HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

DUNNES STORES - REMOVED ROSARY STYLE NECKLACES UPON COMPLAINTS FROM CATHOLICS
 
I would like to express my alarm at the decision recently taken by Dunnes Stores to stop stocking necklaces designed as rosary beads. The vast majority of people using your store have no problem with this and you are giving in to a minority of intolerant people. It is your market you should be concerned about.
 
In the first instance, the necklaces are just necklaces. They are not real rosary beads and they are not blessed. Rosary beads are nothing until they are blessed. Also, what would be wrong with a person using real rosary beads as a decoration in a devotional way? Is it any different from a person wearing blessed miraculous medals both as a neck decoration and as a symbol of devotion? Where do you draw the line on decisions like yours? Will Buddha statues now be removed from your shelves? Will revealing clothes be removed as well to suit the strict Christian rules about covering up well to avoid lustful desires outside of wedlock? What about staff members that have to sell these items and thereby promote what their Christian faith tells them is promoting scandal or bad example? Will jewellers have to remove all crosses and stars of David’s and pentagrams (sacred to Witches) from their shelves for these items are sold as jewellery without any regard to their religious symbolism?
 
The people who want the rosary beads off your shelves put faith before people an attitude required by Roman Catholicism (and in fairness, Protestantism) as well. Their faith tells them to believe and feel that anybody that misses Mass and who has deliberate sexual feelings outside of marriage should go to rot in Hell forever if they die. They need total proof to say things like that and when they don’t have it they are claiming that faith is more important than people.  Pandering to bigotry is not acceptable in a business or political environment.
PROOFS THAT RELIGIOUS FAITH OPPOSES REALITY
 
Faith involves belief and trust. It more than just belief. The trust however stands on the belief. So in that sense the belief is more important. If there was a choice between belief and trust you would have to choose belief. 
 
Intention should be based on facts and you must do all you can to find the facts out. Faith requires that you have certain intentions. This is evil if faith is not concerned much about facts. You cannot say you intend to serve truth and find truth and serve people unless you ground your intentions in reality as far as you are able. Good intention is always fact based.
 
Faith should be embracing the truth as your friend. Faith should be a fluid process. Religion has people adopting faith for they fear what it is like to think for yourself and feel alone. If you adopt faith for that reason then your faith is not about truth but about what suits you. It is not about truth but about practicality. Faith that serves as a crutch or a shield to avoid fear only leads to irrationality and self-deception and bigotry. It does not deal with the problem you are trying to hide from. Your crutch of faith is an act of self-abuse and it is abuse to encourage others to copy you.
 
Reason and faith are different things. Religious people say that faith is not illogical. They say that faith is very far from being an irrational belief in the absence of evidence or proper evidence. They say that faith and reason come together nicely. If faith tells us the things that reason cannot then faith must never contradict reason. But if faith is wrong then it contradicts reason in ways we do not know. It is unreasonable to believe in God if there is no God. It is unreasonable in itself. But that does not mean it is unreasonable for us. But that reasonableness is only in our heads and intentions. That is good but not enough and has its risks.
 
Faith by default is a risk.
 
The risk of faith being irrational or wrong is increased if it involves faith in the supernatural.
Valerie Tarico in the book Christianity is Not Great mentions mystical manipulation - this is when a faith encourages you to think that the beliefs and inclinations it has programmed you to have are there of your own free will. I see a clear example of this in the Christian teaching about faith. Faith is said to be a gift from God by which we trust all he has revealed and trust him. We get it by asking. It needs to be a gift for human beings are so prone to error and deception that God needs to take action. The trouble with thinking that God gives you faith in what a religion or Bible teaches is that you treat it like a testimony from God that is to believed just because he says so and even if there is any regard for what evidence says, not enough attention will be paid to it. Many believers would still believe even if it were proven that Jesus could not have existed.
Dr. Peter Boghossian wrote A Manual for Creating Atheists. Boghossian defends the view that religious faith means believing without evidence. Also, he compares religious faith to a mental poison that needs an antidote. It is like a virus to be contained and killed.
He recognises that the believer might have evidence but not believe because of it. That is faith. It uses evidence to look good but is not based on it.
Even if there is evidence that Christianity is believable and credible and true, it does not follow that any Christian cares if it is. They may believe blindly.
I want to suggest that if you make an unbelievable claim such as that God became a particular man and died on the cross for us, then you have to have really exceptional evidence. We have exceptionally good evidence for lesser claims than that so it is only fair. We do not get this evidence from any Christian and most Christians don't even look for or process the evidence. So it is safe to assume that no Christian really believes in Christ because of evidence even if they try to defend the faith with evidence.
Even if some Christians do care about evidence, they engage only in a highly selective use of evidence. They do not base their faith on evidence but on evidence that fits what they want it to fit.
It is argued that faith means a personal commitment to a personal God or a personal Jesus or to a Church or a set of ideas. Faith is trust - faith is not just merely believing that some doctrine or claim is true.
We invest a lot in the object of our faith. We invest feelings, We turn to it for a sense of meaning in life - it helps us not feel that our existence is random and useless. We invest time in living out what we belief and that is trust. Trusting and putting faith in something that is fictitious or dangerous implies we suffer a personal cost for we have invested in rubbish.
"Belief in" is not the same as "belief that".  Belief in has the personal touch and belief that does not. Belief in is trust and is an action and is not just a view. You can decide if you trust a religion or a person or a divine figure but you cannot decide that some statement is true. You can decide to trust the priest with your child. You can decide not to in case he molests him. You need to let the priest look after the child if you trust him - that is where action comes in. Or you may not let the priest near the child. Trust and action and belief in go all-together. You can believe he will not touch the child but that does not mean you will choose to trust him.
We should never trust another person without thinking. Trust has to be earned.
Boghossian pointed out that non-Christians are accused by Christians of having a mind virus or a faith that Christianity is wrong - a poisonous faith. They use the term original sin. So he pointed out that it is hypocritical of Christians to object when their own faith is compared to a mental disease. And it is a mental disease in the sense that it tries to impair your vision of reality.
Religion in its allegedly divinely revealed teaching is against reality. The vast majority of religious believers poorly understand their faith or religion. They end up usually endorsing views that are far more anti-reality than their religion actually does. For example, consider the near universal notion that evil is the reverse of good and not merely the absence of good suggests that evil is a power. God must have made that power thus he must be evil. The real religious view at least for Christians is that evil is not a thing or power. It is merely good falling short of what it can be. It is an absence of good. Because Christians fail to understand, they end up adoring an evil God.
 
The Mormon Church still says the Book of Abraham has been translated miraculously from Egyptian even though it has been proven that it bears no resemblance to the papyri it was translated from.
 
The Christians still say the empty tomb helps prove the resurrection of Jesus even though the gospels themselves don’t say why they think the tomb was empty. They even said the tomb was open when there was nobody about meaning the body could have been taken then. If the New Testament says Jesus rose bodily from the dead, for all we know, the body could have risen after been stolen. The empty tomb does nothing to show us that Jesus' body miraculously vanished from the tomb because it was restored to life.
 
The Christians won't stop over-simplifying the reason the apostles, the witnesses of Jesus, were martyred. Only legend says they were martyred and no account says they were killed specifically for their testimony to the risen Jesus. Yet their alleged deaths are continuously presented as proof that they believed Jesus rose. If it is true that people don't die for a lie (they do!) it still does not prove Jesus rose. Perhaps they were mistaken.
 
The Catholics oppose commonsense by holding that the wafer and wine of communion are really the living Jesus himself and not a wafer and wine at all. You could say lead is really gold even though all the tests show that it is lead. If Catholics have the right to say their bread and wine is really a human being, Jesus, then surely they have to allow others the same privilege. So a doctor should be allowed to say that water is the same as penicillin. If a wafer can be really a living man, then why can't a lie be the truth?
 
Jehovah’s Witnesses follow a fraudulent translation of the Bible.
 
Christian Scientists deny that evil exists. They say it is an illusion. But if it is an illusion it still exists after all for the illusion is evil! Christian Scientists do not use doctors which is an incredible sacrifice they make for their faith. People do suffer and die for ridiculous teachings. Even worse they endanger others. When a child dies in the Christian Science faith though they were "treating" the child with prayer, they reason that the prayer worked despite appearance and that as there is no evil the child is not really dead but alive.
 
The Muslims stake all on Muhammad and ignore proofs that the Koran cannot be proven to be miraculous and Muhammad showed no ability to foretell the future like a true prophet would. There is no evidence of his divine mission.
 
Catholics follow the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje even though this lady can’t be the true Virgin Mary. The real Mary would not have messages published unless they are checked by the Church first. And she is always giving messages to the people as if bishops were irrelevant. It is Catholic teaching that the bishops and their delegates are the divinely authorised safe guarders of the true Catholic doctrine.
 
Some forms of Hinduism say that all things are really one undivided entity and that division is an illusion. This is nonsense.
 
Buddhism says the person does not exist but is just a bundle of experiences. But that is nonsense. We know there is something there to have the experiences. We know there is a link between the us of yesterday and the us of today.
 
Witches and occultist make all the same excuses when spells do not seem to work as Christians do when prayers seem to be ineffectual. They just remember the times they seemed to get results and excuse or forget the failures - confirmation bias. This is about what they want to think not what they believe. Magic is bad not because it is trying to control things but simply because one has to twist one's mind to think it gets results. Magic is superstition for that reason and so is prayer.
 
If Muslims really believed in fate and that God controls all things, they would not even bother with doctors or medicine. But they do. They act as if they need to manage their own lives instead of leaving it to destiny.
 
The SSPX seem to live holy dedicated saintly Catholic lives but the fact remains that they are hypocrites. They say they follow the pope as head of the Church while all the time they claim powers that only the pope can have. They even deny that they have split from the pope though they appoint priests and bishops and publish documents against his will.
 
The lesson is that we cannot say people dying and suffering for religion proves the religion should be taken seriously as possibly true, for there are plenty of examples of religious people risking death and suffering and hellfire and who do good works and are still as good as frauds.
 
It is serious or should be to accuse somebody of believing that an evil book like the Bible is really the word of an all good God! The stronger you think their faith is the more you are inferring that they are blessing evil. Their faith in the Bible would mean condoning the innocent blood that stains its pages that was spilled by men on the orders of God. Are they really believers? Are they touched in the head concerning religion? Are they just evil as in liking it when people have been hurt in the name of God? Do they only think they believe - are they mistaking habit and an attraction for religion for faith? The most charitable interpretation is that they only imagine they believe.
 
Many opponents of the power religion has and how it likes to be manipulated by the government to assist in social control, assume that if you are going to believe anything then inductive and deductive evidence is needed. Others feel that this standard is too strict. It is. But as we can live without a supernatural faith and without magical beliefs it does not follow that the way is opened for them. The way should be closed. The way is closed.
 
Faith too often draws people away from sanity and reality. Faith is not a blessing. Its a dangerous gamble.