Posted on Feb 23, 2012 by Tom Gilson
A visitor to the True Reason website sent this message via the contact form there. I wrote back and asked permission to re-post it here, and shortly thereafter he posted it as a comment on at least three different web pages here, using the name Richard Harris. (I say “using the name” not because I doubt that’s his name, but because on the Internet one just doesn’t know.) Like all posts from first-time commenters, his comments went into moderation.
As you read this, I’d like you to bear in mind what the True Reason website is all about. Christians are making preparations to attend the atheists’ “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C. We’re not going there with any intent to gather crowds, to disrupt, or to press ourselves upon anyone in any way, but just to talk with people who want to have those conversations. Note, however, that it is a Reason rally, and that many of its organizers have made a point of associating themselves with reason.
Thus it seems reasonable for us to expect all messages from the Reason Rally crowd to adhere to a high standard of reasoned discourse. I think that provides helpful context for what follows here.
Here’s a Hudibrastic verse on woo,
for superstitious folk like you.
The Christian’s Jehovah, an Almighty God,
is a capricious and cantankerous clod;
and, so far as I can tell,
the Christian often is as well.
Confused by dogma, the foolish fogey
can’t fathom the nature of that Bible Bogey.
Is it a father, his son, and a g-g-ghost too?
Well, it should be obvious that’s ridiculous woo.
And Christians claim this god, in its Empyrean lair,
is omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent and fair,
but, with the problem of theodicy,
their dogma is Christian idiocy.
The Jew’s Yahweh, the meshugener, the jerk,
set Jews strict rules on when to work,
how to dress, and what to sup or sip,
and giving baby boys the snip.
The myths of Bronze Age, goat-herding nomads,
have them, metaphorically, by the gonads.
The Moslem’s Allah, a fierce desert djinn,
demands under ‘Islam’, literally, ‘Submission’.
Apostasy is treated just like a crime;
they’ll threaten to kill you, to keep you in line,
and if you dare draw Mohammad in a comic cartoon,
there’ll be riots and killings from here to Khartoum.
Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist,
Zoroastrian, Baha’i, Mormon, and Scientologist,
Confucianist, Shintoist, and Taoist too,
Spiritualist, Wiccan, and the New Ager into woo.
Yea, verily, those of each and every religion,
are mired in the miasma of superstition.
So, why should yours be the one true faith,
in a magic, phantasmagorical wraith?
Belief, without evidence, is just plain crazy,
ignorant, stupid, or thoughtlessly lazy.
When evolution happens, it’s due to Natural Selection,
and life derives no purpose, at a theistic god’s direction.
Religion is dangerous, but it’s socially sanctioned to such an extent that the dangers are mostly overlooked. If someone has a problem to solve, they need correct information to help them come to a good answer. And so it is with life, & seeking what Aristotle called eudaemonia, or human flourishing. Religion, being false, is bound to provide wrong answers, (except in the ‘trivial’ sense that it provides social cohesion to members of its various in-groups). Without the attempts at social engineering made by religion operating in the public sphere, society could discuss & implement democratically sanctioned ethics & mores.
Richard wanted his message to be made public here. I’m happy to oblige, in light of the above-mentioned context. I suggest we discuss this in light of whether it meets an acceptable standard of reasonable discourse: attention to empirical evidences concerning Christian belief, for example; or care in the use of ambiguous language (“religion is dangerous”).