There’s a study that shows that societies that are mostly religious do worse in a number of key indicators of social “well-being”. For instance:
The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: “Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.
“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.
“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”
The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.
Why then, despite the craziness you find in the Christian Bible (incest, stuff about penises and poop, etc.), and in all sorts of other religions (e.g. Mormons believing they’ll become gods themselves, Islamic violence against cartoonists, Scientology as a whole), do people consider you to be somehow less of a person for daring to not believe in anything in particular? As though one has to pick a deity to follow, no matter which one, before they’re considered fully-functional members of society?
For the mere treasonous, egregious, dastardly act of not believing in some deity or another, we are somehow subhuman, because the very fact that we are hard-wired for superstition is somehow a proof that there must be a god out there? And naturally, it always means that the god in question must de facto be the god that the arguer believes in — but that’s purely coincidence.
Part of the problem is that theism is an emotionally derived conclusion, not one that one comes to rationally. First you have to have faith, and you have to internalize the concept of a particular god, to the point where you can’t imagine people who don’t have this deep personal relationship with this fictional, invisible man who, incidentally, never communicates with you, ever, except when you decide that natural events must have had divine providence. Then, once you’ve built up this invisible magical deity to such a degree, you can start trying to logically prove his existence if you so choose (like some of the more pernicious proselytizers we’ve come across on the interwebs), though the vast majority prefer to merely consider the matter settled, content to accept their sheepdom, and move on to working on their real life instead. Some might say they’re enlightened by just picking something to believe and getting on with living, but I’m a completist. I always have been, I always will be. I cannot be satisfied with facile answers when real answers lie just outside of our grasp.
The method by which theism is spread and inculcated and incubated in new recruits is heavily reflected in the arguments against atheism — that atheists must be broken, we must not know the love of that invisible magical deity, that we must worship science since life without worship is obviously an impossibility. We are made to be the “other”, and we are kept from positions of power or trust because of it. We are told that we are not only sinful, but that we wish to be atheists because we want to sin all the time. That we have no morals, no capacity for love. That we’re less than human.
Seriously, does anybody ever cry at an Atheist’s funeral?
I mean, since Atheists have no value whatsoever as human beings (they’re not even human, but only inhuman animals), since Atheists are nothing but miserable Liars, Cowards and Murderers, after all, why would anybody in their right mind weep over the dead rotting corpse, or bone chips and ashes (that get mixed together with those of others from the crematory) of a worthless dead Atheist?
And what epitaph do you engrave on an Atheist’s grave marker? “Here lies the only good Atheist, which is a dead Atheist”. What else is there say? Nothing at all. No last words, no last rites, no flowers, no anything.
Every time an Atheist dies, the world is better off as a result of that dead Atheist being dead, & its damned God-forsaken soul burning in the fiery pits of Hades. :)
Which begs another related question, do Atheists cry at funerals? If so, why? Since Atheists hate God, and they hate Family, and they hate Country, who are they crying for? It is true: The only good Atheist is a dead Atheist.
Daniel Joseph Min, alt.atheism [2007-Jan-07]
I think the reason we’re seeing so many new and spurious allegations against us all over the intertubes is that the tide is finally turning in America. As the internet is global, it’s having far-reaching repercussions, and it’s allowing people of similar minds from disparate countries to connect and befriend one another and buttress one another’s lives against the inexorable harm that comes from inaction and silence in the face of a domineering majority. People are breaking free from their shackles and warning against the insidious creeping nature of the religions they once fervently believed. Atheists are coming out in hopes that they might reach others who are too scared to come out themselves and tell them, “it’s okay to doubt the veracity of an idea presented without evidence, it’s okay to fight back when people tell you you’re evil or sinful or broken.”
And yet, the religious will, time and again, claim monopoly on some high ground or another — whether morality, popularity, or even just pragmatic claims that society runs better under religion. And when they’re confronted, whether by facts or by logic or even by emotional appeals for empathy, they’ll cry foul — claim we’re being strident, militant, or shrill. The religious cries for more respect, while bolstered by the actions of people like Chris Mooney who insist that atheists shut up and sit down, are thankfully going unheeded while the respect that religion has taken by the sword is being squandered, and the foundation on which their cities of gold sit, crumble under the weight of the lies and their own sins against humanity.
You see, respect is earned. And now that we’re waking up, now that we are opening our eyes, and realizing that we’re not alone against the behemoth of religious fervour, we’re doing what we can to earn ours.