1. Never accept any thing on faith. Faith is just an excuse for laziness. Get out and do some research on the origins of your god. Question things that don't make sense or defy logic. Don't accept ignorance.
2. Find out where the money you donate really goes. Most churches are big business organizations which prey on the fears of the sick and elderly, or try to influence minors before they can think for themselves. They are not required to give an accurate accounting of funds taken in.
3. Realize that every tax concession given to a religious organization must be made up in some other way. You, the tax payer, are supporting religions you may not even believe in, or approve of. Demand a full accounting of all funding churches receive. Find out how much actually goes to charitable causes, how much goes to outreach propaganda, how much goes into business investments, and how much is sent to headquarters. Would this money be better distributed by your local government to aid the community? If this income were taxed, how much would your community benefit?
4. Consider Robert Ingersoll's maxim: "Hands that help are better far than lips that pray." When you send money to a mission overseas do you really know what is happening? Don't you think that tools would be more helpful to an impoverished nation than bibles? Don't hospitals perform more miracles than churches?
5. Do not sit back and accept that everything is "All In God's Plan". That is a cop out! Take responsibility for your own life. Get out and do something in your community to make this world a better place. If you wait for divine intervention, you'll be waiting a long time.
6. Be a good person, not because you fear the wrath of god but because you want to help. Be kind to all living things because you respect life and are capable of making good choices on your own. If god is as merciful as some religions would like you to believe, then he'll forgive those who think logically. If he is as vengeful and unforgiving as other religions claim, then who would want to live with a tyrant like that?
7. Realize that all animals have feelings, display emotions, have dreams, feel hope and give love. They also feel pain, terror, grief and loneliness. Whether you believe in a god or not, you must accept that we share the world with other creatures and should strive to treat them all with compassion. Treat animals with the same respect you would treat someone of a different culture. Just because you don't understand them, doesn't mean they are not sentient beings.
8. Examine the roots of racial and sexual prejudices. They often have a religious origin. Remember that the history of most religions is bloody, cruel and repressive, no matter how much they claim to be based on love.
9. Don't expect a god to solve the world's problems. Look to science, technology and humanity for help. These items were repressed in the Dark Ages by religious leaders who feared losing power over their ignorant followers.
10. After diligent study, make a mature and knowledgeable decision. Decide which god, if any, is needed to make your life full.
There is no evidence of a benevolent creator. There is much cruelty on earth, from a cat toying with a mouse, to snakes slowly squeezing the life out of their prey, to children born with terrible handicaps. To say that this is "all God's plan" seems like a pretty poor excuse.
To say that Satan is the cause of the world's ills makes no particular sense. If God is all powerful and all merciful, he would have rid the earth of Satan a long time ago, rather than let millions of innocents suffer.
Life on earth demonstrates survival of the fittest, strongest or most intelligent - all traits developed through natural selection. Random acts of cruelty are part of this system. We must use our own intelligence to make this world a better place.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)