7/31/2007                                                                                       View Comments

You think with God you've found peace?

By MG (Monk)

I once had a question and answer session with a devout Church of Christ member. This was a few years ago, and I couldn't possibly tell you how much of this was/is my thought and how much came from other sources as I was deep into my de-conversion studies at the time. I do not wish to steal ideas (or otherwise plagiarize) but to promote independence, inquiry, and rational thought.

With that prelude, the following is derived from a piece I jotted down after our debate:

To Christians:


Religion is the greatest menace the world has ever known. As long as religion exists, we will never see a unified world, a world at peace. You might ask, "Without religion, why bother with a unified world? What would be the point?" I say for the betterment of man, a LASTING betterment -- to take care of the carnal vessels that have sustained us this far: our bodies, the planet, each other. No one is coming back to save you or your children. If you don't save yourself, nothing else is going to do it for you.

Religion should never have been an end but a means. It should only have been a bridge between barbaric ignorance and modern scientific inquiry. As a means for the well-being of humanity, it has failed; it is obsolete. As a means to control the ignorant and the masses, it always has, still does, and always will excel. Rational thought may one day win, but the battle will be hard fought. Once upon a time, I wished I was wrong when I had these thoughts. I feel overwhelmingly now (as I also did then) that I am not wrong.

You say, "Do you feel that there is no god?" I would be tempted to say that I don't know. How could I? Certainly, the evidence is against a god of any sorts.

As Christianity preaches god... NO, absolutely not. Why does there even have to BE a god?

Do Christians not realize that they are worshiping a man (Jesus) and a god (Yahweh... etc., etc.) that originated in the Middle East? You cannot understand Christianity outside of the context of its region of origin. Resources are scarce, and if you aren’t part of their particular club, tribe, religion, etc, they will probably NOT be very nice to you. They weren’t when they gleefully recorded the genocide of rival peoples in the Old Testament, when they gleefully killed each other for absurd reasons, or when they gleefully slaughtered a man that sought to reform their original decrepit religious views. Not then and certainly not now. Yes, this is the same region that has spawned Islam and Osama bin Laden and 9/11. No, not all Middle Easterners are evil. Nor all Jews (no antisemitism here). None of this changes the fact that Christians subscribe to a religion that espouses hatred, bigotry, ethnocentrism, and the slaughter of all things different from itself. When the bible was written, these people often had to act in these ways to survive, but do you really want to be part of a religion, here, now, in the 21st century, founded on (and laced with) such evil? The good you proclaim your religion has done does not offset the bad. Period.

You say, "But nothing makes sense to me without god." I say which one? The god of the Bible? Zeus? Krishna? The little voice that whispers sweet, delusional nothings in your head? If you want to speak of origins and Christianity's supposed primacy as being the SOLE word of god, consider the many common threads of the world’s religions. I’m not going to list them; go find them yourself. I promise that they are there. Doubtless there was a root to it all... but a root one could trace back to primitive man's need to feel like he could in some ways control or lessen the hardships of life, not one that traces back to an "omniscient" and "benevolent" deity.

Christianity has become little better than a substitute for tribalism; it has NEVER been anything useful. It is perpetually destructive. The Romans tried to use it as a social control mechanism to solidify a crumbling empire and failed. I used to hear it said that "if only the Roman Empire would have been CHRISTIAN, it might have survived." In the end, it WAS a Christian empire... that fell. Why is that? Didn't god care that the most powerful country in the world was Christian and about to fall?

Further, I loathe the guilt... the guilt that Christianity thrives on and that is the SOLE reason that I feel many of the "faithful" pretend to believe. How many people do you think really believe and follow Christianity’s teachings because they truly "love" Jesus and god? And, no, they don't follow the bible—oh no! Even the most devout often remain remarkably ignorant of it... most biblical knowledge comes to Christians in a second hand fashion. I wager that even those that do claim to love god and Jesus are duping themselves into belief. How many deep down are just striving to be "better safe than sorry?" How many are really only looking out for number one (something they hypocritically say is secular humanism's only purpose)? How many are just too lazy and tired of life to try and improve what we know we have: the here and now... what's right in front of us at this moment... reality?

"True" Christians are terrified for me and for my soul. I am terrified for my fellow humans, for the future.

To Christians lurking in the background: why is a sincere questioning of the faith, of the whole dubious enterprise, such a terrible (and apparently, DAMNABLE) offense? What "Father" doesn't want his "children" to learn, to question? How dare he send otherwise good people to a hell to suffer for USING their "god given" ability to reason and then calling foul when they unfailingly find something amiss?

You think with God you've found peace? Why don't you try to finding it with your fellow man?

—MG (Monk)

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18 comments:

@n0nym0u5 said...

I would just like to point out the totally anti-religious, totally humanistic governments (by leader) that were great advocates for peace and human freedom.

Stalin
Lenin
Pol Pot
Mao Zedong
Castro
Kim Il Sung

WaCky SpElLer said...

@n0nym0u5 - I assume from your sarcasm that we can then infer that religion based governments are "totally humanistic governments ...(and are) great advocates for peace and human freedom."

Let's see, that would make the middle east the world's center of peace, love, and understanding...

Monk said...

Do you really want us to point out the many atrocities committed by religious governments of all creeds?

I would suggest that you try reading Sam Harris's explanation, but since I know you probably won't muster the initiative to do so, I'll lay out basically what he says: no government has caused oppression and no group of people has caused, endured, or condoned mass suffering because it was too REASONABLE.

Further, you can advocate something with your mouth and fail to do so with your actions. One could arguably call the people you have listed hypocritical (if not out-right deceptive, false, and evil). However, no one, in my experience, possesses the innate (and often overt) ability to use hypocrisy (and out-right deception/lying) as well as your average Christian does when promoting the faith.

No doubt sincere Christians exist. No doubt people in general, believers and non-believers, have committed atrocities. Extremists exist on all sides of the argument. However, I'll take my chances with a system of thought based on reason, rather than one based in myth and laced with well over 2000 YEARS of atrocities.

I prefer flexibility. People can change; they can stretch. Your dogmas cannot and still be called infallible. One day you'll stretch your dogmas until they break, and they'll come back to slap you (and probably the rest of us) in the face.

I just hope it'll be worth it to you.

Huey said...

Monk, as usual, well thought and well written! You are one of the posters here that I look forward to.

Hey @n0nym0u5! How many people have been killed in this world by pious people shouting "for god!"?

How many people have been killed in this world by non-pious people shouting "for atheism!"?

I love it when the religious throw out these names, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc as though it means something. The policies of their governments were the result of political ideology and expediency, not atheism. The same can be said for some of the atrocities of religious governments. Please note that I said “some”. The crusades cannot fall into this category. Neither can the state sanctioned witch hunts that were conducted by every western government, nut just the Spanish Inquisition. There are many other examples in history.

Yes, Lenin and the like wanted to do away with religion. They can hardly be vilified for such a desire as religion is the single biggest economic drain on a society. Looking at Tibet with regards to the Dali Lama, people find it terrible that he and his minions have been displaced by the “godless communists” of China. Yet let’s look at that a little more closely. This was a religious society whereby the masses toiled in abject poverty for the relative few to live in comparative opulent luxury. This was and still is explained to the down trodden that this is the true way to heaven, nirvana or what-have-you. Quite the racket if you ask me. Is the justification for this class extremism to be that at least the people were happy? Or it is okay because they “believe”?

Look at the money christianity ties up. Yes some of goes to feed the hungry in this world and provide them with health care. This is laudable. But look at how much more goes to line the pockets of ministers, pastors, preachers, etc. Look at the fantastic amounts of money spent on churches, cathedrals and synagogues and their resultant upkeep, all for the greater glory of god. If christians were as serious about their charities as they claim, they would see that spending money on mega-churches and the like does not help feed the worlds hungry.

I realize that this is something of a straw man argument and I apologize for that. I just get irritated when fundies try to claim a higher moral ground because they know jesus.

Noell said...

Great article Monk! I love your writings! Although you more or less said this,I would like to add that more modern trends indicate that christianity is slowing the progress of mankinds progression. The one step forward and twenty back routine! A huge anchor slowing our developement. In this country, gone are the days of resonable intelligence. Corresponding with the increase in christian numbers, rational reason, and intelligence have steadily fallen below an acceptable standard. Inadequte home schooling for instance.

For me, a reliable societal barometer of sorts is television programming. Need I say more? Programming leans towards the intelectual needs of the majority. Even if one where to argue entertainment value.............again you get the picture! I went to a movie the other day with a friend. I cried big alligator tears................................during the coming attractions!!! I fear for the future of all humanity but especially for future American generations who fall victim to the ongoing insanity of religion.

The bridge needs to be torn down.

BlackSun said...

@n0nym0u5,

What you and every other Christian who uses your pathetically outworn argument fail to appreciate, is that you are essentially describing religious dictatorships.

Stalin, Lenin, et al did not create atheistic societies, they created state religions more powerful and ruthless than any seen before. I mean in prior countries with state religions, at least the outsize religious portraits and statues stayed in the churches. In the communist 'workers paradises,' public squares were filled with the god-like images of the leaders.

There's even a name (in NoKo at least) for the state religion--Juche. They keep their calendar based on the birthdate of Kim Il Sung. Look it up.

The conditions required for human freedom include a society of strong individuals with no ties to either an imaginary 'heaven' or earthly cult leaders.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with @n0nym0u5, but I don't think we can make the claim that a world without religion is going to be a better world. I figure at best, everything will be the same as it is now.
Religion IS a great tool for controlling people. Without it, we have only reason to restrain people. However, most people never think about others or the future, not because of religion, but because they just don't want to.
An example is how Americans focus on money. It doesn't matter if they could do a world of good through science; most people choose a career based on the salary. Science doesn't pay top dollar and science jobs are not that easy to come by, so why not invest time elsewhere. After all, we all have to make a living. Who cares about helping others with my knowledge when I can help myself by duping them into buying something or by just suing them?

A. Ford

fjell said...

Monk, rather than laud your article at length, let me just say: I printed it out and plan to smack people with it.

@Blacksun: Fantastic point concerning those "atheist dictatorships". They weren't actually "godless" at all.

Of course, this is too gray a point for most fundies to consider, even for a moment.

fjell

jfraysse said...

Monk, my man, another well written and pointed essay – thanks!

But digressing to @n0nym0u5 comments, I thought, “here we go again, atheism causes atrocities”. When will the ignorance and lunacy end!?

As stated before, the list of anti-religious bad guys and the suffering they caused and are causing is due to the fact that they are Totalitarian States where all facets of public and private life are controlled. So, in a real sense, the state or the dictator is “the god” or approved “religion” and no others are allowed. Even theocracies, that is, nations ruled under “god’s sanction” are included in this category.

The nation of Israel, in Biblical Times, was a “religious” Totalitarian State, a Theocracy to be exact, where “god” ran the show and no other laws, save his, were allowed. Under the rule of the Biblical God there were horrible crimes against both individuals (especially women and children) and other conquered nations that even many of today’s “left-wing” states would find abhorrent. Modern day Religious Fascism, such as we find in radical Islamic groups, are prime examples. Which of you out there in cyberspace would want to live I such conditions if you had a choice?

Here’s the real bottomline: Absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton, British Historian). History proves this theory to be true whether or not it is a “god” or an individual or a group of individuals that hold unrelenting sway over the unwashed masses. This was the very reason that the “American Founding Fathers” (several prominent ones NOT being Christian) prohibited the union of Church and State!

I say, Totalitarianism Sucks! Let’s point the fingers of blame where they belong!

Aspentroll said...

North America, the US in particular are in for a nasty surprise if the religious right in the US has it's way. There is a very strong movement afoot in the US right now to have a government run by church law.
This website will disappear along with any other that speaks against a government that requires the fundamentalist laws of god to rule us all. All gays and lesbians will move to Canada
along with any one else who can't stand to be dominated.

We can add Pat Robertson's name to that same list just after Kim Il Sung.

SEO said...

Aspentroll, does it have to be Canada? Sure, it's a pretty country and has some very nice people but it's cold.

pikd said...

@n0nym0u5
I dunno about stalin,but i knew about
mao zedong-and do you knew why he hates scholars?I suggest you learn a bit of chinese,or do some research-you 'll find his bitterness about the scholars
IT'S obviously that these people think what they are taught are right/what they do are the best,as now you think that we are wrong,because you think yourself you are right---do you know that the righteousness that we thinks to is actually killing us?
obiously they think what they do is right--and this has been a great drawback for tolerance in the world
I suggest you read conversation with god..think about it.

perianwalsh said...

the list is same we refer tohitler,KKK,crusades-i pretty agree that waht we think is right is actually killing this world

Anonymous said...

"Aspentroll, does it have to be Canada? Sure, it's a pretty country and has some very nice people but it's cold."

Hey! I'm in Canada and our temp hardly gets below minus six! Really! Today was particularly hot; Thirty-six centigrade. Come to Penticton! Nice all year long!! :-) -Wes.

John said...

Aspentroll, you're worried about something that will never happen. The United States is the world's number one producer and consumer of pornography. Abortion has been legal since 1972, gay marriage is gradually being legalized, and homosexuality is hardly the taboo in films and on television that it once was. Michael Moore's films are popular, Marilyn Manson is touring with Slayer, and hundreds of thousands of Americans use illegal drugs. There are thousands of adult nightclubs in the US, church attendance is down, and atheist books are selling well. Hip-hop is filled with profanity, and so are many mainstream films.

Now, does that sound like a country that the "Religious Right" are slowly taking over? People who believe that Christian fundamentalists are going to take away our civil liberties are just like the people that say that Hillary Clinton is going to take away their guns.

SEO said...

Thanks Wes, for the invite but I call Anchorage, Alaska home. We have our own balmy weather.

Nightmare said...

John said (paraphrasing):
"Now I'll ram my ova depositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest...but I'm not an alien!"


Right, now tell us how xians are a poor, abused, persecuted minority constantly beat down by the evil secular world.

Then try something novel - take off your bloody blinders and look at the country, look at who the majority actually is, and maybe, just maybe you'll wake the hell up and see through the bullshit your pastor, televangelist, or whoever is feeding you. But I doubt it.

You people make me sick.

Noell said...

John,

...The United States is the world's number one producer and consumer of pornography...

This is because of the 96 percentile of admitted hypocritical christians in this country are acting on their oppressed sexual desires secretly! Supply and demand.

...Abortion has been legal since 1972...

Recently, a local news station reported that 99 percent of all the women who underwent abortions at a local clinic were admitted practicing CHRISTIANS!

...gay marriage is gradually being legalized...

I’m going to have to research the facts on this statement. I don’t think this is necessarily true.

...and homosexuality is hardly the taboo in films and on television that it once was...

Other than biblical condemnation, what’s wrong with this? Change the channel.

...Michael Moore's films are popular...

Truth, no matter how bitter the pill, is still sweeter than living lies. Or, don't watch them!

...Marilyn Manson is touring with Slayer...

So what? It’s just music. Think about what they originally said about Elvis and the Beatles. Marilyn Manson is a business man and his act puts butts in the seats. For the demented who take the lyric seriously .............lock ‘em up!

...and hundreds of thousands of Americans use illegal drugs...

You have obviously never attended an NA or AA meeting before! Again, supply and demand to that 96 percentile of hypocritical christians!

...There are thousands of adult nightclubs in the US...

We have a local nightclub that caters to middle aged adults. Although not it’s official title, it is referred to as the “lay” club. Most who attend are almost always guaranteed to get laid. The same people who go to this club on Friday and Saturday nights can be found in the pugh's of their perspective churches Sunday morning. Another recent news event was born from an unfortunate date rape case. A group of college boys were arrested. They all revealed the same story that they attend singles groups in the main churches in our area. When asked why, they said that it was easier to get laid by attending these groups than it was to go to the nightclubs! They all claimed to be christians.

...church attendance is down, and atheist books are selling well...

GOOD!

...Hip-hop is filled with profanity, and so are many mainstream films...

Hip-hop and rap originated in the OT of the bible. OK, that’s a stretch. One of the most popular movies ever was a depiction of a mythical event from the bible. Good clean entertainment there! And yet during interviews and award ceremonies almost all artists and actors attribute their success to and thank gawd.

...Now, does that sound like a country that the "Religious Right" are slowly taking over?...

YES! There is a tremendous religious agenda being pressed against our government. Try subscribing to some newsletters that report the religious lobbying in most state senates! I could really run with this one, but I have other things to do!