11/25/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
I believe that Christianity is a negative influence on modern societies. Why do I believe this? Well, for starters, it promotes ignorance, and there can be no greater impediment to the advancement of a culture than widespread ignorance. Promoting ignorance undermines all serious efforts at true education. Worse still, Christianity does not merely promote ignorance, it elevates it to a virtue.
The following passage, John 20:26-29, is one of the foundational messages of modern Christianity:
“Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'“Thus, Jesus claims, the truly blessed are those who have believed without seeing any evidence.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “faith” thusly: (1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) complete trust. The Bible confirms and expands this definition. According to Hebrews 11: 1,
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."Unpacking that a bit, we get, “faith is the evidence of things not seen.” The author, then, is claiming that believing, itself, is evidence of whatever you believe. This is the ultimate in circularity; if you think it’s true, then it’s true. He might as well have said, “Don’t worry about evidence or truth, just accept your ignorance and keep hoping you’re on the right track.”
So, being ignorant is just fine, but there is more. Hebrews 11:6 says,
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”This suggests that you are expected to believe first, on the word of others, in order for god to “reveal” himself. In fact, Hebrew 11 is all about faith, throughout. One might even say that we have here, in Isaiah, a sort of second-order circularity, where ignorance breeds religion, which breeds ignorance. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to break through to the faithful, they’ve fenced themselves off so completely.
Well, if ignorance is good, then wisdom must be bad, right? Now you’re getting it. In several passages the Bible advises that wisdom is to be shunned or shed. For example,
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain (1 Corinthians 3:18-20).”
Thus, the Bible advises one to be willfully ignorant, to “become as little children,” willing and eager to believe on authority. In no other sphere of human activity would anyone consider ignorance a virtue, except religion. Have you noticed that the only people who cast doubt on the value of reason as a means of understanding the world are people who are pushing religion? Is there a clue here? Shouldn't we be suspicious when someone says, “Just take my word for it?” How can it make sense to respect a teaching that mankind should be willfully ignorant? Where would we be if we took the same attitude to medicine, chemistry, physics, psychology, etc.?
But, what harm does it do to just have faith? Well, for one thing, Bible-god is essentially an invisible superhero. So, Christianity promotes belief in a superhero who can be counted on to protect the weak and dispense justice. In fact, those things won’t happen unless we humans see to it. The Christians are spreading a story that things will be made right even if we humans do nothing. That’s a pretty clear prescription for doing nothing, ensuring that nothing gets done.
And, how many times have we read on this very site some Christian’s assertion that if we just believed first, then everything in the Bible would make sense to us? Why isn’t it obvious to these people that they have turned common sense on its head? If you have to believe something first, before it will make sense, then aren’t you just screwing with your own mind? I believe a hypnotist would call this auto-suggestion.
It seems to me that such an ass-backward approach invites a complete warping of reason and morality. With such an approach, one might well find himself, much like the apologist William Lane Craig, quite seriously defending genocide (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?pageNewsArticle&idW67). As Greta Christina explained, “Short version: When guilty people got killed, they deserved it because they were guilty and bad . . . and when innocent people got killed, even when innocent babies were killed, they went to Heaven, and it was all hunky dory in the end.”
With such a bizarre, upside-down view on morality, doesn’t one have to wonder what this man is capable of? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not accusing Craig of anything beyond acting stupid, but, could some similar sort of warped “morality” be involved in a priest’s habit of repeatedly raping young boys?
I would suggest that the Christians have latched onto a very effective approach to increasing their numbers. People are taught to “just believe,” because if one tries to convince himself of something it becomes a kind of self-hypnosis. One can convince himself of almost anything if he works at it with rituals and effort over a period of time – like some ascetic Buddhists who meditate in caves for years and, eventually, have visions and “achieve” a melding with the “oneness.” Of course, what they’ve actually done is just starved themselves of reality and screwed up their minds. Similarly, note the value Christians place on constant prayer, regular church attendance, and hanging out exclusively with co-religionists to provide constant reaffirmation.
Here is what some REAL wise men have said about this issue.
“I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”Robert Ingersoll:
"The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be believed only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called 'FAITH'! "
"Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits."In all other walks of life, curiosity is understood as the first – and most necessary – step on the path to knowledge, yet faith seeks to suppress curiosity rather than encourage it. Look how much we’ve advanced in living standards over the past century, in all aspects of humanity, and none of it the result of religion. Religious forces appear to do everything they can to suppress progress. Now consider where we might be now if religion hadn’t been in control for the thousand years of the Dark Ages.
So, I have claimed that Christianity promotes ignorance, based on several scriptural passages. Now the clever apologist is going to think, “Well there must be at least one contradictory passage somewhere in the Bible, since there always is.” And he would be right. Below, I present Proverbs 24: Sayings 21:3-4 and 23:7, just to prove I’m not trying to hide anything.
Saying 21: “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
Saying 23: “Wisdom is too high for fools . . . “
Now, if the apologist wishes to claim that Proverbs takes precedence over the direct words of Jesus to Thomas (“. . . blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.“ ), he is free to do so. But, if he does, isn’t he demoting Jesus, and taking the Christ out of Christianity?
Christian leaders, it seems, are experts on ignorance. They know that the little child can easily be convinced of Santa and the Tooth Fairy, just as the grown-up - if you can convince him of the virtue of ignorance - can be convinced that the tall tales of the Bible are actually accurate history. Sadly, these “teachers” usually get entangled in their own ignorance.