Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On The Absurdity Of God-Belief

I hope that it's not a sign of the inflexibility that often accompanies advancing age, but as time goes by I find myself becoming less patient with theists, more specifically the theistic mentality, particularly in the U.S.  It just make no sense in this day and age for the majority of adults in a supposed First-World  country to believe in the fantastic tales from the scriptures, especially the one purporting the existence of a supreme being just because they are told these myths are true, even though evidence for their claims is non-existent. Moreover, most of these stories fly in the face of logic and are totally refuted by scientific facts. An example of such nonsense that has been thoroughly discredited but just won't go away is creationism. . 

Or take the recent movie "Noah" which has generated controversy because some Christian viewers are upset that over the film's  "historical inaccuracies" in depicting a biblical story. Let that sink in for a minute. There was no such event in history as  "The Flood".  It's just a made-up story and not even original to the book of Genesis at that. The authors of that section of the bible apparently borrowed it from an earlier  Babylonian tale regarding a similar event.  Regardless,  theist literalists believe it was real and don't think that the movie should have taken liberties in its narration  So what did the producer Darren Aronofsky do in response to this complaint? He edited the movie to soothe the Christians' ruffled feathers. And here I thought the days had long since passed when Hollywood allowed itself to be censored by religious groups. What's next, reinstatement  of the Hays Code?

But why  have critics of the movie and others have ignored the larger issue about this biblical story. I'm referring to the enormity of the mass murder committed by God in wiping out almost all life on earth, an act that I call "biocide". God did this .just because he didn't like the way that humans,  whom he made "in his own  image" were behaving. What?  He didn't have the power to correct or change them, so in a hissy-fit he obliterated them instead, along with most other life forms? A supreme being like that deserves contempt, not worship; and the best thing that can be said about him is that in real life he doesn't exist.

Compare this and other bible stories to other ancient myths such as the Greek legends. Christians and other theists rightfully dismiss them for the fiction that they are  (although IMO the Greek myths do a better job of imparting  lessons about the human condition than  both the Old and New Testaments). Yet there is no more proof for the existence of God and Jesus as his son and the of scriptural events surrounding them than for the deities of Mt. Olympus and their accompanying tales.. Nevertheless, many (most?) Christians accept the former anyway because as I previously mentioned they're told these events really happened.

Some apologists might respond that most such believers are indoctrinated from early childhood with these fables, so it's very difficult if not impossible to change their thinking.  But can't the same be said about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy? Yet how many of these grownups still believe in them? In other words, as adults isn't it our responsibility to outgrow beliefs that are obviously baseless and that prevent us from seeing and dealing with the world as it really is?

And for those who claim that religion is necessary as the only means of imparting personal morality and that fear of God is a must in order to keep people from indulging in criminal behavior, consider this. The record shows that countries with the lowest crime rates are those with highest rate of non-believers.  And nations with high percentages of theists have high crime rates. (The latter is especially the case here in the Philippines, a country which has the highest percentage of religious believers in the world and yet is plagued with lawlessness).

Yet there is hope. In the U.S., the number of people who claim no religious affiliation is on the rise. Just google  the phrase  religious "nones" in america increasing  and note the numerous search results responses that confirm this trend.  True, in and of itself, this doesn't mean necessarily that people in this category are all atheists. Many (most?) of them may still be god-believers but prefer not to affiliate with any particular congregation or sect. Yet this is still a step in the right direction.

If the number of atheists in the U.S.  is in fact on the upswing, it will probably be many years before their political impact is felt and their non-belief  is fully accepted as an alternative to religion.  That is  something that will not likely happen in my lifetime, my impatience notwithstanding.   But based on  the experience of countries where atheists already predominate, when it does take place, America will likely be a better country for it.