laws that restrict general freedom (forbidding mixed race marriage, propagating slavery) are passed.

And let's not get into the religious smokescreens in the classroom. They don't like evolution, despite the fact that it's been tested and proven repeatedly, so they try to get creationism forced in, even relabelled as "intelligent design," yelling "Teach the debate." There is no debate. Yet this wastes classroom time and forces incorrect information on students, hampering their intellectual growth in favor of a fact-free, religious viewpoint.

Imagine if this were done with astronomy. Teach what stars are, the distances involved, how they actually work - then "teach the debate" that they can fall to earth, or that they are *beings* that can come to earth and fight alongside people in battles. (Yes, those are in the bible.) Would you want that?

Religion is NOT a benefit to society, and putting mind-space aside to believe these fairy tales, to vote and support politicians who base their decisions on these fairy tales and affect local, state and national laws, hurts *everyone.*

That is why I can't just "let you believe what you want."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why a "christian" conscience?

I hadnt' realized it had been a month since updating this. My apologies.

Still, I came across this video - with an australian politician explaining how, as a christian, he can support gay marriage.

Frankly, I love his response. The pastor that asked him the question seemed wholly unready for his reply. And he makes many good points, such as that he can change because society changes - or, as he puts it another way, if they should get everything from the bible, slavery is a "natural condition" and the Confederacy should have been supported in the US Civil War.

I can't help but applaud that man.

However, one thing bugs me. He keeps talking about how he supports it with his "christian conscience." Now, I understand it being a sort of.. socially acceptable way of speaking, it's a nation with a christian majority among the religious and so forth.

But what he's saying goes against Christianity and the bible as he himself points out.

Why can he not just say "in good conscience" or "in good, moral conscience?" Or just say "It doesn't make sense?" Why should Christianity be brought in and given credit for something it's flat out against?

Admittedly, and rhetorically, it does avoid the "Christian vs Non-Christian" argument that could be brought up, as he's saying he approached it from his Christian perspective, or as a Christian. But it's not a Christian point of view in the least, strictly speaking.

How long before we can just say it's the correct, moral thing to do without having to refer to religion - especially with the assumption that religion is actually the "good" side of the argument?