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An Atheists Perspective II: The Questioning

The advantage of the secular life over that of the religious life is that it is rather liberating to understand that I can question anything without feeling bad or guilty about it. Too many times in my upbringing I was told that there were certain questions that one was not supposed to ask (e.g. if being angry is bad or fighting is wrong then how come Jesus did it when he threw the money changers out of the temple or if gambling was bad how come there was Bingo at the church?). Values, statements, ideas, etc. everything is up for grabs in the secular world, as long as an idea can be proven or supported with evidence there is nothing wrong with holding that idea, or perhaps it may even be correct to say that a belief or idea that is not disproven can be held. There’s no sin, nothing wrong with asking the questions or doubting the established ideas as long as, of course, those questions or doubts are reasonable. For example, it is unreasonable to claim that the Earth is flat, and unreasonable to question those who believe that the Earth is round after they have explained why they know it is round. The problem with orthodoxy in every situation is that it stifles progress and religious orthodoxy is the worst at allowing progress in either scientific or social measures.

As we see in the United States that the Supreme Court has struck down the Defensive of Marriage Act (hereafter “doma”), a ridiculous law which legitimized the idea that marriage was under attack, that the right of homosexuals to marry each other is now socially accepted. The reaction, by the most religious of commentators, was that this was somehow a bad thing. That god was going to be angry at the United States or that Jesus was crying. Despite the fact that the marriage of two strangers has little to no effect on anyone else, the very idea of two women marrying dilutes the meaning of the word marriage. The definition of which has so many interpretations in the Christian Bible that it must be admitted that the idea of “traditional marriage” is made up at best and ignorant at worst. The more and more I see social conservatives plant their flag against homosexuality the more and more they are going to be wrong—just as they were wrong with suffrage, slavery, and the civil rights movements.

As the world moves forward, the need for change is all- encompassing. To change something scientifically requires either new evidence or a new argument. To change something religious takes a literal miracle or a clever spin of the old languages. The doctrine of the trinity wasn’t established until 1274, so how did this doctrine come to be? Reinterpretation of the old book, which means that all Christians prior to the 13th century have a pretty heavy sin on their hands (if I remember correctly, trinity denial is a mortal sin). When the Mormon church decided to desegregate themselves, it wasn’t because the racist that founded the religion (Brigham Young, the second president of the church) and those that ran it could admit that they were wrong, no it was special revelation that black people were considered equals. Prior to 1978, dark skin meant that the person bore the mark of Cain and was impure upon birth, now it apparently just means genetics. The arbitrariness of the divine is mysterious to me.

Yet to ask why god wants these things is somehow impolite or taboo. Why would god kill one million Ethiopians (2 Chronicles 14:9-15)? Why can’t I eat ham/bacon/lobster? Why do women have to remain quiet and subservient to their husbands? The list goes on with an increasingly arbitrary and petty divinity that allows the worst forms of abuse until one day he thinks to himself, “oh wait, maybe I don’t want them to own each other anymore,” and tells some obscure person in a cave somewhere.

No matter how omnipotent and/or omniscient this god fellow is, it is always lagging behind two things: knowledge and morality. The god of the Jews/Christians/Muslims believed that the world was flat and was the center of the universe, while the Vishnu Purana (Hindu text) claims that the sun is closer to the earth than the moon. The same can be said of social issues, currently homosexual marriage which is a mere legal technicality which orthodox religions oppose for reasons that I am unclear of, just as they were opposed to the social acceptance of equal rights for women and the abolition of slavery—until they, all of the sudden weren’t. This leads me to the opinion that the divine is nothing more than a band-wagon jumping populist who switches sides every time it becomes expedient to do so.

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