Historically, the most dangerous men on earth were men of God … especially when their gods became threatened.
Spiritual beliefs are etched deeply on our psyches at a young age by those we love and trust most—our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders. Therefore, any religious shifts occur over generations, and not without great angst, and often bloodshed.
We consider ourselves modern rational individuals, and yet our species’ most widespread religion includes a whole host of magical claims—humans inexplicably rising from the dead, miraculous virgin births, vengeful gods that send plagues and floods, mystical promises of an afterlife in cloud-swept heavens or fiery hells.
I believe future generations will look at our current traditions,” Kirsch declared, “and conclude that we lived during an unenlightened time. As evidence, they will point to our beliefs that we were divinely created in a magical garden, or that our omnipotent Creator demands that women cover their heads, or that we risk burning our own bodies to honor our gods.
We feel enormous discomfort when faced with ‘insufficient data,’ and so our brains invent the data—offering us, at the very least, the illusion of order—creating myriad philosophies, mythologies, and religions to reassure us that there is indeed an order and structure to the unseen world.
‘But faith,’ Edmond declared, ‘by its very definition, requires placing your trust in something that is unseeable and indefinable, accepting as fact something for which there exists no empirical evidence. And so, understandably, we all end up placing our faith in different things because there is no universal truth.’
When science offers an answer, that answer is universal. Humans do not go to war over it; they rally around it.
Many of us are afraid to call ourselves atheists, […] and yet atheism is not a philosophy, nor is atheism a view of the world. Atheism is simply an admission of the obvious. […] The term ‘atheist,’ […] should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a ‘nonastrologer’ or a ‘nonalchemist.’ We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive, or for people who doubt that aliens traverse the galaxy only to molest cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.
The dark religions are departed & sweet science reigns.
The truth is_ we come from nowhere … and from everywhere. We come from the same laws of physics that create life across the cosmos. We are not special. We exist with or without God. We are the inevitable result of entropy. Life is not the point of the universe. Life is simply what the universe creates and reproduces in order to dissipate energy.
I realize there are those of you who believe you, as Homo sapiens, are God’s chosen species. I can understand that this news may feel like the end of the world to you. But I beg you, please believe me … the future is actually much brighter than you imagine.
May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May our compassion keep pace with our powers. And may love, not fear, be the engine of change.
The human mind has the ability to elevate an obvious fiction to the status of a divine fact, and then feel emboldened to kill in its name.
While it may be politically correct to give the views of science and religion equal respect, this strategy is dangerously misguided. Human intellect has always evolved by rejecting outdated information in favors new truths. This is how species have evolved. In Darwinian terms, a religion that ignores scientific facts and refuses to change its beliefs is like a fish stranded in a slowly drying pond and refusing to flip to deeper water because it doesn’t want to believe its world has changed.