Putting Christianity Into Perspective-No Facts Required

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Most Christians I’ve talked to admit they don’t go to church to learn something new, but for other reasons – perhaps the comforting ritual, the music, the sense of community, because they’re lonely, out of social obligation, or habit, or even to “switch off.” Many admit they have a need to worship someone and gentle Jesus just fits the bill. Some are frightened God might punish them if they don’t believe.  Some are stuck in the so-called “Concorde fallacy” meaning….

“…I can’t give up all I believe because what I’ve invested will be lost.”

I’m sure there are other reasons as well. These people are content to use up their time, believe what they’re told, pay their dues, and support a whole class of people who don’t have a real job and don’t pay tax.

Most well-educated, intelligent young people aren’t finding these reasons compelling enough to go to church, although there are communities where the indoctrination is so strong, they’re obliged to. Millions of people in the developed world have left churches. For most informed, objective people, belief makes little sense. There have been numerous studies showing that, statistically speaking, intelligence levels and Christian religiosity are inversely proportional.

Those promoting Christianity usually claim facts about belief aren’t necessary. They tell people to rely on their intuition or feelings. So some Christians “know in their hearts” that their God exists, and that’s enough for them.  Their assumption is ill founded, because their intuitive feelings are nothing more than what they’ve been told to believe, usually since childhood.

There have been many thousands of different religions throughout history, and billions of people have all had compelling feelings about hundreds of different gods. If Jesus is a god only because believers imagine he is, the same faulty reasoning proves that Mohammed, the supposed founder of Islam, and Joseph Smith, the chief architect of Mormonism, were divinely inspired prophets. It means a painted wooden idol in the African jungle two hundred years ago was an actual god. Today’s Moslems cry out to Allah. They may give up their lives for him, but does that mean he’s listening? No. Did Joseph Smith dictate God’s words? Hardly. Was the painted post a god? Of course not. Was Jesus the savior of the world? Never!

Christians claim other religions have got it wrong, but Jews and Muslims know in their hearts that Christians are mistaken. Intuitive feelings can’t possibly confirm reality, because all three religions can’t be true. They’re mutually exclusive.

I get warm fuzzy feelings if I imagine a million dollars in my bank account. If my friends were to tell me it’s true, I might get real excited, for a minute or two. Improbable fantasies and imaginative friends can’t change reality. The money isn’t really there, even though I’d like it to be. For the same type of reason, Jesus isn’t really a god, despite how good it makes Christians feel.

Instead of turning to intuition, or to our “conscience,” or to what makes us feel good, or to what we’re told in church, we should rely on rational thought, as this is the only proven way to assess what is best and true. 

Yet the faithful in all religions have been convinced by spin-doctors that they don’t need evidence. If you’re a diehard believer you’ve probably been worked on for many years, and it might be impossible to reason you out of a position you didn’t reason your way into. You’re getting something out of your belief that I don’t understand. I accept that. I’m well aware human concord isn’t found by insisting one knows absolute truth, but in listening to others’ viewpoints.

I encourage everyone else – those who can be objective and who truly appreciate the value of rational thought, to put Christianity in perspective. It’s a second rate solution sold to those too lazy or frightened to think, one invented by priests and other propagandists to give themselves power and income. “Jesus,” in all his various guises, is a fiction; a mythical figure that symbolizes the acceptance of what well-oiled institutions insist people believe. He’s a corporate logo for a figure who, if he ever existed, never was what he’s made out to be. He’s used to cajole consumers into having faith in a raft of prejudices, beliefs and behaviors, instead of using their common sense. He’s a device to “dumb down” the people. Belief in Jesus is like smoking. A cigarette may seem to be your best friend, yet it damages you without you knowing it, is expensive, and harms your children. Churches are like cigarette companies; they promote a toxic product for their own financial gain.

Atheists are free to find meaning however they choose, without getting caught up in a priest’s or preacher’s agenda. When we accept there’s no God, we’re not throwing anything away, but discovering ourselves, and we break free from corporate control. That’s cathartic! If you’re brave enough to let go, you’ll think more clearly, be less opinionated, more accepting of  others, and gentler on yourself. You’ll discover that God, the bible and preachers are holding you back, because open mindedness and rational thinking are far superior. Cognitive dissonance will disappear, real self-esteem improve, you’ll have more time and money, and you’ll probably find more real friends.

If you’re sitting on a fence, not knowing what to believe, consider this. There are no gurus or teachers of infallible truth. Anyone who claims they are is a con man. Enlightenment is found by being true to our inner selves. Some of the earliest Christians, the Gnostics, thought that if we understand the flaws in our own natures we’re freed from ignorance. They believed in being rational, brave and flexible, so we can acknowledge mistakes and move forward. What great ideas. It’s OK to concede we’ve been conned. Whether we’re willing to let debunked dogma go and embrace reason is the important issue.

 

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38 Responses to Putting Christianity Into Perspective-No Facts Required

  1. James Smith

    May 4, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Of course, facts do not matter. Actually, facts are fatal to any religion. That’s why most religions have discouraged facts and thinking.

    “You must have faith” is what they want you to believe. I have an essay about that at: http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/80/

    Remember there was a time when religion did control everything. It was called the Dark Ages. It is still happening in some countries like Iran and Afghanistan. The USA is headed that way, too.

    • Rambo Ike

      June 15, 2014 at 1:05 am

      Still a world-class hypocrite. Some things never change.

      • Glenn Geist

        June 15, 2014 at 9:11 am

        Is that a knee-jerk reaction or just a wildly off the mark accusation with less than nothing to back it up? Or perhaps you haven’t a clue as to what the word means?

        • Rambo Ike

          June 23, 2014 at 4:25 pm

          I speak from personal experience sparring with Smith in earlier articles on this site. He has filled his head with so much that isn’t so there is no room left for true facts.

          James’s Dark Ages (early Middle) is a fallacy. The Christians (many went underground) in their monasteries dedicated their lives to preserving & advancing knowledge. There are scores of documented proof for that.

          Atheism is the blind leading the blind for believing there is no God. You all live on a little speck of rock in a universe that is tens of billions of light years across and none of you have ever been outside our solar system which is a baby step in universe distance. Just to get to the next closes of the trillions of stars from our Sun would take approximately 50,000 earth years with our present fastest means of space travel and that’s only a distance of 4 1/4 light years. But, somehow y’all know everything being on board this 3rd speck of rock from our Sun.

          • Glenn Geist

            June 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm

            Sorry, you’ve used an argument that damns you. It’s called the argument for ignorance which says that I or you don’t know so X is true.

            Apparently you’re not smart enough to see it, but you’re proposing an answer to all the questions, not I so the burden of evidence is on you. Telling me I’ve not been to planet Mongo is not evidence that God lives there or anywhere.

            A really, really, stupid answer, I must say.

  2. Rachael

    May 4, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I can’t believe I used to be so religious. I mean I used to kneel and pray at church every Sunday and I really believed. Then I started reading things like this and now I’m a happy Atheist free of that horrible guilt that goes with religion.

    • Mark Fulton

      May 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      I’m pleased for you. Thankyou for your nice comment

  3. Glenn Geist

    May 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Don’t forget that the act of disobedience they tell you we inherited was to acquire moral judgement. Every time you think for yourself about what might be right or wrong you “sin” because you’re not submitting to the moral code that writes songs of joy about bashing babies to death against rocks and exterminating whole peoples and murdering women for worshiping the Goddess and men for marrying outside the tribe – the horror goes on. If Genesis were right, God murders his own children just like Saturn because he not only created them but mated with them and produced the “sons of God” that “filled the earth in those days”

    Hell no! you’re not supposed to think.

  4. Josh Taylor

    May 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    We must transcend religion to spiritually grow as humanity. Religion is man made and fallible. However, atheists play into human arrogance as well. To deny a power greater than yourself because that is rational is irrational in the face of my life experiences.

    There is some truth in all religions but not one religion has absolute truth. There is a beauty and a divine out there. It’s not going to be found fully with traditional religion or thinking there is no “God”

    We come to this plane of existence to struggle in this imperfect and unjust reality. Through struggle we grow and perfect our souls. We can’t grow if we don’t face challenges…

    I used to be ardently religious then “woke up” and fell into agnostic and atheist trap. Do the best you can in life. In the end the only one who judges you is you!

    • Mark Fulton

      May 4, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      “Religion is man made and fallible.”
      Yes!

      “atheists play into human arrogance as well”
      An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of god(s.)Nothing more or less. Some may be arrogant, many not.

      “To deny a power greater than yourself because that is rational is irrational…” Ah, no. Black is not white.

      “There is some truth in all religions” Maybe

      “not one religion has absolute truth.” True

      “There is a beauty” Oh yes

      “and a divine out there.” Oh no!

      “our souls.” No such thing, unless you’re referring to our intellects and our feelings.

      “atheist trap.” There’s no such thing. Atheism is reality. Reality is what it is…not a trap.

    • Glenn Geist

      May 5, 2014 at 9:20 am

      ” To deny a power greater than yourself because that is rational is irrational in the face of my life experiences.”

      You know that’s one of the most annoyingly and arrogantly absurd statements it’s possible to make — so bloody meaningless it’s hard to know where to start in on it.

      Do you understand that believing in something for which there is no evidence requires, for the sake of honesty, that you admit to believing in ALL things for which there is no evidence — and yes, that is an infinite number of things. Otherwise, of course, you’re picking something out of the infinite for hidden or occult reasons of your own which you cannot admit to without your whole, ridiculously arrogant construct falling down on you.

      Saying “greater power” demands comparison of powers you cannot define which means you’re assigning properties to something that, because there is no evidence for it, CANNOT have properties. Properties are evidence, hence any god you can describe is a god, that having god properties is a god you’ve invented and that’s true whether you use the word god, spirit, soul, angel, devil, bogeyman or “greater power.”

      Greater power than yourself? You don’t mean greater power because all powers can be greater than you or me: gravity, the Coulomb force, the nuclear forces — the laws of motion. You certainly mean abstract power without intent, like kinetic energy, but a sentient, living thing to which you, with colossal arrogance assign powers and intentions and desires all on your own with help from legend and arrogance. Why arrogance? because you’re implying the cosmos is about you.

      Tell me, can a thing of infinite power have desires since desire requires not having what you want to have? If the infinite power lacks something it’s not infinite power, is it? That would imply that there could be, must be some greater than greater power. Oh never mind.

      “your life experiences” invalidate reality? Where’s the arrogance there? You have feelings, therefore whatever you imagine must be true — and you have the nerve to ruminate about truth? Well I guess arrogance must be defined as pointing out the hubristic absurdity of the non-existent platform you stand on. Arrogance must simply mean disagreeing with you – the higher power. Astonishing!

      Look, when you talk about “souls” you’re expressing a belief that thought, consciousness and critical facilities can exist without matter or energy or space or time which shows that your definitions of real and unreal are so specious, devious and meaningless as to make any conversation impossible anyway, which is another way to say you’ve said nothing whatsoever, but in a very arrogant way.

      • James Smith

        May 5, 2014 at 10:08 am

        Glenn, very well put. Thanks for putting the effort and thought into that post.

        • Glenn Geist

          May 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm

          You’re welcome. It’s just that I find it hugely arrogant to be told I’m arrogant for being honest. Arithmetic has nothing to do with personal attributes, or physics or logic for that matter.

          My “life experience” or rather the experience of ruminating and reading about such things for a lifetime suggests rather that nothing can be said about gods or supreme powers that isn’t self contradictory, that all arguments or attempted proofs of deity reduce to absurdity all by themselves and that when people have that demonstrated to them they become hostile – sometimes dangerously so.

  5. Norman Rampart

    May 5, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Oh all right then! If I must!

    Thought being agnostic was a good way to hedge my bets….still, there’s a lot of splinters on this fence so I suppose I’d better hop off and be a full time athiest then.

    …I’ll blame you, you know, if they don’t let me in…oh…er…I can’t say that now…oops 😉

    • Mark Fulton

      May 6, 2014 at 7:36 am

      Good on ya mate!

      I knew all all along you were one of us.

  6. Josh Taylor

    May 5, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I’m not religious anymore. I can’t understand blind faith in an obvious man made lie to based on fear, guilt, and control that can be discerned with learning history. I have no problem with religion as long as you practice what you preach.

    Atheists. I have much respect for you guys. You are not deluding yourselves to find comfort. I’m being serious when I ask how you deal with the definity of death. Why be a good person? Why care? I’m genuinely asking.

    There is some pretty compelling work by Dr. Ian Stevenson out of Univesity of VA years ago of reincarnation. The evidence is not proof but something we should explore.

    If energy can not be created or destroyed then why can’t part of our energy go on or go back. There is a book by Michael Newton called “Destiny of Souls” that’s interesting.

    I’m searching for answers like most everyone else. There may be no god. True. If there is a divine then it’s not what any man made religion says. Also true. So I personally choose to be best person I can be. Not for anyone else but for me. I try to learn from my struggles and do the right thing. Again to work on myself is a full time job.

    • James Smith

      May 5, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Josh, you make good points, especially about being a good person because it’s the right thing to do.

      I have a little essay about that at:
      http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/ethics/

      You might find it interesting.

      You also make a good point about energy being neither created nor destroyed. It does presuppose that our personal being is a form of energy and might go one in some way. It’s an interesting hypothesis. I’d like to see some evidence or even more thinking about that.

      It is true that electrical activity is the medium that stores and powers our thought. Some of that might go on, but can it without a conductor. What would happen to an electrical charge in a wire if the wire were cut at both ends in the same instant?

      • Glenn Geist

        May 5, 2014 at 11:32 am

        Using the Conservation of Energy to suggest that thought, intelligence, awareness or indeed any brain function persists without that brain is so absurd as to suggest no brain function was involved in thinking it up.

        It’s not a serious proposition or a valid analogy that deserves serious contemplation or refutation. Neither you nor I want to cease to be, but postulating mysteries and impossibilities is delusion. Memento Mori.

        Of Course James is right. Switch off the computer and you’re going to lose your work if it isn’t saved to some storage medium. Consciousness and thought and awareness have no storage medium.

        Forget about conservation of energy – think about entropy. Entropy increases – period. The energy used up in thinking, in being aware, in being us cannot be put back into the structure it was part of and existed in once that structure no longer exists or functions. You can’t argue that our body heat is energy so our bodies can be reassembled somewhere else or goes on forever. Sorry. Physics is physics, thermodynamics is thermodynamics and people die forever.

        • Josh taylor

          May 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

          Glenn, you obviously are very intellectual and well spoken. I admire that. I’d like to get your take on the official 9/11 story of 19 terrorist with box cutters controlled by a man on dialysis from a satellite phone in a cave halfway around the world penetrated a multi billion dollar US security to start with….
          I’m sure you’ve looked at evidence and see the same power that manipulated religion also had a hand in this as well…
          Just asking questions on everything like I always do.

          Just like you said “physics is physics” and thermodynamics are thermodynamics. Surely you see the truth here.

          • Glenn Geist

            May 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm

            Hmm, sounds like I’m being baited here, but a proper answer would require that I understand what you’re getting at — and I don’t.

            • Michael John Scott

              May 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm

              I don’t either Glenn.

              • Anonymous

                May 7, 2014 at 12:47 am

                Humor me…look at pilotsfor911truth.org or reopen911.org. Then call me an idiot, a Truther, a tinfoil hat wearer. Truth is I follow your blog and have much respect for you. I ask you to take
                Another honest look at the evidence and discrepancies and post your opinion.

                Thanks for your time!

            • Anonymous

              May 5, 2014 at 9:25 pm

              Not baiting you and sorry I wasn’t clear. For me being deluded by religion and finally understanding not true was same I felt when I researched 9/11 and scientifically saw official theory was not possible.

              . I believed the US govt account just like I believed the religious dogma then I woke up. The more critical thinking non-sheeple people that look the evidence, like the thousands of engineers who have signed a petition to reopen the case, the better chance to find the truth.

              For instance. a plane flying at 500 mph would have an air cushion under it (not my words but pilots and aviation specialists) and not be able to hit the Pentagon especially after making a 270 degree turn by a pilot that couldn’t fly a single engine plane the month before. Only video is 5 Frames released never showing what caused explosion.

              All I’m saying is there are many unanswered questions and I feel not asking tough questions is just as bad a blindly following A religion.

              Make sense?

              • Glenn Geist

                May 6, 2014 at 8:17 am

                No, it really doesn’t make sense. I spent a lot of words with the large number of pilots and aerospace engineers who belong to my club and no “air cushion” business came up. Do you have the necessary reason two planes hit the WTC and was it possible the one that crashed didn’t actually crash because of an air cushion? Perhaps it just flew away and is parked next to Malaysian Airlines flight 370 at Area 51?

                For some reason people call everything they don’t understand, proof of God or proof of a conspiracy. One area in which the US is still ‘number one’ is gullibility.

    • Michael John Scott

      May 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      According to the fundamental Christian it doesn’t matter how good of a person you are. Unless you embrace the Jeebus you will go straight to hell when judgement day arrives 🙂

      • Josh taylor

        May 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        No, you are absolutely wrong here. You don’t have to embrace him you have to accept him into your heart in grand fashion ANDthe more people and bigger show you make of it the more points you get. I think it’s 100 points to get into heaven. But my preacher says not to worry “he knows a guy” I can buy points so its all good. Has to be cash he says 🙂

        My wife just asked me why I’m laughing posting this. Glad she doesn’t think I’m going to hell for making silly comments.

        • Michael John Scott

          May 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

          LOL Josh! Praise the Jeebus dude.

          • JT

            May 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm

            I’m getting at asking people smarter and more influential than me to ask questions if they haven’t already about an issue and event that is indelible in our minds and may not have happened as we were lead to believe.

            I’d love to be proved wrong

  7. Josh Taylor

    May 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    James great essay. Loved it, but are you sure Einstein wasn’t a devout believer like lady said in comment section.
    :). Kidding of course.

    Glenn, you obviously are very intellectual and well spoken. I admire that. I’d like to get your take on the official 9/11 story of 19 terrorist with box cutters controlled by a man on dialysis from a satellite phone in a cave halfway around the world penetrated a multi billion dollar US security to start with….

    I’m sure you’ve looked at evidence and see the same power that manipulated religion also had a hand in this as well…

    Just asking questions on everything like I always do.

    • Glenn Geist

      May 6, 2014 at 8:22 am

      I think I already addressed this, but that’s a simplification. OBL may have instigated it, but many, many people were involved in the planning and funding and it took quite a long time to organize it all.

      Isn’t the argument for conspiracy behind a conspiracy just another iteration of the infamous “I don’t understand X, therefore Y?” Again, it’s a common “proof” of God which proves nothing. It’s also called the argument from ignorance.

      • Anonymous

        May 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

        It’s just one conspiracy. You’re right I’m
        Not the brightest guy every and have several
        Questions like these. Please feel free to educate me and I’ll cross off my list

        Two planes struck the towers. Towers collapsed at free fall
        Speed (agaisnt laws of physics unless something was clearing the way like planted explosives). Kerosone based jet fuel can not produce temps high enough to melt steel. Even if it did miraculously, against all known science, the fires burned for 6 weeks. Only scientific explanation is nanothermite that can produce its own oxygen.

        Why was ground zero cleared so fast and remnants sent to China?
        Why did White House (emails confirm) make EPA reverse decision and claim air safe
        To breath?
        That “safe air” had been correlated with thousands of deaths

        Why was there a huge spike in “put” options (bets against) United, Amercian, and Boeing stocks specifically on 9/10/2001 making investors millions and the SEC has never released
        Finding of investigation.
        Why did the BBC announce collapse of WTC 22 minutes before it happened?
        Why are the three WTC building to collapse due to fire still the only 3 steeo structured brought down by fire ever?
        Why was the 9/11 commission under funded, have several
        Members quit, and the final report never explain exactly why towers
        Fell?
        Why did George Bush sit and keep reading a story about a pet goat after he learned of second plane hitting WTC? His agenda on the calendar, wouldn’t he be a target?
        Why were fighters protecting Washington on a training mission in Canada?
        How did one of the terrorists passports not burn up and be able to be found on the ground at ground zero being made of a fragile material called paper?
        What are chances war prepexercises like Vigilant Guaridan were going on same day as 9/11
        These are just a FEW, of many descripancies we need to
        Look at.

        Look at Kemmedy assassination, Operation Northwoods, entry
        To Vietnam war on a lie us admits (Gulf of Tonkin), and now no WMD in Iraq…

        Take another look that’s all I ask

        • Michael John Scott

          May 7, 2014 at 8:24 am

          Dude none of the these events were conspiracies. They’ve been investigated time and again by both private and government bodies. No conspiracy, and yes we did actually go to the moon 🙂

          • Anonymous

            May 7, 2014 at 9:00 am

            Yes we went to the moon. SOME of the footage is not real (lost due to Exposure of Van Allen radioactive belt ?) and recreated. And yes that I believe has fueled controversy.

            This is different. Have you looked at 9/11 Comission report? Do you realize how many Engineers (thousands of them), pilots (thousands), and others laugh at report.

            These govt agencies (NIST, FEMA, etc reports are so flawed) and yes many private agencies have looked at and many have serious questions. I was challenging you to look at evidence for yourself, not take blind faith. That’s all.

            But thanks for atleast replying. I don’t have the answers but have serious questions. Thanks for humorig
            me, I really like your work and respect your opinions.

            Ill leave you with one question (promise to only comment on topics presented in future)

            How did certain investors know to short American, United, and Boeing stocks day before 9/11. Look at a chart and spike is crazy and a glaring eyesore. Then SEC (most records went down in WTC 7 servers) but there was still enough evidence to research who had for knowledge ahead of time (or it would appear). These trades were investigated and then results locked down.

            • Michael John Scott

              May 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

              Dude you are never going to convince me that the 9/11 attacks were anything but the work of terrorists. You really have to stop visiting these conspiracy sites.

              • Anonymous

                May 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

                Yeah you’re probably right. Just have lingering questions. And I realize its not the same, but I was devoutly religious and kept asking questions about things that didnt make sense about Christianity. Like how did Noah and his family repopulate the earth? Why is “God” male? How did Adam and Eve have. Family tree that forked? My own family said I needed help, but i finally realized religion and its origins and broke free. If I hadn’t asked difficult questions thenIdstill be in Church every Sunday giving 20,000.00 a year in tithes blindly and indoctrinating my children.

                I’m compelled to question everything from my childhood now, don’t want to be burned like that again later. Probably makes no sense to you. But thanks again for listening

  8. Glenn Geist

    May 7, 2014 at 8:28 am

    This really isn’t the time or place, but I would suggest that your facts aren’t quite true and have been selected for a purpose. It’s a common tactic and I think there’s a name for it. There’s a well documented tendency to believe a plausible story supported by a few shaky facts over one that requires a good deal of work and knowledge to figure out. I don’t think your assertion is even slightly plausible.

    I don’t think any such operation could have been carried out in the first place much less not attract the attention of anyone but people who see conspiracy in everything. Steel loses its strength at a far lower temperature than you need to melt it and frankly, this conjecture isn’t supported by anything but conjecture. If it were otherwise all the structural engineers and material science people in the world would be all over it instead of laughing at it.

    • Anonymous

      May 7, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Ok. Thanks for listening and replying even though you do not agree. I appreciate it. Have a great day!

      • Michael John Scott

        May 7, 2014 at 8:49 am

        You too man. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and yours is welcome here.