Sunday, May 19, 2013

How We Can All Just Get Along

By now anyone who has read more than a couple of my blog posts knows that I hold religion, all religion, in contempt. I especially detest Christianity and Islam because they are proselytizing religions; they seek to subjugate those who are not of like mind and assimilate them into their own superstitions.

But I want this post to focus on religious people from a different angle. Not ALL religious people, probably not even most, are of the type that raises my ire. I can live in perfect harmony with most people of faith, even though I vehemently disagree with their beliefs. Having faith in a supreme being and living your life as though this being exists and is watching you is silly and childish from my perspective, but even so, those who believe that and I can still get along quite well and I can respect their American right to believe what they do, even if I don't respect the belief.

So how can we all just get along? Just avoid the seven most onerous beliefs of the fundamentalists listed below. I do not respect those believers who refuse to accept any facts that run contrary to what someone they trust has told them the bible says and means. The people who put their blind faith in things that empirical evidence has long ago disproved do not deserve my respect. They are not simply ignorant; they are ignorant by choice. And when you are ignorant by choice you are no longer deserving of anyone to respectfully listen to you.

The religious people who do not deserve my respect because they are willfully ignorant, even to a point of being proud of their ignorant stance and hence join the ranks of the stupid are those who hold onto the following beliefs:

1. God created the world and even the universe in six literal days about 7,000 years ago as outlined in Genesis. For anyone beyond the age of four to still believe this nonsense makes my brain want to explode. As the robot on the old Lost in Space series would say, "It does not compute." The age of the earth and even the age of the universe is a known fact of science. It is a measurable quantity in the same sense as the number of molecules there are in a cup of water is a known quantity. You might be a few hundred off the actual value, but given the enormous number, the percent of error is inconsequential. So when a cosmologist says that the universe is 3.8 billion years old, he might be off by a factor of a million years, but 3.8 billion years plus or minus a million is still 3.8 billion years. And that is nowhere in the vicinity of 6,000.

2. The world was covered by the Great Flood of Noah and all the fossils scientists find were laid down during the year or so of the flood. There have been several lame attempts to explain how such a flood could sort the different types of fossils into clear layers, based not on size, but on evolutionary complexity. Flowing water does, indeed, sort sediment. But it sorts them based on the size and weight of the particles and in a continuous spectrum from small to large, top to bottom. It does not sort them into distinct layers, with some fine-particle clay underlying larger-particled sandstone. And it most certainly does not sort them with complex life forms on top and simple life forms below.

3. God made man out of soil and woman out of a rib of man. Again, this is a belief that should have been shed as a young child. It is clearly a metaphor with an obsolete message. It is as simple to disprove as asking yourself why do men and women have the same number of ribs.

4. Evolution is false because "I didn't come from no monkey." Well, guess what; I didn't either. You also didn't come from your cousin Bob either, but both you and Bob shared a common grandparent. In the same sense, humans and monkeys share a common ancestor, but monkeys did not evolve into people. Humans and monkeys are evolutionary cousins. There were literally piles of evidence supporting evolution ever since the early part of the 20th century. Fossils made up the bulk of this evidence. But today, using DNA and genetic research, the evidence of the fossils has been resoundingly corroborated. Evolution is a fact and to deny it because you'd rather believe in an ancient metaphor makes you stupid, not ignorant. Ignorance stems from a lack of information. Stupidity stems from a willing desire not to know the truth.

5. The bible is the inerrant word of God and I believe everything it says. When people say this to me, my first response is always, "How do you know?" In order to know something, you either have to have witnessed it yourself or have a great amount of empirical evidence that what you believe is true. But even Christians cannot all agree on what the bible means. If they did, Christianity would not be splintered into thousands of different denominations and sects, all disagreeing on the finer points (and sometimes the major points) of the bible. The only facts we know for sure about the bible is that it was written by many different authors. Many of those authors are unknown and perhaps unknowable. They were all superstitious. They all lived thousands of years ago before the age of science. And they all had their own agendas related to the god they believed in. So how is it this collection of ancient, superstitious authors knows more about such things as evolution, global warming, and cosmology than all the modern-day Harvard-educated scientists?

6. Life begins at conception; the soul is added at that point, and killing a zygote is murder. Since there is no scientific proof (or even evidence) that a soul exists at all, it would be unfair and imprudent to pass laws based on when it arrives. You are free to believe that life begins whenever you say it does, as long as you don't try to force that belief on others by supporting laws mandating your compunctions on everybody.

7. Gay marriage is an affront to God and nature. The sole purpose of sex in humans is not for procreation. It is a bond strengthener and is also purposely meant for pleasure, otherwise a human female would go through an estrus cycle, much like a dog. If marriage is meant just to form a base for raising a family, then marriage should not only be prohibited to gays but also to old people or infertile couples. Most Christians will say that if you don't believe in abortion then don't have one. If you don't believe in gay marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex. But don't prevent others from following their own hearts and minds on those subjects.

So if you literally believe any or all of the seven things outlined above, you are not worthy of my respect or the respect of anyone who values education, fairness, or truth. You are a drain on society because you cannot contribute to the knowledge base. You are an encumbrance to your children for filling their heads with superstitious nonsense. You are even a disappointment to many of your fellow Christians, who believe in your God and your Jesus, but who are smart enough to accept the evidence of science. You are a pathetic impediment to progress and you should be ignored. Unfortunately, your kind seems to have the loudest voices, just like a child throwing a tantrum.

Your branch of religion is experiencing its death throes. Fundamentalist Christianity is not long for this world. Unfortunately, while it is here, it is very loud and annoying. And even after it finally vanishes into the abyss, fundamentalist Islam will probably still be flagellating the world with an even more sinister kind of fundamentalism. But in the distant future, when humankind realizes that religion is stupid, if we survive today's bout with fundamentalism, we as a society may finally be able to thrive, unimpeded by religious zealotry. What marvels we will accomplish!