Religions Suck, then you die.
There, I said it.
TORT: “The Obsolescence of Religious Thought” sounds to me like a damn good followup to
TART: “The Arrogance of Religious Thought”
– my self pubbed work from 2016 (5 years already!). This essay might be a bit of a preview of what TORT could be all about.
My goal for 2022 of course is to convince (con) some book agent into picking me up as a client, leveraging my upcoming chapter entitled “Suffering Due to Faith” to be published (by a real publisher!) this fall in an anthology on the Problem of Suffering by the established author/editor John Loftus – his 2010 “The Christian Delusion” is a classic!
– into a book deal to re-publish TART for real and get it in the bookstores – where I, of course, think it could really sell:
TART has such a catchy title and unique angle! –
The ARROGANCE of Religious Thought. It captures them all, not just one. All religions rely on the scam that their old, old, primitive writings hawked to the faithful, and their modern and ancient authorities actually know something the rest of the world doesn’t, and that only their religion is the true one and has the inside skinny on how the world really works and how their Big Guy is the One to be worshiped… (or else). How much more arrogant can it get than that?
“WE do it right, YOU worship the Wrong Guy and read the Wrong Book”-and will burn in some Omnipotent Prick’s Hell for being so obstinate and uninformed. How appropriate can it be that as I sit here typing away on this diatribe on all things religious, I’m proudly wearing my Unbelieving Scum T-shirt as I am supposedly destined to spend an eternity in any number of the world’s religion’s fiery torture chambers for not believing in any of their childish and often ugly, old mythologies. This is the 21st century; do we still teach this shit to children, really?
And the subtitle of TART I still love: INFORMATION KILLS RELIGION -u betcha! It does!
The more you learn about any and all religions, the harder it is to believe in them. Once you actually read any particular religion’s so-called “Scriptures” and read a bit of the backstory: who the authors were (usually unknown) how such scriptures were compiled, when they first appeared, and the ubiquitous competing versions and wildly varying interpretations proffered ad nauseum by religious “authorities” over the centuries-it becomes so difficult to buy into any of the nonsense in them or that they are somehow “divinely inspired” and contain eternal truths handed down from on high.
(Yeah, somebody was high when they wrote that shit – try on the Bible’s “Revelations” for an over-the-top, acid-trip, psychotic break – an xclnt example of religious delusion/hallucination if there ever was one!)
There’s an old saw well-know among us non-believing secular types…
Q: “Ya wanna make an atheist?
A: “Just actually read the damn Bible-the whole thing”
It appears to apply equally well to Islam, and the poetic ramblings of the Quran. I’ve read just snippets of it and the other big religion’s scriptures: Buddhism’s Pali Canon, and Hinduism’s Veda’s, and they read as obscuritant and open to interpretation as the Quatrains of Nostradamus.
The scriptures of the past (most date 2-3,000 years ago) are obsolete for a number of reasons besides their being so hopelessly out of date and ignorant of the intervening millennia of hard-won human knowledge. A few, the Quran and Hadith (9th century), the Book of Mormon (19th century)-are relatively recent excursions into god-‘splaining in comparison to the most widely accepted religious texts, but are as equally ignorant of modern knowledge-attempting to explain everything in terms of all powerful gods. They reflect a primitive conception of the world from “the infancy of our species” as Christopher Hitchens so eloquently put it. They are steeped in the anthropomorphic ascription of agency: our tendency starting around age 5 to assume a person-like entity to be the cause of a whole host of natural phenomena, starting with sounds in the night and shadows on the wall (monsters under the bed) to volcanoes, thunder, waves on the ocean, the seasons: the myriad explanations of spirits, gods, goddesses, djinns, angels, demons -the ubiquitous content of ancient mythologies, culminating in the modern conception:
“Despite the vast number of religions, nearly everyone in the world believes in the same things: the existence of a soul, an afterlife, miracles, and the divine creation of the universe. Recently psychologists doing research on the minds of infants have discovered two related facts that may account for this phenomenon. One: human beings come into the world with a predisposition to believe in supernatural phenomena. And two: this predisposition is an incidental by-product of cognitive functioning gone awry.”
Paul Bloom, Cognitive Psychologist: Is God an Accident?.
There is no evidence for those 4 religious claims: souls, afterlife, miracles, or a Creator that most religions use to explain how the world works and the vast majority of humans, even less religious ones tend to think are true. The repetition of these unquestioned ideas over the millennia, leave us humans striding two worlds, the modern one of technology, science, and social progress that we live in: a world based on evidence and natural, discoverable, causal explanations – and the one in our heads we assume exists; a god up in heaven where the souls of our dead relatives reside in eternity. And He made everything (somebody must have!) and on very rare occasions intervenes in our daily affairs-given enough pious prayer.
Think about it, as I started this essay on a late spring Sunday afternoon, that very morning in churches all across America (and the world) people were getting their weekly dose of completely unfounded and absurd religious indoctrination. All over the country people by the millions are bullshitted every Sunday that the mythology, and behavioral proscriptions, and judgments of others inherent in all religions are in any way true. There’s nearly 400,00 churches in US , most of theme being places of worship for one of the up to 30,000+ different denominations of Xianity, with another 300 or so distinct religions (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Jainism, Native American, Wiccan…you name it) represented here in the good ole U S of A as well.
Of 260 million US adults, 38% still report weekly church attendance-or almost 100 million people.
100 million people bullshitted every weekend, by your unassuming local pastor who really believes he’s doing god’s work in caring for his flock, or being fleeced by one of the megachurch prosperity gospel pastors who need fuel for their private jet. As George Carlin pointed out for us long ago, that’s some major league bullshit going on!
We need a new perspective, one that wasn’t written down by ignorant goat-herders millennia ago. One that is not full of childish conceptions of agent-like entities, gods and angels and saints, who do superhuman things. We live in a secular, scientific world. Our daily interactions with people overwhelmingly are not religious in any way: miracles don’t happen, souls don’t appear, gods never show up, and heaven isn’t down the end of the block, just past the grocery store. We live our entire lives in the REAL world, the common and consistent experience we all share: no gods in residence, no supernatural entities or occurrences.
The podcast I will finally have time to start in early 2022 cuz’ I’ll be able to quit one of my two teaching jobs then, devoting more time to writing, book promotion and recording/editing podcast episodes will promote the SSP
Secular Science Perspective.
A real-time down to earth proper modern perspective, based in reality and not some ancient mish-mash of childish explanations from primitive, ignorant, often barbaric peoples and times. It is a reasonable perspective to have in the 21st century as a replacement of the Bronze Age primitive, childish, mythological, thinking promoted by the world’s religions.
Religious thinking is completely obsolete in the modern world. It teaches people to blindly accept wholly unfounded ideas, like an afterlife, or the existance of souls, gods, spirits, miracles, you name it. In all other of life’s daily activities, we demand evidence, but not with religion, for so many that still buy into it, and Ill wager many haven’t really thought their religious beliefs through, – souls and heaven and hell are just givens.
And religious thinking got us Trump as a President (with a great deal of help from the huge Russian social media campaign in the 2016 election). Trump has been a conman for 50 years. He spews wholly made up ideas and claims with that utter conviction of a religious authority and its mostly the religious that buy into his spiel. In America, and most of Xianity, old white guys are the authority figures and they claim to know things they don’t and their proclamations are as widely accepted, and unquestionably as Trumps cons.
Most of the Capitol Jan. 6th insurrectionists were heavy duty Xians, exemplified by the gullible and whacked QAnon shaman who immediately led an evangelical Xian type prayer session invoking Jeezus right there in Congress’s chambers. And most QAnon followers are all Xians as well. You wont find many humanist-atheist-nonbeliever secular types buying into QAnon or other improbable and evidence-lacking conspiracy theories, or Trump’s bullshit like the “Big Lie” about him winning the 2020 election by a landslide and it was stolen from him and his faithful. The religious are pre-programmed to buy into an authoritarian scammer like Trump.
Thinking souls exist, or dead relatives are waiting for you in heaven, or that the guy with the forked stick is just waiting for you to screw up and join him in his fiery abode, or the some intelligent “Supreme Being” agent just had to have created all we see-are prime examples of:
TORT- The Obsolescence of Religious Thought.
We haven’t had a good up front attack on religion and religious claims since 2005-2010 when Dawkins’ God Delusion, Hithcens” God is not Great, Harris’ End of Faith Dan Barker’s Godless and Dan Dennett’s Breaking the Spell and other books, all appeared, signaling the New Enlightenment.
I think the time is right for a new wave of exposing religion’s false claims and outdated, just plain wrong thinking. It is no more evident than in today’s divided political climate here in the US, with the hard-core faith believers all massed into the Republican party, and 1/2 of that party still buying into Trump’s cons with a religious-like fervor. It would make a whole other essay-but there’s that anger in there as well. Like when you challenge a religious person’s beliefs, critique and dissemble the claims of their religion-without in any way assuming the person is stupid, in fact many non-believers out there today were once hard-core believers themselves, and are no different in intelligence than when they believed, they just took the very real and emotionally difficult effort to think the claims of their religion through, maybe for the first time ever-and found them wanting. But people tend to get very defensive when you start to show them, maybe they have been bullshitted and what they believe just ain’t so. There’s a lot of anger in the political arena out there, and it seems to me very similar to that seen when religious faith is questioned. When someone starts to see that maybe what they have professed to believe could well be bullshit-its hard to take, and the anger comes up.
Trump really plays on that anger of utterly disdaining and shutting out any compromise with the other side. He can brook no questioning of his authority. Gotta keep em in that anger zone. Clinging to absurd religious beliefs as an unquestioned way of life sets you up for Trump’s cons, QAnon’s utter insanity, and the Big Lie. And to defend it as adamantly as Jeezus dying for you on the cross.
Gotta get me an agent.
end religion now