03 February 2009



There are many reasons why I have rejected
religion. When I started to read about the atrocities religious people condoned ---all in God's name ---throughout history, I wanted no part of religion.

In my early teens, I loved history. But as I read and learned more about the history of the world, I became more and more astounded at how many people had been killed and/or tortured in the name of God.
Thousands had been accused of witchcraft and killed (the Bible says witches should be stoned) mostly from the Middle Ages up to the Salem witch trials.
As an adult, I became more interested in recent history. It seemed that nearly every world conflict was based, at least in part, on religion. Religious intolerance of other religions is found nearly everywhere. Despite our religious freedoms, religions seem to tear people apart more than they join them together.

As Mark Twain said: “Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion ---several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.”

Yes, I know religious people are capable of good deeds but religion has been, throughout history, the source of atrocities, too -----Nazi exterminations of Jews, conflicts in Northern Ireland, conflicts between India and Pakistan, the Spanish Inquisition, Middle Eastern conflicts, religious terrorism.
In ancient Greece, people were executed because they didn't believe in Zeus.
In Peru, when Pizarro captured the Inca ruler Atahualpa, he promised to free him if the Incan people would fill a room with gold. Once the task was completed, Pizarro killed Atahualpa anyway. His reason? The Inca was not a Christian, thus he decided he had no obligation to fulfill a promise to him.

The tragedy of 9/11 is a perfect example of Muslim zealotry gone bad. But then most Christians conveniently forget that Christians killed every man, woman, and child in Maarat and Jerusalem ---at least 50,000 people--- during the First Crusade (1098 and 1099.) They killed everyone: Muslim, Jew, Christian, man, woman, and child ---and even ate the bodies of those they had slain, all in the name of Christ.
There were nine Crusades in the Middle East and numerous others elsewhere. Although the main targets were Muslims, Crusaders also targeted pagan Slavs, Jews, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, and political enemies of the popes, among others.
Most of us have no idea if our own ancestors were involved in The Crusades, but the Muslims know. They meet in coffee houses where the entertainment consists of relating family histories for generations back to the Crusades as if it all happened yesterday. This is why Muslims were so horrified when George W. Bush used the word “Crusade” in remarks about his War on Terrorism.

In the 1950s, Sir Steven Runciman wrote a resounding condemnation of the Crusades: "High ideals were besmirched by cruelty and greed... the Holy War was nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God".

Eric Hoffer: “ . . Faith organizes and equips man’s soul for action. To be in possession of the one and only truth and never doubt one’s righteousness; to feel that one is backed by a mysterious power whether it be God, destiny or the law of history; to be convinced that one’s opponents are the incarnation of evil and must be crushed; to exult in self-denial and devotion to duty —these are admirable qualifications for resolute and ruthless action in any field.” (The True Believer, 1951, p. 126)

It always amazed me that no matter what religion someone was, s/he thought God was on his/her side.
In my youth, I was horrified by bigotry among religious people. In the early 1960's, the Presbyterian church my family attended in an all-white suburb sponsored a Cuban refugee family. The first time the family entered the church and people realized the family was black, several members of the congregation left the service.
It has been said the most segregated time each week in America is when Christians are in church. Churches, by far, have been more segregated than schools, government offices, businesses, or even neighborhoods.

The atrocities, the bigotry, the violence that I have barely touched on here ---all in the name of religion ---are just some of the many reasons I am am atheist.
copyright 2009 C. Woods


DBB said...

One thing that I heard once said about religion and conflict was this: Outside of religion, you see wars fought over resources and land, tangible things that can mean life and death, and so there is at least some rationale for the fighting if there is a shortage. On the other hand, once you are able to have enough, say, water for everyone, there's no need to fight over it anymore.

Religion now creates a whole 'nother world - the afterlife - to fight over - except this one, the land can never really be held, and so the fight can last forever, and the ground, being the battle ground of the "soul" can never be surrendered. Thus, you can have a land where everyone has enough physical resources and still have perpetual war. Beautiful, eh?

C Woods said...

DBB --That was a great comment and a very good explanation of why world problems based on religion never seem to end.

Art Buchwald said: "All the problems in the world are caused by religion. Underline all!" (Freethought Today, Jan/Feb 2009. p. 12) Sometimes that seems to be true.

Reges said...

Hi Woods.. ;o)

First of all, excuse my poor english, I'll do my better to make me clear, but if I fail, just make me know if sounds reasonable what I have to talk and you wanna know more.

Like you, I don't believe the bible is the word of God, I don't believe in hell, and so. I believe the bible was a very important tool of mental domination centuries ago, and it describes a lot of that people's behavior and how naive they were.

But when you said God doens't exists justs 'cuz bible isn't his word, just show that you have teached to love bible more than God, so, when you realize that bible's image is a lie, you put God in trash together.

I don't believe in religions, none of them, and I believe in Big-Bang theory, until there's a better one. In that line, two molecules had a colision and creating the universe and the time, but who made that molecules? Who put the protons and eletrons together. Well, we still haven't answers and we'll still going for them. Til there, God sounds a good theory for me. Specially working in a line all this time. Manipulating too small pieces of an almost infinite universe and making things that took billions of years in a way that looks too slow for us, looks like a God's job to me.

Well, you said you still going for answers, just like me. That's a little of what I believe today, and I hope that helps you someway. ;o)

Amazing blog, I loved it and will be here... cya

C Woods said...

You sound like you are a Deist ---someone who believes in god, but who doesn't follow any particular religious doctrine, and who may, in fact, think that religion has ruined a belief in god. Have you read Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason." Paine was a Deist who wrote about his problems with religious doctrine and the Bible. I recently read Craig Nelson's biography of Paine which was excellent. I believe chapter 9 dealt with "The Age of Reason." (I borrowed the book from a library, so I don't have it to find the correct chapter now.)

By the way, your English is fine. What is your native language?

C Woods said...

Vejo por minha "Live Traffic Feed", que há vários golpes a este poste de alguém em Brasil ---adivinho isso ser você.

Posso ver a cidade e país, mas nada mais.

Amo Brasil, brasileiros e cultura brasileira. Sou um ventilador grande de cinema brasileiro, música, e os livros de Jorge Amado.

Viajarei a Brasil mais tarde este ano. Infelizmente, não estarei perto onde você vive.

Meu português é provavelmente muito pior que seu inglês. Falei português o tempo bastante bem longo há, mas foi décadas desde que o usei, então estou estudando agora por escutar fitas portuguesas.

Obrigada para visitar meu blog.

Reges said...

Hi Woods. ;o)

Yes, I'm from Brazil and you should say: God told me that, instead of reveal your life traffic feed tool. hahahaha

I live in Brasilia and would be pleased to meet you, if you change your mind and your route.. ;o)

I didn't read "The Age of Reason" yet, but be sure, I'm going to do it. Despite I disagree labels, I can call myself a deist agnostic.

Cya o/

C Woods said...

Se deseja, pode me contatar via e-mail em mythoughtsarefree@gmail.com. Não verifico esse e-mail freqüentemente, tão não fica decepcionado se não respondo imediatamente.

Saieef ahmdya said...

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