From: firstname.lastname@example.org (BOWDEN DON H)
Subject: Re: Front-door Atheism
Date: 9 Sep 90 08:04:37 GMT
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org (Florian Hars) writes...
>email@example.com (BOWDEN DON H) writes:
>>fine-tune our philosophies, but what are we doing to eradicate the sickness of
>>religion from our planet?
>A dogmatic attitude equal to the darkest time of christianity...
If this be dogma, Florian, them make the most of it.
Yes, Bob, I'm intolerant.
Would you tolerate a religious belief that demanded the slow, painful torture
and death of children? How about a belief that forced its followers to
ritualistically rape, mutilate, and murder weaker people? Would you sit idly
by and allow your next-door neighbor to put his child on a chopping block and
cut out her heart?
See, you're just as intolerant as I am. While there appear to be few Absolute
Truths in the universe, we, as human beings, have developed a set of
more-or-less mutually agreed-upon beliefs regarding good and evil. Most of us
think helping each other is good, and killing and hurting each other is evil.
Had we not evolved these beliefs and feelings, we would not have survived. We
behave because we innately know that it's for the common good.
Those interested in the problem of good and evil would do well to begin with a
study of Lawrence Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development. He has attempted to
delineate the natural progression of moral and ethical motives from birth
though adulthood. Various environmental and genetic factors tend to arrest
this development somewhere along the way, so that fewer than half of adults
attain the fifth level and fewer still (maybe none) reach the sixth and highest
level. (I will post the stages/levels with brief descriptions in another
article, or you may look it up in your psychology text.)
One of the main arrestors of this natural process of moral development is
religion. Religion (at least the one in power in this country) denies the
innate good of humans. In the xian view, people are born evil and must have
jesus christ or they will always remain evil, and along with this acceptance
and worship of certain supernatural entities comes a list of acceptable
behavior--ideals that, if not followed to the letter, result in eternal torture
and/or eternal death. Such severe threats promote good behavior at the lowest
stages of the Kohlbergian scale--that of behavior to avoid punishment.
Atheists, as has been pointed out on another thread of this group, are good
because they have developed an internal locus of control built upon humanistic
values. The reason I do not burglarize your house is not the fear of arrest
(an improbable event) nor the fear of retribution from ghosts and goblins (an
even more improbable event); it is because I have a set of values born of eons
of evolution, a reasonably intact mind, and a lifetime of experiences that have
imbued me with standards that are socially and personally acceptable in this
day and time. Most of us are the same way--enough of us to keep the species
going in spite of the many environmentally and/or genetically damaged
defectors. Though our society seems riddled with crime, untold millions of
people get through day after day without hurting anyone. Religion denies this
innate good exists.
Religion is, therefore, anti-human. Religious parents teach their children
explicitly that they were born evil. The child comes to believe that she has
no power over her own behavior (i.e., she develops what is called an external
locus of control) and is therefore denied the higher levels of moral
attainment. This is child abuse, and I am not tolerant of child abuse.
Religion is anti-life. In its fundamentalist extreme, religion seeks the
ultimate war: many fundies (maybe most or all) believe that the Second Coming
is very imminent and that nuclear war would be just the ticket to bring on the
ultimate jihad--the christian Armageddon. There are thousands upon thousands
of people who would not hesitate to push the proverbial button if it were
available to them, and if we continue to be so tolerant of such maniacal and
fanatical beliefs then sooner or later one of these guys will find that button
in his grasp. In this regard, Pat Robertson is much more of a threat to
humanity than Saddam or Kadahffi. I am not tolerant of murder.
Religion is anti-environment. Why should we protect this planet when god's
gonna wipe it clean and restore it someday anyway? And why should we preserve
natural resources and respect animal life? After all, the bible clearly
implies that everything was "put on earth" for man to "use" as he sees fit. If
god wants more rhinos, he can make more rhinos. If we kill them all off, then
it's god's will. These are not necessarily extremist fundamentalist
views--even in the more liberal religious circles, supernatural beliefs are
dangerous to our planet and therefore to all forms of life. I am not tolerant
of wanton greed, waste, and destruction.
Religion is anti-science. This should be obvious but many don't realize the
extent of the problem. A few years ago, the creationists (led by the Institute
for Creation Research in San Diego) launched an attack on the public school
systems of several states. Although creationism was soundly defeated in the
courts, it did manage to insert an element of doubt into the public mind about
evolution; so much so that our then-president Ronald Reagan publicly supported
"equal treatment" legislation on the basis that "some questions have been
raised about the validity of evolution" (or words to that effect) and that we
should allow the "other worldview" and equal forum in our schools. When the
ICR's lies and distortions reach the top office in the land and threaten the
very basis of public education, it's time to reconsider what we are willing to
tolerate. (Please don't plead for the right of free enquiry into
creationism--it has been thoroughly and freely enquired into and found
completely wanting.) I am not tolerant of the numbing of the mind.
Religion is also anti-democracy, anti-freedom, and anti-just about everything
else we've found to be useful and valuable. I am not tolerant of a return to
the Dark Ages.
So you see, children, we must lose our vision of the kindly old christian
sitting in a rocker and quietly enjoying the comfort of religion. The sickness
of religion, apparently benign in its gentler forms, is nonetheless insidious
in its anti-human nature and it represents a clear and present danger to the
survival of our society and our very species. Through the people it enslaves,
religion continues to propagate much evil and ultimately cannot be tolerated.
Religion, like war and pollution and despotism and slavery and a host of other
related ills, must eventually be eradicated.
Yes, I am intolerant of the superstition and ignorance and myth of religion and
of the pain and suffering and neglect it causes. I believe if you are really
an atheist you are intolerant, too. You are doubtless intolerant of cults,
phayth healers and pious parents who deny the efficacy of medicine and allow
the infirm to die in jesus' name, so why do you tolerate the underlying evil?
We do the human race a service by discussing these issues here, in this forum,
but we cannot sit by and allow superstition, myth, and ignorance to destroy the
minds and bodies of ourselves and our children. (How's that for emotional
impact?) We should do something. All atheists should come out of the closet
I am assembling a list of things atheists might do--singly or in aggregate--to
promote atheism and/or combat theism. If you would like to contribute, please
do. I will post the list here.
"Love the religionist, hate the religion."
Atheism worships LIFE, not DEA | H.