Penn Jillette says we should end religion, but what would Andrei and Lucia use for a crutch then?

Penn Jillette is a well known atheist and he says we should end religion, but if that happened what would Andrei and Lucia use for a crutch then?

Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Religion is not morality. Theists ask me, “If there’s no god, what would stop me from raping and killing everyone I want to.” My answer is always: “I, myself, have raped and killed everyone I want to … and the number for both is zero.” Behaving morally because of a hope of reward or a fear of punishment is not morality. Morality is not bribery or threats. Religion is bribery and threats. Humans have morality. We don’t need religion.

Interesting concept…let’s look further 

Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared. Faith is a feeling. Love is also a feeling, but love makes no universal claims. Love is pure. The lover reports on his or her feelings and needs nothing more. Faith claims knowledge of a world we share but without evidence we can share. Feeling love is beautiful. Feeling the earth is 6,000 years old is stupid.

Religion is often just tribalism: pride in a group one was born into, a group that is often believed to have “God” on its side. We don’t need to replace tribalism with anything other than love for all humanity. Let’s do that, okay?

Hmmm not sure I agree with Penn there. So what if religion is faith…if it make me feel better then so what?

And the appropriate video is this famous ballad “Losing My Religion” digitally reworked with a major scale.

Major Scaled #2 : REM – “Recovering My Religion” from major scaled on Vimeo.

  • DangerousE

    Maybe the title should read; What will Andrei, Lucia and Whaleoil use for a crutch then?

    • Mitch82

      Based on what I’ve read of Whale’s faith, his entire life wouldn’t crumble if God were irrevocably disproved. He’d likely laugh and admit he was wrong.

      Lucia and Andrei, on the other hand, would probably throw themselves out of the bell tower.

      • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

        You’ve got it…it isn;t a crutch…far from it…sometimes I do wonder why I believe though…but certainly not a crutch

  • Sym Gardiner

    “Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared.”
    All three of these premises are false. Millions and millions of worshippers through the centuries who have shared their faith contradict this.

    • Mitch82

      The first two statements are true. The third, in being incorrect, just goes to show that people will believe anything if there are enough people already doing it.

      • Lion_ess

        Starts off with childhood indoctrination, a bit like Santa – except the adults eventually come clean on Santa.

  • LesleyNZ

    And faith is the gift of God.
    Ephesians 2:8-9 New International Version (NIV)
    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.

    • Rodger T

      Circular reasoning,Leslie.

      When you can prove YOUR god exists,and all others don`t ,maybe then a rational discussion can ensue.

      • LesleyNZ

        Roger T – Just look around you – at creation.
        Psalm 19 v 1-6
        1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
        the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
        2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
        night after night they reveal knowledge.
        3 They have no speech, they use no words;
        no sound is heard from them.
        4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
        their words to the ends of the world.
        In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
        5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
        like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
        6 It rises at one end of the heavens
        and makes its circuit to the other;
        nothing is deprived of its warmth.

        • Rodger T

          Once again Leslie ,circular reasoning.
          Your cutting and pasting from your holey babble, proves nothing.

      • Mitch82

        So.. you’re using as your gold standard evidence, a book that was written hundreds of years after the fact, reporting “eye witness accounts” that were handed down through generations, the reports of people who among other things, could part the Red Sea and walk on water?

        Don’t suppose you’d like to buy a bridge, by any chance?

        (Replying to Lesley, not Rodger)

      • LesleyNZ

        And every time a baby is born is proof of God and His creation. Every baby born is unique and a miracle.

        • Rodger T

          So,who created your god ? Everything has to has to have a creator ,right?
          You sound like you are really only trying to convince yourself .
          I am quite happy to look at the beauty of the garden ,without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it.

          • Mitch82

            Whoa, hold on there, soldier.

            It’s one thing to question the Big Bang theory by saying that something can’t come from nothing, but where do you get off saying that God had to have a creator?

            Just.. believe.. us..

        • Rodger T

          Just a shame your god does not feel that way,

    • Rodger T

      Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot.

      Seriously Leslie,are Christians really that arrogant that they believe this planet,one of billions in this this galaxy alone ,amongst the billions of galaxies in the universe,was created just for you?

      • LesleyNZ

        Seriously – Roder T – are you really that arrogant to believe this planet,one of billions in this this galaxy alone ,amongst the billions of galaxies in the universe, was just an accident of evolution and just accidently happened to be the perfect place for you?

        • Rodger T

          Certainly looks like it. : )

          • Rodger T

            …….

  • Red

    So far the comments 100% back up what the author says. She could’ve been a little more specific and termed it “blind” faith going by those. (Comment 1 the exception) It amazes me that people who can function in an age where we use technology every day – can be so stone aged in their need to have an imaginary prop for their life.

  • Andrei

    LOL – such ignorance

    Behaving morally because of a hope of reward or a fear of punishment is not morality. Morality is not bribery or threats. Religion is bribery and threats. Humans have morality. We don’t need religion.

    Humans have morality, huh? Then why so much blood spilled through the ages up until this present day?

    Not much morality on display when we read of a degraded group of people and an infant dead after a short tormented life.

    Humans are from the slime, it is only through God that we can rise above this.

    The trouble with the educated middle class who have the time to babble about atheism is that they a drawn from a group of people who have been wrapped in cotton wool and spoiled their whole lives. Sheltered from the horrors of this world. And growing up believing that the way to get what you want is to shout and screech until you get it because this has almost always worked for them in their pampered middle class world.

    They have in fact lost contact with reality

    • Mitch82

      “Then why so much blood spilled through the ages up until this present day?”

      Because, my dear Andrei, God Wills It!

      • Hazards001

        Actually in most cases God demanded it!

    • DangerousE


      Man has had morals long before the bible.

    • Rodger T

      Ha,ha, it is hilarious how the believer of an invisible god,a jewish zombie,Adam & Eve and the resulting incest, claims the rest of us have lost contact with reality.

      Humans are from the slime

      You probably will never understand how close to reality you are there ,scientifically ,Andrei.

      • Mitch82

        LALALALALA SHUT UP INFIDEL!

    • Alsh

      Most of the blood shed through the ages was in the name of religion.

  • Lion_ess

    The wonderful George Carlin – nails it.

  • cows4me

    So Penn Jillette wants to end religion and he can go and fuck himself. So atheism is a wonderful thing, what a bullshitting fucktard. More people have been murder by those that have totally rejected religion then zealot followers of religion. How do names like Starlin, Hitler , Mao do it for you Penn.

    • Lion_ess

      Hitler was raised a catholic and later promoted a movement called Positive Christianity.

      • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

        Amongst other things…those catholic priests must have really done a number on him for hat he perpetrated on the world.

    • Rodger T

      You confuse non-belief of a deity with political dogma.

    • Mitch82

      Haha, this old chestnut.. the litmus test for dribbling ignorance.

      Even though Hitler was actually religious, and Stalin was raised religiously and was said to have become religious again in his last years, Atheism could claim ownership of all three and still look like saints.

      Nevermind the pesky fact that Stalin and Mao didn’t wage genocide in the name of Atheism…

      • Rodger T

        Indeed,Hitler born a Catholic ,died a Catholic.
        He couldn`t believe his luck when the German catholic church practically beat down his door in their haste to throw their support behind him.

        • http://nzconservative.blogspot.com Lucia Maria

          Wrong. Automatic excommunication for any Catholics joining the Nazi Party from 1933 onwards. Documents recently found prove this.

          • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

            But no link?

          • http://nzconservative.blogspot.com Lucia Maria

            Later. Out at the Barber’s with my kids. There is a post on my blog somewhere on it, and from memory I think it was the Pathfinder Foundation who found it.

          • Alex

            But the big question is this: after Hitler took power, did the RC Church overtly oppose Hitler or Mussolini? Did it like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran priest, actively oppose Hitler? No it didn’t. It did what it has always done throughout history — suck up to the powerful. And of course, continues to this day, to make out that Elizabeth I was a nasty tyrant.

          • http://nzconservative.blogspot.com Lucia Maria

            You ought to read this: MIT BRENNENDER SORGE. It had to be smuggled into Germany in 1937, printed by an underground network of individuals and then secretly delivered to be read from the pulpit. It lead to mass arrests of anyone involved with it.

            This article will give a bit more context: Nazi Policy and the Catholic Church

          • Mitch82

            http://www.zenit.org/article-28937?l=english

            Not much in the way of reference.

          • Rodger T

            Recently found? Funny how your church knew nothing about it until recently.

          • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

            Must have been a secret like their pedo priests…I bet we’ll get a release in 60 years about how they were excommunicated too…quietly, because they didn’t want to make a fuss about it at the time.

          • Rodger T

            That fuckin` Hitler,he stole my seat.

          • http://nzconservative.blogspot.com Lucia Maria

            There would have been people in the Church that knew about it, as well as countless Germans who are no longer alive. There’s a lot of documents in the Vatican Secret Archives, and only scholars have access to them. So, if someone is interested in discovering a particular thing, then they have to get access to the Archive and then look. In the meantime, many people just make shit up that suits their particular prejudices

    • Alsh

      Stalin studied at the seminary, so was religious at the early stage of his life, Hitler was a Christian and not sure about Mao. So not great example of atrocities by atheists.

  • jonno1

    As a Christian, up to a point I agree with Jillette. Why? Because religion is a human construct, nothing to do with faith, which is where he gets confused. Religion may be a belief system, or as he says “tribalism”, but it’s not faith. Think of the “religion of peace” and the damage it does to society. And who really believes the earth is only 6000 years old? A few unquestioning people maybe, but it’s a complete red herring.

    As for different faiths or denominations, so what? There are aspects of Catholicism, for example, that I don’t think are supported by scripture, such as the confessional, trans-substantiation, infant baptism or veneration of Mary. But I don’t think they do any harm either. I understand that Cam prefers corporate worship on a Saturday, ie the Sabbath, rather than a Sunday. That’s fine by me, it’s his call. On the other hand, being brought up in a Baptist home I support adult baptism by full immersion, but I’m not going to die in a ditch over it or demand that others agree with me!

    LesleyNZ identifies the only thing that matters, so I’ll repeat it:
    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”

    • DangerousE

      Saved from what exactly? Hell? Sin? No faith?

      • jonno1

        A fair question DangerousE that deserves an honest attempt at an answer. Tricky on an impersonal forum such as this without sounding trite, but I’ll give it a shot. The short answer, from your list, is sin, as sin is what separates mankind from God.

        So what is sin? Well, some point to breaches of the ten commandments and other Old Testament laws, but Jesus superseded these by summarising them under two simple principles: love God, and love your neighbour as yourself. So if we attempt to follow those two principles we’re on the right track. Of course forgiveness of sin is, sadly, not a one-off, as we all sin daily. So a regular reconnection with God is required, call it confession if you like.

        BTW, in my comment earlier about the Catholic confessional I wasn’t knocking confession as such, rather the unnecessary interposing of a man between the confessor and God. But if that suits some people, so be it.

  • Mike

    What gets me is how religious people always trumpet faith (i.e. the belief in something for which there is absolutely no evidence, just a lot of heresay passed down through the ages, reinforcing that saying about a lie repeated often enough becoming the truth to some) as as a good and virtuous quality when in fact it is a weakness.

    The ability to ignore the already overwhelming and ever growing evidence that the universe and everything in it evolved naturally without the intervention of a ‘god’ and magic is plain stupidity and should be classified as a mental disorder.

    • Andrei

      Lol – You put your Faith in science – huh?

      Answer me this, if science is so infalliable then how come so many people today believe that cow farts are melting the North Pole?

      • Mike

        Is that all you’ve got? Pathetic. What does that have to do with my comment?

        • Andrei

          Science is built on shifting sands.

          At its best when it is working well it allows people to build models of reality that make predictions on how things will behave in certain circumstances. And if these predictions hold then they can be engineered into useful things that generate wealth and improve human lives.

          When estimating the age of the universe, say, you can come up with a number but that number will always be subject to revision based upon new observations, it will never be known, never be an absolute.It will forevermore be the best estimate based upon current observations

          • Mitch82

            So lets just call a spade a spade, and go with 6000 years old based on.. no evidence past a book of fables? Just believe that until you can’t figure out any more ways to use dodgy logic against the Big Bang Theory?

          • Andrei

            The big bang theory was first proposed by a Jesuit, Mitch

            Just thought I’d better clear that up

          • Mitch82

            You sound surprised?

          • toby_toby

            And that is why science is so wonderful. It takes into account new evidence and accepts it if it can be backed up. Religion on the other hand sticks its head into some very solid sand and never removes it.

          • Andrei

            Science is indeed wonderful, you’ll get no argument from me.

            But the scientific method which produced a cure for small pox also produced the atom bomb.

            Plenty of people have used science to argue for eugenics over the years, that led to the holocaust

          • Mitch82

            Popes have declared war on opposing religions over a piece of land they value.. repeatedly.. setting the bar in terms of genocide.

            We can do this all day.

          • Agent BallSack

            Smallpox is all but eradicated and so is the threat from the Yellow Peril. Good job done in both cases wouldnt you think?

          • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

            What have the Japanese got to do with this?

          • Agent BallSack

            I was referencing Andreis mention of smallpox and the atomic bomb. Probably as much to do with religion as any of his other attempts to deflect from the current thread.

          • toby_toby

            You can’t lay fault at the feet of science. It is the people who carry it out, irrespective of their religion.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Jenkins/593642943 James Jenkins

            Blaming science for the products created by people using it is like blaming guns for the deaths caused by people shooting them…..

      • Mitch82

        Science isn’t infallible, moron. It works a little like this:

        Define a question

        Gather information and resources (observe)
        Form an explanatory hypothesis
        Test the hypothesis by performing an experiment and collecting data in a reproducible manner
        Analyze the data
        Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
        Publish results
        Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

        Nobody expects you to understand that, but I’d hate for somebody to actually take your comment seriously. It’s a fair bit more advanced and intelligent than “Believe in our God and pay us money, or we’ll burn you at the stake.”

      • Lion_ess

        Green dogma is another form of religion, targeted at those who turned away from God worship. Like religion, green policy is used to falsely extract money from people, create guilt and ensure followers engage in mindless activities to replace ritual prayer – like rubbish recycling. The rights of individuals to practice any common sense goes out the door, replaced with “sustainability rules” that can be enforced by clipboard carrying jobsworths and followed by the faithful.

        Blubbery Green Party Leaders who spout sustainability while eating enough for three, are much like catholic priests who represent piety while engaging in pedophilia.

      • ledzpln

        Science flies you to the Moon
        Religion flies you into buildings.

      • RockyFist

        Because unfortunately they are the same poor misguided fools that the church prey on.

  • Orange

    Penn argues for atheism while hiding behind the defence of soft agnosticism. It’s rather lame really. The only thing you should do if you’re really a soft agnostic is shut up and listen to what people are saying.

    As for the morality argument, he misstates it. It is not that atheists can’t be moral, just that there is no logical basis for an atheist to be moral if they are right about their atheism. Every time you recognise that something evil has happened it just reinforces the existence of an ultimate standard relative by which it is possible to make a judgement that something is actually evil. If morality is relative to nothing then nothing is ultimately good or evil. Most normal people, atheists included, don’t like making that kind of moral judgement.

    His second point that “faith is belief without evidence” sounds more like his own belief in morality. He’s just making stuff up. It certainly doesn’t sound like the faith talked about in the New Testament which says to “love the Lord with all your.. mind” and the story of “doubting” Thomas who said he would not believe unless he had evidence. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

    • Mitch82

      You’re relying on the concept that morality is inherently a religious component, therefore absence of religion must remove any need for morality.

      People had figured out that it was mutually beneficial not to kill and steal from each other long before Jesus was around.

      • Orange

        So you have an ultimate standard of morality called “mutally beneficial.” Let’s call him Ben, for short.

        • Mitch82

          Hmm.. what was everybody doing before Christian ‘morals’ (each one adopted from preceding religions of the countries that were conquered) were released to the public?

          The Chinese were doing quite well for themselves well before the almighty Ten Commandments magically came down from the mountain.

          • Orange

            Oh so you have created your own ultimate standard for morality (Ben) and you use him to judge everybody else. Only you get to be King of the Castle eh? Traditionally people believed that mankind was created in the image of God but you’ve created a god in your image. How clever! It’s also hypocritical. It’s “bad” for people to have an ultimate standard that is actually ultimate but it’s “good” for you to have a self-made god called Ben that you use to pontificate. So you’re a happy atheist pope worshipping at the foot of your own throne.

          • Mitch82

            I haven’t created anything, I’ve just pointed out something that’s quite logical, a very handy rule to adopt in a society, and something that was being practiced long before Moses came down the mountain. You’ve latched on to my comment that it’s mutually beneficial not to kill each other, and made the decision for me that I worship that.

            I worship beer and tits. I REALLY appreciate the fact that my neighbor won’t kill me (and also gives me awesome gardening tips), and I extend him the same courtesy, plus the use of my woodworking tools. Unless I can get drunk or hard off mutually beneficial, I certainly don’t worship it.

            Read my comment again, grow up, and stop acting as though the world was an endless bloodbath before Christ, and become peaceful utopia with the adoption of their 10 Commandments. Otherwise, you can start paying licensing fees to the Pagan religions from whom were stolen basically everything that the Christians pass off as original work.

          • Orange

            No, you should be the one to grow up. You are a hypocrite spouting moral epithets against virtue ethics common thoughout the ages, regardless of religion, or even faith in a theistic God. You make stuff up whenever you feel like it instead of engaging. And you judge my view on this “wrong” and “bad”? On what basis? Your self-made god of Ben. As for the pagan stuff, you’ve got history backwards.

          • Mitch82

            NO YOU!

            MUUUUUUUM!

          • Mitch82

            Seriously, if you’re going to call me a hypocrite and say I’m making things up, try listing reasons.

            I stand by what I said 100%. Religion has no divine ownership of morals, virtues, ethics. They may have contributed and furthered some, but humans had this basic, common sense stuff in place long before the new owners started selling pirate copies. This concept that society is doomed to a blood soaked orgy if the Church isn’t around to guide society is hilariously stupid. So I’ll repeat it:

            “You’re relying on the concept that morality is inherently a religious component, therefore absence of religion must remove any need for morality.”

            As for the pagan religions, how have I got that backwards? Christianity is a melting pot of all of the different rural and tribal religious varieties that were steamrolled under the spread of Christendom. The horse goes before the cart, not after it.

  • Mitch82

    “Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing.”

    To quote Bill Maher: ‘Atheism is a religion, like abstinence is a sexual position.’

    Religion was called the opiate of the masses for good reason, and it’s a great analogy.

  • http://www.cadlow.co.nz spanishbride

    Interesting. After completing Landmark Education years and years ago I learned one life changing thing which is simplistic yet powerful. LIFE HAS NO MEANING. That does NOT mean that life is MEANINGLESS. What it means is that we humans feel the need to ADD meaning to everything in our lives. We get to choose what meaning we add. For example something bad happens to me and I say, bad stuff always happens to me, life is so unfair, why do bad things always happen to me? OR I add a different meaning and say to myself, I can get through this. I have got through bad things before and I will again. I am stronger now. I can learn from this. I really appreciate what is good in my life because of this bad thing that has happened to me.

    Now in my opinion God, belief etc is a meaning that some of us choose to apply to our lives to make sense of it or to help us cope. The existence of God is a belief just as my belief in my inner strength is a belief. Whether I call on a higher being to help me get through life or whether I call on my own inner strength is just the meaning I put on what I am doing. Essentially I am doing the same thing. I am simply giving what I am doing a different name/ meaning.

    • Orange

      The only thing I’d trust EST for is to take my money away.

  • Rodger T

    Unfortunately ,arguing with a creationist is like playing chess with a pigeon. No
    matter how well you play, it will knock over the pieces, take a crap on
    the board then fly back to its flock proclaiming victory.

    • unsol

      Brilliant – well said! So going to steal that metaphor one day!

      That’s the thing, faith is not something that really can or be intellectualised so best not even try to.

      Personally I disagree with much of what this guy has said, but I would like to see religion stay out of the law as like he said morality is something we have (or in some cases, dont have).

      Some might argue the pros as being less war (in terms of what history has shown us)….but humans being humans if it wasnt religion it would be something else that they would fight over.

      In terms of evidence – for me it is works like the wind whereby one cant see God, but can see the affects – good & bad – of God. So I believe – there has been enough evidence of God in my own life to satisfy my own curiosity & questions. But in terms of taking the BIble at face value & believe Christians are always good decent people. No.

      • Rodger T

        I can`t take credit for that one ,it`s an internet meme thats been floating around for a while,very apt for this thread tho`. : )

    • 4077th

      Best retort ever!

  • http://nzconservative.blogspot.com Lucia Maria

    My faith is not a crutch, it’s a cross.

    As Fulton Sheen said in Thoughts for Daily Living:

    “Nothing in nature in complete within itself; everything looks to something outside and beyond self except the egotist. The glory of the clouds is to die in showers, spending themselves on others. But the egotist, living only for self, must eventually fall into despair and unhappiness when he discovers his own bankruptcy. Once all the honeyed treasures of his body is spent, with no new life to show, then he discovers the lonesomeness of being alone.

    Religion is not actually a crutch; it is a cross. It is not an escape, it is a burden; not a flight, but a response. We speak here of a religion with teeth in it, the wind that demands self-sacrifice and surrender. One leans on a crutch, but a cross rests on us. A coward can use a crutch, but it takes a hero to embrace a cross.”

  • thor42

    Ending religion sounds good to me.
    I’m actually not at all bothered by Christianity, but it is *Islam* that freaks me out.
    I look at the FIANZ website and see the nonsensical rubbish about Islam being a “religion of peace”. So bloody easy to disprove – just check out the apostate websites for a start, as well as wikiislam.
    Oh, and they lie that the terrorists are baing their actions on a “perverted, distorted” version of Islam. Again, *not true.* If you read the Quran (and again check out the apostate websites), you will see that the terrorists are *following the Quran to the letter*.
    NZ could do with an organisation that exposes these lies, and provides the nasty truth about Islam. The country (and government) are **woefully** unprepared for Islamic subversion.

  • Alex

    Penn’s “Religion is bribery and threats” is kind of summed up by this wonderful poem by a
    Sufi master:

    O Lord,
    If I worship You
    From fear of Hell, burn me in Hell.

    O Lord,
    If I worship You
    From hope of Paradise, bar me from its gates.

    But if I worship You for Yourself alone
    Then grace me forever the splendor of Your Face.

    I had an atheistic stage. But I found that this was due to the stupid and rationally indefensible view taken by the Jews, Christians and Muslims that God is some being apart and different from us.

    Then I received some teachings from a Indian school of thought, which saw God as being in everything and everyone equally. And that it wasn’t God punishing anyone, but rather me punishing myself with my own stupid behaviour. That woke me up a lot, taught me to take responsibility.

    I still think there is a role for a Divine principle in life, so that we don’t slump into a nihilistic swamp.

    But I’ve got absolutely no time for priests, and others who think they’ve got some superior knowledge of the divine obtained from “scriptures” and some sort of apostolic succession etc.

    People who’ve truly attained God show it in their works and the way they lead their lives; they aren’t going around judging you, telling you what to do, threatening you with Divine punishment etc etc.

    • Rodger T

      So spirituality .
      The I believe bs, just not the same bs as everyone else?

      • Alex

        Your reply contains the problem I have with atheists generally: they’re as smug and all-knowing as their religious counterparts. If you don’t believe in this stuff, that’s fine — that’s your prerogative. But don’t go labeling it “bs”. That is just the same sort of authoritarian judgmentalism as the religious labeling contrary views “demonic” and “heretical” etc.

        So too, as much as religions annoy me, the Atheists’ urge to “ban” religion, and their need to carry out advertising campaigns to “covert” people, reeks of the same mindset that I find so odious with many religious people — I and I alone know the truth and you are deluded if you take a different approach.

        I don’t think the “divine” is anything more marvelous or supernatural than what we see in nature. It seems to me that the Abrahamic religions have sort to negate the wonder of this natural universe, and made us think that the “Divine” is some sort of negation of the natural universe with their view of Fallen Creation.

        Whereas, I keep reading about the latest findings in astrophysics and the Hubble telescope and am constantly in awe. Doesn’t mean I want to sacrifice anything, babble away over books, or think I’m going to meet some bearded guy in white flowing robes. It doesn’t mean I think the State should be prescribing how consenting adults should deal with each other in the name of “G”. Nor does it mean I’m running around with crystals and dope, trying to attain “oneness” with all.

        It just means I want to learn more about this universe and to then try to apply that knowledge to my own life. It means that I’m conscious that my own life is just one tiny part of the universe. Some people are happy with living their lives without such lofty aims; and that is perfectly fine.

        • Rodger T

          We probably need an avatar or something that lets people know when we are just taking the piss.
          I tend to agree with you all of your posts Alex,and don`t disagree with you on this one,so sorry if it came across as smug .

          I also think Penn is off the mark as saying “ban religion” .
          But hey,the supernatural is just not natural.

          • Alex

            No problems; didn’t mean to come across as snarky.

            I’ve got the same problem with Atheism as I have with Theism — they’re both logically indefensible. Just as we can’t prove that G does exist, we can’t prove that G doesn’t exist. Therefore that G doesn’t exist is as much an article of faith as is that G does exist.

            Agnosticism is the only logically justifiable position in my view — when a person has actually thought it through I might add, and not resorted to it to avoid grappling with the epistemological issues. Atheism of the Dworkins variety has developed into a religion: he’s going around asserting as a fact what is ultimately an article of faith, and suggesting (in some as yet undefined way) that we should change our outlook, behaviour etc.

            What I find funny is that it is the 21st century, and yet people still have problems with, and show no faith, in the decisions reached by their fellow human beings. It just do not get the urge some people have to convert, coerce and prohibit rational adults.

    • Random66

      I really like the poem Alex, thanks for sharing.

  • Mike

    A couple of great quotes from PZ Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota Morris:

    FAITH.
    No one word personifies the absolute worst and most wicked properties
    of religion better than that. Faith is mind-rot. It’s the poison that
    destroys critical thinking, undermines evidence, and leads people into
    lives dedicated to absurdity. It’s a parasite regarded as a virtue.

    Religion
    is the antithesis of science, an anesthetic for the mind that disables
    critical thought and encourages the acceptance of inanity as fact, and
    wishful thinking as evidence.

    • Andrei

      People say all sorts of things, a lot of them rubbish,

      The fact that an obscure academic from an obscure Midwestern University says something proves nothing one way or another.

      do you think any of his utterings will receive musical settings like this

  • Mike

    Some more great quotes:

    If you look at the universe and study the universe, what you find is that there is no evidence that we need anything other than the laws of physics and the other laws of science to explain everything we see. There’s absolutely no evidence that we need any supernatural hand of god. — Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist.

    There is probably no other notion in any field of science that has been as extensively tested and as thoroughly corroborated as the evolutionary origin of living organisms. — Encyclopedia Britannica

  • Graeme A

    “Religion is often just tribalism: pride in a group one was
    born into, a group that is often believed to have “God” on its side. We don’t
    need to replace tribalism with anything other than love for all humanity. Let’s
    do that, okay?”

    Atheism could be described as tribalism as well if a person
    is born into a atheistic family so this part of his argument doesn’t really
    mean much and as for replacing this so called tribalism with love for all
    humanity, its kind of ironic that this is one of the central tenant’s of the
    new testament and why should we love everyone if there is no God, without God
    everything becomes permissible, there is no good or evil, right or wrong. There is no over arching moral law giver,
    just individual or societal constructs and opinions of what is right or wrong
    relative to that group. Penn’s instruction
    to love all humanity from his atheistic position is no more valid that someone
    else instructing us to hate all of humanity, after all we are just the result
    of random chance with atoms accidently forming in a certain way to magically
    create life that was self aware to the point it could think rationally or at least
    thought it could think rationally.

    The key trouble, that I see Atheists have, is that while
    natural selection is demonstrable in a micro sense there is still no real
    absolute proof for macro evolution and certainly the unanswered question of abiogensis
    is a major problem. Another major
    question to contemplate is the origin of information, the blue prints that
    reside in our DNA that will determine what is to be built? Where did this information come from?

  • Changeiscoming

    Atheism is a religion

    • Evan

      Atheism is a religion like Intelligent design is a science

    • Rodger T

      Yep,like bald is a hair colour.

  • 4077th

    God who?

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