Part one of this article can be found by following the link. In this article, we’ll explore 25 more reasons why religion isn’t the source of all morality.
26) Cults: Cults such as the, People’s Temple Christian Church, which left more than 900 people dead is one example of how dangerous such organizations can be. It also shows the dangers inherent in believing something with insufficient evidence.
27) Division Along Theological Lines: Like Richard Jeni once said, “You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend.” Religion has been a major instigator in a lot of wars, and we still see theological hostility today between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
28) Scamming: Add some religious babble, and you can sell pretty much anything.
29) Acid Attacks on Women: The unspeakable evil of throwing acid in a womans face is truly heart-wrenching. Yet, many people justify such actions based on their holy texts – the same texts they then proclaim are the basis of all morality. There is nothing moral about such actions. There is plenty monstrous about it though.
30) Inhumane Punishments: We’ve covered stoning and acid attacks, as well as witch burnings, but when you believe nonsense, you can justify other inhumane punishments, such as the cutting off of another persons limbs, beheading, death penalties or beating your wife for anything perceived as a slight.
31) Demons and other Hocus Pokus: In 2012, a three year old was killed during an exorcism in Malaysia. People used to drill a hole in your head to let demons escape, and even today, children and grown adults are being killed over superstitious nonsense. If you believe that mainstream faiths have left behind such stupidity, you can easily find websites dedicated to what their holy texts say about demons and what you should do about it.
32) Idea that Other Animals are Second-Rate: Some religions teach that animals have souls and will have an afterlife, while others teach that while animals have souls, they will not attain the afterlife, while still others claim that human souls are divine and animals have no souls. I wonder if Christianity believes that animals have to make moral choices and believe in the Jesus deity in order to be rewarded with heaven. Do they get a free pass? If so, aren’t they better off than the average human Christian? I don’t know. I do know that some religions teach that the rest of the creatures we share this planet with are second-rate and put here to serve our needs.
|Do I look second-rate to you?|
33) Bull Crap: Religions teach all sorts of improbable things without an ounce of evidence. People flying to heaven on winged mounts, visiting angels, talking with God through burning bushes, the raising of the dead and so on. Once these claims are looked at critically, many of them fall to the wayside. For example, Mt. Olympus was thought to be the home of the Gods. Once we examined that claim by climbing the mountain, no Gods were to be found. Is it moral to talk about something as being absolutely true, when you have no idea if it is or not? It doesn’t sound moral to me.
34) Faith is Better Than Evidence: People of faith talk about their faith as if it’s something to be proud of. As we’ve seen by this list, it isn’t. If the basis of your faith is a lie, then the rest of your beliefs from that system are also going to be faulty. Pretending rationality take second place to belief without evidence, seems to be the sort of reasoning that leads to the other 49 things on this list.
35) Fear of Sex: Modern day religions seem to be obsessed about sex; the best way to do it, who you should do it with, when you can do it etc. Many religions attach a guilt factor to something that is a natural process. This guilt and fear has led to atrocities, such as the acid attacks on women and the oppression of women, but it’s also held us back from having an honest, open discussion about human sexuality.
36) Pat Robertson: Nuff said.
37) Making Excuses for Genocide and Infanticide: In most cases, justifying and making excuses for genocide and infanticide are considered extremely immoral. However, if you’re religious, you can teach your children that God is allowed to wipe every man, woman, child and animal off the face of the planet (minus a few for breeding purposes) and get away with it. You can even make cute little story books about it! I don’t know how many times I’ve talked to a believer who justified the genocide and infanticide found in the bible, and even well known Christian apologists have done it with a straight face.
38) Idea that Your Life Belongs to an Invisible Deity: Some religions basically teach you to enslave yourself to an invisible deity. Clergy will argue that your life doesn’t belong to you, but belongs to their God. I remember once reading an article where they asked different faith groups about whether or not their faith supported euthanasia for people suffering from a terminal illness. All of them answered that they wouldn’t because their life belonged to God and only God could make that decision. Even the one who represented Buddhism said that pain is a part of life and it should be experienced. Whether you believe euthanasia is justified under certain circumstances or not, religion has made it almost impossible to have a discussion about this subject without first filtering it through ancient literature.
39) Education: Places like the creation museum hobble the education of small children. Several times per year, creationists try to insert their beliefs into the science classroom. In the Middle East, religion is used to deny women an education, and even in Canada, the public is forced to fund Catholic Schools, weakening our public school system by robbing them of taxpayer money.
40) Brainwashing: Religions like to get kids early so that they can indoctrinate them into the faith. It’s critical that they get them before the age of reason, so that they don’t question the absurd claims made by religion. A good example of this is the documentary about ‘Jesus Camp’ but there are several other examples you could point too, as well.
41) End of the World Mentality: The end of the world has been used in scams that bilked people of their money, but the other sinister thing about this mentality is that some people say it’s God’s will if the world ends and for some, it would mean a time of rejoicing. As Sam Harris said in Letter to a Christian Nation, “It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that if the city of New York were replaced by a ball of fire, some significant percentage of the American population would see a silver lining in the subsequent mushroom cloud, as it would suggest to them that the best thing that is ever going to happen was about to happen: the return of Christ. It should be blindingly obvious that beliefs of this sort will do little to help us create a durable future for ourselves- socially, economically, environmentally, or geopolitically.”
42) Attacks Against Secularity: The Pope has said that secularism is a bad thing. I guess it’s a bad thing if people are allowed to worship whatever God they choose or no God at all. What a horrible, immoral thing to allow! Attacks against secularity are attacks against free choice. But I guess if you believe that you hold all the answers, no other answer will do. Everyone else is automatically wrong.
43) Religious Cannibalism: Religion has been used to justify cannibalism. In fact, if you’re a Catholic and believe the wafer actually turns into the body of Christ, wouldn’t that be a form of cannibalism? Of course, anyone with a microscope can prove that this claim is pure bunk…unless you have faith, of course.
44) Cherry Picking: The one thing I do admire about fundamentalists is that they don’t cherry pick their holy book of choice. They actually teach what their religion says. It seems to me that cherry picking or ignoring the parts of the holy text you don’t agree with is dishonest. Discussing religion with a moderate believer is extremely difficult, because they will rationalize, re-interpret or otherwise justify what their religious texts actually say.
45) Rioting for Religious Reasons: Don’t draw a cartoon that might offend the Muslim faith or you might get days of riots and killing. But don’t worry, the Western Media will make excuses for your violence, and tell the world that it’s okay to kill and burn if you’re unreasonably offended.
46) Spread of Guilt and Shame: In school I was taught to use a strength based approach when dealing with people. Even the most troubled of people have strengths, but in most cases we dismiss such strengths and focus on weaknesses. Religions also focus on weaknesses. For example, the whole Jesus thing is built on guilt and shame. The Christian faith teaches that we are born of sin and can’t be washed clean without a human sacrifice. We are then told we should be thankful for this human sacrifice and guilted into being thankful, even though no one asked for this blood letting that God needs in order to forgive.
47) Rape: Rape is found throughout religious texts. Even Greek mythology contains rape. Not only do these religious texts seek to justify rape, but they’re also used to blur the line between rape and sex. Women are oppressed and told to wear a bag, lest they tempt a man to rape them. We even see this sort of mentality in the West, where women are often told that they brought on the rape themselves because they dressed ‘provocatively’. Even U.S. politicians have made excuses for rape and insinuated that rape is part of God’s plan. For example:
“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God,” said Richard Mourdock, who is running for U.S. Senate in Indiana. “And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
48) Beyond Question: Religions tend to make claims as absolute truth. This in itself can lead to some immoral activity. To demonstrate this point, here is a quote from another article:
On the morning of July 29, 1994, the Rev. Paul Hill walked up to John Britton outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida, and shot the doctor to death. Hill was part of a Christian extremist group called the Army of God, which taught that abortion was legalized murder.
Hill’s actions were motivated by a claim that virtually all religions espouse: We have the truth that others lack.
Those claims can turn deadly when they become absolute and there is no room for interpretation, Kimball says.
“Absolute claims can quickly move into a justification of violence against someone who rejects that claim,” Kimball said. “It’s often a short step.”
49) Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child: Despite numerous studies that show spanking can have detrimental, long-term effects on children, this form of punishment is often backed up using religious ideology.
50) Idea that Religion is the Source for all Morality: Last but not least, the very idea that religion is the source of all morality is in my opinion, an immoral one. It has led to the demonization of people who lack faith in religion and squashed debate about morality.
There are some things people who lack belief in a deity can learn from religion and religious institutions, but to say that God is needed in order for morality to exist just isn’t true.
So what can atheists, secularists, agnostics and people who question belief in a deity offer as a structure for morals?
That will be the subject of my next blog post. Thank you for reading and comments are always welcome.