Every year millions of baby boys around the world have the foreskin of their penis surgically removed in a procedure called circumcision. This surgery is almost never necessary. It’s purely cosmetic, and it’s done at the request of the parents. The baby has no input, no choice and doesn’t even know it’s happening. Every year hundreds of children die from infections following a circumcision or are permanently deformed from failed operations. There have even been cases where boys survived complications but lost their penis and were raised as girls causing them deep-rooted confusion and anxiety which often led to suicide.
Why do so many boys have their genitals mutilated during infancy? The main reason this practice ever caught on and became so widespread is because Judaism and Christianity caught on and became widespread. Those two religions assert that the following words were dictated by the creator of the universe, and says:
“Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Genesis 17:9-14
So according to the book of Genesis, the creator of the universe demanded that all baby boys have their genitals mutilated, otherwise they would be cut off from His people for breaking His one-sided arrangement with humanity. It’s also worth drawing attention to the fact that verses 12 and 13 approve of slavery.
The book of Genesis doesn’t command that female children should have to suffer genital mutilation, but according to Deuteronomy 22:13-28, their burden in the covenant God made with humanity is that they have to submit to being sold into slavery by their fathers.
If it sounds odd to you that an all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, infinitely-intelligent being would request that baby boys have their genitals mutilated and girls be sold into slavery, then consider this alternative explanation: The Bible isn’t the word of God. It’s one of thousands of primitive mythologies our ancestors invented to explain things they didn’t understand and justify their existing culture.
Even if you hold firm that the Bible is the word of God, you would still never even consider the idea of selling your daughter into slavery regardless of what it says in Deuteronomy 22:13-28. Social Darwinism killed that cultural practice long ago and for obvious reasons. Every modern suburbanite has moved on from believing in something as barbaric as selling our daughters into slavery… yet we’re still holding onto the practice of mutilating our sons’ penises.
When you put aside supernatural justifications for mutilating baby boys’ penises, there are very few practical justifications left and none that stand the test of logical scrutiny. Some people say circumcised penises look better. That’s a matter of opinion, and one human being’s opinion doesn’t supersede another human being’s right to their body. It would be unconscionable to dictate that women should have her labia cut off because someone else thought it would be nice; if that’s true then it’s equally unconscionable for a baby boy to have his foreskin cut off at another person’s whim.
It has also been argued that it’s healthier for boys to have their foreskin removed because it prevents the risk of grime getting trapped in the groin area and becoming infected. This argument is weak for two reasons. First, if your lifestyle is so unsanitary that you’re not washing your penis, you were going to get an infection or worse somewhere anyway.
Second, it’s unlikely that the foreskin of the penis was a design flaw that requires human intervention to correct. The more you know about how the human body is designed the more it will amaze you. It’s so well designed that many people cite its miraculous complexity and efficiency as evidence that God exists. Regardless of whether or not God exists, the chances of the foreskin being a design flaw is slim to none.
To this, you might say, “God does exist. His name is Yahweh, and He divinely inspired the Bible. I may not understand why the creator of the universe would want us to mutilate our sons’ penises, but it’s not my place to question God. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
To that I would say, then why don’t you demand that your politicians pass a law reflecting what God commanded in Leviticus 19:20-22, which says that whenever a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man, he must sacrifice a ram at the entrance to the local elders’ tent to make amends for his crime?
No sane, rational person would literally expect men who have sex with unwed slaves to have to sacrifice a ram at the entrance to their civic/religious leaders’ tent as penance. Atheists, agnostics and most Christians have already stopped accepting this because we know that God didn’t command it; it’s a barbaric concept that could only have been imagined by primitive tribesmen who believed in mythology. The same is true for male circumcision. It always has been and always will be. That’s why it’s long past time to stop mutilating baby boys’ genitals. Men’s penises aren’t broken, and fixing what isn’t broken only destroys it.
While Christianity wasn’t the sole catalyst for the Holocaust, there is no doubt in my mind that Christianity set the stage for the Holocaust to happen to the extent that the Holocaust couldn’t have happened without Christianity.
1: Christianity financially and emotionally oppressed Germans leading up to WWII.
Churches exploited German Christians financially by requiring tithes, encouraging donations, selling indulgences and charging fees for breaking moral laws. This siphoned off much-needed income from the poor and gave it to the aristocracy of the Christian theocracy. Not only did this hurt the poor’s chances of living well in the present, but that lost income couldn’t be saved, invested or passed on to future generations. So over the course of several generations, the consequences of lost income compounded.
The church mentally abused the German populace by forbidding behavior that deviated from Church doctrine. People were put in the stocks for gossiping, ostracized for adultery and killed for witchcraft. If you go to any medieval torture museum in Germany today, most of the instruments of misery were used by the state to enforce Biblical morality. Medieval Germany under Christian rule was like Saudi Arabia is today under Islam. Everyone was forced to walk the line, and punishment for deviation was harsh.
2: Christianity was culturally oppressive to the Jews but economically favorable to them.
In the eyes of the Christian church, Jews were heretics and Jesus-killers. Since they rejected the teachings of salvation, they deserved to go to Hell. As a result, the good Christians ostracized them and forced them to form tight-knit, insular communities with other Jews.
Ostracizing the Jews taught them to be frugal and save their money for hard times to come. It also meant Jews had close business relationships with each other and could count on one another for financial support.
At the same time, Christianity practically handed the banking industry to the Jewish community. The New Testament forbid charging interest on loans. Since Christians couldn’t charge interest, they had no incentive to open banks. People still needed loans though. So the Jews stepped in and filled the need. Once the Jews had their hand in the financial sector, then money beget money, and the income gap between Jews and Christians grew.
3: Hitler hijacked German Christians’ existing prejudice towards Jews.
Your average Christians living in Germany saw they were the “have-nots” and the Jews were the “haves,” but they didn’t understand why. They just thought Jews were Jesus-killing, heretic, big-nose, stingy thieves… because that’s how the church had always taught Christians to see the Jews. Anti-Jew riots occurred in Germany well before World War II because Christianity had already established a well-defined environment for distrust, resentment, and hate.
After World War I, life in Germany was even more destitute for poor Christians than ever. Of course, the church didn’t open it coffers and give back all the money it had been taking from the poor for generations. So the masses stayed poor and disgruntled while the Jews kept getting richer.
That’s when Hitler stepped in and said, “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator by defending myself against the Jew. I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
Hitler merely played on the prejudices created by Christianity to blame the problems that were largely created by Christianity, on the Jews. Thus, Christianity played a central role in setting the stage for the Holocaust.
Dan Carthy, COO of the American fast-food restaurant, Chick-Fil-A recently reconfirmed that the company opposes same-sex marriages. This led several American mayors to respond by saying that new Chick-Fil-A restaurants weren’t welcome in their cities. This led Fox News employee and controversy profiteer, Mike Huckabee to coordinate a Chick-Fil-A appreciation day on August 1st, 2012 in which conservative Americans were encouraged to buy fast food from Chick-Fil-A to show that they support free speech and the sanctity of traditional marriage. The publicity stunt was so successful that Chick-Fil-A broke its sales records that day.
This was a hollow victory for America. August 1st, 2012 will be remembered as a dark day in American history for several solid reasons. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter what your reasons are for opposing gay marriage. It doesn’t matter how good they sound on paper. If you prevent another human being from having the same rights as you then you oppose equal rights. “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” was nothing more than “Inequality Appreciation Day.” Americans turned out in droves on August 1st to celebrate their opposition to equality. That’s not something to be proud of. That’s shameful. This is how “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” looks to the rest of the world:
That’s a hollow victory, made even more hollow by the fact that it was a response to American mayors stating that Chick-Fil-A would not be welcome in their cities. That’s not a threat that any American mayor could (or would) have ever actually followed through on. The comments of those mayors were merely publicity stunts that put their names and faces on international news in an attempt to win liberal voters, but there was no liberal conspiracy behind their remarks. Their remarks weren’t proof that liberals are oppressing conservatives. The only people who have, are and will be oppressed throughout this whole ordeal are homosexuals, and it’s conservatives who are doing the oppressing. The ignorant threats made by these mayors only prove one thing: that the America’s political election system is so flawed that it allows ignorant people to be elected to positions of incredible power, and the three primary qualifications one needs in order to win these jobs are money, charisma, and lack of integrity. This whole Chick-Fil-A debacle should have rallied conservatives around the cause of election reform. Instead, conservatives are ignoring the root of the problem and fighting a phantom war against a liberal conspiracy that doesn’t exist at the expense of homosexuals…or as I like to call them, “human beings.” Nobody should be congratulating themselves for this.
Conservatives may have won a battle in their minds, but they’ve lost the war. If the war is to preserve the sanctity of Biblical teachings, then conservative America surrendered centuries ago. Americans are just pretending to be Christians. I hate pointing out the obvious, but apparently, it needs to be done. So let’s look at some quotes from the Bible:
Genesis 3:16- “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
Genesis 4:19- And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
Genesis 26: 34- And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.
Genesis 32:22- And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women slaves, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
Exodus 21:2-27 These are the laws you are to set before them:If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him.If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free, then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life. If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter.If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money. Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate. But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death. Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death. Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession. Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property. If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.
Exodus 22:25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
Exodus 35:2-3- Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the lord: whoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”
1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Mark 2:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (This is saying divorce is supposed to be illegal.)
Leviticus 19: 20 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to a husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.
Matthew 7:1-4 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I could go on, but this is enough to get the point across. American Christians already violate the sanctity of marriage, polygamy, slavery, interest-free loans, chauvinism, the Sabbath, and even clothing. Yet you draw the line at homosexuality. Why? When you break every other rule in the Bible, why bother putting your foot down on this one issue? You’re already going to hell yourself.
Actually, that’s not true. Read back through these passages from the Bible that I’ve quoted. Do these things sound like commandments that the creator of the universe would really give people? Or do they sound more like cultural standards primitive tribesmen wrote down after they were already being practiced and the authors just gave credit to God after the fact so these civil laws would have unquestionable authority backing them up?
Face it, Christianity is mythology. Cherry picking Christian doctrine and legally oppressing other people (in violation of the principle of separation of church and state) isn’t doing God’s work. It’s merely cherry picking and preserving an obsolete, primitive culture’s misunderstandings and lies. Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day wasn’t a victory for family values or spiritual righteousness. It was a victory for mythology. It was a victory for upholding beliefs that aren’t true. Believing in something that isn’t true is insanity. Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was literally a victory for insanity. That’s not cause to celebrate. That’s cause to be afraid.
If you’re a conservative American and you’ve read this far, I don’t expect anything I’ve said will overturn your beliefs. So if you don’t take anything else away from this post, focus on this one fact: If conservative America spent half as much time and money on advocating electoral reform and anti-corruption legislation as it does oppressing minorities we could actually live in a safer, healthier, more prosperous world, but don’t you ever expect the world to get any better as long as oppression is the only cause that gets you off the couch and the farthest it gets you is the nearest fast food restaurant.
It’s time to stop celebrating Christmas. It’s a ridiculous holiday, and it does more harm than good. Christmas was originally a Pagan holiday that celebrated the winter solstice, but 300 years after Jesus’s death, the Roman Christian theocrats made up a lie that Jesus was born on the winter solstice to steal the appeal of the celebration and undermine their competition. It’s one mythology telling a lie to undermine another mythology.
In the 1920’s marketers working for Coca~Cola invented the modern version of Santa Clause in order to co-op the grandeur of Christmas from the Christians and use it to indoctrinate gross consumerism into children, which is a distinctly un-Christian and un-Pagan practice. So Christmas is a celebration of irresponsibility, lies, and mythology. This holiday is an exercise in, and a celebration of, insanity.
Humanity is smart enough to lay this obsolete holiday to rest and move on. I suggest we replace Christmas with a new holiday called, “Just Help Someone Day.” You don’t kill a coniferous tree or spoil your children on Just Help Someone Day. You don’t dress up like a Pagan monster. You don’t put up lights or lawn decorations. You just go help somebody. The reason you celebrate Just Help Somebody Day is because it’s rational and empathetic. It’s what you should be doing anyway. If you simply must have presents and festive traditions then we could have Present Day, Hot Chocolate Day or Silly Hats Day. Let’s just celebrate life without pretending to believe in mythology and lies.
If we keep raising kids on absurd, irresponsible, anti-intellectual traditions they’ll keep living in a warped reality and acting accordingly foolish. If we get kids used to thinking critically and helping people, maybe they’ll retain those cultural practices into adulthood and pass them on to their kids. First, we have to raise the bar and stop celebrating Christmas.
Easter is a holiday that honors a Jewish zombie rising from the dead after being brutally mutilated, and the way we celebrate this macabre event is by having children search for painted eggs that were hidden by a Pagan rabbit. None of that makes any sense.
Sanity is defined, “having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense.” There’s nothing sane about Easter, and when children see adults putting so much effort into doing insane things, it teaches children that insanity is the norm. That’s no way to go through life, but that’s how we raise children. We condition them to believe in and defend irrationality by raising them on irrationality.
Parents may defend telling their children outright lies by saying it’s all in good fun and that kids know the difference between fantasy and reality anyway. But why set up your children to have to spend a single minute of their childhood trying to figure out when their guardians are lying and when they’re telling the truth? Teaching your children to celebrate mythological holidays is a recipe for disaster that you went out of our way to create that you didn’t have to.
Please world, please stop celebrating Easter. I know it’s cozy and cute (aside from the human mutilation part), and there’s nothing wrong with getting together with your family and friends to eat BBQ while the kids eat candy. That’s great. That’s so great in fact that we should do it anyway without having to re-enact mythological events we don’t believe in. Life is short and hard enough without feeling socially pressured to go through pseudo-religious holiday charades every year. If we all stop tuning into ridiculous holidays then someday we’ll shed them off our calendars, and we can just celebrate life for its own sake…on BBQ Day, a sensible holiday.
People who don’t believe in religion face all the big questions of the universe alone. Not knowing those answers can be scary, and searching for them can be daunting. The existential crisis you uncover when you remove the Band-Aid of religion can consume a lot of time thinking and worrying. The fear of that burden drives many people into the arms of religion, which promises easily accessible and authoritative answers.
Granted, there are psychological benefits to believing in Christianity, but it also comes loaded with a whole new set of contrived sources of worry that eat up irreplaceable time in the lives of believers that non-believers simply don’t have to worry about, freeing up a lot of time over the course of their lives to devote to answering life’s questions, growing or just enjoying life. Here is a list of things Christians have to worry about that non-believers don’t.
1: Going to Hell
Christianity tells you that it will give you closure over the issue of death by promising you eternal bliss in Heaven. However, it also introduces you to the existence of Hell, which is where people who don’t believe in the right interpretation of the Bible spend eternity after they die. It’s supposedly worse than the worst place imaginable, and every human being deserves to go there to be tortured for eternity. But even after you get saved, you still have to spend the rest of your life knowing that you deserve to go to Hell. And you keep reaffirming how much you deserve to burn in Hell by constantly breaking Yahweh’s schizophrenic rules. So the threat of eternal damnation looms over your head for the rest of life. That’s a traumatic fear to instill into someone. It’s a recipe for deep-rooted anxiety, and the worst thing about it is that the source of this fear isn’t based on reality.
2: Being unworthy, despicable scum
The Bible teaches that you’re a worthless piece of scum who isn’t fit to live in order to convince you that you need to believe that you need to be saved. Not only do you have to worry about what’s going to happen to you after you die, but you also have to worry about the fact that right here, right now, you are a flawed, horrible, disgusting, unworthy, pathetic, worthless scumbag who deserves to burn in Hell for eternity. Christians have to carry the shame of their lack of self-worth with them through the rest of their life. This shame will nag at them and pull them down relentlessly. Every second spent thinking about this is a waste of time and an insult to the grandeur and beauty of life.
3: Loathing pleasure, fighting temptation and feeling guilty for “failure”
Sometimes Christians can distance their mind from the abusive message of self-loathing that the Bible teaches by focusing on the contradicting message that God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins. However, the Bible also teaches that doing pretty much anything that makes us feel good is evil, sinful and shameful.
This fact is particularly harmful because our brains and bodies are designed to feel these emotions. We were designed (by whatever or whoever created us) with these feelings to motivate us to increase our chances of survival and maybe even enjoy ourselves a little. We can’t turn these bodily functions off. Trying to do so will only result in increased levels of anxiety. And when the anxiety reaches a breaking point we end up doing drastic, irresponsible things (as any child-raping priest can attest to). Most Christians don’t rape children, but all Christians have to wrestle with the shame of feeling the things their bodies naturally tell them to feel, and they have to wrestle with the shame of failure when they inevitably give into their bodies’ natural desires. This is a waste of irreplaceable time and thoughts.
4: Making amends for non-existent crimes
Since the Bible has set Christians up for failure by placing impossible demands on them that conflict with their bodies’ natural design, Christians are doomed to feel like failures. It’s only natural to want to make amends for disappointing God. Inevitably, many Christians have adopted masochistic ways of punishing themselves. Early Christians adopted the practice of flagellation, where they beat themselves with leather straps. The much acclaimed Mother Teresa didn’t beat herself, but she worshipped suffering and lived a life of self-imposed exile from any physical comforts of joys in life. Christians who “celebrate” Lent pick something they enjoy and force themselves to live without it for a few months. Each Christian must find their own way to make amends for the crimes the Bible teaches them they’re committing, and every one of those self-imposed punishments degrades their quality of life for no reason that’s based in reality.
Since the Bible teaches that everyone deserves to go to Hell and the only way to avoid this fate is to believe in the salvation story of Jesus, Christians are burdened with the responsibility of evangelizing. Many Christians have argued that The Great Commission officially orders all Christians to evangelize. Some Christians have argued whether that’s what The Great Commission really meant, but at any rate, Christians should want to save the people they love, which should be everybody. In addition to the emotional trauma that this responsibility inflicts, it takes a lot of time and energy. Every second you spend evangelizing is an irreplaceable opportunity to grow and enjoy life for what it really is that you squandered. Every second you spend engaging other people in conversation about your mythology is irreplaceable time you’re taking away from both of your lives. That time could be better spent engaging with problems that actually exist.
To make matters worse for Christians, non-believers don’t want to hear about how Jesus died on the cross for our sins because that story isn’t true. So Christians have to struggle to balance their desire to save people and their desire not to create socially awkward situations. Most Christians more or less keep the story of salvation to themselves and accept that everyone around them is doomed to the darkest, blackest, most evil place in all of existence forever. Their failure to save their loved ones saddles them with varying degrees of guilt. But 100% of that guilt wasn’t necessary, and non-believers are free to live life without that weight on their shoulders.
6: Everyone else going to Hell
The Bible teaches to love everyone, and it also teaches that everyone is so evil that they deserve to spend the rest of eternity being horrifically tortured unless someone tells them the magic salvation story that will save their soul. Christians have to spend their lives surrounded by people who they believe are destined for eternal torture and will be missing out on Paradise. Even if you wasted your entire life evangelizing you still wouldn’t be able to save everyone. If you truly loved everyone you should spend the rest of your life eaten up with guilt over this fact. If you’re not then you must have found some method of cognitive dissonance to convince yourself how you’re not responsible for the deaths of your loved ones. This emotional trauma and the mental gymnastics you have to use to diffuse this anxiety are all senseless.
7: The Bible gives you reason to dislike others
The Bible says that you should love everyone, but it also says that anyone who doesn’t follow the teachings of Jesus is so wicked that they deserve to be tortured forever. In addition to all the other negative repercussions of this double standard that have already been mentioned, it also sets up Christians to dislike and even hate people who reject the teachings of Jesus.
It would take an entire library of books to cover all the historical incidents where Christians have persecuted homosexuals, fornicators, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, heavy metal bands, and every other group of people in the world who aren’t Christians. Sure, you could argue that the Bible says you’re not supposed to do that, but that’s what happens when you teach one group of people that they’re God’s chosen people and everyone else is demonic scum. Even if you choose not to persecute others, you still have to spend time doing mental gymnastics convincing yourself to love people who God has deemed worthy of death and trying to distance yourself from all the Christians who do persecute sinners and non-believers.
8: Trying to make sense of the Bible’s teachings
The Bible is full of passages that contradict each other, contradict science and history, glorify violence and injustice or just don’t make any sense at all. The few Christians who bother reading the entire Bible and take it seriously face a monumental task of trying to make sense of all its absurdities. How could this really be the word of God? How do you explain inconvenient passages to non-believers? Which rules do you apply to your own life and which do you ignore? How do you justify ignoring some passages?
The truth is that it’s impossible to find coherent, unifying answers to these questions because the Bible is a chaotic collection of speculations, stories, rules, philosophies, and opinions written by hundreds of different individuals who lived in different cultures over the course of thousands of years. The only coherent, unifying explanation that makes sense of all the Bible’s teachings is that it’s a work of primitive mythology. Christians who can’t accept that fact must spend the rest of their life doing mental gymnastics trying to make sense of an incomprehensible book that conflicts with common sense and modern values. This is a futile endeavor that will only yield anxiety.
9: Talking to God and waiting/looking for an answer
Christians tend to spend an incredible amount of time praying to God seeking answers to life’s questions, but prayer doesn’t work. It’s nothing more than talking to yourself, and if you do it enough you’ll get an answer, but that answer will be one that you came up with yourself and that you’ll have to make sense of yourself. Sure, you can answer your own questions, but it would be far more effective to ask these questions like a scientist using a tried-and-true method of intellectual inquiry instead of cultivating a split personality or imaginary friend that you have schizophrenic conversations with.
At any rate, why would you have a conversation with an omniscient being who already knows everything and is actively shaping the world according to its inconceivable genius? Prayer should seem even more futile to Christians than to non-believers. Use the gifts God gave you to do what’s in your power to do instead of wasting time mentally masturbating.
10: Explaining how God works in mysterious ways
Your prayers will never be answered by anyone but you. However, sometimes things will work out in your life in a way that seems like your prayers have been answered. However, even if that immaculate event never happened, something else would have, and that thing would have seemed like God answering your prayers. More often than not though, nothing will happen, and you’ll have to explain to yourself why nothing happened.
Many times, horrible things will happen to you and to other people, and you’ll have to explain to yourself why God would let horrible things happen to you or anyone else. When reality doesn’t fit your expectations like this you end up telling yourself, “Well, God just works in mysterious ways.” So basically, whenever something you want to happen happens, you tell yourself “God answered my prayers.” When something you didn’t want to happen happens, you tell yourself, “Well, God works in mysterious ways.” This is textbook cognitive dissonance. This is mentally unhealthy and unproductive. Your thoughts would be better spent actually solving problems yourself and not doing mental gymnastics. In fact, the only way problems ever do get solved is by people solving them. So by praying and waiting you become the reason nothing ever gets done.
11: Justifying to yourself how you can live such a luxurious lifestyle and still call yourself a Christian
Jesus repeatedly stressed the importance of living a life of austerity. In Matthew 19:21 he said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.” Yet the chances of you ever finding a single Christian who has given away all of their money is basically zero. Christians will give you mind-bending excuses for why they don’t have to follow the repeated instructions in the Bible that say to give away your possessions and live a life of poverty, but that’s just yet another example of how Christians have to waste their time and thoughts trying to find creative ways to bridge the gap between reality and fantasy.
12: Giving money to the church
You won’t find any Christians who have given away everything they own, but it’s easy to find Christians who give menial donations to churches. The vast majority of that money will be spent building and decorating churches or padding the bank accounts of clergymen. If all of that money was given directly to the poor there would be no poverty or homelessness. Even if every Christian had just kept that money for themselves they could have lived more fulfilling lives and passed more money to their descendants to build a better life with…. just like non-believers do.
Go to any Christian church and ask the congregation what the benefits of believing in God are, and they’ll give you a long list. You’ll hear testimonies of how their relationship with God turned them into better people and even saved their lives from the path of self-destruction. These testimonies may sound powerful enough to make you believe in God, but there’s a fundamental flaw in their premise. The flaw is that, regardless of whether or not God actually exists, the Bible wasn’t divinely inspired. Christianity is a primitive mythology.
When a person’s life is improved by Christianity it’s not because they found a way to tap into the power of the creator of the universe. Their life was transformed by a simple change in their perspective, which was inspired by words they read in a man-made book. Since all of those changes happened within their own mind, independent of God, that means you can achieve those same results by tapping into the same secular processes that were actually responsible for the transformation. And you can do that without experiencing any of the negative consequences that come along with believing in mythologies invented by primitive, chauvinistic, slave-owning, bloodthirsty tribal theocrats.
We’re all born so lost that we don’t even know we’re lost. By default our minds are set on auto-pilot, operating on mental shortcuts that allow us to navigate through life without fully tapping into our capacity for critical thought. When you go through life taking the status quo for granted, mimicking those around you and basing your actions on whimsical decision-making skills, then your life will be tossed aimlessly according to the social tide. When you live the life of a sheeple you’re living without purpose and are almost guaranteed to be led over a cliff to a bad place.
Mythological texts can give you purpose and direction, and that will give you a reason to live and more concrete direction to follow. This can give your life structure, which can give you hope and peace. However, you won’t be serving God. You’ll be unwittingly serving snake oil salesmen who died generations ago. The functional purpose of your life will be to reenact a watered-down, modernized imitation of their archaic cultural values. While you may take pride and joy in doing that dance, your time, money and effort will ultimately be spent living a lie.
You don’t need a convoluted mythology to give your life purpose. You simply need a philosophy that’s based on evidence and reason. I can’t tell you what that philosophy is, because despite what any snake oil salesman tells you, life doesn’t come with an instruction book. You have to commit to a lifelong quest of asking questions and questioning your answers. It’s not as easy as leaning on mythological texts as a crutch, but you’ll have a better chance of finding more meaningful and productive answers than the ones invented by ancient tribal leaders pretending to be God’s spokesmen to justify their civil authority and pre-existing cultural values. If you want purpose in life, then let the objective quest for knowledge and truth be your purpose and see where that takes you.
2: Hope and peace in death
One of the biggest appeals of mythology is that it provides closure to our fear of death. It promises that not only will our actions and suffering in life be meaningful, but our fate after death will be desirable. This allows us to live without the burden of uncertainty and fear.
However, just as you don’t have to be a prophet to know that the Vikings were woefully misled into believing that after death their warriors would cross a rainbow bridge to Valhalla where they would feast and fight for all of eternity, I don’t have to be a prophet to tell you that you won’t ascend into Heaven and spend the rest of eternity in a vaguely defined paradise above the clouds after you die. The promise of Heaven is nothing more than the projection of another ancient culture’s wishful thinking. If you find that disheartening, the good news is that you don’t have to live in crippling fear of Hell, because Hell is no more real than Valhalla.
So how do you cope with the fear of death in a universe where God either doesn’t exist or doesn’t speak to us through prophets? Just look up at the night sky or down through a microscope. The universe is a majestically elegant place, and the more you understand how it works, the more amazed you’ll be by the inexplicable brilliance of its design. Even if you can never fully understand why it exists or how it got designed the way it did, you can still stand in awe of how the laws of nature shaped the universe into what it is today.
Sure, life is hard at times. Sometimes it may feel like the universe is out to get you, but look at the grand scale of things. Look at everything that’s happened over the past 14 billion years as the universe rearranged itself into a form that would allow sentient life to evolve from inanimate matter. The universe served you life on a silver platter. If life is a miracle then it would be inconsistent for death to be a crisis. At the risk of sounding too theistic, the universe knows what it’s doing. Even without understanding exactly what happens after death, you can have faith that whatever happens is what’s supposed to happen. It couldn’t possibly be any other way.
If you’re ever feeling worried about death, go try to light a small fire. Then try to freeze some water. Then try to break a rock. If all of those things work the way they’re supposed to, then you can take solace that your death is going to work according to the grand design as well.
Question: How do atheists and agnostics know which rules to follow?
Answer: The same way Christians know which rules in the Bible not to follow.
Morality predates mythology. Theists ignore far more rules in their religious texts than they follow because those religious texts were written by members of primitive, uncivilized societies. The modern laws and personal moral codes we actually live our lives by today come from reason. You already have ethics without religion, and you can improve your ethical framework without religion.
4: Being loved
Life is hard and lonely. Humans crave love like we crave water. Believing that the creator of the universe loves you unconditionally is a powerful placebo. It can carry you through the hardest times, bring you peace, give you confidence and inspire you to be a better person.
Maybe there really is some force out there in the universe that fits some definition of the word “God.” If such a being exists and went through 14 billion years worth of trouble to give you life, then surely you are loved. Feel free to embrace that belief, but don’t assume you have to believe in mythology to believe you’re loved.
People all over the world have been loving each other for centuries even though billions of them believe in different mythologies. Even people who don’t believe in mythology still love, and many people who do believe in mythology use their religious texts to justify hating, exploiting, oppressing, hurting and killing their fellow man.
You don’t need a book to tell you to love one another. You just need to understand the value of life, and you don’t need God to tell you what that is. Life is infinitely valuable and thus we’re all infinitely deserving of love regardless of whether or not we’re a member of the tribe of Israel or the Christian church or are heterosexual. We’re all stuck in this great big, mysterious universe together, and all we have is each other. Of course we should love each other. That’s the least profound statement you’ll ever hear.
But we don’t need God to impregnate a virgin, be born on earth as a human and have himself killed in order for us to be absolved of breaching the cultural norms of a random primitive society. The only reason anyone feels the relief of forgiveness after hearing the story of Jesus is because it convinced them to give themselves permission to forgive themselves.
You don’t need anyone else’s permission to forgive yourself. A mistake is only a mistake when you don’t learn from it. When you do learn from it, it’s an invaluable learning experience. And you’re not omniscient. Of course, you’re going to make sub-optimal decisions from time to time. That doesn’t make you any less of a cosmic miracle who deserves to love yourself and be loved by others. If you’re having trouble letting go of the past then see a professional therapist. They charge a lot less than the church does. They address the real issues underlying your shame, and they won’t continue to guilt trip you for the rest of your life.
7: A reason and a way to improve yourself
Why get out of bed in the morning much less push yourself to your limits if there is no god and no afterlife? Because personal growth is its own reward. You are your mind. The quality of the reality you experience is defined by the quality of your mind. Personal improvement is an opportunity to improve your quality of life. That’s how life gets better. Your life gets better as you get better. Get it?
Another commonsense reason to become a better person is that the quality of a society is determined by the quality of its members. In order for us to live in the best world possible, we all have to become the best people possible. When we do that we’ll live in Utopia regardless of what political/economic systems are in place. So, if you want to live in the best world possible, you need to be the best person possible.
On a more philosophical note, the universe went through 14 billion years of effort to create us and give us the opportunity to exist as a species, create our own history, discover technology, live comfortably and have fun That’s more than your significant other did for you all year, and you still worship your lover.
I’m not saying you should worship the universe. That would be time wasted that you could have spent becoming a better person. That’s the point. If the universe went through all this trouble to set you up to be the best person you can be, then the best way you can express your gratitude is by becoming a better person and simultaneously doing your part in humanity achieving its full potential.
If you accept the opportunity to improve yourself, you should know that psychology and philosophy offer a better road map to self-improvement than the instructions handed down to us by the megalomaniac warlords who wrote the Bible. If you want to become a better person then study logic. Study psychology, specifically self-actualization. See a therapist to help unravel your past. Study yourself, and get a professional personality/aptitude test done. Study science, and understand how the universe works. Study history. Spend your Sunday mornings teaching yourself how to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Go traveling and see the world. Learn about different cultures so you can better understand all the ways you can possibly live and perceive the world.
8: Admitting helplessness and surrendering your worries to God
When the struggles of life start to overwhelm you, and you begin to collapse under the weight of your responsibilities, you can find profound relief by admitting you’re not in complete control of everything that happens to you and then letting go and letting God be in control.
But God doesn’t grant you the serenity to accept the things you can’t change, the strength to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference. You do that. You possess the capacity to understand that if you can change something, then it’s not worth worrying about, and if you can’t change something, then it’s not worth worrying about.
9: Having faith that everything will work out as part of God’s plan
Believing God is in control of the universe gives you a powerful coping mechanism in the form of cognitive dissonance. When anything good happens to you, you can credit it to God loving you and helping you. When anything bad happens to you, you can chalk it up to God working in mysterious ways and it all being part of His plan. So even if poverty, crime, natural disasters, and genocide seem out-of-place in a world controlled by an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful being… the world still makes sense because you can just close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and shout until you block reality out.
You don’t need God to count every hair on your head. You don’t need God to be in control, and there doesn’t need to be a plan. All that matters is that the universe exists, you got the chance to live in it, and you have the opportunity to make the most of that experience. You have the power and thus the obligation to take responsibility for determining your own fate. That’s not a burden. That’s an opportunity. That gives your life meaning. Throwing up your hands and deferring all responsibility to God is squandering your chance to own your life.
10: The power of prayer
It’s comforting to believe that the creator of the universe is on your side and He’ll bend the rules of nature to alter the course of the universe to satisfy your whims if you just kneel on the ground, put your hands together and ask him to. That belief ignores the cold, hard reality that prayer has an equal success rate as random chance, and there are some things that prayer will never be able to do, like heal amputees. The power of prayer has been tested more than any other experiment in history, and it has consistently proven itself to be useless. Praying equates to nothing more than talking to yourself.
Prayer isn’t powerful. It’s crippling. Everything that has ever saved a human’s life and made our lives easier has been accomplished by logic and hard work. If you want your life to be better or the lives of all the starving children in Africa to get better, then spit in your hands, rub them together and then put them to work. Stop letting prayer hold you and humanity back. If there is a God, He’s not answering your prayers. He’s waiting for you to accept responsibility for using the tools you’ve been given.
Religion isn’t just a flawed theoretical hypothesis of how/why the universe began. It’s not an innocuous, silly idea that’s okay to believe in if you really like it. It’s a failed social experiment. All of the major, organized, official religions around the world are mythologies. They all fail the test of truth. They don’t stand up to logic, scientific scrutiny or even basic common sense. They contradict reality. They’re demonstrably false.
There have been, are and will always be negative consequences to believing in a worldview that isn’t based on reason or fact. On an individual level, it drives people insane and makes them act immoral. It makes them waste their life apologizing and beating themselves and everyone around them up over things that don’t matter. It prevents them from thinking clearly about what does matter, and prayer cripples their ability to change their lives or their environment for the better. The universe is an intimidating place without a holy book to lean on, but your life will hurt worse if you lean on a broken crutch. Religion will lower your quality of life, and nothing will ever come from your suffering.
Not only does believing in mythology waste your own potential. It wastes humanity’s potential. Large groups of irrational people are the most dangerous force in the world. If their shared delusion is based on the premise that the world can be divided into the unquestionably righteous and the inhumanely evil then there will always be holocausts and jihads.
As long as people believe they can earn favor in the afterlife by paying a self-proclaimed spokesman of God, then people will throw away their life savings to line the pockets of snake oil salesmen, and as long as those snake oil salesmen can profit from building bigger, more hypnotic churches, then charity money will be wasted on monuments to mythology and greed while real people starve and die in the streets.
Institutionalized insanity doesn’t deserve respect. It deserves pity and fear. The call to action this raises isn’t to attack the victims of religion. The cure for ignorance is knowledge, and the cure for irrationality is reason. The internet is already crowd-sourcing the task of breaking down how/why religion is mythology and educating the entire world with that information. The internet is teaching people to value curiosity, intellectual independence, and objective thinking, and those values stand the test of truth. Once someone’s mind is switched on, it’s very hard to turn it off. There will always be people who believe things that aren’t real even in the face of overwhelming evidence, but the internet is quickly bringing the era of mythology to an end. When humanity’s collective mind isn’t shackled with primitive mythologies it will be able to fulfill its full potential.
The Bible says that women are property and should be silent in church and obey their husbands. The Bible says it’s okay to beat your slaves as long as you don’t kill them. The Bible says to kill your children if they talk back to you. The Bible orders you to kill witches.
If you follow every word of the Bible you’ll become a murderous villain. Period. The only way to be a “good” Christian by modern, Western cultural standards is to ignore these parts of the Bible or reverse engineer excuses for why you don’t have to follow them.
2: The Bible tells you that sinners are evil.
Some Christians say that God wants us to, “Love the sinner. Hate the sin,” but there’s a flaw in that logic. If God loves the sinner but hates the sin, then why is God going to punish the sinner with everlasting torture? That’s not unconditional love. That’s a sadistic ultimatum.
If God is going to treat sinners with such remorseless, self-righteous hatred, then how likely would it be for a fallible, human Christian to rationalize hating, mistreating and killing sinners? History shows that hurtful and murderous Christians aren’t a rare anomaly. They’re an inevitability produced by a wicked moral guide.
3: The Bible tells you to love everybody.
In and of itself this sounds great. In practice, it’s not for two reasons. First, this moral lesson is vague to the point of being useless. What is love? Should you love an invading army? Should you love a serial killer? Should you love Hitler? Should you love criminals? In what way? To what extent? It doesn’t say. It doesn’t offer any clear guidance.
If you follow an unclear moral code, your decision-making process will be unclear. So you’ll have to rely on some other form of guidance, like instincts, reason, culture or other people’s advice. This raises the question, if we’re going to end up relying on other methods of guidance anyway then why not cut out the distraction and rely on the final source of guidance to begin with? Unfortunately, if you believe in a book that teaches you not to think critically you’re not going to question that book’s instructions even when they don’t offer clear guidance. You’re just going to waffle through life haphazardly.
The second reason this commandment is bad is that the Bible has already set us up to hate, hurt and kill sinners and infidels. These contradicting moral messages will paralyze your ethical decisions. It becomes exceptionally difficult to know which path to take.
4: The Bible says the highest virtue is faith.
If you know your Bible verses you should be arguing that 1 Corinthians 13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
But John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
So the way to get to Heaven and survive death is to have faith. That’s what life and death are judged by. That’s the test. That’s the measuring stick of life.
If the most important thing is to have faith, then everything else is relatively irrelevant. You can beat and rape your children, lie, steal, and anything else. When it comes time to make those hard moral decisions, you know that if you backslide a little (or a lot) you can always ask for forgiveness later.
Furthermore, when the emphasis of ethics is taken off of actions and focused on beliefs it cripples your ability to weigh the value of your actions. A real system of ethics, like the one the court of law uses, focuses where it should be, on actions that matter, actions that hurt/help people.
Another problem with faith is that it’s the opposite of reason. If you have unyielding faith in the “alpha and the omega” God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, and you have faith in God’s word, then what else is there? God is everything, and God’s word is everything. Logic would tell you that you don’t need anything else. But in reality, you do need something else. You need a lot more. You need knowledge. You need introspection. You need growth. You need reason. You need money. You need to be selfish sometimes. You need comfort. You need to fulfill your wants. You need self-actualization.
Faith doesn’t fulfill everything. Faith eliminates everything. Faith yields an empty, ignorant shell of a human.
5: The Bible says “good” people are scum.
This is slightly different than the first point that says sinners are scum. While sinners are the worst scum, everybody is still scum. “All our righteousness is like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:4.
The foundation of any reason-based moral code is the value of life. The United States Declaration of Independence doesn’t begin by saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all humans are like filthy rags, that women should be silent in church and slaves should be obedient to their masters.” The Declaration of Independence said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
When the foundation of your moral guide says that every human is scum who deserves to burn for eternity, you’re setting yourself up to punish yourself and others. This moral code practically obligates you to hurt yourself and others. It certainly allows God’s spokesmen the authority and obligation to hurt sinful, heretical infidels.
Even if you cherry-pick the parts of the Bible you follow and devote yourself to loving other people, you’re probably still going to end up feeling guilty and punishing yourself for being an unworthy human. A perfect example is Mother Theresa, who was quoted as saying, “Today the passion of Christ is being relived in the lives of those who suffer. Suffering is not a punishment. God does not punish,” and,“I was talking to our lepers and telling them that leprosy is a gift from God, that God can trust them so much that he gives them this terrible suffering.”
These aren’t the words of a sane person. These are the words of a person whose mind has been warped.
The problem with this is that you don’t get any return on your investment by donating to snake oil salesmen. You just get poorer and more confident that life will work out despite your poverty. But the poorer you are, the harder it is to live much less improve your life.
More importantly, donating to the church takes money from you that you could have invested in your children’s future. The more money the family you’re born into has, the more money they’ll be able to devote to your education and setting you up in life. The better you’re set up in life. Yet when a family has been devout Christians for generations upon generations the amount of money they’ll have given to the church that could have been spent building personal wealth will be compounded. Thus, their loss is compounded, and the chances of raising a miserable, ignorant desperate child who is likely to stay poor are increased.
To this, you might argue that the church uses its money to help people. It does, but it keeps more than it gives. Look at the cathedrals and opulent churches all over the world that have been built instead of building schools and half-way homes. And the church spends a great deal of its time and money spreading the word of God: the word that makes people hate themselves and give up their financial security for a dream that’s never going to pay out.
If all the money the church swindled out of people over the past 2000 years had been spent solely on schools or technological research, then the world would be much closer to Utopia. As it stands, we’re on the brink of an apocalypse, not despite what religion has done for humanity but because of it.
7: The Bible doesn’t offer any clear moral guidance.
This has been the theme of this list. So this point pretty much goes without saying, but it’s important enough that it needs to be stated clearly.
At no point in the Bible is there a coherent, systematic break down of morality. The 10 Commandments is the closest it gets, and even those do more damage than good, and the rest of the commandments following those 10 are maniacal and contradict other commandments elsewhere in the Bible.
Using the Bible as a moral code will leave you confused, self-loathing, illogical and fanatical. There’s a reason the Bible isn’t used as the state code of law anymore. That was tried, and it led to over a thousand years of oppression and misery around the globe. That wasn’t an anomaly. That’s the path the Bible leads to.
To this, you might argue, “I know lots of Christians who are the nicest people I’ve ever met.” That’s because they’re not following the Bible. They’re following an idealized version of their culture’s values and projecting that into the Bible, not the other way around.