BELIEVING THERE IS A GOD---IS NOT THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM. Even sensible people sometimes suspect or hope there may be intent---even purpose --in the universe---AND NO HARM IS DONE.
BELIEVING THAT GOD SENDS "MESSAGES"----THAT IS THE PROBLEM!
Almost all religions believe that GOD SENDS MESSAGES: In the form of "Holy Books" or Prophets or other "revelations".
THESE "MESSAGES" OFTEN CONFLICT---generating wars, social tension, imposing cruelty, irrationality, racism, and restraining social and scientific progress.
Do I need to prove this to you? (Islam: 4 wives permitted/ Christianity: Only one--at a time)
(Judiaism: God gave Palestine to the Jews//Islam: God gave palestine to Islamist!)
(Islam: Believing that Jesus is God is idolatry---punishable by hell )
(Christianity: not believing that Jesus is God----punishable by hell )
IT IS POSSIBLE TO BELIEVE IN GOD WITHOUT BELIEVING IN "MESSAGES" FROM GOD----It is called DEISM---Its what lots of people believe---Thomas Jefferson for example. (the notion that God created the world and endowed humanity with the wisdom to guide itself.)
BELIEVING THAT GOD SENDS " MESSAGES"--FREEZES/IMPEDES ETHICAL EVOLUTION--Can you see why?--- If God sends books or prophets with messages (and rules)about how we should live---then they are eternally valid, absolute and unchangable. Yet human history proves that ethics slowly evolves--and needs to--as situations change--and as our moral sympathy grows. In just one lifetime we have seen our notions of right and wrong change. ( womens right to vote, sex before marriage, divorce, homosexuality etc)
Over and over---religious believers have to be dragged into the new ethical understanding. (The Mormons having to be "dragged" away from polygamy and racism. The Southern Baptist dragged away from supporting slavery. Catholics being dragged toward birth control--divorce etc. (Today in Malta--the people are voting whether Divorce will be legal---only they and the Philipines still forbid by law) Every religion eventually arrives at a fork in the road where its REVEALED ETHICS is in conflict with good sense and the current FABRIC OF AGREEMENT.
I say it loud and clear: ETHICS IS NOT REVEALED---IT IS MADE-UP/CREATED BY HUMANS--IT GROWS OUT OF OUR RELATIONS WITH ONE ANOTHER--AND IT SLOWLY EVOLVES. ---usually for the better---we are today far more sensitive to the rights and feelings of others than in the past. Holy book ethics---"REVEALED" ETHICS IS A CRUEL OBSTRUCTIVE FORCE. Nowhere is this clearer than in Islamic societies: How long will the civilized world allow fanatical sons-o-bitches to opress women.
RANDY EXPLAINS: There are about 27 major "Holy Books" purporting to tell us--among other things---what is right and wrong---and how best to live our lives. They are all a lie and a trap:
They lie about their authority---people wrote them all---out of their own imagination--and what they tell and prescribe is no more or less valid than human imagination. They have no divine authority!
They trap millions--even billions--into ridiculous belief systems that---inhibit progress--foster cruelties--waste time and resources---clash with each other---distract us from more joyful, interesting lives. Oh please sweet people---read THE END OF FAITH by Sam Harris. It is a work of Genius.
I close (for today) with a list and a promise: A list of some of the "Holy Books"--claiming divine inspiration---and a Promise to complete this essay with my notion of a joyful alternative to believing this---stuff.
The Bible, The Koran, The Bagavad Gita, The Talmud, The Upanishads, The Vedas, The Book Of Mormon, The Urantia Book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, The Avestas of Zarathustra, Kitab-I-Aqdas, Adi-Granth, A Course in Miracles, etc.