As I was running this morning I was struck by the thought: A religion is like a monarchy — there are no checks and balances in either. You can’t argue with the word of god any more than you can argue with a king. But at least with a king it is possible to verify that the king did indeed say that.
The proponents of monarchy point out that there have been good kings. I grew up with the romantic notion of Good Queen Bess (not the current one, the one 4 centuries ago) — but as I grew older I learned she had a really nasty spy network and secret police.
My mother likes to point out all the good religions have done, the hospitals started, the educational institutions endowed. I tend to see all the harm, the wars started, the restrictions on thought.
But however good a religion may seem yesterday it can change. My mother is an Episcopalian/Anglican. A religion currently undergoing a civil war as one side supports homosexual rights and another (stronger) side does not. Once again those supporting human liberties are being attacked from overseas. It is hard to believe in the “goodness” of religion as I watch. There are no checks and balances. How can anyone argue with the word of god? How can you argue with the bible?
Of course it is easy to see that modern religions are works of fiction. The Book of Mormon is based on a fantasy short-story published in the early 1800s. The sacred books of the Scientologists are science fiction novels.
Perhaps the bible is different? Yet when you look at the Gospels you find downright lies. Herod didn’t massacre the innocents. Jesus’s family didn’t go to Egypt to escape him (that one always bothered me — they were poor — where would they find the money to move?). There isn’t a Jewish prophecy saying that the mother of the Messiah would be a virgin. For that matter, Jesus was not named “Emanuel”. There wasn’t an earthquake or a darkness when Jesus died. The list just goes on. The bible looks as unbelievable as the other religious sources I’m aware of.
The “Gospel Truth” is an oxymoron, a fallacy.
My statements above are easily verified by comparing one Gospel with another. People have been doing that at least since the Enlightenment. And the Jews have been complaining about misusing their prophesies for millennia. Yet because the bible is the word of god no bible has been issued with a list of errata.
This is dangerous. It shows a willful desire to reject objective truth.
For a long time, I didn’t think it mattered. After all “God died at Auschwitz”, eventually that would sink in. Eventually people would accept evolution and stop the assault on our education system. But then 11/9/01 happened and the US went on a crusade against “bad” muslims. And suddenly the dangers of religion became all too visible.
A madman in Afganistan points out that the Koran has passages which advocate (and therefore God desires) holy war. An idiot in Washington tells us God has told him to attach Iraq.
How can anyone else verify what god wants?
There are no checks.
We’ve slowly been doing away with kings.
Give me Atheism, or give me death!