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On Morals: Why Atheism Trumps Christianity
Any religion that requires the acceptance of its ideas on faith alone is admitting that its doctrines cannot stand on their own merits nor withstand any critical examination. They require that their adherents accept as truth their authority, and Christianity is a perfect illustration of this point. The belief in a god is irrational, as are those who accepts the belief in a god. Once this leap of faith is made, it only takes short steps to abandon the standards of rationality and lose the ability to distinguish truth from falsehoods. When one examines the doctrines of Christianity, it is revealed not to be the bastion of wonderful moral standards. To the opposite, Christian morals are contrary to our well being and to our society.
The belief that there was a divine man who died for the sins of the world is a grievous and immoral notion. It amounts to human sacrifice. If this were even suggested in real life, such as someone offering to become victim of capital punishment for another’s crime, there would be cries from from every corner of society denouncing this action. Given that, then by what possible stretch of the imagination does an immoral idea such as this suddenly become moral when it is the murder of the fictitious Jesus is a substitution for the “crime” of another person or persons? Obviously, the answer is to instill guilty feelings. There can be no other logical purpose. When you look at the base doctrines of evangelism, it is very apparent that fear and guilt are the basic emotions that are used by Christianity to convert its targets. Those who eventually walk away from their faith were probably converted through fear alone, as a fearful person may eventually rebel. However, those who become life long adherents were more than likely converted through both fear and guilt, because a person with deep feelings of guilt is not likely to rebel. The alleged “sacrifice” of Christ has served the church very well over the millennia.
The basic problem with Christian morality comes down to it being little more than a primitive system of reward and punishment. Be good, don’t ask questions and stay in line and you will be rewarded. Be skeptical, ask questions and use your mind in a reasonable and rational manner and you are consigned to eternal punishment in the most horrible place, forever. Although some churches have modified this and a few have even eliminated, this system has remained fundamental to Christianity throughout the history of the church. The whole idea of heaven and hell is a perfect illustration of just how the the core of Christianity is against reason, rationality and even life, itself. The faith elevates ignorance and non-productivity and suppresses creative and innovative thought. One competent scientist is worth more than a thousand evangelists.
Christianity teaches its followers to meek and mild, to accept their lot in life. This might seem like humility at its best, but consider the fate of a country that adopts this attitude and how easy it would be for any despot to seize and keep power. Does this not assure the perpetration of evil and is this doctrine not carte blanche for every injustice imaginable? It is no accident that the bible lacks any story, tale or parable about the oppressed rising up against their oppressors. Hitler and many other dictators over the centuries all looked to the bible for justification of their actions. And they have found it there.
There are many other problems with the alleged “divine ethics” of the Christian faith. Slavery, which was widespread in biblical times and continues to be in many countries, is not only not admonished in the bible, but instructions on how to treat slaves is part of holy scripture. As a general rule, women are treated as second class citizens because Christianity is a male-dominated social hierarchy. The Apostle Paul even tells women to never speak in church, along with a plethora of other misogynist requirements.
Christianity not only brings on feelings of guilt, but its promotion of death over life is morbid. The fact that a cross, a symbol of suffering, torture and death is the icon of the faith illustrates that Christianity is a philosophy of death and has turned real human values into non-values. Suffering has become noble and death has become eternal life. Pictures and illustrations of blood gushing wounds on the fictitious Jesus abound almost everywhere and blood rituals such as communion are core practices in almost every church in the world. The bloody image of a man on a cross desensitizes the faithful and causes them to believe that suffering and misery are expected and death is the only escape. Christianity teaches that all people are evil and destined to a life of pain and suffering and hope only lies in the salvation of Christ and his assurance of a heavenly reward after we die and those who do not believe will be eternally punished. I find it hard to contemplate a more evil system.
The faith purports itself to be non-judgmental, as the notion of “judge not lest ye be judged” is often cited by Christians. Literally, this means that only the Christian god can judge anyone’s actions to be immoral. This is one of the most damaging doctrines of the faith because it assures that the weak will be perpetually doomed to suffering under the strong. However, much like the ecological issue, the Bible makes up for this by assuring the weak that they will eventually inherit this new earth. It is the pinnacle of ignorance not to judge people like Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler, but to just turn the other cheek, believing that in the next life everything will be sorted out.
Of course, Christianity, by design, demands ignorance. Both naiveté and willful ignorance is at the core of a faith that is contrary to the development of knowledge through reason and rationality. It clearly teaches people people not to trust in reason, and to only accept – without question – the dogmas of the church. Faith is elevated above reason in every church to one degree or another and there have been countless lives wasted in the world’s convents and monasteries. These lives are spent in poverty, reading the bible and praying for whatever. However, this subservience to Christ only amounts to an staggeringly immense loss of much human potential. The fact that billions of people are convinced that all the answers they need lie in the bible and thus they have no incentive at all to look beyond it. The religious withdraw from the world while the reasoned seek to improve it. This withdrawal from the world, coupled by the teaching that the earth was created solely for the benefit of the believer has contributed to widespread ecological disaster. This belief makes it easy to justify the destruction and wanton depletion of our natural resources because, after all, Jesus is coming soon and will give us a new earth.
If the history of religion has shown us anything, it is the fact that it is inherently evil in its insistence that rational thought is to avoided at all costs. It keeps its believers in line through fear, and is the chief source of a vast majority of crime, either directly, indirectly or psychologically. The fact that atheists and agnostics are a small minority of the prison population shows that Christianity is not only nonessential to morality, but in many cases, the antithesis. Evil has a completely different meaning to an atheist than it does to a Christian. From a Christian point of view, evil is not following orders, thinking independently and questioning doctrines, dogmas and myth.
For those of us who are unbelievers, evil can best be described as the abandonment of our minds to the minds of others. To us, it is a travesty to blindly accept any doctrine on faith. We believe that the ability and willingness to stand alone, when necessary, and tell the majority that they are wrong is the pinnacle of virtue, and thus, atheism is the only honest, rational, and moral position to hold.
- Al Stefanelli, Georgia State Director - American Atheists, Inc.