Subject: Re: Front-door Atheism Date: 9 Sep 90 08:04:37 GMT In article <8021@mcshh.hanse.d

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From: atdhb@acad2.anc.alaska.edu (BOWDEN DON H) Newsgroups: alt.atheism Subject: Re: Front-door Atheism Message-ID: <1990Sep9.080437.23086@hayes.fai.alaska.edu> Date: 9 Sep 90 08:04:37 GMT In article <8021@mcshh.hanse.de>, flo_h@mcshh.hanse.de (Florian Hars) writes... >atdhb@acad2.anc.alaska.edu (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 and act. 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." Don Bowden _|_ Atheism worships LIFE, not DEA | H.

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