4/16/2017 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Luke ~
Ignorance really is bliss. Before I read the bible I only had a vague notion of Christianity and God. After reading the bible, however, I was forced to the conclusion that God is not real. I now understand why religion relies on faith. Faith, by definition, requires ignorance. I came to realize that the people who have the strongest faith are the ones who shield themselves from any information that contradicts what they believe. They create their own reality out of intentional ignorance and pass their opinions on to anyone who will listen. This, in turn, influences the perceived reality of the more trusting and suggestable individuals of our society; our children and I was no exception.
As a child my view of reality was influenced by my dad’s perception of reality which was shaped primarily on his beliefs and opinions. He had the typical Christian view that God created everything and that if you want to live on in heaven after you die, you have to ask his son, Jesus, to save you. Everything he “knew” about reality came from books written by an ancient people. This was their view of reality which, by the way, didn’t include any concepts of space, planets or galaxies. They thought that the earth was the only thing there was. They had no idea that the earth was a sphere orbiting the sun. Even though this was an ancient view, my dad chose to adopt it because it gave him all the answers he wanted. He made a conscious decision that this reality was real and NOBODY was going tell him otherwise.
Fear of Death
I think the major reason for this was because my dad was afraid of death. He wasn’t just scared of his own death, he was scared for me and especially for my brother. He didn’t want us to die and he thought he found a way to survive death. So, he took us to church. There we were introduced to a reality that we weren’t allowed to question. While my brother fully accepted this reality, I was skeptical. Because of my skepticism, I never got the level of approval from my dad that my brother did. Anyway, the point is, despite all of my dad’s efforts, my brother still died. He was killed in a hit and run while riding his bicycle. It was a tragic event and I think my dad’s faith in his chosen reality gave him a way to rationalize it. For my dad, knowing that my brother shared his opinion and that he did everything he was supposed to do to secure his spot in the afterlife made his death easier to handle. It made him feel like his son was still ok. I can understand that, and I began to wonder if there was any truth to what he’d been saying. Was my brother still alive somehow in some kind of afterlife? My dad already had his answer, he was convinced that my brother had to be in heaven. Like a lot of people, my dad found his answers from religion and the church assured him that as long as you do what they say, you will live on in heaven after you die. This was the reality he was born into, indoctrinated by his parents and the majority of society.
This indoctrination begins in the church. The church presents as fact that God created everything in existence and that He is the authority on what is right and wrong and that we know this through His own words as they were recorded in the bible. They preach that you are born with a death sentence because of the actions of your ancestors, Adam and Eve disobeying God. They ate of the tree that He told them not to eat from. Because of their disobedience, God could no longer allow them to have eternal life. In the bible, disobedience is called sin and the penalty for sin is death. Since there is no way for you to live a perfect sin free life you will die. You will die, not go to hell. The concept of eternal torture in hell as opposed to just dying was invented by the Church. The bible does not say you will either go to heaven or hell, although most churches preach this. It says that everyone dies and that God will resurrect everyone at a later date to be judged. Anyone who asked to be saved will have eternal life in heaven while everyone else, along with Satan and his angels, will be burned to death on earth while it’s being destroyed. Because of the fact that no one can live a life free of sin, God decided to come down to earth, become a man named Jesus, live a sin free life himself, accept responsibility for all of mankind’s sins, and fulfill the death penalty by dying on the cross. Three days later He brought himself back to life and promised to become part of you through something called the Holy Spirit and accept responsibility for your individual sins so that you may have eternal life. You will die but if you ask Jesus to save you then you will be resurrected and you will get to go to heaven.
Think about that for a minute. Is this really moral? You deserve to die even though there is nothing you can do to avoid sin? And it doesn’t matter whether you were a good person or a terrible person in life because as long as you ask to be saved, you will be granted eternal life and you will get to skip out on being burned to death. So I can commit whatever crime I want as long as I remember to ask Jesus to save me before I die? How is that moral? If you truly are breaking some divine laws and death is what you deserve then the RIGHT thing for you to do would be to accept the consequences of your actions (and apparently Adam and Eve’s). You should acknowledge that what you did was wrong and ask for forgiveness but you should NOT have the audacity to expect to be saved and even worse than that expect someone else, namely Jesus, to pay for your, and Adam and Eve’s, sins!
If I were to kill someone I would fully expect to go to prison and possibly get the death penalty. I may regret what I did and be sorry for it but I would have no right to ask to be saved from prison and ask that same person to take the blame! But this seems to be perfectly acceptable to Christians, they call it Grace. They would say that I was merely under the influence of Satan and that if I would have just been, instead, influenced by Jesus then I wouldn’t have committed the crime. They believe that people naturally behave immorally. They believe that without fear of divine consequences there is nothing to stop people from doing all kinds of awful things. As if religion has to teach people right from wrong and that without God people are incapable of making moral judgements. They believe that things are wrong because God says they’re wrong, because, according to the bible, morality is dependent on obedience to God. That’s ridiculous. The truth is, people are capable of making their own moral decisions. There has never been a murder where the murderer was completely surprised that he was being arrested. He may not care about what he did, but he knows it was wrong. (I’m of course talking about individuals whose brains are functioning properly) There doesn’t have to be a rule stating “thou shalt not kill”. You already know it’s wrong. It’s not rocket science. If your actions or words are going to negatively affect someone else then it’s wrong. You know this already because you have empathy for others, unless of course, you’re a psychopath. The problem arises when you choose to ignore the morality you are born with, your conscious, and do things that you know are wrong.
Whether people decide to do the right thing or the wrong thing, the accountability is on them not Satan or God. Unfortunately, religion removes this accountability from the individual. People stop thinking for themselves, believing they are merely a "vessel" for God to use. "God is using me to carry out his will". This is considered noble, relinquishing all control over to God. This how the church conditions you to think, “Don’t attempt to understand why God wants you to do things, just do it”. This is simply wrong, you should always think before you act. You are in control of your own actions! You are capable of making your own decisions! Your life is a result of your decisions and actions, and society as a whole is a result of everyone’s decisions and actions, not part of some predetermined plan! The only reason that we as a society need law is because some people choose to ignore their conscious and do things that they know are wrong.
But I guess that’s just my opinion. Just like you, I’m entitled to my own opinions. There’s nothing wrong with opinions as long as you recognize that they are opinions and you don’t present them as facts. You can either have faith that your opinion is correct or you can accept that your opinion may be wrong. Yes, opinions can be wrong. For example, you may have the opinion that sugar makes kids hyper (I use this example because you probably think this is true) but your opinion would be wrong. If you hold this opinion then your initial reaction to this statement might be “No, that’s not true! I know sugar makes kids hyper because I’ve seen it!” But you’re wrong. The only way to determine whether an opinion is right or wrong is to use logical reasoning. We have a word for this, Science. When science is applied to the question of whether or not sugar causes hyperactivity in children, the answer turns out to be no. The results were published in the November 22, 1995 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with this answer or not, that’s what it is. It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel that you’re right, YOU ARE WRONG! Do not have the attitude of “Well, I know it’s true, I don’t care what anyone says”. That’s willful ignorance and that makes you an idiot. If you feel like your opinion is correct then do the work, yes I said work, necessary to find out for yourself. Or at least find someone who has done the work. If you’re right then you’ll have the evidence, but if you’re wrong then accept it and move on.
It has always been the goal of science to find out how the world actually is rather than how we imagine it is. But for some reason people either aren’t properly educated in science or they just don’t care about it at all. So, instead of learning about the way the world actually is, which is what science is all about, many people rely on their own opinions or worse, the views of ancient cultures through religion. If you know nothing or very little about science then your view of reality is FALSE! Sure, some of your opinions may be correct but you have no way of knowing which opinions are right and which ones are wrong. Without science we have no way of knowing what’s real and what isn’t. Science is about finding the CORRECT answers to our questions. It’s not just another thing to believe in, it’s a method for finding out whether your belief, meaning your opinion, is true.
To find out whether the belief in the Christian God was true, I had to study the only information available that describes him; the bible. It was hard for me right from the beginning because the creation story in Genesis didn't match the scientific facts at all. But, I thought, maybe I didn't understand the science or ancient Hebrew language well enough. So I expanded my scientific knowledge as well as my knowledge of the biblical language itself. This is the opposite of what most religious people do. Whenever science contradicts a religious text then they say "...the bible is the Word of God and is infallible......if the scientific facts don't match up then the science is obviously wrong...of course God's not wrong..." They refuse to think logically because they don't want their belief to be false. This is called faith, believing something is true without any evidence to support it. Faith is not a good thing. It requires you to ignore facts that contradict what you believe.
The Scientific Method
Religions require you to have faith because they claim to possess absolute truth. Science, however, doesn’t claim anything, it just reveals what has to be true based on the information available. Our scientific knowledge grows and changes as we gather more information. The more information we gather supporting a particular theory the more probable it is that it's true. If information becomes available that contradicts a particular theory then that theory has to be false. The whole reason the scientific method was devised is so we can be sure that what we think we know is really true and we're not just deluding ourselves into a false reality.
I thought that if I could definitively root the biblical “facts” to actual known facts then I could be sure that what I was reading was actually true. I had to do this because if the creation story is false then that discredits the rest of the bible. There are no contradictions in the truth. The Hebrew language does allow room for different interpretations because each word can have different meanings depending on how it’s used or even how it’s written. Because of this leeway, I was able to loosely relate each day of creation with the scientific facts. But the scripture still had to be interpreted a certain way for it to make sense and I started veering from known scientific facts to what was merely scientifically possible. I had to make a lot of assumptions, a major one being that the 6 days of creation was mathematically equivalent to 13.7 billion years. Another one being that the first day of creation began with the beginning of the universe even though the bible is clearly describing the beginning of earth with everything in the sky added later. What I came up with was, at the very least, a scientifically plausible Genesis creation story. If you are curious, you can read my scientific creation story, which is based on pure speculation, here.
God is Immoral
I was ok with “scientifically plausible” because I was treating the bible as a historical, error free document. But as I continued to read the bible it quickly became clear to me that the bible is not the moral guide book that Christians claim it to be and I realized that I was stretching the truth to support my assumptions. By far, the biggest assumption I had was that God is an all knowing morally perfect being incapable of evil. But the God the bible describes is much different and seems to be more human than divine. He sets a terrible example for people to follow. God, for some reason, hates handicapped people (Leviticus 21:17-24) and is many times jealous and vindictive, allowing slavery (Leviticus 25:44-46, Exodus 21:2-6, Exodus 21:20-21, Ephesians 6:5 , 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Luke 12:47-48) (including sex slaves) (Exodus 21:7-11), rape (Judges 21:10-24, Numbers 31:7-18, Deuteronomy 20:10-14, Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Deuteronomy 22:23-24, 2 Samuel 12:11-14, Deuteronomy 21:10-14, Judges 5:30), child abuse (Judges 11:29-40, Isaiah 13:16), and a lot of murder. God not only allows it, and clearly approves of it, but he specifically orders it many times. God, himself, killed hundreds of thousands of people. I cannot believe just how many instances of murder there are in the bible. There are even specific rules for who you are supposed to kill. Kill unbelievers (2 Chronicles 15:12-15), kill followers of other religions (Deuteronomy 17: 2-7, Deuteronomy 13:6-12, Numbers 25:1-9), kill witches (as if they were real!) (Exodus 22:18), kill fortune tellers (Leviticus 20:27), kill people who ignore priests (Deuteronomy 17:12), kill children for cursing their parents (Leviticus 20:9), kill adulterers (Leviticus 20:10), kill the child who hits his parents (Exodus 21:15), kill gay people (Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-32), kill entire towns if one person worships another god (Deuteronomy 13:12-19), kill women who are not virgins on their wedding night (Deuteronomy 22:16-21), kill anyone who blasphemes (Leviticus 24:10-16), kill anyone who works on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-15). God kills too. God killed 42 children for making fun of a prophet's bald head by sending 2 bears to tear them to pieces (2 Kings 2:23-24), he sent a lion to kill a man because he didn’t strike the prophet with his weapon when the prophet told him to (1 Kings 20:35-36), he killed people for looking at the ark of the covenant, a box containing the 10 commandments (1Samuel 6:19-20), he killed all of the firstborn of Egypt just to prove He was real (Exodus 11:4-8), and of course he killed everyone on earth except for Noah and his family. God killed and ordered many more killings throughout the bible. I'll let you read the rest yourself. The Christian justification to these crimes is always "they deserve to die because of their immorality". Nobody deserves to die. But that’s the theme of the bible, some people deserve to live and some deserve to die.
Obey God or Die
Religious people view life as a privilege that can be taken away. Physical life doesn't seem to mean much, if anything to them. They see it as a temporary state where they are to be morally tested. Many anxiously await death for themselves and everyone else for the perceived reward or punishment that follows in the afterlife. Some going so far as wishing for Jesus’ return and the apocalypse. Killing someone is never okay, yet God demands it. Obey God or die. This includes children - "The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open." (Hosea 13:16)
Women are Property
God, on more than one occasion ordered the massacre of entire villages including the children and non-virgin women. The virgins were to be raped. Seriously? Of course the bible doesn't always use the word "rape" opting for "take them for yourselves as wives"' but the meaning is clear. In the book of Judges (21:10-24) an entire village is massacred and the virgins were raped. When they didn't find enough virgins to rape they hid beside the roads and kidnapped more! God told them to do this! There are laws for rape too. Kill the rape victim if she didn't cry for help (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). If a man is caught raping a woman then he must pay 50 pieces of silver to her father and the rape victim must marry him. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). This is because a woman was the property of her father until another man purchased her to become his wife, but only if she was a virgin. If a man rapes her then it becomes “you break it, you bought it”. And if she cannot prove that she is a virgin on her wedding night then she doesn’t deserve to live. “If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,’ then the girl’s father and mother…shall display the cloth[that the couple slept on] before the elders of the town…If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of the town shall stone her to death” (Deuteronomy 22:13-21). Unbelievable.
God Approves of Slavery
The bible makes it clear that women have no rights and, along with slaves, are merely the personal property of their owners. The bible is also careful not to use the word "slave" opting for the word servant instead. Many Christians pretend that biblical servants were different than slaves because some voluntarily entered these indentured servant agreements. But they were still bought, sold, beaten, and treated as property not human beings. The bible even gives specific rules on how to get slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves. God apparently doesn’t think it’s wrong to own another person. “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. ” (Leviticus 25:44, 45).
The Bible is of Human Origin
There are many other atrocities in the bible, mostly in the Old Testament, but they are simply too numerous for me to go through them all. Don't believe me? Read the bible yourself. It's not all bad but you cannot just pick out the good parts and ignore the bad parts. You have to ask yourself "Why is there so much hate, prejudice, and violence in a book that is supposed to the word of an all-knowing, all-loving God?” You know the answer, even though you may not want to admit it. The bible is NOT of divine origin and the God it describes is NOT a morally perfect being. But don’t just take my word for it, read the bible for yourself. Actually read it! You know the difference between right and wrong. Just because God is doing it or approves of it doesn’t automatically make it right.
Jesus Approves of the Law
Some Christians claim that the Old Testament laws are no longer valid because Jesus was the "Lamb", the last and ultimate blood sacrifice. Over and over again God says he requires blood sacrifices because "the wages of sin is death" and something has to die for forgiveness of sins (hence all of the killing in the Old Testament) and Jesus' death was to be the final one to cover all sins. (Why can’t God just forgive you? Good question) But, Jesus never said he came to abolish the law, he came to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17). “Has not Moses given you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law?” (John 7:19). Jesus was not happy that people were ignoring the teachings and laws of Moses. Jesus told people that they were required to obey the law. (Matthew 23:1-3). He clearly approved of the law and numerous times he criticized the Jews, especially the Rabbis, for not following it. Of course he did! According to the bible, he was God in the flesh! In John 1:1 we read "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." In verse 14 we read “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” We are told explicitly that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament! So, even if it were true that the law is no longer valid, the fact still remains that God at one point in time required the law to be followed. Many of these laws, and many of the things God told people to do, were bizarre and unquestionably immoral and cruel. God behaved IMMORALLY in the Old Testament! Read the bible!
Biblical Authors admit Error
The writers of the bible eventually had to admit that the morality of Jesus was far superior to God’s morality and that the Old Testament laws should not be followed by anyone. (Hebrews 8:6-7, 13, Acts 15:1-29). A direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 5:18-19)
Jesus is Moral
It's pretty clear that the bible is merely a reflection of the culture of the time. A record of a violent culture and a violent God. This God is obviously fictional, but I do believe that the Jewish people did have real spiritual experiences where they truly believed they were seeing God and communicating with him. Like my dad and my brother, they truly felt that what they believed was real. Jesus was no different, and unlike God, he actually set a good example for people to follow. Like Moses, Jesus believed he was in direct communication with God and most historians now believe that he actually existed. He was a Galilean Jewish teacher who was born between 7 and 2 BC, a time when the Jewish people of Israel were anxiously awaiting a savior that would free them from Roman rule. Jesus understood himself to be this long awaited savior that Moses wrote about (Deuteronomy 18:15, Deuteronomy 32:43, Hebrews 8:4-5). Even though Jesus was familiar with and even agreed with the teachings of Moses his own teachings were usually morally sound. Jesus taught that we should show love for one another (Matthew 19:18-19, Mark 12:31, John 13:34, John 15: 12-17), love our enemies (Luke 6:34-36, Matthew 5:43-47, Luke 10:29-37), forgive (Matthew 18:21-22, Luke 17:3-4), serve others (Luke 6:29-30), lead by example (Matthew 5:14-16), listen to our conscious which he called the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-27) that the kingdom of God is not a physical place, it’s within you (Luke 17:20-21), that we should not worry (Matthew 6:25-27) , and that you should not judge people (Matthew 7:1-3, Luke 6:37, John 8:3-11).
The Science of Spirituality
The temptation is to dismiss all religious experiences when you realize that there is no truth behind the religion itself. But people from all over the world are still having real spiritual experiences and they deserve a scientific explanation. Fortunately, there are credible scientists working on this. Dr. Michael Persinger, among others, are providing those explanations and you can see that research here.
Lost Souls will Burn
I think that most people want to do good things and go to church because they think it's the right thing to do and because it makes them feel good. Many are also afraid of death and have probably heard that they will go to hell unless they become part of the group that has been "saved by Jesus". But this is only if they happen to be born in the right part of the world. If someone happens to be born in India, for example, then they are doomed to hell simply because they were born in a place where Hinduism, not Christianity, is the dominant religion. You see the flawed logic? Christians feel that it is their duty to win these "lost souls" for God. They disrespect all other religions by pushing their beliefs onto other cultures simply because they believe they are worshiping the right God and everyone on earth is going to burn in hell unless they save them. The bible even tells them to kill these worshipers of other gods and this is what Christians have done repeatedly in the past because they truly believe this is what God wants. Kill the unbelievers because they are enemies of God. Unfortunately, there are still people who kill in the name of God today and these people are called Terrorists. Would you kill someone if God told you to? I wouldn't.
Churches Ignore the Bible
I’m not the only one who knows about all of the terrible things in the bible. Church leaders know, that’s why their sermons are rarely about anything in the Old Testament. No church uses the bible in its entirety. In fact, most barely use it at all and when they do it's mostly the New Testament. They pick out which verses support their message and ignore the rest. I will admit that their messages are generally good ones and they do, for the most part, encourage a good, decent lifestyle and they do a lot of good things. However, these good things come from church doctrine based on the biblical verses they deem acceptable. They take these verses and form a message that you can apply to your modern lifestyle.
The Bible is a Symbol
The more closely a church follows the bible the more hateful, prejudice, and archaic the congregation becomes. But, as I found out for myself, people don't go to church to learn about what the bible says. Most Christians haven't even read the bible, only verses here and there from the sermons and usually only from the New Testament. Anyone who has read it, I find it hard to believe that they are ok with all of the terrible things it promotes. The bad parts are simply ignored or explained away. So, rather than the foundation of the Christian belief system, which is what I thought it was, the bible seems to be more like a symbol. Something people can use to give them meaning for the things that happen in their lives, especially if they've gone through a tragedy, finding a verse that seems to apply to their situation. In my personal tragedy when my brother was killed in a hit and run on his bicycle some Christians told me "it's all part of God's plan". Or “Everything happens for a reason”. Really? What kind of a plan involves suffering? A terrible one. Other people said "God just wanted him to come home". This implies that God not only killed him but he killed him for selfish reasons. Still other people said “Because God gave us free will He has to allow bad things to happen". This implies that God is either just an observer or isn't present at all. If that's the case then He doesn't answer prayers either.
Belief is based on Emotion
These Christians were trying to assign meaning to a meaningless event not thinking about whether it makes logical sense. But religion isn't about logic, it's about emotion. Emotions are irrational, this is why it’s futile to have a rational conversation with a Christian about their belief. They don’t believe what they believe because it makes logical sense, they believe it because of the way they feel. They love Jesus. When someone questions or attacks their belief they see it as an attack on someone they love and they will naturally be defensive. When you love someone you don’t care about whether it makes sense or not.
Science provides Real Answers
I realize that people want answers and want to feel like things happen for a reason. They want there to be some purpose to life just like they did at the time the scriptures were written and the church provides them with easy answers. Unfortunately, these answers come from the philosophy of the church which is based loosely on the flawed foundation of the bible. I’m not saying it’s wrong to love Jesus, it’s never wrong to love anyone. Jesus actually sets a good example to follow and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to be more like him. I’m not even saying it’s wrong to go to church, as long as the church is promoting love and not hate. I’m saying that if you want real answers you have to use logical reasoning, aka science, rather than just relying on your own opinions or adopting the views of an ancient people.
Chance not Destiny
There are reasons for things that happen but these reasons do not come from some plan devised by a higher being. They arise from a complex series of cause and effect events and by the choices living things make in response to those events. In the case of my brother’s death, the reason my brother died was because he chose to ride his bike to work at the same time a complete moron chose to drive recklessly down the same road. Anything could have changed this outcome. There could have been a traffic jam, my brother’s bike tire could have gone flat, the driver could’ve decided to stay home or slow down, my brother could’ve taken an alternate route, or left a little earlier or later...There are a hundred things that could’ve happened but didn’t. It wasn’t meant to happen, it happened by chance.
Faith Requires Ignorance
If you want to be a Christian and you want to be secure in your belief then you absolutely cannot think logically about what you believe. Faith, by definition, requires ignorance. Your belief has to be based on pure emotion. Do not attempt to understand the bible or God. If you choose to read the bible, then you MUST ignore the bad parts and only read the good parts. Trust your own moral judgment. Or better yet, bypass the bible altogether and let your life be guided solely by your own conscious. You already know the difference from right and wrong, nobody has to tell you, you’re born with this ability.
Knowledge Destroys Faith
I made the mistake of studying the bible. I wanted to truly understand it because I thought it was the basis of the Christian belief system. This unavoidably destroyed any faith I had in God. I might have been a Christian if I went to church regularly and just followed their traditions. But I had to seek knowledge and, because of this, my faith weakened until it finally disappeared. I don’t have the answer to what happens when we die, but neither does the bible. However, I do know that the only way to find out is to use logical reasoning - Science.