reason for living

Religion is for idiots

I'd like to be able to believe in a god but it all seems rather stupid.

If the sub-title of this page finds some resonance within you then please know that you are at the web site of “reason-for-living” and you are in good company here.  You are also extremely welcome.  I do hope you enjoy your visit and I'll be genuinely a little bit sorry if you don't.

Lets get straight to the point:  A lot of that religion stuff seems stupid because most of it is stupid.  Golly now I've gone and written something that might offend a huge proportion of the world's population.  Anyhow, the truth must come out some time and someone has to be the one to say it so it might as well be me — I don't consider myself especially important to anybody and so if I do get assassinated by some offended adherent from this or that religion then the world probably isn't going to notice the loss and it won't be of much consequence.  Anyway, I'll write it again just to be sure:  Most religious belief is plain stupid and is based on ignorance, superstition, rumour, half-truths and a massive dose of irrationality.

Now let me get a little more specific about this ... Exactly which religious beliefs do I denegrate so freely?  Well where should I begin?  The spectrum is quite wide ...

I'll start closest to home with that which is usually known as Christianity.  That comes in a lot of flavours so we'll have to deal with a few groups in turn.  The Roman Catholics, for instance, have a system of priesthood which is idolatrous according to the text they profess to believe, and how did they ever come up with something as silly as Papal infallibility?  How can they own so much gold when the one they call master told them not to store up treasure on earth?  How about the Anglicans?  For an organisation that had such bad parents (being best described, in my not at all humble opinion, as the bastard offspring of the Roman Catholics) they are not doing too badly — just a pity they can't agree what to believe about such basic matters as sexual morality, or whether their favourite book is inspired or not, or even whether it is their favourite book.  Next under review is the answer to both the Romans and the Anglicans, lets have a big hallelujah for the Pentecostal movement in all its self-congratulating finery?  Do I hear Amen?  God wants to bless the Pentecostals!  Amen!  Hallelujah praise the Lord, name it and claim it!  No, really, he does; and he probably would bless them if they'd keep quiet for long enough to pay any meaningful attention to the book they profess to believe.  How do we know that they pay no attention to the book?  Because if they did they'd know that a large portion of their imbecilic pastimes and beliefs were popular with the citizens of Corinth in the first century AD and God wasn't too thrilled about such things even then — so little thrilled in fact that he had an entire section of the bible written especially to instruct his followers to avoid such things in the future.

What about the so-called cults?  Jehovah's Witnesses for instance?  Probably best described as devotees with very selective vision and memories.  How many times can their spiritual leaders change their minds on their key doctrines without anybody noticing?  How is it that they can publish a bible (their interlinear version) that shows both the translation and the “enhancements” side by side and yet the witnesses don't notice the rather significant inconsistencies between them.  Would it be unreasonable for me to surmise that they're not very reliable witnesses?

Bring on the Mormons, also often known as the Latter Day Saints.  These are the people who have a book (the Book of Mormon) supposedly translated by the power of God from a language otherwise unknown into 19th Century American English and yet it contains whole passages that a heretic such as myself might suggest are direct copies from another book (the King James Bible) written in 17th Century British English.  I guess the power of God was a bit distracted during the translation or, more understandably, preferred all things English over the linguistic foibles of those dastardly American upstarts.  A particularly hostile observer might also notice that the massive civilisations described in the book of Mormon have yet to make any appearance in archaeological investigations and, in fact, the whole book tends to read more like a confused and third-rate work of fiction to anybody who is not utterly ignorant of literature.  They claim their founder (good brother Joe) willingly lay down his life for the cause and yet their own history records that he was shot dead by a hostile mob while he was trying to clamber out of a prison window to escape them.  Either there are degrees of willingness that I have yet to fathom or you have to be particularly gullible to be a Latter day Saint.

What about Islam?  This is a religion that must be wonderful because it has no particularly vocal critics.  It is also a very fair religion for it announces boldly that “there is no compulsion in religion”; but then mentions that any man who converts from Islam or attempts to convert anyone from Islam must be killed.  There is no compulsion, you understand, because no rational person would ever consider that a threat of death might constitute a form of duress.  I give you the facts, fairly presented: no compulsion, no conversion except followed by execution, no critics and, of course, no connection between the three; please try not to step on the corpses of the former Muslims as we pass on to the next exhibit.  The Book of Islam, known popularly as the Koran or Quran, declares its own authenticity with the statement “surely if it were not from God it would contain many contradictions” which leaves us only to enquire how many contradictions do you need before it can be considered “many”.  Obviously less than the multitude that the Koran contains.

One reader took offense at the fact that the original version of this page was critical of his beloved Islam but made no mention of Judaism. What is it about so many Muslims that they have this obsessive hatred for all things Jewish? There are lots of ideologies that this page doesn't mention and I don't feel any need to point out the religious twaddle of the Jews; they get picked on by plenty enough people already.

How about some of the Eastern religions?  To be fair I cannot do justice to the diverse gems of utter nonsense found to the east of Arabia but among the treasures are stone statues that drink milk and a system known as Karma which seems altogether reasonable so long as you keep reason well out of sight; I have an article about it somewhere.  There is a system of atonement whereby a person begins in the divine state but is reduced to a more lowly state by sin and then must work their way back to divinity; not a bad idea but if a person with divinity and all the powers of being a God couldn't stay in that blissful state then what chance does a feeble mortal have of ever regaining it?  It is a question probably best left unanswered to avoid disturbing the faithful who toil towards their unattainable goal.

Let us travel forward from the ancient to the modern and one of the most popular religions of all time.  Popular perhaps because it is propogated primarily with colourful moving pictures and pleasing voices, perhaps because it is best understood when all thinking is suspended, popular perhaps because its heralds bring it to our homes without knocking tiresomely on the door.  It is a religion that requires no moral standards, indeed it actively discourages them, and thus it may be popular because it allows and sanctifies selfishness, sexual adventure, lust and greed without qualification.  Popular perhaps because it was taught by those we thought were trustworthy though in reality they understood it no more than us.  It claims to be be superior to religions that are based on “faith” though to believe it truly requires more faith than a sane and rational person could ever muster.  Its name?  The religion of evolution, also known as the biggest fraud ever foisted on the unsuspecting world in the name of something called science.  The High Priests of evolution bear titles such as “professor” and doctrinal purity is maintained by the editors of journals.  Its articles of faith fly in the face of both evidence and reason but that doesn't matter because there are a lot of careers at stake.  The Holy Grail of evolutionism is the “missing link” a creature in a transitional state between species.  It has been noted by other people that the ardent evolutionist knows everything there is to know about the “missing link” — except the fact that it is still missing.

Those who don't believe in religion have a religion all of their own.  Like the evolutionists the atheists do not consider themselves religious.  Yet their beliefs are a matter entirely of faith.  In fact atheism, lauded as the rational answer to religion, requires more faith than any of its contempories since it requires its adherents to believe that their own beliefs are true even though, when considered logically, aetheism has no cause to believe reason to have any validity.  The sanity of a typical atheist is saved by the apathy that prevents them from giving any serious and intelligent consideration to their beliefs and thus they never follow their claimed faith through to its illogical conclusion.  Though atheism and evoltionism are promoted as rational answers to irrational beliefs they are actually the most irrational religions of them all for ultimately they are forced to declare that there is no rationality, but if there is no rationality then there is also no reason to believe evolution or atheism to be true ...

You thought religion was stupid?  You might never have realised how thoroughly right you were.  This web-site is my personal but inadequate answer to all the confused, convoluted and hopelessly irrational accounts delivered to us by the priests and imams, the pastors and vicars, the congregational overseers and the glory-seeking prophets, the gurus and the scientists.  May god have mercy on them all.

If you didn't believe in any God because you couldn't bear the religious nonsense that you have seen all around then you are, in fact, likely to be much closer to meeting God than you might have thought.  Being able to identify and reject rubbish leaves your hands free to pick up that which is valuable.  Whether you'll enjoy the meeting when it happens is an entirely different question ....

Now just one or two more hurdles and then we'll begin:  Some people say that religion is a deeply personal matter that cannot be subjected to logical examination in the normal way.  Some people will say that religious belief is purely a matter of faith.  But, I ask, faith in what?  Faith in your own faith?  I sense silliness!  Of course religious belief is a matter of faith because all belief is a matter of faith; but what do we put our faith in if it is not facts and reason?

And some people will say it doesn't matter what they believe so long as they are sincere.  This flavour of religion doesn't have too many true adherents because its true adherents tend not to live very long and end their lives after the manner of hedgehogs.  The reason is simple enough:  Having decided that it doesn't matter what they believe so long as they believe it sincerely with a pure heart and clean conscience before God they proceed to act on their beliefs:  For instance, it doesn't matter what I eat and drink so long as I believe that its good for me, and it doesn't matter how, when or where I cross the road because I believe that I'll be safe from passing traffic.  Next time you see a hedgehog squashed out flat on the tarmac remember the danger of being sincerely ignorant.

Ready for some religious rationality?  I'll do my best to provide some. I apologise in advance for the many clumsy portions in my writing; this is a work in progress and contains much that needs further thought and further effort; I don't have all the answers ... I don't even know all the questions, but using reason as best as we can, perhaps we can get beyond some of the more glaring untuths.  Thank you for visiting.

You can find the numeric index here and you can find the topical index here.  Alternatively you might prefer to just jump straight in to one of the following articles:

Related articles that you might like to read:

Believing “on trust”.
We all have some sort of beliefs or personal philosophies; but WHY do we believe what we believe and how do we know that it is true?
The Karmic cop-out
The principle of Karma is widely believed.  However Karma is a myth which is irrational, inhibits compassion and leads to a denial of personal responsibility.
Morality, legality, tolerance and compromise
Tolerance is not always a good thing and compromise is often a cloak for cowardice.  No amount of legislation will ever make wrong into right.
Did Jesus ever claim he was God?
Some people say he is God, some say he was just a man. What did Jesus claim about himself?
Christian Jargon ... Oh, how we hate it!
When you clear the jargon out of the way, the Christian message starts to make a lot more sense.
Church buildings, we hate them too!
Church buildings (as they are called) prevent people hearing the good news about Jesus.
Poem: Wake-up foolish sleeper!  Wake-up!
If this poem disturbs your peace of mind and keeps you awake at night then I'll be very pleased.
Index of articles, listed by number
Index of articles, listed by topic
Home page
Contact R4L by e-mail
Site locator: reasonforlivingdotcom
W3C HTML validator    W3C CSS validator

R4L logo