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Religious = mad, evil or stupid

February 10, 2012

Been wasting time contributing to discussions on the internet (various places) about religion. I don’t know why I allow myself to get so hot under the collar.

How is it that intelligent people can believe unquestioningly stories of impossible things happening just because they’re written down in a book that somebody has told them is true?

Everything written down in books has been written by people. Things are also written telling you that those things are actually written by “God”, or “inspired by God”, or some such, therefore it must be true. But these things were still written down by men, who may have been making things up.

I believe that people are frightened. Not at anything specifically, just frightened of something, they don’t know what. Death, probably, as one of those biological imperatives (not wanting to die is pro-survival). And maybe there’s a bit of the fear of the unknown, and fear of not understanding, and of everything being so big and worrying. And they’re afraid of the dark, and the quiet, and the sheer nothingness of Beyond.

So they make up comforting little stories, and make up reasons to believe those silly little stories, because otherwise the fear would be too much to bear. But in order to believe these stories, they need to shut out those nagging little voices which say, “It’s all a bunch of lies, you know.” And in order to shut out those little voices, they need to silence the other people who actually say the things that the nagging little voices say, that is, anyone who questions the belief systems they have built up.

People who believe in Creationism (in whatever of its forms) are intellectually unwilling, or unable, or both, to study or even consider the evidence in favour of evolution. Their attitude is: I don’t understand the mathematics and science behind this theory, therefore it must be rubbish. Ben Goldacre says something along these lines in Bad Science (2008). There are ample popular science books which give a well-thought-out analysis of the mathematics behind evolution, but they can not get past the concept: “This mechanism (e.g. an eye) is complicated. It’s so complicated that I can’t understand how it works, let alone how it could be put together. Therefore someone must have Created it.”

No good arguing back at such people. “You scientists,” they scoff, “aren’t so clever anyway. You had your religious faith in the Higgs Boson and built an extravagant temple to worship it at – and you didn’t find it! That means all your science is rubbish! Therefore Creation must have happened exactly the way it was said in the Babble and so we were right after all!”

If anyone pesters me with claptrap about some tetchy old man in the sky with a cross face and a beard, I’m going to stick my finger right up his nose.

Why do I bother arguing with them? It’s a complete waste of time.

I can see there’s an excellent reason for religion. Many people are insufficiently socially evolved as to be able to act responsibly and unselfishly (i.e. morally and ethically). In order to get them to be nice, you have to set up a system of rewards and punishments. Religion is an efficient means of keeping these subhumans under control because all you need to do is to make them believe that if they do bad things on earth, then all sorts of bad things will happen to them after they’ve died. How wonderful is that? It’s impossible to disprove! The knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers lap it up!

The administrators of religion are perfectly aware what a bunch of lies they are spouting, and they really, really don’t like it if you question their doctrines, because they may lose control over their charges. And that wouldn’t do at all.

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