I think it is important to make a distinction between atheism and reason. See, one need not be an Atheist to be reasonable. One may even have beliefs that are based in faith rather than reason, but they can at least be reasonable enough to allow others not to. Even if those others are their own family, friends or loved ones.
Reason is something which can help people of all kinds of beliefs to coexist. What could possibly be wrong with allowing others to believe as they will, provided they don’t harm anyone based on those beliefs? Remember, the Bible itself promotes some very violent reactions to those who differ, but many people today see those portions as archaic and abhorrent, which is good.
Many look at religion as something our ancestors needed to bring some kind of order, yet we are now becoming more civilized than our religions require. While I believe that our morality is inherent in us rather than created by religion, for the sake of argument I’ll go with the idea that religion did create some kind of moral framework for society. If that is the case, are we not capable of removing such social training wheels and propelling ourselves forward without them from now on? Isn’t it time to say “Thank you, religion, from what you have taught us. You can go now. We can take it from here.”?
Discarding religion does not mean one has to discard the positive lessons we gained from it. In fact, all good things humans can do can be done with or without it. We now know that, allergies aside, there is no serious danger from eating shellfish or wearing clothing of more than one fabric. Although these things are sins according to the book of Leviticus, modern day Christians do both without any qualms whatsoever. For some reason, most of them reject what the Bible has to say about shellfish and clothing, but still cling to what it says about homosexuality on the very same page.
The irrational hatred of homosexuality notwithstanding, most Christians these days are at least rational enough to know that there’s nothing inherently bad in eating shrimp or lobster, and many of them wear poly-cotton blends. I have yet to hear of any of them performing the animal sacrifice rituals outlined in much of Leviticus. They don’t kill their children if they are unruly. Christian farmers certainly disregard the rules outlined for farming practices. There are many things in the Bible that god explicitly forbids, yet most of today’s Christians do these things without a second thought.
Why? Because there’s no good reason not to. The only reason people ever had for being against these things is “God said so.”
As far as charity is concerned, we can actually improve it if we remove religion. We know that condoms do a great deal to help prevent the spread of AIDS, yet Christian missionaries to this day go to Africa, where there is a terrible and widespread AIDS epidemic and while feeding the people, they tell them that it is wrong to use condoms. One may wonder why they bother feeding them if they’re condemning them to die at the same time. We could do much better by simply feeding and educating these people and encourage condom use so the AIDS epidemic can be brought under control. If an action is unconscionable, it is wrong regardless of what the Bible says.
I can already see the upcoming rebuttal: “What’s Wrong With Reason.” Note the period rather than the question mark. Ah, fleas.
© 2015 William Suphan
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