Tag Archive: Christ



In case you don’t know, projection in the Freudian sense, is when a person subconsciously denies their own attributes and then ascribes them to other people. For example, a person may be very racist against black people and claim that black people harbor a great racism against white people. The point here is not whether or not racism exists in whites or blacks (I’ve read that subconscious racism exists in all of us), but rather that the reason why the “projector” says the other group is racist is because they feel guilt for their own racism.

This is something that happens often with religious people. There is the constant claim that non-believers are immoral; however, there are plenty of instances of immorality due to religious belief. Hatred of other groups, slavery, and child abuse are all immoral behaviors that are supported by the bible. As a result, any sufficiently intelligent Christian cannot hold the two beliefs that their religion is wholly moral and that these examples of immorality exist within their belief system without some psychological reaction. The reaction is generally projection.

There are other examples. What is one extremely taboo subject among most religions? In a word, sex. The question of why this originally entered the worldviews of believers — that is, why the holy texts assert that sex is bad — is a more complicated question than I am willing to get into here. What I’m referring to, is why is there a visceral reaction among the religious whenever the topic of sex comes up? It is because, simply, everyone has an interest in sex. The repression of this impulse causes the need for projection. The actual subconscious thinking process is something like this: “I enjoy sex. No, I shouldn’t believe that because my holy book says it’s bad. Ok, I’ll try to stop enjoying sex. Hey, that girl over there is dressing provocatively and flirting with a man! Why is she allowed to think about sex and I’m not? She’s a slut! She always thinks about sex while I, as a pure believer, never think about sex!” The result is what we see in religious communities the world round. Pre-marital sex prohibition, extra-marital sex legal prohibition (by stoning in Islam), homosexual sex prohibition, non-standard sex (that is, anything but missionary position) prohibition, sexual dress prohibition, and so on. These are all forms of projections or, to put it another way, envy. This is not a mentally healthy way to live one’s life.

Once you have this understanding of projection, the behavior (and motivation for such behavior) of many religious people becomes somewhat predictable.

Advertisements

I recently stumbled across a blog that demonstrated that rationalists might finally be making some headway into the debate against believers 🙂 There has emerged a new strategy among believers (at least, new to me) that can be seen in this blog post. The blog post is called “Atheists ought to chill out” and it basically is trying to stop the barrage of logic that rationalists are continuously lobbing at irrationalists by saying, “Don’t you have anything better to do with your life? Don’t you feel embarrassed when you continuously disprove us?”

This is quite ironic coming from people who spend hours every Sunday in church. Don’t they have anything better to do?

This blog post in particular was useful because they set up this argument:

I don’t believe in the tooth fairy because I know she doesn’t exist. Therefore, I don’t spend time trying to disprove her. I don’t care if someone believes in her because it doesn’t harm anyone or anything.

I polished up their argument a little, but that’s essentially it.

So, I thought of a great game that we can play!

It’s called, “The Tooth Fairy Doesn’t…” and it goes like this: you state a reason why you feel disproving religion is more important than disproving the tooth fairy. That’s it. I’ll write a few of mine, but I’d love to hear other suggestions! 🙂

The tooth fairy doesn’t strap bombs to her chest and blow herself up in crowded civilian areas.

The tooth fairy doesn’t try to impose her legal system on other cultures (let’s call it Fairya Law) .

The tooth fairy doesn’t issue fatwas calling for the death of cartoonists or writers.

The tooth fairy doesn’t blow up abortion clinics.

The tooth fairy doesn’t knock on my door and try to tell me to believe in her.

The tooth fairy doesn’t influence politics.

The tooth fairy doesn’t try to stop the teaching of evolution in schools.


Image

A while back, I wrote a post entitled, Hard Questions for the Religious. It received quite an interest from the religious people who read it and responded to it. The reason I posed these questions was the fact that I knew they would require quite a bit of explanation from religious people; yet, these same questions, posed to an atheist, would receive a minimal response. I’ve always hated obfuscation. It’s my opinion that response length and confidence have an inverse relationship when it comes to answering simple questions. In other words, the longer a response, the less confident the respondent is about their answer (of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but I think it applies to all the questions I proposed).

So, I will now answer my own questions (all answers will be in quotation marks to be clear). I will also add a commentary for each question after each response.

1) Do you ever question whether your worldview is correct?

“Yes. That is how I arrived at the world view I have. I am excited in evolving my worldview.”

This question was always answered in the affirmative by the religious people who responded; however, I have difficulty believing this. In my worldview, there is nothing that is impossible. If scientific evidence came out in favor of Allah or Yahweh or any other God, then I would accept it, assuming that scientific evidence had been peer reviewed. Things of this nature, however, are unlikely to be proven true.

On the other hand, while religious people may shift in their perspectives of how their religious beliefs are true, there are fundamental aspects of each particular religion which cannot be questioned. For example, a Christian cannot deny the divinity of Christ. A Muslim cannot accept the divinity of Christ. These are just two examples, but there are many for each religion. Some concepts are unacceptable to the religious.

2) If you pray, why do you do this? Do you believe that God is on your side? Doesn’t all the bad things in your life give you a reason to be skeptical of praying?

“I don’t pray.”

The concept of prayer has many problems. First, if an omnipotent being created the world, why would the request of a non-omnipotent being be useful? Are you smarter than God? Did God not take into consideration what you are requesting? Either God is not omnipotent or prayers are meaningless. Second, what happens when people pray for opposite things that are equally fair? Such as, let our people win this war. Does God take sides in a war? This seems pretty petty. Although, we do have evidence in the Old Testament and the Koran that God does take sides…. so, God is admittedly petty (man, that sounds really offensive. This is the problem with discussing religion. Sorry about the straightforwardness of that last sentence).

3) What do you make of people who believe other religions or other sects of your same religion, often more strongly that you do (ie, enough to fly planes into buildings)?

“They are all believing in something based on faith. I am not.”

The religious response to this tended to be that there are many ways to God or that they accept other people’s opinions. If you read the Abrahamic holy books (I’ve read the Bible and am now 33% of the way through the Koran), you will see that this statement is not actually possible. I cannot speak on behalf of other religions. Perhaps others can enlighten us. Both the Bible and the Koran (the Koran especially) state that there is only one way to heaven and all others will be banished to hell. I’m reading the Koran right now, and if someone reads it honestly, you will notice that the worry about people becoming infidels or not believing in Islam from the beginning takes up maybe a quarter of the book. I’m not exaggerating. It’s unbelievable. I don’t think that this is a good topic for Muslims to dispute because I’ve been reading it on my Kindle and have highlighted every time this is mentioned. I think I’ve run out of storage space 🙂 . So, the nice liberal statement that there are many paths up the mountain to heaven is, to be blunt, a falsehood.

4) Do you notice the parts of life that you do not get to enjoy because of your religion?

“There is nothing in my life that is not permitted except that which my conscience or laws do not permit.”

So, it that way, some things are limited, but these are better for me in the long run. I wouldn’t want to live in a society where anyone could kill me at any moment, so I will gladly give up the freedom to kill others. Also, I have considered the scenario of a cruel billionaire coming to my house and saying: “I’ll give you a million dollars to stab your cat to death.” I truly believe I couldn’t do it. It’s frustrating to know I’m limited in that way, but it’s true. This is also a good thing. It demonstrates that morality is something deep inside of us; something that we are partially born with and is partially nurtured by our upbringing. There’s no real reason I should care about the well-being of an animal that just costs me money. But, that is an overly simplistic way of viewing the world. The fact is, humans need love and affection. This give and take of love is a limiting factor, but also something to be proud of.

5) If you believe in heaven, do you really look forward to the idea of living forever? Think deeply, not superficially, about this. Of course, I don’t want to die, just like you, but living for eternity is a different can of worms altogether. After millions of years, how can anything be interesting anymore?

“I don’t believe in heaven. I don’t want to live forever; however, I would like to live longer than the current human lifespan 🙂 Hurry up medical science!”

Some atheists tell me that they aren’t afraid of death. I doubt this. The only people I believe might not be afraid of death are those who are so deluded to believe that they will receive a great reward after death. I have had the 72 virgins/angels discussion before. Whether or not this is what the Koran is saying (I am starting to think it is true, from what I’ve seen in the Koran so far), is irrelevant. You don’t make young boys blow themselves up by talking about rivers of milk and honey. You tell them they are going to have sex with more women than they could ever hope to attain in this world. If you doubt this, then don’t ever try to be a con artist: you would fail. You have to understand basic human psychology in order to understand suicide bombings. There are also other benefits of suicide bombing jihad. You and your family are given free passes to heaven. If it is not solely a selfish endeavor, this is also the equivalent of a “get rich quick” scam – in this case, get your family into heaven quick scam. I do believe that these people “love death more than [we] love life.”

6) Do you like the fact that God can know everything you think? Do you feel embarrassed about some thoughts you have? (I know I do!)

“I don’t think God or anyone can hear my thoughts. I am happy with this fact.”

There are many things that go through a human’s mind everyday without the intent of the thinker. We do not control everything that happens in our brains. This is getting closer and closer to being an undeniable fact due to the contemporary study of neuroscience. People don’t like to think this. People always want to be in control. However, it is actually quite liberating because you now understand that if you think something very strange, disgusting, or cruel, you can’t be blamed for that. If you act on any of these thoughts, then you must be blamed for that – that is completely different. I will give you a personal example, to the detriment of my character – this is how firmly I believe that I am not responsible for the thoughts that cross my mind. I was using the toilet today, and I suddenly had the curiosity of what eating feces would be like. I disgusted myself, to be honest. Should I feel shame for thinking this? No. I didn’t lift up the toilet seat and act on my passing thought. I am not to blame for this strange and disgusting thought. Think carefully today about every thought that goes through your mind and remember the strange ones. There will be many. In fact, you probably forget about the vast majority of them without realizing it. These thoughts are not a commentary on your personality. Not worrying about these thoughts will lead to a much more stress-free life.

Hard Questions for the Religious


Image

There are certain questions which are quite simple to answer for non-believers that are deep and perplexing issues for religious people.

This in itself should tell us something.

I am really curious about how religious people would answer some of the following questions. When I say “really curious” this is not a lie. I am not trying to disprove peoples’ religious views by setting up trap questions. The reason I am curious is because these questions are not interesting if you ask a non-believer, but it’s hard for a non-believer to wrap their heads around how a religious person thinks about these questions.

1) Do you ever question whether your worldview is correct?

2) If you pray, why do you do this? Do you believe that God is on your side? Doesn’t all the bad things in your life give you a reason to be skeptical of praying?

3) What do you make of people who believe other religions or other sects of your same religion, often more strongly that you do (ie, enough to fly planes into buildings)?

4) Do you notice the parts of life that you do not get to enjoy because of your religion?

5) If you believe in heaven, do you really look forward to the idea of living forever? Think deeply, not superficially, about this. Of course, I don’t want to die, just like you, but living for eternity is a different can of worms altogether. After millions of years, how can anything be interesting anymore?

6) Do you like the fact that God can know everything you think? Do you feel embarrassed about some thoughts you have? (I know I do!)

I have more, but I want to keep this short enough that someone (hopefully a religious person) might want to give their thoughts on these questions.

If a religious person does answer, I’ll give my honest answers to whatever questions they have for me, as a non-believer. 🙂

The Fall of Theism


Image

For millennia, humans have been subjected to the whims of many kinds of powerful individuals and organizations.  Of these people and organizations, none has caused such devastation with immunity to criticism as religious leaders and their corresponding organizations.  Fortunately, the increasing number of educated individuals in the world in addition to the great access to information the Internet provides has led to a Renaissance of rationalism.  In the coming years, the chokehold of theism on the minds of the masses will slowly come undone.

The result of this Renaissance will be manifold, however, of fundamental importance are two key areas of improvement: a spur in scientific and technological development – no longer held back by superstitious beliefs – and a higher level of morality among the vast majority of the world’s population.

As even those with a minute knowledge of history understand that time and time again, organized theistic religions have hampered or completely blocked scientific and technological development. From the case of Galileo, being forced to recant his findings that the solar system is heliocentric and not – as the church believed then, geocentric – to the more recent criticism of stem cell research, to numerous other examples, theistic religious organizations have continuously impeded the advancement of science and technology throughout history.

Without organized religion, science will prosper for two reasons contemporarily.  First, religious organizations will no longer sponsor political parties (financially and otherwise) in order to influence party politics.  The examples of the fundamentalist Christian movement in America and the fundamentalist Islamic movement in numerous Arab countries demonstrate the strong influence of religious organizations have on political parties to this day.  Obviously, these religious organizations demand certain restrictions on science, such as stem cell research and – according to the Catholic Church’s recently released Seven Modern Deadly Sins – genetic modification. Second, if organized religions disappear, more people who would have lived under the haze of religious dogma will likely venture into scientific fields.  The sheer number of people who alter their understanding of the world according to their religion – that is, away from reason and science – is exceedingly large.  This untapped human capital will only help the development of science and technology in the future.

Additionally, non-religious people are simply more moral than religious people.  Of course, this statement is provocative, and extremely hard to believe by religious people; however, it is true.  As Christopher Hitchens often asks, “Name one thing that a religious person would do that a non-religious person wouldn’t” – that is name one noble act that a religious person does that a non-religious person would never do.  Unfortunately, for theists, there is no answer to that question because humans are fundamentally moral with or without religion.  Further, Hitchens follows up this question with another: “Name something that a non-religious person would never do that a religious person would do”.  Unfortunately for religious people again, this question is quite easily answered: suicide bombers, covering up pedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church, female genital mutilation, circumcision of infants or young children, knocking on people’s doors in an attempt to change said people’s beliefs, and the list goes on.   Thus, in a future without organized religion, people will no longer go against their natural morality in order to fulfill the artificial morality of their religion.

Sadly, people often dismiss this idea with the belief that more deaths occurred in the 20th century from atheism or secularism than religion.  The argument states that because Hitler, Stalin, and others were not religious, the reason they killed or allowed people to die was because of their atheism.  However, this is a non sequitur because there is no connection between these leaders’ atheism and the crimes they committed.  Hitler killed Jews because he hated Jews, not because he was an atheist; Stalin starved millions because he was blindly and callously committed to a political ideology, not because he was an atheist.  At no point did either of these leaders say that they were killing on behalf of atheism.  In fact, during the Nazi era, the Catholic Church sided with the Nazi regime.  Therefore, if a theist wants to argue that Hitler went to war and exterminated Jews because he was an atheist, then they must also accept that the Catholic Church agreed with the idea of Hitler going to war and killing Jews.   Further, any religious organization that had a Holy War of any sort is not in a position to criticize other war criminals without first looking in the mirror.

Thus, the proliferation of scientific curiosity and a greater understanding of morality, are both exciting reasons to look forward to a future without theistic religion – hopefully a near future.

standup2p

Observations - From the sharp end

Questionable Motives

What is the right question?

The Havers of a Questioning Mind

All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God. -Voltaire

nerd on the bridge

A Literary Paradox

Lights on the Moon

what's real & what's not

DOUG PHILIPS

Meat sack with thoughts.

The Southern Rationalist

Voices of Rationality and Skepticism from the Southern US

Endless Erring

Stumbling along a Druid path

God Shmod

The one true God of Atheism.

Pretentious Ape

a humanist blog

Confessions of a Disquisitive Writer

Blogging my thoughts to the world

The More I Learn the More I Wonder

Rambles and brambles in the garden of my mind

Little Duckies

Parenting, polyticks, and the everyday busyness of an American-born mom in Israel.

Illusions and Delusions

Education is the key

BEN STUPPLES

JOURNALISM | UK POLITICS | BUSINESS

Web-ling's World

The World as I See It

Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.