We tend to refer to the current times as “modern“, and in many aspects that is a suitable term. Yet still, we have to battle superstition and ignorance from religious nuts that rank ancient books above scientific knowledge. A grand example is the lot that claim the theory of evolution is just a theory, demonstrating the lack of the knowledge you normally gain in elementary science class.
Although I don’t think that anybody that follows this blog would make this mistake, but just for the sake of completion let me point out that a scientific theory is not the same thing as a “normal” theory. In science, the term theory is used for something that has been repeatedly proven and explained.
The problem, in my humble opinion, is that religion teaches people to submit to faith rather than applying critical thinking and reason to a situation or problem. Like Mr. O’Reilly so excellently demonstrated with his “tide comes in, tide goes out, never a miscommunication” (which was swiftly debunked by elementary school children,) implying that one of the many gods up there was somehow pulling the tide around for his or her own amusement.
Another great example is how so many theists still claim that atheism is a religion. A religion is based around a supernatural belief system. Theism is the belief in at least one supernatural deity. Atheism (A-Theism) is a rejection of the belief in the aforementioned deities. Most people don’t believe in unicorns, which is practically the same thing. Yet, kids are brought up into religion all the time.
This is nothing short of brainwashing, and it effectively washes out the ability to think for oneself. Instead of applying reason the default is to fall back on religious scripture for the answers, ignoring the progress we have made over the last thousands of years. For religion however, this blockade of critical thinking is essential, because honestly it is a bit hard to keep the following marching in line when the stories involve talking bushes, flying horses, and monsters.
And exposing children to this atrocity should in my opinion be considered child abuse. The same way beating a child will lead to long-lasting damages to psyche and persona, the damage from religious indoctrination can be just as severe. Just have a look at the Westboro Baptist Church, and have a ponder on how much critical thinking exists there.
I was raised somewhat Christian, believe it or not. My family is not Christian however, but I was given the opportunity to analyse the evidence for myself and make my own choice on the matter. This didn’t involve home-schooling, bible thumping or any of those activities, but rather I went to church during holidays, attended a Christian pre-school and so forth. The pre-school didn’t last for too long however, as I was asking a few too many “uncomfortable” questions and ended up being removed from the group. I knew at that age that something was fishy with the Jesus fan club, and after reading the Bible it was pretty clear to me that religion was nonsense. Adding the Quran to the mix made this even more obvious.
Sure, religion may add some good to society, and not all religious people are nuts, but the truly dark side of the issue is how it intrinsically breeds extremism. When I say extremism, most people immediately think of Muslim extremists but the truth is that there are extremists in the Christian faith as well as in most other religions. The bible-thumping fan-boys (and girls) are mostly into bombing abortion clinics, for now, but a lot of assassinations and death threats also come from this lot. What I am trying to say is that extremism is extremism, and when you have a bunch of lunatics pledging their eternal obedience to imaginary gods, all bets are off. Not to mention how anybody hearing voices that are not there are considered crazy, but hearing the voice of God just makes you a good Christian.
This is also the reason that I am a bit more cautious when it comes to trusting a strongly religious person than an atheist. Sure, there are rotten atheists too, but at least you can tell they are rotten from a mile away. When it comes to religious people, they are rotten because they think that their God told them to be, and you know that they might turn on a penny as their morals are dictated by ancient scribblings rather than a “social morality”.
And for the record, as an atheist I do celebrate Christmas, but not as anything relating to Jesus, Christ, Saturnalia or any other ancient pagan holiday hijacked and re-branded by Christianity. For me it is about friends and family, and showing appreciation to the people around you.
Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all, whatever religions you do or don’t submit to!