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Religion is untrue
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lil_shepherd
But forget that.

Today we have had another report about the evil that is the way the Catholic church has behaved in Ireland.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8381433.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8382010.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8382999.stm

In Saudi Arabia a man is sentenced to death for witchcraft

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8378483.stm

Various religions oppose stem cell research, gay marriage etc etc

Each day brings another hateful action by some religious body or another, and yet I am supposed to ignore all of these things because there are plenty of religious people (not, note, religious organisations but religious people) who also don't approve.

Fine. I accept that. However, there are also lots of religious people who do approve of them. It may well be a majority.

I do not see how simply saying religion is not true (and asking for some sort of evidence that that statement might be wrong) or pointing out the iniquities of organised religion is somehow offensive.

It is simply true. I'd rather speak the truth than offend no-one.
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I find it very tiresome when religious people say "oh, we're not all like the fundamentalists." Maybe not, but they buy into the basic belief -- and which bits, then, do they feel able to pick and choose . . .?

This post was prompted by one of my flist whinging about how I'd dared to post the links in the previous post which were 'demonising' religion.

Edited at 2009-11-26 08:25 pm (UTC)

I enjoyed your previous post and am glad to have read the articles you linked to :-) I don't think they demonized religion; I thought the "armor of faith" one was within the bounds of civilized discourse, even if it did perhaps go a little farther than I would have. And I enjoyed the trekkie religion (what if religious people really did think it was a metaphor) one very much.

I hope you don't mind, but I added you to my friends list on the strength of it.

Don't mind the whinger too much; he has had a rotten morning.

Yes. I know he has. But we clash frequently on these matters, and he is the reason I tend to put anything on atheism behind a cut with a warning.

There are a number of religious people on my flist, some of whom are my oldest and dearest friends, and some of whom are newish friends but people I really, really like. However, most of them are aware of my views, and will argue with me if they feel like it, or otherwise skip the post. Which seems fair both to me and them.

You have been friended back.

I ws reading some blog linked to from the Grauniad where feminist were analysing religious privilege, and there were those calling themselves religious fellow travellers who kept running the tone argument.

I was amused.

If only we poor atheists were nicer to people and stop being so damned militant and having an opinion and shit.

Yes, this is, unfortunately, something we have to deal with, like people calling Dawkins aggressive and shrill. Now I'm aggressive and shrill, while Professor Dawkins is a mild mannered and soft spoken gentleman.

I rather think I've gone beyond not wanting to offend people on the subject of religion. I refuse to pretend to respect other people's loathesome beliefs.

I also fail to understand how the hell the Catholic church managed to get an insurance policy to pay out to abuse victims. How the hell can anyone insure against the effects of a criminal act??? My mind went well beyond boggling when I heard that on the news.

It appears that the Irish government and courts must share some of the blame as they apparently decided that the church was "above the law" (at least, that was what was said on the World Service this morning.) What has pleased me muchly is that church attendance has fallen and so has the esteem in which Catholicism is held. There is also, I have heard, a growth in atheism.

*chortle*

I tend not to get into debates unless someone wants to discuss my lack-of-belief but I'm not above advertising my stance. What has pleased me is the number of random delivery people and other callers who have admiringly commented on the Darwinfish stuck to my front door. :)

I don't normally push mine unless someone (quite often the Pope or US fundies but occasionally members of my flist and half-hearted apologetics - the 'framers') annoys me. I stuck the Greta Christina links in because I love her blog and thought those posts were almost as good as her ten reasons why she doesn't believe in gods post. I have a number of atheists on my flist who might not have seen them.

Other news items, reading far too much Pharyngula and a bit of whingeing on my flist... just got too much for me, I'm afraid.

I'm getting a 404 on the first link. Since none of the previous commenters mentioned this, I assume it was up for a while but has expired. But I found this article, which says the Vatican ignored formal requests for information.

Religion should be as debatable as politics.

Yeah - looks like the Beeb took it down. I have several more links to go in its place, though...

And, as I should have said before, thank you for alerting me to this!

Edited at 2009-11-27 02:29 pm (UTC)

One thing that struck me about the four Irish archbishops the church is fingering as being partially responsible for the cover up of these appalling acts is that three are dead and one is retired (and 83). Now, I know we're talking some years ago but... funny how none of this is the fault of anyone *currently* in the church!

And it drives me mental when Xtians say, "But people are always getting at/criticising us!" I want to yell, "NO, they're NOT. You get away with far, far too much crap without being called on it. What you're experiencing is simply loss of privilege."

For the most part I always find myself agreeing with you on this subject. I'm an atheist too, and it's nice to see someone post about it without worrying about offending those people who probably also believe in the tooth fairy.

However, there is an element in one line of your post which I think plays into the religions' hands a little.

"Various religions oppose stem cell research, gay marriage etc etc"

The religions that do this, do this on "moral" grounds. Media reporting of opposition to "stem cell research, gay marriage etc etc" almost always concentrates on religious objections because they are well organised and have professional spokesmen (called 'bishops', 'ayotollahs' etc). But in doing this, they feed the theists' prejudice that only religious people have moral objections to something and by extension, only religious people have morals.

There are plenty of atheists who have a moral objection to something. This might be something that the theists generally don't like either (most religions, but seemingly not all, seem to frown upon murder and child abuse for example). It might be something that the theists do like (teaching small children to blindly believe what they are told without question for example) and it might be something that different people have different views on for different reasons (like perhaps "stem cell research and gay marriage etc etc").

What I'm trying to say in a very rambling way is that whatever they may try to pretend, the religions did not invent morality and they don't have a monopoly on it.

Indeed.

Each society has its morality, and so does every person. There is no consensus within each society or each religion and certainly not between individuals. Religious leaders should have no more credence than any other person. If, by their writings or their speeches, they have gained personal credibility then that is one thing - it is quite another to have credibility with government simply because they have been appointed within a religious organisation. I mean, look at the current Pope (or, for that matter, the current Archbishops of York and Canterbury) or the current leaders in Iran, where the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has just had her trophy and certificate confiscated.

However, I, like everyone else, can only judge by my own morality. I don't particularly want to stop people doing things, so long as that does not adversely affect other people. So if people don't want to participate in stem cell research then that is fine by me, so long as they also keep their hands off any treatment that results from it.

The difficulty I run into is that it appears that a huge proportion of the human race needs religion. The need for certainly seems to be built in for most humans; I suspect it served some evolutionary purpose. We mutants who don't have it are the exception.

What would happen if religious belief were suddenly (magically) removed from all the people who maintain that without religion there is no morality?

Well, we get along well enough without religion but with morality. (You are, to judge by your posts, a particularly moral person.)

There's been a fair amount of research and theorising as to how and why the need for religious belief arose in humans, and I understand there is a new book about to come out on the subject. I must admit to finding Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained reasonably, if not totally, convincing. (Boyer ties it into us being language-based creatures who need to talk to things - even invisible things if we think they may be some use to us.)

Judging by what is happening in most of western Europe and Israel (of all places!) it may be that not as many people are without the "religious gene" as it may appear from where you sit in the States.

Just picked up your comment about 'demonising' a religion

Surely only a religious person can 'demonise' a religion? The best the rest of us can do is castigate them.

His exact words were that he couldn't get up enough energy to reply to this post "demonising" religion and would someone else, preferably an actual religious person, do it for him.

It has to be said that the only person on his flist who commented in a very anti-Greta-Christina fashion claims atheism.

His problem is that he wants everyone to be nice to everyone else, and, while he is not a religious person, he thinks religion should be respected, I think because his wife is religious. (Rather the opposite of your attitude, now I think about it.)

He did reply to my link to the Catholic debate, but I think he suddenly realised that he had opened himself to a very snarky/irrefutable reply, and deleted the comment. Of course, as I am notified when people comment, I saw it anyway.

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