In Defense of Religion

November 26, 2009

First off let me say that religion is indefensible but I had to do something to get you to start reading this post. There is nothing about the major religions or any other (save Buddhism) that could possibly be true, whether you are a literalist or not. Yes some religions are loosely historically based like Christianity but a lie mixed with the truth is still a lie.

Religion had a useful purpose initially for humans as we evolved. It helped us explain the unexplainable. Now we have science for that although we are still very limited in what we can do but since science has usurped one of religion’s two roles, the only one left for religion now is comfort. People want their religion for comfort. They also want it so they can say they are part of a group. That means people outside of that group are basically heretics and we all know how we used to burn those people at the stake. It is this comfort factor that keeps religion going. It is the belief that if you believe then God will favor you over others. It is utterly illogical that a God that loved everyone would demonstrate it by preferring one group of people over another, Jews or anyone else. The contradictions don’t matter, however, when something as critical as comfort is at stake.

When I say comfort what do I really mean? It is clear that many people are suffering today in this country and abroad. Why do they still believe when they suffer so much? Because suffering is like money to religious people. The more you have the better seats you get at the game. Even though believers do not wish to suffer, and some that do eventually reject religion, when it is inevitable they suck it up and think about how much greater their reward will be in the afterlife, which I affectionately call the afterlie.

There is no afterlife for humans. Why? Because there is no afterlife for anything. We are just like other lifeforms except two major ways that have blinded religious people: technology and emotion. We can make things and solve problems. We can feel happy and sad. Those two reasons alone give humans the hubris to consider ourselves worthy of souls while all other lifeforms get nothing. I suppose this is another form of comfort to believers, that humans are somehow special and animals and plants are not, even though we all came from them.

I know this doesn’t sound like much of a defense of religion so far but my defense of religion is that you can never take a person’s comfort from them, by any means. As long as nonbelievers do not understand this and keep trying to rationalize the obvious contradictions with believers the debate can go nowhere. It is true religion is dying but not because people are becoming atheists. People are becoming more secular and still spiritual. They are coming to accept that fact that the dogmatic theism is a bunch of crap but many believers don’t even know their own dogma. To them it is merely a comfort machine. Those people will hold dear to religion forever until the comfort is gone.

The only way to destroy someone’s comfort is to ruin their lives in this world and their hope for the afterlife. We are seeing plenty of that from corporate and political corruption. Retirement is sort of a pre-afterlife and Wall Street has destroyed much of that for the older generation and the younger generation as well since they are constantly becoming older. One would think religious piety would increase when suffering increases but apparently many people are giving up on it because they see the hypocrisy inherent in so many of its institutions thanks to the far right. Religion has created many more atheists and agnostics than atheists and agnostics ever could. That is how you fight religion. Sit back and wait. Lies are unsustainable because one always leads to another.

There is no point in trying to convince someone their religion is wrong. Religion is not about logic. It is about feeling. Humans fear the future because it is uncertain. Humans fear death because it may be painful and it may be the end of existence for them. We used to fear the dark because animals would try to kill us. We all have the fear of the dark in us. It is one huge reason that darker skinned people are so oppressed. That’s why I believe it’s stupid for blacks to practice Christianity. Christianity in its modern form was constructed for whites and whites only. It is a Jim Crow religion. Whites took their fears of darkness and formed a religion out of it to give them comfort and now black people want to practice a religion that was created to give comfort to whites that blackness, darkness and evil would be defeated one day? Christianity is the reason for white racism. It has justified every horrific crime of Europe since its incarnation and even to this very day.

Religion is all about comforting us of our fears. That’s all. Eventually religious people are all going to realize that the comfort religion provides is false because it is not based in reality. That cognitive dissonance has to be resolved and with growing numbers of secular people there will be even more and more pressure on each religious individual to conform with the norm. We will be laughing about religion in a few hundred years….all of us. I’m laughing already and so are growing numbers of people around the world. Of course I am assuming that a religious nuclear war doesn’t break out before then and wipe out humanity. That prophecy may indeed precede believers coming to their senses but imagine a world where the people cannot be politically manipulated using religion. It’s not that far away. If only we could do the same with race.


  1. Ooops! Careful, your ignorance is showing.

    “It is the belief that if you believe then God will favor you over others.”

    This is not true regarding earth nor eternity. On earth, Christians are not promised nor do we expect a life that is free from the suffering or tragedy to which all of humanity is exposed. As to eternity, your comments suggest that the people at the door of a concert are favouring ticket holders over those who do not have tickets. It is simply a spiritual reality that those who reject God’s offer of salvation will not be able to experience His offer of salvation. That is not favouritism. It’s just giving people what they want.

    • I was raised a Christian so I know from first hand experience that religious people think they’re better than atheists and agnostics. They think we’re evil because we don’t share their beliefs. They think that God does favor them but when it doesn’t pan out that way in this life they come up with another phony excuse that they are somehow building up rewards in heaven. That is nothing but cognitive dissonance at work. How much you suffer has nothing to do with any eternal reward because there is no eternal reward and no eternity for the human condition. In addition why would a loving God would create nonbelievers in the first place if it knew they would reject God and be sent to hell forever? That’s not love. It’s sadism. Humans cannot possibly have free will if God is omniscient because God would know who would reject it. If God is not omniscient then it is not a god, especially if it likes to create life just to destroy it for sport. Your ignorance is showing.

  2. “I was raised a Christian so I know from first hand experience that religious people think they’re better than atheists and agnostics. They think we’re evil because we don’t share their beliefs.”

    Christians who are familiar with the canonical testimonies of their faith think you are evil for the same reason that we are evil (namely our natural propensity to deny or play “let’s make a deal” with our Creator), that all of us are offered the same gift of escape from the eternal consequences of our natural state, and that we who have chosen to receive that gift have escaped the eternal consequences of our natural state (Hebrews 9:27-28).

    None of us, except those who are still alive at the moment of the apocalypse will escape the temporal consequences of our natural state; other than that, all of us will die in due course(Psalm 49), and experience suffering and loss in the meantime (Psalm 90).

    The judgments you make about God and those with whom you were raised are pilfered from their world view. Based on your starting point, there is no basis for judgment, only description. If you hang on to that starting point, this ethical void may become evident to you in due time, and certainly in eternity. Since you deny eternity, in all likelihood it will not become evident to you in time. But I could be wrong. I hope for your sake that I am.

    In your setting up the free-will vs determinate foreknowledge paradox, you play on a conflation of knowing with causing. These are not clearly in conflict in the relationship between an author and the characters in an authors’ narrative, even less so in the case of creatures and their Creator. The Christian testimonies declare both personal responsibility for creatures, and ultimate sovereignty of the Creator, which acknowledges this lack of identity between knowing and causing. If your starting point asserts their identity, then it may lack ontological coherence, or it may simply reflect the limitations of words in accounting for being. Paul Graham is illuminating on this point in his essay “How to do philosophy”:

    “This is all to explain how Plato and Aristotle can be very impressive and yet naive and mistaken. It was impressive even to ask the questions they did. That doesn’t mean they always came up with good answers. It’s not considered insulting to say that ancient Greek mathematicians were naive in some respects, or at least lacked some concepts that would have made their lives easier. So I hope people will not be too offended if I propose that ancient philosophers were similarly naive. In particular, they don’t seem to have fully grasped what I earlier called the central fact of philosophy: that words break if you push them too far.”

    Although Graham seems unaware of Plato’s familiarity with and embrace of this insight (which is why Plato favored dialectic over monovocal writing), at least he does have the insight.

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