While it might be brave to have faith in claims of religion, the truth is this is a sacrifice of reason humans do not need to make.
When we make this sacrifice - surrender our ability to reason to somebody else, we are losing much and not gaining anything we cannot possibly experience without religion.
Humans can be good without religion. Without religion humans can still know truths about the Universe - as a matter of fact religion does not help there at all. Without religion humans still love each other. Without religion we can still be curious about the World. Not only that, but religion actually robs us in that regard. If we believe literally in stories from religion or use known philosophical arguments about god to “prove” to ourselves that god was necessary to create the Universe, we are far from being curious about the Real World. We then think we have all the answers – and without any evidence. The truth is – humans have better answer to those questions. Not ultimate answers, nobody has them yet, but at least without religion there’s no delusion about having them.
So, after some introspection, it should be clear that taking religious ideas literally doesn’t get us much. There are better answers out there. Plus, there’s no law requiring that we have to take everything that religion offers. We can choose not to believe religion literally, and still cherish the stories as a metaphor.
If we lose religion, we more-or-less only lose an illusion that we know everything. And we can still keep the metaphors if we like. So, let us have a different kind of courage! Let us have the courage to face reality and experience truth and beauty without being told how to do it. We can do this!
Entangled Life is on Instagram since beginning of this year. Here are the best post so far. If you are on Instagram be sure to follow, because when inspiration strikes, it is highly likely that something will be published there first, simply because I might feel that it’s too small a thought to warrant a full blog post. You’ll notice that some have very few likes. This is because at the beginning you don’t have so many followers, but they are still included because I feel they are essentially good. The posts are in chronological order, which means they will be posted in the order they were posted on Instagram, so you’ll be able to see that the account does get more popular.
Below each each post is a small comment about it. Also, while I’m here I want to tank some of the people who are following since the beginning.
So, here we go:
Comment: Ah, the horrors of trying to generalize. But I feel that even generalization is better that the “NOT ALL __” proclamation which really only stops the conversation. Choosing this quote was an attempt of trying to explain why do atheists post things they post.
Bertrand Russell is surely one of the people who I admire, so there’ll be some quotes from this extraordinary man. Here is his thought about how it really doesn’t make sense for god to be offended when somebody simply uses the “tools” he gave them.
Less than two weeks after terrorist attack in Manchester, there was another terrorist attack. This time the target is London.
The time has come for us as a civilization to examine the cause behind these attacks. Now, you might think that we have done so, but we actually haven’t. And why? Well, mostly it is because people do not want to be labeled Islamophobic.
By MIH83 / Pixabay
The arguments that Religion should not be even looked at do not help our society stay safe. There are right now a huge amount of tweets and Facebook posts with people claiming that religion has nothing to do with it, without having a slightest clue about who and what the attackers even are. Now isn’t this insane?
Yes, the most immediate cause for these attacks is Hate. But Hate does not come from nothing. There needs to be an explanation and a cause for it.
You do not simply hate somebody without any reason whatsoever. Atheists are aware of the dangers of all religions. All we ask is that Religion is not so easily dismissed as a possible source of this hate.
It is naïve to ignore the possibility that it can be religion. It might turn out not to be, but with people being afraid to even ask the question, we might never know. And we can't afford not to know. Lives are at stake. The risk of offending an ideology is a small price to pay.
It seems almost certain that they ARE Muslim extremists. They are the people who took the absolute worst of the religion and decided to live by it. It happens. They have told us this many times. And there are a huge amount of cases where moderate Muslims were convinced to leave their lives in the West and join ISIS, simply because they liked how ISIS was interpreting the religion. This does NOT mean all Muslims do this or are capable of doing this. But it does mean that modern Muslims need to condemn what they do.
Denial doesn't help Christians, Atheists, Buddhists and least of all moderate, modern Muslims who are possibly the biggest victims of ISIS. But the first step is acknowledging the possibility that it might have something to do with religion.
Many times, you can hear the so-called “first cause” argument and that it supposedly proves the existence of God.
The argument goes something like this:
- The Universe had a Beginning
- If the Universe had a beginning, it must have had (transcendental) cause that is outside of our reality – first cause
- The Universe has a first cause that is outside our limits
- This cause must be powerful
- This cause is God
On the first glance, the argument it does look powerful.
But, sometimes if one is witty enough, one can remember what was written by various philosophers before.
TL;DR – That science and religion do not clash as they are not concerned with the same things is basically a mantra invented by religious people to have their religion not questioned.
The entire point of this post can be summarized by the image above.
It can also be perfectly explained by paraphrasing Sam Harris: There is NOT a single thing for which once we had a scientific answer, but for which we now have a much better religious answer, while through history we have countless examples where things were once explained by religion, but are now better explained by science.
It basically goes in this one way, every single time. It is almost every time science really advances knowledge about our universe, religion somehow falls back, loses credibility. To prove this point just think about that once religion claimed that the Earth was stationary, until science proved this wrong. Same with Earth being the center of the universe, and the sun going around it. This can also be seen in the science disproving nonsense that is Noah’s ark, for example. Then the creationism of man, which was disproved by evolution / geology / astronomy. Nowadays creationism is mostly replaced by so-called “intelligent design” where people are simply saying “ok, some kind of evolution did happen, but it was god who guided it” .. or “god started it”, or something similar.
Of course, even these things are being disproved by science right as we speak. For example, through the human body there is evidence of “bad design”, meaning no intelligent designer would do things in this manner, but on the other hand, they are perfectly explained by evolution.
CC0 Public Domain – Mikegi / Pixabay
If you ever encountered an “atheist post” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other social media platform, you might have had a passing thought what really motivated the author?
Or maybe you even encountered a bit “sharper” post, which maybe even offended you for a split second, right before you continued scrolling further down to funny cats and vacation photos which don’t question your beliefs.
Or as an extreme example, you might have even been seriously offended and choose to comment and resorted to ad hominem?
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay
So, a thought might have occurred to you “Why do Atheists Speak Out”? Maybe even: “I don’t try to prove that God exists, I don’t bother anybody, so why do they bother me?”
Well, first of all, if you were personally offended by an Atheist in a debate for example, who resorted to ad hominem, let me make perfectly clear that I do not support this kind of arguments. They are weak and not needed, because there are so many good arguments why there is no God. We’ll touch upon these arguments in some other post.
Let us get the obligatory thing out of the way. Almost every statement and counterargument today revolves around the “Not all _ do that”. OF COURSE not all Atheists do that. That is besides the point. People do generalize and we ought to recognize that there is some amount of truth in these generalizations. Also, the “not all _” reply basically stops the conversation. An I think almost any conversation should be generally open, because that is how the society moves forward.
Even if the London attacker turns out not to be Muslim or Islam-motivated, this latest attack has again spawned various debates and opinions on Islam & Terrorism, so let's write something about this.
Nobody is condemning all Muslims. This is just a given.
But to ignore the facts and to say that this has nothing to do with religion is plain wrong. From what I was able to follow, most of the terrorists were religious (right-wing fanatics in the US who did similar things were al...so), so it's impossible to put religion on one side, in the jar, separated from everything else and completely ignore it when analysing why are these things happening.
If religion can make an impact about what people wear, what people buy, and let's face it, these are trivial things in life, it's simply stupid to pretend it cannot have any impact at all on whether someone might find an eternal life and imagined gratitude from their God a good reason to kill others and possibly themselves.
For proof of this Islam can be ignored altogether. Just take a look at all the witch burnings, crusades and killings other religions are responsible for. Simple logic tells us that Islam and Muslims alone cannot be immune to these effects of religion.
With that said, IMO the best way for Muslims and non-Muslims alike is to take a look at Islam and see which teachings can possibly be equivalent to the "you shall not allow a sorceress to live" of Christianity which is responsible for so much evil through the history. When these things are identified, they should be ignored or interpreted differently by scholars in order to discourage anyone from using them as an excuse for war.
Denying any connection whatsoever is simply not a smart thing to do, especially for Muslims, who will feel even worse and worse if these things continue. And they will continue until factors that might possibly contribute to this are changed or eliminated.
To simply ignore religion when determining what these factors are is wrong, is all that's being said.