Harmless Delusion or Destructive Mental Disorder?
Well, it looks like religion is everyone's new favorite topic now so I guess its time to get all controversial and stuff. I'm actually really glad to see people getting out of their comfort zones to explore more divisive topics rather than just patting each other on the back for steem dollars. Maybe we can do abortion or genetic differences between races next. ;-)
I was born to Christian parents who indoctrinated me accordingly. As a result I grew up believing that The Bible was non-fiction and that all of its words were true and accurate. I believed that there is an all-powerful invisible being watching and judging my every move, every word, and every thought. I believed that this god was morally perfect and that all else was evil by comparison. I believed that “sin” exists and that we're all born as babies with an original sin right from the beginning. I believed that my ancestors offended this god by disobeying him and thus caused it to curse all future generations of humanity with pain and suffering that would have otherwise been spared us. I believed that this perfect almighty god somehow had an adversary that was able to undermine him and cause events to occur contrary to his intent by tempting us to disobey divine orders…
None of this made any logical sense, but I believed it all because I was conditioned to do so by my environment… right from day one.
What if I had been born to Hindu parents in India instead? I would have grown up believing totally different pack of lies just as fervently. Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can move the world… Give me enough carrots, enough sticks, and enough time, and I can make anyone believe anything at all.
That said, I'm not against any god any more than I am against space unicorns or frozen fire. I simply don't believe in the existence of that which cannot possibly exist. Gods are fundamentally self-contradictory and thus cannot exist. At the very minimum, a god is defined as an eternal being that exists independent of material form and detectable energy, and which usually possesses the rather enviable attributes of omniscience and omnipotence… Omniscience cannot coexist with omnipotence, since if a god knows what will happen tomorrow, said god will be unable to change it without invalidating its knowledge. If this god retains the power to change what will happen tomorrow, then it cannot know with exact certainty what will happen tomorrow. The usual response from theists is to place their god “outside of time,” but this is pure nonsense because when an entity is proven to be self-contradictory, creating a realm wherein self-contradictions are valid does not solve the problem.
If you tell me that a square circle cannot exist, and I then create an imaginary realm outside of reality where square circles can exist, we are not at an impasse; I have just abandoned reality, rationality, and quite possibly my sanity. An object can only rationally be defined as existing when it can be detected in some manner, either directly, in the form of matter and/or energy, or indirectly, based upon its effects on the objects around it. Differentiating between existence and nonexistence is something that we are usually able to manage before we’re six months old. A god – or at least any god that has been historically proposed or accepted – is that which cannot be detected by any material means, either directly or indirectly. Since “god” means “that which is undetectable, either directly or indirectly,” then the statement “gods exist” rationally breaks down to: “That which does not exist, exists.” So, not only are gods entirely self-contradictory, but even the proposition that they exist is self-contradictory. If we try to claim that gods may exist in another universe, we are instantly contradicting ourselves, because the word “gods” contains specific knowledge claims (intelligence, omnipotence, immateriality etc.) which cannot be applied to a dimension about which we know nothing.
Bearing this all in mind, what’s the point in studying, preaching, and debating the words of any book that makes wildly impossible claims and thus cannot possibly be any more than a work of fiction, a novel (and not a very good one either)? How tragic it is that so much pain and suffering has been justified by such books through the centuries.
On a side note, even if the characters in The Bible were actual beings of our reality, the one called God is easily the most villainous of them all. Petty, jealous, spiteful, vengeful, quick to anger, heavy-handed, hypocritical, sadistic… At least the serpent in the garden was truthful and helped the Adam and Eve characters to see what had been hidden from them. God supposedly told them that if they ate of the tree, they would surely die (in plain language to simple, childlike humans) and this turned out to be a lie. This Satan character never lived up to his villainous image but the God character repeatedly proved himself to be more evil than any other character in the book – certainly not worthy of basic respect, let alone love or worship. I can't bring myself to see it as any more than a sick, twisted little fairy tale and it's a damn shame that it has been so successfully used by so many abusive perverts in the violation of so many people throughout history.
I could go on but I suspect that this out to be enough to illustrate why I'm not content to just accept this mythology and superstition as harmless delusion. If it were confined to the minds of believers, I wouldn't care. Unfortunately though, it motivates people to violate others and ought not be tolerated by any peaceful, civilized person. Whether it's soldiers waging holy wars in the desert, terrorists blowing up a shopping mall, priest raping altar boys, or parents striking their children, people follow their religious guidebooks and act out all sorts of violent offenses accordingly. It's not a harmless quirk or eccentricity, it's a dangerous mental disorder that calls for much more attention and resistance than it has been getting by the more rational minds among us. I really don't care what people think in the privacy of their own minds but when they act violently upon their beliefs, they become a hazard to the community and ought not be ignored.