TAE 763

A place for discussion and feedback regarding the Non-Prophets podcast and/or the Atheist Experience TV show.

TAE 763

Postby Tarrin » Thu May 31, 2012 3:53 pm

I just had a question relating to the latest TAE episode --

In that episode, Matt says that he believes religions such as Christianity are very immoral. Why is that? They provide basic guidelines which every person of every faith can hold to -- do not rape, do not murder, do not steal (to name a few). Granted, I am quite unfamiliar with the deep inner workings of religions beyond these basic premises, but why are they immoral?
"Religion is the opiate of the masses"
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Re: TAE 763

Postby Lausten » Thu May 31, 2012 7:19 pm

I'll give a short answer for two reasons. 1) Because it took me a while to understand, years, even though it really isn't that complicated. 2) I can't be sure of your motivation for asking. People come to forums with all sorts of agenda that are difficult to ascertain.

The 3 things you mentioned are basic morals that religion didn't create and people don't religion to them inform them of these concepts. Look at the other commandments, they are arbitrary rules for rituals and thought crimes, giving leaders excuses to punish people.

Although you can find decent guidelines and beautiful poetry in the Bible you can also find God telling Moses to kill 3,000 women and children. The book of Joshua encourages conquering. There is plenty of support for slavery and nothing explicitly against it. That's just what is in the Bible. From the beginning, before there was even a Torah, the scriptures were used to manipulate people, support oppression and justify killing. That continued as Christianity grew and Constantine eventually made it a way of life.

What history do have to contradict this?
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Re: TAE 763

Postby Tarrin » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:03 am

My motivation for asking is simple curiosity, not really because I hold a particular conviction for either side of the argument. To that end, as I have said, I am not too familiar with the deeper messages of <insert religion>, so thank you -- that did answer it for me (or at least give me a better idea of what to look for in any further research)
"Religion is the opiate of the masses"
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Re: TAE 763

Postby Fyrebrand » Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:54 pm

I don't want to put words into Matt's mouth, but I can offer a few very quick, brief points of immoral ideas and teachings in the Bible, which I believe he's touched on before:

1) God condones and endorses human slavery in the Bible. There are rules about how you can beat your own slaves (just make sure they don't die within three days, if you beat them), as well as rules about how long you're allowed to keep slaves for (which differ depending on the race of the slave), though there are also rules that can be manipulated which would let you keep a slave forever if he marries. You'll want to look the details up for yourself, but I'm fairly certain that God never once condemns slavery.

2) The idea that killing the son of God somehow provides the eternal promise of redemption for any and all sins, if you just accept him as your person lord and saviour, is pure scapegoating and a disregard for moral responsibility. Responsibility for harm done to others can not be so easily erased by punishing someone else for your wrongdoings. Furthermore, the idea that a raping, murdering neo-nazi can just ask for forgiveness on his deathbed and ascend to Heaven -- whereas an atheist who devotes time to charity and treats others with kindness and respect supposedly is denied a place in Heaven, simply for not believing -- is also extremely immoral and irresponsible.
Also, if there is a Hell, and people go there, then those in Heaven supposedly might have knowledge that those they knew in life are now suffering the worst imaginable suffering for all eternity, and they're expected to be okay with that, and are expected to agree that those people deserve every second of it. Allowing eternal suffering on that scale, no matter what the crimes in life, is immoral in itself. So, too, is eternal reward and bliss for blindly accepting the teachings of the Bible, without rational justification -- "faith" is neither moral, nor a virtue, in the sense that the Bible endorses it.

3) God seems to have complete disregard for human life, and fails to consider innocents caught up in whatever ham-fisted schemes and mass murder plots he's concocted. He floods the whole world, killing absolutely everyone -- and every animal -- except for those on Noah's ark. He sends plagues and diseases to kill the people of Egypt -- including an arbitrary one where every first-born of Egypt would die, just because. He orders Abraham to kill his own son, as proof of his faith (he eventually steps in and stops him, but the fact that Abraham was about to do it means he "passed" the test). He often orders the complete destruction of entire cities and their populations -- sometimes allowing for the saving of virgin girls, for you-know-what purposes.

Here's a cool clip from The Atheist Experience where Jeff and Matt tally up an estimation of the total number of deaths caused by God, throughout the Bible:

Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IABptlAhyJw
Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWHzB6H718w

4) Personally, one of the things I find most repugnant is that people don't just hold these beliefs to themselves -- they try to force these beliefs onto others, especially their own children. Telling a child that we all deserve eternal damnation, and that the only way to redeem ourselves is to disregard reason and evidence-based inquiry and worship a fictional character, is monstrously immoral. Children are impressionable, and will pretty much wind up believing whatever their parents and teachers tell them -- so when you bring them up with religious dogma that cannot be verified, proven, or supported by evidence, you are mentally and emotionally abusing your own children for the benefit of your religion.
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Re: TAE 763

Postby Tarrin » Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:15 pm

Wow, that just kind of made me want to read the bible -- I am a fan of the medieval fantasy stories. I think I get now why a fiction writer can make a new religion (scientology)

Thank you very much for elaborating on the bible's "morality" for me
"Religion is the opiate of the masses"
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Re: TAE 763

Postby McIago » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:06 pm

Matt also often references the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The first problem caused by this work of fiction is that it is used in error by people who want to promote "Anti-sodomy" laws. This error is compounded by consistent misinterpretation and misapplication of the supposed moral of the story.

The second problem is what the story itself actually says about morality and why and how people can be punished for transgression. Offering your young virgin daughter to the town's people to dissuade them from a course of action is apparently not a sin and does not make one unrighteous, because Lot did so and was judged the only righteous man in the town.

Using ones children to promote a project with the people of the town could be seen as promotion of both bribery and prostitution as acceptable because it is either tolerated or rewarded by "God." This and other things contained in the Bible are profoundly immoral.
I am, therefore I think.
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