Friday, May 30, 2008

Generic Religious Rant

Maybe it's pointless to argue against religion. If you've closed your mind to rationality by blindly accepting an illogical belief system, then how can a logical argument change your opinion? It's almost certainly pointless for me to rail against it, since many philosophers have made the same points more eloquently than I ever could.

Still, it's an interesting exercise for me to put my beliefs in writing, and I would guess that most of you don't read much philosophy anyway. So here we go...

I want to start with a pic that z0r sent me a couple weeks ago:

This is the crux of my atheism. Of course I'd dispute the existence of God, or at least I'd cite the lack of evidence that one exists, but that's not the core of my disbelief. Even if I stipulate that God exists, exactly as he's represented in the Bible, Koran, or Torah, God is not worth believing in, even if he's real.

Oh I know the response from believers: God allows evil to exist as a test. Right, that makes perfect sense. An all-powerful, merciful, just God - words used to describe him in all three holy texts - has devised a horribly flawed and unfair test for his beloved creation. He allows some of us to suffer unimaginable agony, to be strained beyond the limits of human endurance, subject to ridicule, torture, or death because of, or in spite of our beliefs. And then he allows some to live a life of effortless luxury. Some die young, too young to ever form a rational thought, and others live for decades with multiple second chances to find him. Some are never exposed to the 'true' faith, while others are indoctrinated with it from birth. By this set of random circumstances are we judged.

And that judgement is eternal. However long your life on Earth might be - 10 minutes or 100 years - your fate determined by that blink of time is infinite. Imagine taking a test 30 seconds into your freshman year and being told that your entire 4-year GPA depended on the results of that test. That's the standard of fairness by which your wise, all-knowing God judges us all.

Imagine also if you had all the power in the universe at your disposal, and you could create any sort of this the best you could come up with? How about a world that encouraged scientific development and artistic expression, instead of being shackled by a belief system that represses it? How about a world that allowed everyone to succeed or fail based on their effort and ability, instead of accidents of birth? What if - I know this is crazy - you had a belief system that valued life on Earth at least as highly as the mysterious afterlife?

Suppose you had the choice between rewarding people who relentlessly seek truth and justice, who refuse to believe without proof, who treat others with the respect and fairness they deserve - or you could reward thieves and murderers who repent on their deathbed and profess their faith in you. What kind of spiteful, petty, immature loser chooses the latter?

Well I don't have the slightest desire to bend a knee to a deity like that. In fact, if irrefutable proof of God existed, and he was exactly the God represented by the major faiths...I'd devote my life to figuring out where he lived and building a gun big enough to smash his house to dust. And anyone with a half a brain should help me...our eternity would depend on it.

Next week, if I have the energy: Generic Political-Economic Rant!


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