Why do people believe in a non-existent Abrahamic God?

From Gezza:


Everybody knows that in various parts of the world there have been cruelties, multiple murders, mass executions, mass shootings, beheadings, suicide bombings, sectarian killings – all carried out by fanatical followers of what is usually claimed to be severe, but utterly perverted, versions of Islam.

And they know that by far the most of their victims have been Muslims, often members of other sects, or innocent people who, for example, just happened to be there, or passing by, when an IED went off.

But many victims in the recent past have been Westerners – Christians, Jews, people of other faiths, or no religious faith. And these attack & victims often seem to attract far more attention in Western media than the multiple murders of so many other victims of the constantly currently ongoing Islamic extremist terrorist attacks & in Africa, Afghanistan, & some Middle Eastern countries, to name a few.

Many Christians & their leaders, as well as what are frequently called, these days, moderate or ordinary Muslims, claim that this is not Islam. This is not what Allah, who communicated the Quran, through the angel Gabriel, to Muhammad, & thereafter, to all believers, ever intended to happen. That these murderers, like the Christchurch mass murderer are deluded, dreadfully misguided, or just simply plain evil.

Christians & Jews & Muslims, however, all believe that their own version of the same, sole, & only Creator God, Jaweh is the true & correct one.

And, they also believe all sorts of patently untrue claims about them, including that, as God, each one – the same one in some form or other – has communicated with ancient, bronze age, iron age, & medieval age, scientifically & educationally ignorant, goat herders, shepherds, song writers, wandering prophets, kings, warriors, warlords, a Merchant Camel Caravan trader – & god knows who else (so to speak).

Communicated in all sorts of diverse ways, nearly all of them, in my view, ridiculous. To tell them how the world, and they, were created. And what this non-existent, mythical God expects, & wanted – and still wants – them to do.

Creating also phantasmal places of eternal punishment – to scare them into obeying its sometimes cruel & bizarre, originating-culture-driven, rules & commands. And creating equally unbelievable temptations of a rapturous reward in a veritable heaven on earth-type utopia after death, or at the forthcoming (completely imaginary) Last Day, the Day of Judgement, if they do so.

Throughout history, at many places & various times, all, or many of the believers in, and followers of:

The Israelites’ Jaweh – the original, Old Testament model (sticking with this spelling, for simplicity) the Jewish God

and

The Christians’ Father (Jaweh), his Son, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit entity – who popped up in the New Testament along with Jesus – the mythical 3-in-1 God; the Trinity – version 2, new & improved

and

The Muslims’ Allah, who instructed Muhammad about everything humans needed to know that mattered, & corrected all the misinterpretations & misrepresentations that had happened with the Jews & Christians over time such that they had now got his messages & information about “life, the universe, & everything” – including his requirements for humans – all screwed up

have carried out, sanctioned, or just ignored or not cared about, countless outrages, cruelties, killings, invasions, repressions, inquisitions, tortures, & resistances to reason or knowledge, by their fellow believers or leaders – simply because they, incredibly, actually believe in the existence & claimed supernatural abilities, & loving, beneficent nature of this bizarre, contradictory, confusing, confused, failure of a god; this non-existent entity.

For God’s sake! WHY?

There is NO convincing, reasoned, logical proof or actual tangible, physical evidence this god even exists. None.

They are claiming something exists that is invisible & empirically indemonstrable, & that it has wonderful properties, that it has given advice, wisdom, knowledge & ultimate rules to humans – that the very holy books & other scriptures these believers use to promote these myths as a viable theory – plus history, plus science, plus simple logic, & observation – all, clearly, utterly disprove.

Why is this “thing” needed? What on earth makes people believe in it?

Is it fear? Are they just afraid that, when they die, that’s the end of their existence? Do they need to believe there’s a way their being, their essence, personality,  consciousness, their “soul” (i.e. they) will live forever?

Are they driven by a psychological need to believe they will one day be everlastingly perfect, & see their dead loved ones, also perfect, again?

Are they convinced that without fear of a post-mortem everlasting punishment, and/or the expectation of a rapturous paradise for believing & obeying – they’d be bad, cruel, horrible, uncharitable, uncaring people, & so will everyone else?

Do they need to believe bad, evil people will one day get sentenced to everlasting torment as punishment? That “too bad, the bastards bloody deserve it – and more !”

Are their current lives miserable ones, & they can’t for some reason expect or act to change them? Is accepting their poor lot as “God’s will” making it something that can be endured more easily, because they really think there’s a mythical paradise, a beautiful, better, everlasting life – with no fears, no worries, just pleasure, satisfaction, peace, calm, no stress, no unmet needs at all to come, one day?

Are they just scared that, despite all the things we have now learnt about how the universe, the earth, plants, animals, humans – the real world, really work – there are so  many, many things we still don’t know? Can they not live with not knowing, but that it doesn’t matter?

I was raised a Christian. It’s the religion I know the most about & have read & thought & debated & argued the most about. I don’t know whether there is a single, sole creator of the universe, but I see no evidence that, if there is one, it has ANY interest in actively intervening in the operation of the Cosmos, or in human affairs, or that it has ever done so.

I know lots of people – apparently rational, sane, educated, knowledgeable, intelligent people – still believe in it. And that at least as many of the same kind of intelligent people, (maybe, hopefully, now a lot more) don’t.

I can say that I have NEVER, EVER seen ANY irrefutable, empirical evidence, or ANY convincing hint of evidence, or any truly convincing argument that the Abrahamic God does, really, actually exist.  Only tortuous attempts at arguing that it does, from the start point of doggedly-committed, already-believing followers, that it does, trying to think up & argue any thing they can to justify already believing in something that’s clearly not even there.

So, I often wonder why some people need to believe it exists? What does it do for them? What need does it meet that the rest of us who know it’s a myth don’t have?

Interested to hear from anyone what they think, and why?


This post has been added to the Your NZ menu for easy access. If there is continued interest in this it may be continued, or there may be further linked posts.

This post and discussion may be confronting for some people – if you don’t like your religious beliefs challenged then it may not be for you.

The usual rules on decent debate and no abuse apply – this is a debate on the concepts of gods and religion, and is not an opportunity for free shots at specific groups of religious followers. Comments that I think are inappropriate may be edited or deleted.

PG

PRAYER FROM AN ATHEIST

Guest post from Gezza

The only way to cure Islam’s ills is to educate Muslims out of believing the Quran. To do that, you also have to educate the Jews out of believing the Torah & the Christians out of believing the Bible.

All of them derive their basis for belief from the first scribblings of unbelievable myth & bullshit in the Jewish Scriptures, & all are demonstrably false.

All of them, & all other supernatural religions, have become interwoven over centuries into the ethnic, cultural & national identities of scores of religious sects & diverse peoples throughout the globe. They have driven land grabs, wars and strife for eons. False beliefs taught to ignorant people of long bygone ages still lie at the very heart of most of the worst tensions & strife between nations & ethnic groups & cultures around the world today.

Of them all, Christianity, while influential in the development of the better aspects of Western civilisation, especially over the last century, has probably reduced the most in direct influence on Westerners, as secular morality has developed & improved on the limits of the so-called 10 commandments, & the Golden Rule. (Even the Golden Rule is reportedly actually quite common to many religions & societies around the globe, or at least between believers or members of the same group.)

Christians forget that making slaves of people from other nations is still sanctioned by God (& Jesus never countermanded Mosaic Law) in the Bible. It is time people looked at the Torah, the Bible and the Quran only as important historical Books.

The Bible played an undoubtedly important part in the development of Western Civilisation & law, but, when you put the pastor outside, clear your mind of the reinterpretations you’ve been fed by the priestly class, & simply read it plainly, end to end, it is instantly revealed, self-evidently, as merely a collection of 3rd 4th & 5th hand scribblings about historically unsupportable superstitions, myths, magic, & logical & scientific nonsense.

It is the story of a savage, jealous, vengeful, murderous, infanticidal, rape & slavery-condoning God who Christians still say – notwithstanding that he ordered and /or committed these heinous acts – MUST be good! Because he is God. And God is good. So he must have had a good reason for such horrific cruelty & immorality. This is just bizarre. Truly daft that anyone can try to rationalise it with pathetic defences about relative morality meaning it was good behaviour from Jaweh for those times, but it’s not now.

Modern, secular society Christians, as empathetic, intelligent, social, human beings whose ideas of morality have now gone well beyond the Bible’s, would NEVER willingly choose to do these horrible things to other people. With the blinkers of highly selective Christian teachings off – the Judeo-Christian God’s actions & commands are actually evil by today’s standards. Jaweh orders the Israelites to commit murder, genocide, rape, infanticide for heaven’s sake. If he came to earth today, he’d literally be in the dock for crimes against humanity!

The same, & new, maybe worse, errors, horrors, pointless, repressive, oppressive, conflicting, bloodthirsty, outdated regulations, bad science, teachings, & beliefs of superiority over others, dictated by a middle-aged Arab warlord, are set out in the Quran & Hadith that Muslims are forced by their theocratic rulers and family & social pressures to believe & take with them wherever they go.

I don’t hate these religions, per se, but I know beyond any reasonable doubt they are false & well out-of-date.

And I DO hate how the contortions & distortions of these ludicrous scripts can be twisted in the minds of gullible believers, who suspend their rationality, & listen when imams & pastors tell them these clusters of confused crap mean something totally different to what they actually say – really, only out of the instilled fear of everlasting torture if they don’t believe it, or the need of desperate or fearful people to call on some hoped-for divine universal power to help them deal with adversity in their daily lives, and give them vain hope of some vague glorious reward of everlasting life & happiness in a hereafter beyond their inevitable expiry date on this earth.

There is NO actual evidence of any such thing. You won’t be seeing your pet dog or the roast lamb you ate for lunch in Heaven either. (Well, I’m an agnostic really. I can’t absolutely guarantee that there is no more existence for our personalities beyond this earthly lifetime, but it’s such a remote possibility that the probability of our death being our complete end of existence would be well in excess of 99.99999%. And it’s an absolute certainty, in my opinion, that in the unlikely event I’m wrong, any existence beyond our earthly one would not be anything like what’s promised in any of these dreadful Holy Books.)

In my view, all children should be given a secular education. They should be taught, first, written language & mathematics, then logic & reasoning, & science, & then told to forget their preachers, & their parents’ beliefs, & be instructed to just read these Holy texts, without reinterpretation, from start to finish. If, by the end, they haven’t figured out:

“WTF? Who can seriously take this garbled rubbish recited to ancient sheep herders & camel drivers as divinely inspired instructions to humanity?”

they should then learn the history of the people who, it is claimed, wrote them, and of how they spread their religions, and warred over them.

That would, hopefully, be the end of the religions, & when their believing parents finally pass away, they could just bury them respectfully, & then just put their Holy Books on the shelves in the Great Myths & History sections of libraries, & focus on establishing or evolving the fairest & most tolerant sets of values, ethics & laws that fit their own ethnic cultures & customs, settle their border squabbles, & renew good relationships with other people & cultures who live in this world – without this bloody religious dogma continually overpowering their reason & humanity & pitting devout, deluded believers & their descendents forever against each other.

Value your separate customs of dress & hospitality, & languages, & other delineators of your cultural & national identities & borders. Live freely in the places your cultures now belong, or have belonged for centuries, & welcome visitors from different lands who respect your customs while there.

If you move to another place, adapt to their culture. If eventually, in the future, we can all meld together with common evolved values & customs & laws & behaviours, so that borders can effectively disappear, there is maybe hope for a true paradise on earth – but that is a long, long way away yet, in my view.

In the meantime, for heaven’s sake, please, read, THINK, & then throw out all the false Gods that tell you you are a special & favoured people, & that all the other gods & their deluded believers are wrong! Humanity MUST outgrow these mythical supernatural rulers if we are ever to evolve the kind of world we really want.

We need to learn to love & live the life we have to the full. It is the only one we have. We need to grow up & face this fact. It is time for us to put away these childish fairy & troll kings – & become better than them.

R14 restriction on Bible

From Stuff: Andrew Gunn: Family First now wants to restrict the Bible

BibleR14

Reading the whole thing has been quite a revelation.

Lobby group Family First today announced a campaign to restrict the Bible to those over the age 14, stating that the much-loved and highly-regarded best-seller was likely to cause lasting psychological damage to younger readers.

Speaking from atop a high horse perched on a soapbox resting on the moral high ground outside Family First headquarters, spokesman Gordon Prim described the Bible as a “catalogue of debauchery” and a “user-guide to humanity’s darkest impulses”.

Mr Prim explained that while Family First had in the past referred to biblical values, it was only when members sat down and read the Bible cover-to-cover that they were shocked to discover its prurient content.

“This book gets off to a sordid start involving hot sex in an alfresco setting,” Mr Prim said, “and within pages one brother is murdering another in a fit of jealous rage.

“Even a cursory thumb-through reveals depictions of genocide, violence, idolatry, fornication, and a practice known as “coveting your neighbour’s ass” which I haven’t yet got to the bottom of but fully intend to google.

More laughs at http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/71855126/andrew-gunn-family-first-now-wants-to-restrict-the-bible

Religion, science, charter schools and John Banks

Stuff reports on School faith plan raises doubts. It certainly raises doubts about religious versus science education.

The philosophy, used at other Christian schools, encourages every subject to be taught so students discover how God made the world, and upholds and governs it.

Science and culture modules are taught to equip students to recognise what the In God’s World document calls the wonder of God’s creation, and that God is the God of history.

This deserves repeating: “encourages every subject to be taught so students discover how God made the world”.

How can they teach science so students ‘discover’ that?

It also raises questions about the potential for John Banks’ religious beliefs and his (non) scientitific beliefs to flavour his approach to charter schools and faith based education.

Education Minister Hekia Parata would not comment, but associate minister John Banks said the ministry had received a lot of correspondence, including complaints about public funding of faith-based education.

He would not comment on the trust’s charter plans.

Banks recently revealed in a Radio Rhema interview:

Banks: I believe Bible’s account of how life began

Associate Education Minister John Banks says he believes the Genesis account of the start of life on Earth.

According to the Bible, God made the world in six days, with Adam and Eve being his last act of creation.

John Banks told Radio Rhema that he has no doubts the first chapters of Genesis are true.

While I’m puzzled why in this day and age people would still believe in things that are demonstrably disproven by science Bank’s faith is his own business – as long as it doesn’t affect his decisions as an MP.

John Banks should make it clear he keeps his beliefs separate from his charter schools crusade.

What is marriage?

It is most often defined as a union between two people, but it depends on how marriage is defined culturally and legally in any modern country.

mar·riage

noun 1.

a. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. Antonyms: separation.

b. a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage.

etc

There are religious claims to marriage, like…

…marriage, as a word, is a religious activity (controlled by the church) which has subsequently been made a civil activity (controlled by the State).

My ‘solution’ is to define all legal unions as XXXXX and reserve the term marriage for those legal unions which are conducted in accordance with a church’s rules. So, every husband and wife would be legally joined, but only those legally joined in a church ceremony would be ‘married’.

Many would dispute that religious groups have exclusive ownership to ‘marriage’ as a single religious entity.

Marriage types mentioned in the Bible:

1. Man + Woman (Nuclear Family) – Genesis 2:24
– wives subordinate to husbands
– interfaith marriages forbidden
– marriages generally arranged
– bride who could not prove virginity was stoned to death

2. Man + Wife + Concubines
– Abraham 2, Solomon 300

3. Man + Woman + Woman’s property
– man could acquire wife’s property including slaves

4. Man + Woman + Woman + Woman… – (Polygany) Genesis 16
– Esau 3, David many, Abijah 14, Solomon 700

5. Man + Brother’s Widow (Leviterate) – Genesis 38:6-10
– woman who had not borne a son required to marry her brother-in-law
– must submit sexually to her new husband

6. Rapist + Victim – Deuteronomy 22:28-29
– virgin who is raped must marry her rapist
– rapist must pay victim’s father 50 shekels of silver for property loss

7. Soldier + Prisoner of War – Numbers 31:1-18, Deuteronomy 21:11-14
– under Moses’ command Israelites must kill every Midianite man, woman and child except for virgin girls who are taken as spoils of war
– wives must submit sexually to their new owners

8. Male Slave + Female Slave – Exodus 21:4
– slave owner could assign female slaves to his male slaves
– female slaves must submit sexually to their husbands

Claims that marriage is a cultural practice that must not be tampered with are contradicted by many variations in marriage over time. Marriage has varied and evolved for millenia, and now means different things to different cultures and to different people within cultures.

Marriage variations over history

Variations of marriage over time according to Religious Tolerance:

Marriage has been an amazingly flexible institution. It is and has been in a continuous state of flux. At various eras and locations:

It has been a purely secular ceremony. It has been a deeply religious ritual.
It has been regarded as a life-long commitment. It has been a temporary handfasting which expired after a year-and-a-day.
It has symbolized the transfer of the near absolute ownership and control of a woman from her father to her husband. It has recognized the relationship of two independent individuals, who enter marriage as equals.
In the past, marriages have been restricted to two persons in some cultures, and more than two in others. In the Bible, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. In predominately Christian countries, marriages have been limited to two persons. In predominately Muslim countries, polygyny is occasionally practiced. This is a form of polygamy with one man and up to four wives. Polygyny is practiced among fundamentalist Mormon denominations in Utah, and British Columbia, where it is illegal but rarely prosecuted .
In the past, some African-Americans and inter-racial couples have not been permitted to marry. Currently, with few exceptions based on genetics or familial relationships, any opposite-sex couple, no matter what their race, can marry.
In the past, only opposite-sex couples were permitted to marry. Same-sex couples can now marry in a growing number of jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, a few other states, including Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, etc.
In the past, over 1,400 rights and privileges have been restricted to heterosexual married couples in most states of the U.S.. Committed gay and lesbian couples can now get about 400 rights and privileges in the District of Columbia and a growing number of states where they are allowed to marry. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOAM) denies them federal rights and privileges of marriage. They receive full marital benefits in Canada.

More…

History of marriage

The history of marriage dates back as far as the ancient times. Studies revealed that marriage didn’t exist before. The usual practice was that the men in a certain tribe or horde had access to the women they like. When children are born, they belonged to the whole community. This is associated with the perception that humans want sexual variety. However, things have changed when sexual morality was developed and has since influenced the social life of the people.

The earliest marriage was believed to be ‘group marriage’. The union was basically between groups of men and women, and there exists shared sexual relations. The group marriage allowed polyandry, and this existed in Ceylon, India, and Tibet many years ago.

The origin of marriage is a great debate subject. Many people are wondering how marriage began. There have been studies that claim the existence of marriage 4,350 years ago. Before this time, families were made up of less organized groups consisting of more or less than thirty people. The group consisted of men that shared women. With the introduction of agricultural civilization, the society demanded for stable arrangements.

It is said that the first union between a man and a woman took place in Mesopotamia at 2350 BC. Marriage evolved since then and such practice was observed by the Romans, Greeks, and Hebrews. However, the union was never about love or religion. The primary purpose of the marriage is to ensure that the man’s children are biologically his, and so women were treated as mere ‘property’.

Wives were expected to stay at home and attend to the children, as well as house chores. A husband can give back his wife if she is unable to produce children. The ancient people also turned to prostitutes, concubines, or male lovers to satisfy their needs for sexual variety.

More…