Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Ancient Superstition

Religious belief is humankind's earliest science. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are young religions in historical terms, and came into existence after kings and emperors had more magnificently taken the place of tribal chiefs. The new religions therefore modelled their respective deities on kings with absolute powers.

But for tens of thousands of years beforehand people were fundamentally animistic, explaining the natural world by imputing agency to things - spirits or gods in the wind, in the thunder, in the rivers and sea.

As knowledge replaced these naiveties, so deities became more invisible, receding to mountain tops and then to the sky or the earth's depths. One can easily see how it was in the interests of priesthoods, most of which were hereditary, to keep these myths alive.

With such a view of religion - as ancient superstition, as a primitive form of explanation of the world sophisticated into mythology - it is hard for non-religious folk to take it seriously, and equally hard for them to accept the claim of religious folk to a disproportionate say in running society.

AC Grayling

An excerpt from the article Believers Are Away With The Fairies by AC Grayling.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Atheism Pamphlets

Cyberguy has some atheism pamphlets available to download. They're a little lacking in artistic flair at the moment, but they're a great idea. Next time those Jehovah's witnesses come knocking you can give them one, you never know, it might make them stop and think. Hopefully Cyberguy and others will work to improve these, and let's get them out there...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Quote of the Week

I shall not waste any time on fashionable claims that science is just the white, western, patriarchal view of truth. Science works. That is why when you go to an international conference on cultural relativism, you go by Boeing 747 rather than by magic carpet.

Richard Dawkins

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

Which is more likely: That the whole natural order is suspended or that a Jewish minx should tell a lie?

David Hume

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sir David Attenborough On Religion

In this short interview clip, Sir David Attenborough discusses his views on religion and God after a life-long career spent studying the natural world:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Future Is Not Fixed

We have no reason to believe that there are dates inscribed in heaven or hell. We may yet destroy ourselves; we might scrape through. Confronting that uncertainty is the obligation of our maturity and our only spur to wise action. The believers should know in their hearts by now that, even if they are right and there actually is a benign and watchful personal God, he is, as all the daily tragedies, all the dead children attest, a reluctant intervener. The rest of us, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, know that it is highly improbable that there is anyone up there at all. Either way, in this case it hardly matters who is wrong - there will be no one to save us but ourselves.

Ian McEwan

An excerpt from Ian McEwan's article about scriptural prophecy The Day of Judgment.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quote of the Week

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Evolution as Evidence Against Christianity

The most devastating thing, though, that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people, the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin, there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a saviour. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.

Frank Zindler

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Recommended Reading for Believers

This was posted in one of the comments sections of Pharyngula in answer to the question "What literature would you recommend to the believer who is interested in considering atheism as a potentially superior alternative to theism?"

The best book to read would be the bible, in its entirety. That is what made me an Atheist. I was a Southern Baptist sunday school teacher, in the choir, played handbells, the whole nine yards. I was deeply religious. I studied the bible in depth and was so disturbed by what I read I began to question Christianity. I then joined a more progressive denomination and became a youth minister. (They didn't take the bible literally.) Even that didn't put me at peace. Even when I tried to look at the bible from a philosophical standpoint, I knew the whole religion was based on racism and hatred and I could not in good conscience associate with such evil. I walked away and found out how wonderful it feels to be free.

The bible is a vile and evil book. Few Christians have actually read the whole thing. They read what they are told to read and skip the nasty stuff. Once you read it for yourself and find all the contradictions and see the purely evil things God has done, a decent person cannot remain a Christian. The basis for religions that worship deities is just too idiotic to ignore once you really start searching for truth. Once you care more about truth than you do being accepted and popular, you will find truth.

The original post can be found here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quote of the Week

Without a doubt, humans and civilization are in sore need of the intellectual cleanness and mental health of Atheism.

G. Richard Bozarth

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Little Religious Wisdom?

Happy is he who has found wisdom,
and the man who has acquired understanding.
For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and the gain she brings is better than gold.
She is more precious than red coral,
and all your jewels are no match for her.
Long life is in her right hand,
in her left hand are riches and honour.

Proverbs 3:13-16

I think this passage sits well alongside the following quote:

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.

Thomas Henry Huxley