Talk about adding insult to injury.
If there’s any doubt religion isn’t quite what is used to be, take a look at the dustbin that masquerades as the “book section” at the local Dollar Store, here in Las Vegas.
On this shelf of hopelessly outdated literary antiques you’ll find books about dinosaurs and Ninja turtles. You’ll find 2013 wall calenders (it’s August 2013, right now). You’ll find political memoirs authored by Jimmy Carter. You’ll find a bundle of 2006 World Almanacs. You’ll find strategy books on that old poker chestnut called Seven-Card Stud. But there’s one more book title that may sound familiar.
Amidst this deluge of depression, there’s a glimmering ray of hope for the voice of reason and future of humanity. Check out the plentiful stock of books located right beneath the title Winning Hold’em Poker.
The Holy Bible!
Hundreds of bibles. All gathering dust. Sitting there while housewives scurry back and forth pushing baskets filled with bleach and porn n’ beans.
I want you to think about something.
Aside from your family and friends, who are the people who have meant the most to you in your life?
Take some time on this question. Think about it seriously for a moment.
Try and name those special people. Your answer will reveal a lot about the person you are, and what you value most.
Are the people who have impacted you the most profoundly — writers, artists, and musicians? Are they business leaders? Are they politicians? Are they courageous people who made personal sacrifices so that we could all live better lives? Who precisely has meant the most to you, and more important — why?
Does the imaginary sky daddy known to millions of human beings as “god” have lousy cell phone service?
Apparently, there’s a massive communications breakdown when natural disasters happen. I once thought these cataclysmic horrors — rustic tribulations from the skies above and earth below causing so much destruction, pain, and death — occurred when the celestial orchestrator was away on vacation. Or, taking a day off. Or sleeping. Or taking a shower.
But natural disasters happen far too often. And, too many people are getting hurt. Even dying. Sky daddy can’t be on vacation all the time, can he? He’s not calling in sick that many days. He isn’t sleeping that much every day, otherwise he’d be a cat. And he’s certainly not taking showers this frequently unless that how and why droughts happen.
I’ve come to the epiphany that there can be only one possible explanation, which is this: God is stuck with the lousy AT&T’s multi-year cell phone plan.
“God, can you hear me now?”
Writer’s Note: What follows is my response to Dr. Arthur Reber’s comments posted at his website on Monday, April 29th. To read Dr. Reber’s commentary in full, please click here: “We Can’t Forget Evolution”
Dr. Arthur Reber is correct. We can’t forget evolution. And we won’t.
Yet for all the wit and persuasiveness of Reber’s argument which he terms “a different framework for viewing religion,” he leaps to what I surmize are erroneous conclusions, many of which leave me both unsatisfied and unconvinced.
In his essay, Reber cites compelling (his supporters might insist – irrefutable) evidence from the field of cultural anthropology which suggests all societies — from ancient to contemporary and those in between — have embraced one form of religion or another. He insists by the shear volume of these numbers and the “universality” of religious belief, we “have to acknowledge the powerful role is plays in people’s lives.”
Let’s begin by taking several quotes (hopefully none out of context) from Reber’s thoughtful essay, which I believe warrant additional comment and clarification from quite a different perspective:
1. “….horrible acts can be carried out without a God. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot slaughtered millions under secular banners.”
First. let’s begin with the easiest distortion to refute. Frankly, I’m surprised Reber would allude to gross historical oversimplifications to support his hypothesis on the sometimes vital role religion plays in totalitarianism. Many of the 20th Century’s most evil regimes would never have come to power nor thrived were it not for religion — aided by cooperation with religious authorities as well as the nationalistic and ideological fervor of citizens of faith. Whether it be Mussolini’s outright creation of The Vatican (state) via the Lateran Treaty of 1929 or Hitler signing his infamous Concordat with the Catholic Church in 1937, two of Europe’s most detestable societies weren’t simply enabled by church passivity. In fact, they were bolstered by those who believed in fighting a “Christian cause,” particularly in the struggle against Bolshevism.
Everyone’s an Atheist
We are all atheists.
That’s right. Every single person on earth is an atheist.
Should you doubt this, allow me to prove it to you. Let’s conduct a short trial.
Since mankind first began walking upright, thousands of different gods have been worshiped. From cavemen to astronauts, we’ve prayed to every conceivable object we fail to fully understand — from the sun and stars to animals and ancient myths. Most religions faded away a long time ago. Some belief systems were never even documented. But somehow, hundreds of religions still survive to this day — each with a different concept of what “god” means to its followers.
For the sake of argument, let’s agree on a conservative estimate. Let’s say that 1,000 different gods have existed since the origin of man. The actual number is likely far greater. But we’ll keep this simple.
Here’s my question: Of the 1,000 gods that have been around since history began, how many were truly divine? Go ahead. Take your best guess.
If forced to answer, most people would likely reply — just one. Most people believe in one god. Not two. Not five. Not one hundred. You not only reject 999 alternative gods, you perceive most religions other than your own to be ludicrous. You might even be appalled by the practices of many of these other belief systems.
Well, welcome to the club. By definition, you are an atheist. You thoroughly dismiss the vast majority of mankind’s fictional gods. Accordingly, this now makes the difference between us purely numerical. You reject 999 gods. I reject 1,000.
Wouldn’t this make us far more in agreement than the sum of our differences?