I don't feel inspired to write about anything else today, so I think I'll bash religion. (Especially since society - which is greatly infected by the religiosity virus - has asininely concluded that anti-religion atheists are "discredited" because Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris are jerks.)*
A while ago, I offered the example of a cult, whose members believed that they were all from the planet Krypton and therefore, thanks to the different light of Earth's sun, they all had super powers.
I present to you, the Superman Religion. I and my fellow adherents of the Superman Church believe that we are all Kryptonions from the planet Krypton and we are possessed of super-human powers as a result of the effect of the rays of Earth's red sun. We all believe we are capable of leaping tall buildings, outrunning speeding bullets, and can beat powerful locomotives in arm-wrestling, shot-put and what-not. We also believe that we should help our adopted planet and we therefore pursue truth, justice and the American way on a daily basis.
Of course, our religion is based on the probably false claims of the original church members who demonstrated all these abilities in secret 400 years ago and who wrote all the texts of our Church. None of us has ever really "tested" our faith by trying to fly from jumping off a sky-scraper or stopping an 18-wheeler from running over a puppy, or anything like that. But it certainly gives us confidence when we walk around having convinced ourselves that should we ever try to do any of those things we might just pull it off. And, the idealism of our faith inspires us to live with self-respect and as valuable members of the community.
Waitaminnit. Did I say that NONE of us has ever tried to fly or stop a truck or outrun a speeding bullet. Okay, okay, ... A FEW of the Church's membership has tried to do these things over the years. They were members of the Church, but they were obviously frauds, because they failed utterly and died. Only true Kryptonions can do these things. It's gauche though, to enter into contests with Church members to see who's a bona-fide Kryptonion and who is a wannabe.
In case it isn't clear, let me spell it out for you: It is nonsensical to believe that you come from a fictional planet mentioned in a comic-book story invented in the 1930s by a guy who ended up doing bondage comics later in his career (in a desperate attempt to pay the rent). It is just as nonsensical to believe that one bronze-age set of stories written by one particular set of pastoralists comprises divinely-inspired universal truths.
If even ONE person leaps from a tall building in the belief that they can fly, and subsequently falls to their death, because of a groundless, asinine belief, that is one person too many.
If people believe that the source of their moral conduct stems from the fantastical belief that they're super-powered beings obligated to protect and defend ordinary earthlings, because of these nonsensical beliefs, instead of basing them on some sort of coherent ethical theory, then that's a waste too.
To argue that people shouldn't believe that invented human stories are really truths delivered by God, is just to argue for the facts. Anyone who objects to arguing for the facts against myth is deeply confused.
To argue that crazy beliefs with absurd claims can have dangerous consequences is not bigotry. It is not intolerance of different ways of thinking.
To kill and die for false beliefs is a tragic waste.
To live by a moral code with a basis in myth is to live a lie.
Religious people are not stupid. There has always been some good mixed in with the bad with religion. But religion is an anachronism, that we no longer need and that we would be much better off without.
And to say that is not just the flip-side of the coin of religious fanaticism. To insist that is the height of stupidity and incoherence.
(* That the case for religion hasn't been "discredited" by the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, ISIS, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum, speaks volumes about the insidious hold this virus has on the general consciousness.)