21 September 2011

Response to an apologist

I'm on LinkedIn, and occasionally participate in discussions that end up having to do with god and religion.  I recently got into one that included, on the theist side, an assortment of horribly misinformed and rather malevolent characters.  Of course there were also a number of very lucid posts - by atheists.  The entire discussion is accessible online at http://lnkd.in/gVimSE.

Just now, a theistic apologist in that discussion asked me: "Filippo you talk of what they spread does that make what you say any more superior then them. You talk about others why do you show so much hatred to those you do not know. Just because you believe in what others do does not give you the right to belittle them. Why dies religious stuff bother you so much?"

Please ignore the typos - posts to these discussion fora are often typed in great haste; these fora are often considered much like emails, and so some typos are to be expected, even from the best writers.

I ended up writing a bit of a rant in response, and I was sufficiently pleased with it that I thought it was worth posting here.  I'd've written more, but there's a limit on the size of posts.  It's probably just as well, or I'd've written a hundred pages....

So here's my response (I've fixed no typos, just tweaked the formatting for legibility):

Fair question(s).

After decades of careful study, I was confronted with the inescapable truth that science is reliable and religion is not. Religion explains little and what it does try to explain, it explains wrongly. Without religion to support the god concept, there is no reason to believe in god. Without the belief in god, the history of god, its writing (e.g. the bible), and its practises in the past and today, hold no special place amongst human philosophies. Without that privilege, it is clear that religion (god is irrelevant at this point, having been dispatched a few sentences ago) has caused immeasurable pain, suffering, and death throughout it's sad history. It has held back technological and scientific progress; it has wasted horrendous amounts of money (consider all the money being spent by dip-shits like Perry, Bachmann, etc. that could have been used to fund cancer research, or malaria nets for Africa, or cheaper HIV/AIDS medications, or better education for American children....) 

I cannot convince anyone that science is better than religion. It is something one must learn for oneself, by studying science. However, even though the means to study science exists in large supply (in the developed world, at least), there are those who are either unable (weak) or unwilling (malevolent) to correct their own errors by learning about science. 

It takes relatively little thought (though more than neanderthals like Rauchenberg or Chantal can muster) to notice the benefits of science to modern humanity. Some argue that science has caused harm. Well, sometimes there have been mistakes. And religion gave us the Taliban, the Inquisition, the Crusades.... Mistakes on both sides. But can god extend the healthy years you have on this planet? No; science can. Can god cure you cancer? No; but science may (and it's getting better all the time). Can god help you see your grandchildren better? No; but science gave us eyeglasses and lazik surgery. Can god stop pneumonia from killing you? No; but science can. Can god bring peace to the world? Obviously not; science can't either, but it has shown us that we are really all one species, one community, one race. And that's a damned sight better than the hatred that religion causes between cultures who believe in different fairy tale gods. 

Because there are such morons that use religion to segregate, discriminate, cause suffering and death - and this includes the catholic church, not just nutjobs like Rauchenberg and Chantal - I not only refuse to admit their lies and harm into my life, I refuse to admit them into the lives of others - insofar as I can do that without violating another's rights. 

The hate I feel is directed at people who would willfully and purposefully harm others because they think they're better than those others for no reason other than some fairy tales. That's a good use of hate. The hate I feel for them is because of the hate they feel to others. Chantal is a great example. Classless hypocrite that she is, will in one sentence say "God bless" to me, and on the other call me all kinds of demeaning names. Well, fuck her. Rauchenberg does the same thing - with slightly better language skills, but still remains utterly irrational. Fuck him too. 

Do I have the "right" to belittle them? Yes! Would you belittle Hitler? Well, Pius XII didn't lift a finger to help the Jews escape the holocaust. Just as so many others who are condemned as nazi sympathizers. Fuck Pius too. 

It's a simple case of every action having a consequence. Someone wants to spew filth? Fine. I respond. 

It is not a matter of "superior" versus "inferior." It is a matter of correct and incorrect, of truth versus falsehood. 

You wrote: "Why dies religious stuff bother you so much?" 

As my students would say: "Freud much?" (Terrible construction, but highly efficient.) 

I trust this addresses the question of why religion bothers me.

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