Atheists are Smart :-)

A new Pew Forum poll on religion in America has found that Atheists/agnostics, Jews, and Mormons…in that order…know the most about religion. We out-did Protestants and Roman Catholics in knowledge about major religions and the basic knowledge and tenets of their own religion.

Forty five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion becomes the actual body and blood of Jesus. Catholics call it transubstantiation.  If this were a real phenomenon it would be magic.  We should all know by now…there is no magic…never was.

Less than fifty percent of Protestants knew that the Catholic priest and theologian, Martin Luther, was the person who started the Protestants Reformation which led to their own faith.

You can read all about it HERE

They could have just asked me or the hundreds (maybe thousands) of other atheists who have sites on the internet and we could have told them this. Although I do get many very smart religious folks commenting here, the majority do not know much about their own religions.  Most Christians who reply are using very outdated apologetics; the same refuted, many times over, answers put forth as proofs of their sects.
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Is God The Basis For Our Morality

A correspondent writes the following to me”

“In regards to atheism, if you show me how something can come out of nothing I will convert to!”

Sure I can show you something that came out of nothing…the myth about gods…any god.  There was never any proof for any god…still isn’t, and yet some people swear that a god somehow controls who they are and what they do…what happened to free-will?
He then continues:

“Moreover my question in regards to killing was not why you wouldnt do it, its more of what instills that ideology or law in your persona. Why are we born with this mentality, who instilled it in us at birth?” <sic>

When early man was roaming the earth hundreds of thousands of years ago the evidence seems to show that humans hunted and killed each other with abandon. This went on for a looong time and probably reached its climax in early Biblical times and up until the Catholic Church was usurped as a political power over humans.  Nowadays there are so many of us and we have the ability to choose who rules over us (mostly), and it’s politically incorrect to kill citizens with abandon. Humans have the innate desire for self preservation and the smart ones realize that they must act with compassion towards others if they expect the same back to them.

Of course there are some religions that continue to kill with seemingly no consequences.  They do this by targeting enemies and citizens alike…scaring everyone to death.  Christianity’s last big fling at this process was Hitler’s time; who along with the explicit help of the Catholic Church (which was violently against Jews at the time) and eventually the Lutheran’s and such…contrived to wipe Jews off the face of the earth.  Of course we know they also went after the mentally deficient, the homosexuals, the Jehovah’s witnesses, some other small sects, and of course anybody who disagreed with them.

Muslims are pretty much stuck in the 7th Century, where they will probably stay as long as the religion is allowed to continue.  In the Middle East and some other parts of the third world they (Muslim’s) continue to kill with impunity, and of course the leaders are fanatically trying to bring this practice to America.  The Muslim Allah is supposed to be the same as the Christian and Jewish God…is He (God/Allah/Yahweh) also instilling the same innate reverence for life and morality in the Muslim’s as Christianity is supposed to have.

I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that the argument that God/Allah/Yahweh provides humans with their basis for morals or reverence for life stands up.  It’s only the last few years that these things and the concurrent arguments have started to appear and that more or less seems to be simultaneous with higher civilization.

Early Christianity may have spouted morality, but the record shows that it is responsible for millions of deaths, what with all the many religious wars, which, by the way, continue today in many places in the world.

Also for your consideration is the Catholic/Spanish Inquisitions and the witch hunts of the Dark Ages in which as many as three million innocent people were put to death by “Christianity.”

We should also remember that the Spanish Christian’s of the 15th and 16th Century and the later European Christians killed or enslaved as many as 100,000,000 indigenous people of the North, Central, and South America, and all the Caribbean Islands.

I wonder where their God given morals and reverence for life was.

Don’t forget that the early Hebrews were killing men, women, and children, whole tribes and all their animals.  And their “God” was telling them to do this…

Religion/God/Allah/Yahweh has never been a sound basis for morality, and it’s certainly not instilled in us from birth by some non-existent spirit floating in the sky.

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Church wants Control Over Women

I just don’t get it…why do modern and perfectly capable women allow men to keep doing this to them.  In the church you can’t use the governmental “non-discrimination” laws, but you can sure use the “you can sleep on the couch until you change your male chauvinist pig ways.” law.

“The principal of St. John’s Lutheran School was fired this weekend for espousing the shocking doctrine that maybe the church is in error and men don’t have total authority over women. Is that equality I hear? Scandalous! We can’t have our children exposed to such disturbing arguments.”
Full story: HERE

The first reader comment sheds some light on the Church that did the firing.  I can’t believe how many churches still adhere to this stupid theology.

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Humans Are Found To Not Need Religion

Phil Zuckerman is a sociologist who currently teaches at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.  He recently wrote a book, “Society Without God” (New York University Press, 2008), about his 14 month stay in Scandinavia talking to hundreds of Swedes and Danes about religion .

Polls have consistently shown that Sweden and Denmark are the least religious nations in the world. The citizens rank religion, belief in life after death, and church attendance at the bottom of their priorities or worries…yet they are always in the lead for child welfare, literacy, standard of living, economic equality, life expectancy, and competitiveness.

These facts run smack into most American’s assumption that a society where religion is not in the forefront or in a state of constant reaffirmation and belief will be full of evil, rampant with immorality, and seething with sexual depravity.

Mr. Zuckerman insists at great length that that is not the case. He, his wife and children experienced the exact opposite: “a society…a markedly irreligious society…that was, above all, moral, stable, humane and deeply good.”

The nonbelievers he interviewed informally and in structured taped sessions were not anti-religious and most did not really accept the label of atheist, and most had been baptized or confirmed at an early age, or even married in the church.  But, at the same time they were “often disinclined or hesitant to talk to me about religion, and once they agreed to, they usually had very little to say on the subject.”

Though they denied the traditional teachings of Christianity, they do call themselves Christians and most continued to remain in the traditional national branches of the Lutheran denomination.

Do they consider religion a deeply private or personal matter? One Lutheran Bishop in Denmark has argued that deep religiousness could be found if one scratches the surface.

Mr. Zuckerman replies that he spent a year and scratched and scratched, and scratched to no avail.  His conclusion was that “religion wasn’t really so much a private, personal issue, but rather a non-issue.”  His interviewees just didn’t care about it.

The writer found what he termed “benign indifference and utter obliviousness.  He says that the key word used in their description is “nice.”  Religion is “nice.”  Jesus was a “nice” man who taught some “nice” things.” The Bible “is full of “nice” stories and good morals, isn’t it?”

The Swedes and Danes were generally thoughtful and well educated and reacted to Mr. Zuckerman’s basic questions about God, Jesus, death, etc. as completely novel.  “I really have never thought about that,” and added, “it’s been fun to get these kinds of questions that I never think about.”

The indifference to religious matters is subtly enforced.  “In Denmark,” a pastor told the writer, “the word ‘God’ is one of the most embarrassing words you can say.  You would rather go naked through the city than talk about God.”

Mr. Zuckerman also noted that the people he interviewed seem to speak of death without any fear or anxiety, and had a notable lack of existential searching for the ‘meaning of life,’ but he emphasizes that his interviewees were in no way despairing nihilists but “for the most part, a happy, satisfied lot” who “generally live productive, creative, contented lives.”

Humans are said to turn to religion or something like it, when faced with the mystery of death and the puzzle about life’s ultimate meaning, however, based on his experiences in Scandinavia, the writer disagrees.  “It is possible for a society to exist in which most people don’t really fear death all that much,” he concluded, “and simultaneously don’t give a great deal of thought to the meaning of life.”

Mr. Zuckerman queries Jens, a 68-year-old nonbeliever, about the sources of Denmark’s very ethical culture and Jens replied: “We are Lutherans in our souls…I’m an atheist, but still have the Lutheran perceptions of many: to help your neighbor. Yeah. It’s an old, good, moral thought.”  (my emphasis)

Mankind it seems can survive just fine outside of the stifling confines and restrictions of any religion…just as I have known for 50 years.

As anybody who has paid some attention to the news in the last 10 or 20 years can tell you… religion or people who are religious are not protected from “SIN.” Witness the many stories of pastors, priests, ministers, and rabbi’s who are constantly in the news, having been caught cheating on their spouses, doing drugs, cheating on taxes, having homosexual trysts, or even child abuse and murder.  Our prisons are full of Christians…not very many atheists though.

“In the eleventh century, Isaac ibn Yashush, a Jewish court physician of a ruler in Muslim Spain, pointed out that a list of Edomite kings that appears in Genesis 36 named kings who lived long after Moses was dead. Ibn Yashush suggested that the list was written by someone who lived after Moses. The response to his conclusion was that he was called “Isaac the blunderer.”
History however has proven him to be correct.

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