I was talking to a religious person the other day. They spoke with 100% confidence. Then I thought about how atheists, myself included, tiptoe around religious people. We don't want to offend them. It's the same feeling you get when talking about Santa Claus around kids.
I'm done with that. Religion is ridiculous. There is no god. I'm not even capitalizing the word anymore. There is no heaven.
The ONLY reason that anyone believes in these fictions is because of tradition and information being passed down through generations.
Think about this. If the history of religion was wiped from the face of this earth, and our current population had to figure out why we're here and what's going on, how much of it would we logically deduce down to the sorts of fables religion thrusts upon us?
We look back on the funny things in history, like the Greeks attributing everything to their specialized gods, and wonder how they could be so naive. Then we turn on the TV and see Obama and McCain talking about their FAITH. In this day and age, religion is a major factor in who runs our country.
Insanity. Sometimes I think about the fact that a HUGE chunk of our population actually believes that there's a man in the sky who is listening to their prayers and decides whether or not to grant these prayers based on a number of factors, including how often they pray for it.
This isn't an attack on religious people, by the way. Some of the smartest people I know are religious. Not all of them, not most of them, but some of them. The best way I can reconcile this is by saying that smart people can believe dumb things. No one thinks that anything they believe is dumb, but we can all think of things we USED to believe were dumb.
Everyone has incorrect beliefs, and always will. For some people it's the belief in religion. On one hand the whole thing is totally preposterous, but on the other hand there are certain families or communities where NOTHING is pushed as hard and confidently on a child as religion. Logic isn't always the number one determinant of belief, even if it should be.
I also wouldn't actually wish for religion to be erased from the Earth. I know that some people get a ton out of it. Some people need external moral compasses. Church can be a really good community, especially in a day and age where traditional communities are virtually non-existent.
I don't want to convince anyone to not be religious, either. Let people believe what they want.
All I'm saying is this: religious is ridiculous, but it's even more ridiculous to be quiet when Christians bring up their beliefs. Amen.
Once upon a time, hundreds of years ago, there existed a species called homo sapiens. They had an enormous amount of processing power, an excellent ability to match patterns, and a level of consciousness and self awareness that had never existed before.
They understood many of the things they saw in the world, but others were mysteries. It wasn't that they couldn't process what was around them, but rather that they hadn't developed the context for it. Seeing giant bolts of lightning strike down from the sky must have been terrifying. Nothing in their experience could begin to explain such a thing.
If we can simplify a bit and say that scientists' jobs are to figure out all of the causes and effects, it could be said that we've always been scientists, albeit bad ones. Cave men started noticing correlations and assigned meaning to them. Maybe they saw a white bird, and the next day it rained. How could they know that the white bird didn't cause that rain?
Some phenomena didn't seem to have direct causes, or maybe sometimes the correlations spotted didn't line up anymore. It rained, but no one in the tribe saw a white bird. Searching for meaning, our ancestors imagined supernatural beings, and nonsense was born.
Hello Mr. Marshall!
I have been a reader of your blog for quite a while now, and I decided it's time to try to connect with you. I am very impressed by the quality of your blog posts and I enjoy reading them daily. And I am aware that you don't have much time for reading emails lately (which is good, people reach out to you and they should reach out. It is great that you offer yourself like this!), so I'll try to keep my first email brief.
I am starting to grow an interest in existentialism, religious and spiritual philosophy. Since I'm just starting this field I would like to start off with the right material, so I was wondering if you could recommend me some books or other material on these subjects?
Of course I completely understand if you don't have time for it, or if this email flies right into the trash folder - some things are not meant to be.
In any case, I wish you kind regards. S