The other day I did a post called Here We Go Again.... A christian had come by HDC and offered to have a bit of discourse so I posted what he had said and replied accordingly. Apparently there were quite a few comments, some of which got a bit heated and unpleasant. But a few questions were asked in amongst all the angry exchanges that I thought I'd address directly.
Sometimes I know I can be a bit vague about where I stand on issues, mainly because I don't want to offend anyone. I like to be happy and make others happy. But I think at a certain point, honesty really is more important than a bit of bruised ego. So let's stop pussyfooting around and I'll lay my cards on the table. I am not trying to offend anyone. I'm just being honest.
It was noticed that I don't ever capitalize god. Why should I when there is no such thing? I capitalize Jesus when I feel we're talking about a person, even though I don't believe Jesus existed. I capitalize Rome because it's a place. But I don't capitalize god because it's a concept, not a reality. There is no god, hence no need to make it a pronoun. When referring to yahweh or jehovah, also not real... no reason to make them pronouns either.
The Invisible Pink Unicorn, on the other hand, is completely real, bless her holy hooves. LOL... sorry.. trying to lighten the mood.
In that vein, Michael Mock in the comments referred to god as G-d. I find the whole g-d thing irritating because it is done out of deference for the christian god, even fear. That's why it bothers me. Because it's silly. Your god can spell, after all. So whether you stick that "o" in there or not means nothing. It's simply a sign of fear for a god who seems cruel and arbitrary if something like writing out the word god, all three letters, is bad.
There was also a good discussion about indoctrination. I agreed with Steve that people adopt the detergent/ political party/ religion and eating habits of their parents and community.
Religion by its nature is done through indoctrination. And here I'll say it. I think religion is inherently evil. I think indoctrination of any sort, whether for religious reasons or for simple manipulation is also evil. It assumes that the person being indoctrinated has no free will and gets no say in what they are forced to learn to believe. It's evil.
I think that picking a detergent is based on parents and society too, but that's not indoctrination as much as intellectual laziness if you never try anything but what your mother used. Same with what you eat. If as an adult you only ever eat the same meals that your parents cooked for you when you were little, that's lazy. Try new things, experiment. Especially if she made you eat liver and onions because she thought liver was good for you. You don't like it but you still eat it because you never bothered to think about it. That's crazy. That's not indoctrination though.
And in my view, indoctrination leads to faith. Just to make that clear. Faith is belief in god or the teachings of a religion. It needs no proof or evidence. I feel that if you have faith in a god, then you have been indoctrinated into the religion of that god. Plain and simple.
Sometimes people will go against their indoctrination. Look at me. I was indoctrinated into the christian religion. I gave it all up and am now a happy atheist. It's more common to stay in lockstep with your family and your community than to wander outside the limits of the lies you were told.
Michael Mock keeps talking about the difference between christianity and other religions, as well as different brands of christianity. Perhaps he could make it clear where he's coming from. What are you talking about, specifically? I think we're all pretty clear that every church has its own brand of christianity, or islam or whatever. There are methodist churches, protestant, catholic, pentacostal, etc. Do we need to be specific every time we refer to christianity? I don't think so.
When I speak of religion, I speak against it as a whole. Sure, there are small little churches that actually help the community. But those small little churches that do good are run by a thoughtful and kind person who would have been good even without religion. But all in all, the evil of religion is pervasive. It crushes the human spirit and turns people into mindless sheep.
In the case of the fathers and priests and pastors, it turns them into wolves in sheep's clothing in most circumstances. They act like fathers and role models, all while never letting their "children" grow up and be full human beings. No one has to be responsible. No one has to think for themselves. It's abhorrent to the natural human endeavor to advance and grow. Not to mention the politics, corruption and abuse that has always been associated with the catholic church, especially.
Perhaps you find my statements unwarranted and you see them as harsh and disrespectful assumptions, but I make them with a clear mind. I am not going to cull the news and history books to validate every single word I write. Read the news for yourself. Read history for yourself. See the evils of the different brands of religion throughout history and even today.
Of course you might interpret it all differently. That's only natural. But I can not and will not sugar coat reality just to make people feel better on this blog. I think that is intellectually dishonest and completely unhealthy.
When you wrap yourself in faith and fairy tales and refuse to listen to reason, or look at science, then yes, you are intellectually lazy and gullible. There's no nice way to say that. I don't believe in being politically correct because all it does is make us weaker and more sensitive. Just look at how uptight and sensitive people are about every little supposed slight or utterance. It's disgusting. I won't play that stupid game on my blog or in my life.
Sure, sometimes I'll be nice and not say anything at easter dinner to offend my hosts. But that's out of respect for their hospitality, not respect for the insane lies spouting forth from the host's mother.
If I get something wrong and someone corrects me, I apologize and make amends. If I make an assumption about you based on your actions, well, mistakes happen. Again, I will apologize. I don't always have to be right. I never proclaimed to be perfect.
Steve brought up a great idea about why religion originally came about in the first place. He suggested that it's to explain "why", to explain the world when we only had questions and fears with no answers. (I added the second bit because I agree.) So religion isn't wired into the species, asking "why" is in our very nature. Steve further notes that gods are formed in the image of the people and their culture. Again, I agree, because that is what seems to make sense to a people at the time. It answers the most questions.
Ok, I think that wraps up my small mention in the comment war. I hope it makes it clear where I stand with religion. Your comments and thoughts are most welcome, as always. Please, though, try not to attack each other personally. Use good argument techniques and avoid the dreaded ad hominems if you can help it.