False Faith and Real Religion

I love questions like this. They lead into great dialogues.

Question:
Why do I trash religion?

Answer:
I don’t do anything of the kind. I like religion. I hate blind faith, and that’s what I oppose.

Okay, fine, but religion is bound up with faith. They are inseparable, so…
Question:
Why waste your time on religious faith, when you could be addressing more immediate problems, such as human rights violations, destructive climate change, our propensity to warfare, overpopulation and dwindling resources, and the like?

Answer:
I agree that those are urgent problems, and must be addressed, exactly the way serious symptoms of an illness must be addressed. As with an illness, while you are dealing with the symptoms you must treat the underlying condition. Otherwise all your efforts will ultimately fail.

The condition at the root of all our problems is not religion; it is mistaken thinking. Not all wrong ideas are religion-based, so even if we could get rid of all religion, bad ideas would remain to mess us up. Nonetheless, religions are the repository of many pernicious beliefs. Those false beliefs are the basis for a multitude of evils that afflict us. We have been mistakenly taught that having evidence-free faith is a good thing. In fact, that kind of faith leads to bad behavior, and it would be an improvement to any existing religion to start eliminating faith, instead of promoting it.

Furthermore, it is possible to create a religion that is not based on faith. We are doing that, building a cooperative association that discovers false beliefs and calls them out. That is where I am focusing my energy. Why should we not have a religion that promotes verifiable truth, and combats mistaken beliefs wherever they are found?

Addendum: Some Truths

  • Among human beings, there is one race: human.
  • Children are less developed human beings, not possessions. They need protection and guidance, but they have rights.
  • Women are adult human beings, and must be guaranteed the same rights as men.
  • Climate change (anthropogenic global warming) is a real thing, and becoming a serious problem.
  • We are beginning to find ways to avoid war. Part of that has to do with addressing the underlying conditions of poverty and bigotry.
  • Most of our problems would be easier to deal with if our population were not growing. Improving economies and reducing poverty tends to lower birthrates. It wouldn’t hurt to eliminate the false belief that birth control is evil.
Featured image: Water Action Day, the Capitol in St. Paul, MN, April 19, 2017.
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