• Home
  • Personal
  • Random Thoughts on “God” and Religion – Part 2

Random Thoughts on “God” and Religion – Part 2

This article is part of a series on “God”, religion, and religious people. I recommend reading the first parts listed below before you read this article.

→ My Thoughts on “God”
→ My Thoughts on Religion
→ Random Thoughts on “God” and Religion

I was thinking recently that anyone who might not have read other articles of mine or doesn’t know anything about me might draw a few wrong conclusions about me as a result of my articles on Islam and Muslims. Therefore, I aim to set the record straight: I’m an atheist, but more than that, I’m an antitheist. I think religion is the worst thing humanity is struggling with for an extremely simple reason: it defies reason and common sense. I believe in the truth and in an intelligent mind’s limitless power, and all religion does is put up walls around the mind. Man is extremely gullible and can cause others pain for religious reasons; he may be well intended, I think most are, but that is not an excuse for the damage they inflict.

Religion cannot exist in a society that values common sense and intelligence; it just can’t, they stand on opposite sides, and without religion, I dare say the world would be close to utopian. But there’s a problem: this wouldn’t be true at the moment and it would take a lot of decades before we could come close to it, for a very simple reason: we aren’t ready. While there are still so many who would view the absence of a god that serves punishment as a free pass to do whatever they want, we can’t have that utopian world. Man is not yet man without religion, but we’ll get there eventually. It is for that reason that we must set our sights on critical thinking and the value of intelligence, and not stand on our knees in front of an imaginary god. As time goes by, we would come to live in a world that prospers in and from the absence of gods, a world where people don’t depend on the promise of punishment to be humans. A world where people understand what it means to be human and they understand that it in no way relates to religion. There is nothing that religion teaches us which can’t be learned from common sense. Nothing.

As far as Islam, the Muslim religion, goes, I am completely “islamophobic”. It is perfectly normal and no intelligent person can deny that this is the only stance one can take on Islam. I undoubtedly know that I have to explain what “islamophobia” is; if I am an “islamophobe”, it means that I am against Islamic ideologies and I entirely condemn them. “Islamophobia” strictly refers to criticizing an idea, not people. Islam is beyond the shadow of a doubt one of the most harmful religions, if not the most harmful. Even if we ignore the very large number of Muslims (not terrorists, not extremists, but ordinary people) who encourage violence as punishment for the most ridiculous of things, and who are violent for reasons that defy common sense, all the while completely confident that it’s justified and sanctioned by their prophet, all Muslims adopt a barbaric mentality when it comes to a lot of things, the most easily mentionable being women. All of them, otherwise they have no place calling themselves Muslim. The fact is that their religion teaches them things that have no place in the 21st century. Whether or not they’re violent, whether or not they mind their own business and so on, those people are harming the societies they live in simply because they are unable to think beyond their ridiculous teachings, which they spread along with the spread of their population. And that is not a good thing.

Do I condemn these teachings and believe they have no place in an educated and civilized world? Absolutely. Am I “islamophobic” as a result? Absolutely. But here’s the thing: I am an “islamophobe” as a result of an even broader ideology, as mentioned before. I am an antitheist, which means I am also a “christianophobe”, a “judeophobe”, a “hinduphobe”, and so on. I have a phobia against any kind of religion or idea, however simple and small, that doesn’t fit the norm of common sense and reason. Perhaps I’m a bit more “islamophobic” because Muslims tend to raise the bar when it comes to the ridiculous and the hurtful. That’s it, it’s that simple. I worship the truth beyond anything else.

My problem is strictly with the ideas that people adopt. I condemn the people that adopt them for doing so and I don’t see them the same way I would an atheist of objective reasons, but that’s another thing. I don’t like stupididity in people, and religion says some things about a person.

My antitheism sometimes manifests itself as hatred for every religious person just for being religious. I am not absurd and I know a person is much more than their misguided belief in divinity, but when I see certain atrocious consequences of religion, it is beyond words how angry and utterly disgusted I become with religious people. In those moments, I see them as nothing but simple-minded weaklings. I become overwhelmingly disappointed in every person who could possibly believe in the mind crushing nonsense that religion has to offer and in those moments I feel like religious people shouldn’t have the same rights as normal people in a civilized society. Their basic freedoms would remain untouched, yet other privileges, such as the right to vote, would be rescinded without equivocation. I think it might not be in our best interest if people like these are allowed a say in the evolution of society or humanity as a whole. A mind so gruesomely twisted, so inept at repelling such obvious nonsense, should perhaps not be trusted with the fate of civilization and normal people should not have to suffer for the unbearable stupidity that religion has burdened religious people’s minds with.

Say what you will and call my views extreme, but I dare you to objectively look at the extreme horror that religion has brought upon the world and still tell me that it is not an understandable response to an immeasurably horrific plague. Don’t even begin to bring up the positive sides of religion; they absolutely pale in comparison to the sickness that is religion; it is the rot in a decaying mind, a disgusting parasite in a civilized society.

I sometimes find it hard to respect religious people as intelligent persons for the simple fact of being religious. I can respect their ability to be kind and other things, but not their intelligence. Belief in gods represents such an immense lapse in logic that hovers above all else, intelligence related. No matter what that may be, it is overshadowed by their ridiculous belief in made up wizards. I read some articles a while back about the distinction between intelligence and reason. The authors spoke of how it is possible for a person to be intelligent, yet lack reason in the most baffling ways. Perhaps I am at fault here, but at the moment I am unable to grasp how that can be.

Let’s look at evolution; before it came to be known and accepted as fact, Christians accepted as fact the story of how the Earth was made a few thousand years ago, and they accepted and believed it because it was written in the Bible (which in itself is a huge lapse in logic as they basically pushed forward an idea for which they literally had no proof other than someone just writing it down in a really old book). Nowadays, more and more Christians are turning away from such fairytales and promote the idea that evolution is true, because we do in fact know it to be true. The catch? It was “God” who made it happen. So up to now we’ve “known” that the world was thousands of years old and all that, but now we have proof that it wasn’t, so that can only mean one thing: it’s not that our religion is complete crap, we just had it wrong somehow. “God” is still real and he made evolution happen, we know now. I call this adaptive reasoning; willful ignorance for the sake of maintaining comforting beliefs when all their pillars are being torn down. They just take the things destroying their faith’s pillars and turn them into its new pillars. “Oh, the world is actually billions of years old? Yeah, no, that’s what we meant to say.” And it’s not just pertaining to evolution, it applies to a lot of other things. As the things they believe in crumble, they just pick up the pieces and rebuild with the new information that previously brought their religion down; they adapt their beliefs as a pathetic attempt at keeping them.

Science has been debunking claims found in religious books left and right, yet few believers seem swayed by this, something I find baffling. Apologists tend to fight back by saying they were just misunderstandings, misinterpreted meanings; their holy book’s claims had actually always been in agreement with scientific findings. This seems downright sad to me, being unable to accept reality for what it is and grasping at straws to keep your ridiculous beliefs in place.

Whenever something goes against “God”, the believer always finds a way around it. If you say that “God” created diseases and allows murder and a whole bunch of other nasty stuff to happen, he’ll just say “God” works in mysterious ways and boom, solved, life is pretty again and “God” is good and loves everyone. If “God’s” grand plan requires all these bad things to happen, I gather he isn’t a very competent god. Either that, or he is in fact malevolent. Barring that, he’s simply powerless and cannot intervene, which begs the question, why call him “God”?

What if you could somehow raise a child well into his teens without any knowledge whatsoever of religion, or “God,” or mystical fairies? What if it could be possible to let him get an education and develop his intellect, discover the world and learn about the universe he lives in, then present him with “God”? Take one guess at how you think that would play out.

What does that tell you? It tells you that people are biased toward believing in gods for two main reasons, I believe: one is that their parents, authority figures who know best, teach them to believe in a god; the other is the sheer number of other people around them who also believe in that god. When you grow up with the two most important people in the world telling you there’s a magic man watching over you and most people around you saying the same thing, it’s kind of hard to develop a mind capable of questioning this kind of things, however blatantly irrational and incompatible with the real world they are. Then those kids grow up somehow believing faith makes sense, unable to understand the simple details of how their minds have been poisoned from the very beginning of their lives.

Someone on Facebook quoted the bible:

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. – Psalm 116:5

We see no indication of this and any reasonable analysis would point in the opposite direction, but we’ll ignore any ounce of common sense and we’ll continue to believe this not just because we want it, but because we need it, otherwise we’re so psychologically weak that our lives would crumble in the absence of an imaginary parent who nurtures us and protects us from all of life’s difficulties, against which we are completely defenseless because we chose a long time ago to put our worries in the lap of a fictitious savior, thus becoming incapable of living on our own, without a metaphorical hand to guide us. We’ll teach our children to be as helpless as we are, so that they need to imagine divine forces that will forever watch over them and instead of developing mentally and psychologically so they can truly overcome their problems on their own, they will kneel in front of a painting and ask for divine help, because on their own they are hopeless.

Most people need a god in their lives because they are taught that he is loving and cares deeply for them, as they are his children. They need a god because otherwise they would, in a way, be alone in a world that seems too harsh. Without a god, there would be an emptiness inside of them that nothing could fill. The reason for that is simply the fact that they know of a god. They’ve been told about a god that looks after them and can’t imagine not being under his care; it’s a frightening thought. But had they not known of any such being from the beginning, the fear of being alone and helpless would also not be there. They would look for real-world solutions to their problems instead of getting down on their knees and talking to an object hung on a wall and life wouldn’t be harder, it would just be the way it is. The “warmth” people say they feel in their “hearts” because the god they believe in is watching over them is a direct consequence of their knowledge of such a god. If they had none, there would be no such “warmth”, but also no contrasting feeling in its place. “God” is the solution to a problem that wouldn’t exist if he didn’t either.

Belief in “God” is the ultimate offense to his gift of reason.

People say that “God” gave us reason, yet they actually choose to ignore it by believing in him. If “God” did give us reason and no real proof of his existence, he did it because he wants us to logically figure out that he’s not real, that’s the only test that makes sense, yet we put away our reason and “prove” his existence by grasping at straws, like how when you hear someone explain that the world around us is in itself proof of “God’s” existence. – My Thoughts on “God”

It’s one thing to believe in “God” and another to admire, worship, or praise him. There is no doubt about how sick and disgusting the god of the bible is, but selective ignorance comes into play here. Your god is good only because you choose to ignore everything in the bible that says he’s not. Thinking “God” is good takes the ignorance of believing in him in the first place to a whole new level.

I think I have less respect for these people and more respect for genuine believers because they are devoted to their beliefs, however ridiculous they may be. They don’t cower behind supposed misinterpretations; they believe in something and they defend it as it is. They are devoted to their beliefs, even in the face of overwhelming discrimination for it.

You know how you destroy a religion? You keep asking “why” and insisting, until you’re told “because it says so in the bible” or “because ‘God’ says so”. None of these two answers actually answer the question, but it’s at that point when the person you’re asking reaches this dead-end that you know you’re dealing with a halfwit. Because that’s all it takes to satisfy a believer. “Just because” is a good enough answer. “Because it says so here”, they shrug and keep walking and gesturing crosses with their hands when walking past churches (Orthodox Christians do this, I don’t know about others). If people had the common sense to ask “why” more often, we’d be living in a completely different world.

In the end, “God” is just a puppet; he’s a puppet that everyone takes and dresses and touches-up however they want, because that’s perfectly normal and rational somehow. I was taught that this-and-that, the bible says this-and-that, but I don’t think these things align with what I think is right, so instead of completely renouncing these ridiculous beliefs, like any sane person above the age of twelve would, I’ll adjust them anyway I like. My personal opinion is that “God” isn’t actually like this, instead he’s like this, and I’ll meticulously choose what I like and don’t like about him, I’ll make some stuff up, and he’ll be my very own personal “God” in whom I believe undoubtedly, even though I myself made him to be whatever I wanted, according to what I thought he should be like, forget that in the bible and at the base of the religion I claim to belong to he’s something else entirely. I believe in how I say he is. I’m an adult with voting rights.

I have never met anyone who was as dead-set against religion as I am. The thing is, however, I don’t have a problem with religion itself, per se; I only have a problem with what it entails, which is an utter and complete lack of reason on the part of the believer. I have a problem with the mind boggling beliefs it forces the people who adhere to it to have. What I’m saying is I have a problem with religious beliefs defying all reason, with their ridiculousness. As someone who values the human mind and sees reason as the answer to more or less everything, religion is a prime target for me. Nothing else in the world stands in the way of reason like religion does, and that is why I have a certain lack of respect or even feel disgust toward some religious people purely for being religious, because they present a lack of reason that I feel is extremely harmful to society and the well-being of mankind. More than that, I see their irrationality as a weakness of the mind. Religious beliefs seem to me so overwhelmingly ridiculous that I cannot comprehend how anyone past a certain age, say twelve, can possibly still have them.

To maybe make my feelings toward religious beliefs more easily understood by others unlike me, even believers, picture yourselves in a world where instead of “God” you have, I don’t know, a magic invisible giant. If you don’t believe in this invisible giant, you are looked down upon by the general population, some of your rights are legally taken away from you in some countries, there are dozens of ridiculous rules or traditions that everyone respects and expects you to respect, and as is the case in some countries in the real world, there is an incredible amount of government money spent on churches instead of hospitals, or schools, or scientific research, or anything else of actual importance. What’s more, most of the world believes in this invisible giant, despite the fact that there’s no proof of his existence, there’s just a book written by people thousands of years ago, which is riddled with contradictions, defies common sense, and lacks historical proof. Hundreds or thousands of people around the world worship everyday objects like pieces of toast because they believe a faint smudge on said toast resembles the giant’s face. Everyone generally exhibits a lack of reason, there are thousands of deaths all on account of disagreements on what the giant’s name is or what he likes or doesn’t like, there are religious wars, there is religious terrorism, families are disowning children who stop believing in the giant, hundreds or thousands of children are dying of treatable illnesses because of parents who practice “faith healing”, religious segregation happens all too often in a lot of places, people are murdered, sometimes publicly, for their lack of faith, and a whole myriad of other ridiculous and horrible stuff going on in the world, all because people believe in invisible giants. Imagine being a nonbeliever in such a world. You’d feel like the only sane person around, it would probably be maddening, infuriating even, to see such incredibly crazy ideas rule the minds of people all around the world, even the people who run the world and dictate how things should be. That’s how I and many others like me, as atheists and people of logic and reason, feel in the religious world we live in.

I fight for a world where people are able to realize that everything good religion offers, they already have; it’s called humanity, and education is what brings us closer to it.

Reason is my god.

Alte articole:

Discover more from Ovidiu Avrămuș | Blog

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

7 comentarii

  • Ále

    01/05/2016 la 15:37

    I agree with most of what you said although my feelings towards religion and especially religious people are significantly milder, probably due to rationality not being such a high up priority for me as it may be for you. It’s in the top though, so I can relate to everything you talked about. There’s only two things I wanted to say.

    1. Somewhere in the middle, you mention the hypothetical world where people are brought up with no information or expectations to follow a belief system. The closest to this scenario I’ve experienced is living in England, where after a while you start to really acknowledge the secularism around you. I have no religious close friends, and being surrounded by academics and people with higher education studies, I came close to a world where religion in any context was never a priority and more often than not, a joke. To put it simply, the kind of environment where if you mention religion as the reason why you do some things or as a solution to any problem, you’re likely to be laughed at or thought of as rationally inferior, which I, too, tend to agree with as well. The problem though is this society is not even close to utopic, and from personal experience, people are not nearly more intelligent or logical as you’d think since they’ve got this logical barrier outta their way.

    2. As much as I disagree with religion, I’m not sure the potential of a world without it even exists. There are many anthropologists, historians and so on, who would even argue that humans and spirituality (i.e. religion) were never separated, and that there’s no trace of civilisations without a story of any kind about a higher power. Sometimes these stories are very alien to our Western cultures (see tribal Gods for example), sometimes they all have something in common (see all mainstream religions). My point is, I tend to think that humans need a higher-power narrative and in the same way as we naturally organise in societies, we would naturally move towards this. It’s like Voltaire said, if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

    Actually only writing this, I had the thought (maybe too far-fetched) that humans are still in the food-chain and although at the top of it, we’re very much animals whose very or even most developed instinct is fear (Freud’s ‘thanatos’ if you choose to believe his theory). This could be materialised in the form of an even higher entity – since all life on Earth is inferior to us, we resort to what is actually uncontrollable and stronger – Nature. Planets, stars, forces, chemical reactions, etc.

    What’s your thoughts on this?

    • Ovidiu Avrămuș

      02/05/2016 la 14:17

      1. I would argue that secularism is a direct consequence of man’s intellectual progress. The more intelligent we become, the less sense religion makes, so we just leave it behind. However secular a state may be, though, its religious/spiritual history still casts a shadow on its modern-day state of affairs. I’d say we’re getting smarter and smarter, however slowly, but in order to more or less completely erase the effects of our religious history, it would take time. At some point, we might end up with a utopian world (compared to the present, at least; trying not to be ridiculous). Maybe we’re just too far off at the moment. In some places, like you said, we’ve almost gotten religion out of the way, but there’s also the task of understanding the importance of educating ourselves and then actually doing it. Perhaps more clearly said, losing religion is not enough, but it’s a key intermediate step.

      I think about a hypothetical fresh start for humanity, where we understand from the get-go that intellectual prowess is key to a better life. I contend a humanity that worships the mind, without any memories of fantasies holding it back, would develop utopian societies in far less time than we’ve had of existence so far.

      These are all just “maybes” and “what ifs”, though, abstract thoughts I entertain that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. They could be total nonsense.

      2. While it is true that the entirety of human history is riddled with religions and spiritual nonsense, it is also true that humanity, as a whole, has never been as advanced as it is today. People, in a broad sense, have never been this intelligent, and we’re only getting smarter. From a religious point of view, I believe we’re witnessing a paradigm shift, as evidenced by the faster than ever growing rate of apostasy on a worldwide scale. With the dawn of the internet, access to information has never been so easy. We are evolving (intellectually) at a faster rate than at any other time in our whole history. The internet was like a Big Bang at a species level, it did a real number on us (in a good way).

      What I’m saying is, is I think Voltaire was wrong (the hubris!). In a contemporary context, anyway; I believe he was right at that point in time, and for some time to come, but I think we’re living through the beginning of a time when what he said is completely false.

      Again, I could be totally wrong; maybe I’m just too naïvely optimistic.

      P.S. Loving this talk! I rarely (more like never…) get any actual responses, like actual personal opinions and arguments, and intelligent ones at that. Coincidentally, when I saw your comment, someone else had just commented on the first article in the series (the Romanian one) by posting nothing but a link to that idiotic fake story of how Einstein “humiliated” an atheist teacher during his student years. You might have heard of it, I don’t know. Anyway, it’s a complete load of crap. That’s the type of responses I usually deal with, so this was a nice change of things.

  • Ále

    02/05/2016 la 22:59

    1. I think secularism is only one way to measure a civilisation’s progress, but there are also various other indicators which may, sometimes be even tangentially contradictory to this. I’m kinda thinking in the direction of the composites of intelligence, which don’t merely resume to intellect but also include concepts such as emotional intelligence, which maybe not religion, but spirituality definitely helps with. In this sense, I think this type of society which has reached a point in its evolution where religion is no longer a barrier, and may even be moving slowly but steadily to higher productivity and logics as you said, would still lack in these other respects. I’d actually go as far as to say that moving towards extreme rationality would hinder the development of other types of intelligence. This being said, I dunno where you stand in terms of spirituality, but I consider it a whole different territory than religion. In this sense, I’d maybe accept that a society with this hypothetical fresh start would be closer to utopia, ONLY provided spirituality has a central role in it.

    2. I’m only talking from my own perspective here and I’m by no means defending religion as a good thing, but I dare think that the faster than ever growing rate of apostasy cannot be looked at in isolation and conclude it’s a good thing for humanity. On the one hand, this may well be the effect of something (i.e. advances and progress) but on the other, it’s likely correlated with things such as the prevalence of mental health diseases such as depression and anxiety, and the appearance of new disorders, which are also at worldwide highest peaks since we’ve been around on the planet. I’m not saying that losing faith is the cause for depression, I’m merely suggesting that these issues have to be looked at in conjunction cause there are nuances to it, and I’m again advocating for the role of spirituality in order to tackle these issues. This is also the case for the internet. When you say information, let’s not forget that most of the information is in fact, redundant and false. I’m not sure easy access to this is what we should aim to achieve. Also I’m not sure an unfiltered overload of information has anything to do with mental advance, but judging by studies of shortened attention span and weakened short-term memory since the dawn of the internet, I’d say it’s likely to do the opposite.

    But then again, maybe I’m too skeptical..

    PS: Haha, I liked your PS. I don’t know that thing but from your description I have no interest in seeing it. I could spend hours talking about these things, it’s a bit more annoying in writing but still quite stimulating!

    • Ovidiu Avrămuș

      03/05/2016 la 11:35

      1. I don’t think spirituality in itself is a bad thing, quite the opposite. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with religion, though. I think of myself as a spiritual person and I think it’s a great thing.

      I agree that reason alone isn’t enough, emotional intelligence is also key, but I don’t see religion helping us develop it in any sense. I’d say rationalizing our feelings does a lot more toward helping us have more control over them. I often feel things I know make no sense, I’m not a robot, after all. I think about what I feel and I try to figure out why it is that I feel that way and if there are reasons behind my feelings. Whenever I find none, although I might not be able to stop feeling the way I feel, understanding that it makes no sense helps me not act on my feelings and maybe not do or say something dumb. I just let them pass and maybe in the future I’ll be less affected by such feelings. This is how I define emotional intelligence, being able to rationalize your feelings, understand them, and not let them control you. I’d be lying if I said I’m always able to do this, but I think the occasional failure’s okay; it’s part of being human.

      I’m saying I think reason and emotional intelligence go hand in hand. As for spirituality, I think it’s just part of our nature, similar maybe to what Voltaire said, only I think reason helps spirituality manifest itself as something actually beautiful, different from “God”. It is more beautiful, I think, to look up at the stars and feel awe when you think of the universe’s complexity and how it came to be what it is, instead of looking up and feeling awe at what a magical being willed into existence by snapping its fingers (or noodles).

      2. I differentiate between people losing their religion over feelings of disappointment/anger/whatever and those who lose it by reasoning themselves out of it. Losing faith because you start seeing all the bad things in the world and you feel there can’t be a “God” isn’t necessarily a “win”, because this is all based on emotions, and emotions can be swayed; but once you truly understand something and you draw conclusions based on reason, it’s almost mathematical. You can’t go back, you can’t erase the equation out of existence, it stays in your mind forever. With an underdeveloped emotional intelligence, reasoning yourself out of religion may not be easy to deal with, especially at a later time in life. It’s not like ripping a band-aid and it’s understandable. You might be depressed because of it, but if you can understand that “God” doesn’t make sense, then there’s also hope for understanding why you’re better off without him.

      This possible correlation between apostasy and mental issues doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You know how sometimes injuries don’t hurt as bad until you see them? This is like a healing process for an injury you never knew you had and only just noticed. As for other disorders, it wouldn’t be that abnormal for new issues to arise following quickly rising trends that we’ve never had to deal with before in this particular manner. It’s part of a process that most likely, in my opinion, means progress.

      We’ve talked about these issues as possibly relating to apostasy, but let’s keep in mind that the statistics don’t necessarily suggest these issues are more prevalent today than before. We know that they are very likely a result of better methods of identifying them. It doesn’t mean there were fewer cases in the past than there are now.

      As for the internet and the false information that lurks on it, that’s where education comes in. If we’re properly trained how to think (as opposed to being taught to accept fairy tales based on nothing), that information doesn’t have to be unfiltered, because we can filter it ourselves.

      A weakened memory is to be expected, I think it’s an understandable result. Easy access to information at any time spares us having to rely on our memory. I don’t think it’s a good thing, but maybe it’s also not really as bad as it may seem. I don’t think it necessarily hinders development. The focus is on thinking processes and not on memorizing abilities. At this point, though, I’m really just talking out of my ass. I’m not going to pretend that what I’m saying is anything more than opinion-based, I could be totally wrong.

      P.S. We should get high.


Lasă un comentariu

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.