Thursday, December 21, 2006

Life is a bed of roses if only you have faith.....

Once again, Pharyngula supplies my blog material. One More Soul has created a eloquent picture of the usual misconceptions and lies about the non-religious and the delusional self-image religious people maintain. Isn't the symbolism lovely? Does it not paint a pretty picture of how religion automatically gives you the 50s sitcom lifestyle? So this is what I've been doing wrong all these years? Wow! Religion solves everything!

Hate to burst your biblical bubble, but....

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.... Let's look on the left side first, being a proud member of that group. I've always found dandelions to be happy flowers. I see so many of the unsupported stereotypes of living a life in the absence of a god. So contraception causes single-parent families? Weird. I would have thought that it would help PREVENT such things. Lust is bad? I guess we're supposed to be emotionless and sexually impotent in our relationships. Isn't that so Dick Van Dyke Show-like? Poverty/crime/poor health/poor education increases without religion to keep you on the straight and narrow? Interesting idea, but WRONG! These things actually increase with increasing religiosity of a society, as Michael Shermer has pointed out in the latest issue of Scientific American. Go to any prison and you will find it full of religious people (say hello to Dr. Dino while you're there...), but you'll be hard-pressed to find any atheists. Artificial reproduction technologies are bad? And really, how are the 'anti-life'? So couples incapable of having children aren't allowed to experience the joys of childbirth and parenthood? That's a little harsh, don't you think? The morality of this proscription is dubious. Infanticide/Homicide/Suicide... No, no Xian has EVER done those... (to avoid Poe's Law invocations, this is sarcasm). I am also in favor of assisted suicide under strict guidelines (which is a bit of a Pandora's box to open, but religious dogma won't even allow for debate on the subject). And let's dispel that myth of religion resulting in longer marriages, shall we? Atheists, not Xians, have the lowest divorce rate of any group. By 'Lethal Experimentation', I presume the subject is stem cell research. If I've said it once I've said it a million times: blastocysts are not people!

Now the thorny right side. It grieves me that they used a plant that I actually have a passion for. Oh well. I personally do not believe that altruism even exists. At some level the giver receives something back. Some may disagree here, and that's ok. There's lots of other stuff to look at. Most of the items listed have no need of religion at all, like caring for others and strengthening social structures. Indeed, religion hinders the latter since it promotes a within-group mentality, treating those outside the group as exactly that- outsiders. And just what the hell is 'Fertility Appreciation'? I mean that. I have no idea what that means. By 'Natural Family Planning', do they mean, like, Catholic Roulette? How is that ethically different from using contraceptives anyhow? The intended end result is the same. One just happens to be better than the other. This just doesn't stand up to any scrutiny. Religion leads to 'Security for Women and Families'? Sure, if women like subservience to the pater familias. This is the 21st century, so please join the rest of us there.

I'm sorry, but the Bible does not have much relevance for today's complex ethical issues. The Bible was written in a time where the word 'technology' simply didn't exist. Indeed, the Bible contains many things (slavery, genocide, rape, etc.) which were acceptable in its time that we revile today. (If you want examples, just go to The Skeptics Annotated Bible.) New moral and ethical values must replace the outdated (and at times frankly vile) model presented by religion. For more reading material I suggest Marc Hauser's Moral Minds or Michael Shermer's The Science of Good & Evil.

Besides, I like dandelion wine.

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