Eradicating Religion

‘One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the twenty first century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns—about ethics, spiritual experience, and the inevitability of human suffering—in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. We desperately need a public discourse that encourages critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith.

I would be the first to admit that the prospects for eradicating religion in our time do not seem good. Still, the same could have been said about efforts to abolish slavery at the end of the eighteenth century. Anyone who spoke with confidence about eradicating slavery in the United States in the year 1775 surely appeared to be wasting his time, and wasting it dangerously.

The analogy is not perfect, but it is suggestive. If we ever do transcend our religious bewilderment, we will look back upon this period in human history with horror and amazement. How could it have been possible for people to believe such things in the twenty first century? How could it be that they allowed their societies to become so dangerously fragmented by empty notions about God and Paradise? The truth is, some of your most cherished beliefs are as embarrassing as those that sent the last slave ship sailing to America as late as 1859 (the same year that Darwin published The Origin of Species).’

Harris. S. 2006. Letter To A Christian Nation p. 28

28 thoughts on “Eradicating Religion

  1. I just came from a blog where the following conversation took place:

    we, none of us is perfect by any standard – but the christian God knows we cannot do anything about it, we cannot fix it ourselves – but the christian God solves the problem for us

    And there’s the problem in a single sentence – you are sick and the christian god has the cure. Now repeat that until you believe it and they have you hooked for life. OR you can admit that you are good, just as you are, and intend trying every day to be a little better.

    It’s as if doctors were going around, spreading diseases, for which they have the only cure.

  2. Sorry, but one cannot compare the eradication of religion with the “abolition” of slavery. People who talk up a storm about the empathic paradigm shift that abolished slavery, first in British plantations then finally in the “land of the free” called America either ignorantly or deliberately overlook the obvious, that with the onset of the industrial revolution slavery became redundant and too expensive. Not only was human labour being replaced by machines, but the changing political climate that saw “free enterprise” business gain control of governments in so-called democracies allowed for businesses (corporations today) to simply hire labourers at starvation wages and letting them fend for themselves in expanding, polluted, crime-ridden and disease-infected slums.

    Slavery wasn’t abolished, it was euphemistically called job creation. And again, a changing global economy made outright ownership of human bodies pointless. In many cases, American slaves were worse off after emancipation than before because now they had less monetary value. They didn’t have to be whipped and force-fed, they could be fired and black-listed so they would starve or be forced to join underground economies with criminal connections. Currently the surveillance state is bringing forth a whole new type of slavery using electronics instead of whips and chains to enforce compliance to the State, the Corporation and possibly Religion as well. The show is not being played forward but backward with judicious re-working of the scenes.

    Religion is an entirely different beast. To this day, most of the world’s population follows some religious belief. Religion is rooted in man’s DNA, and that’s what “Neo-Darwinists” or “Hard Evolutionists” refuse to see or cannot comprehend. Religion is what makes man wear clothing in public, and even atheists continue to follow that religious imperative. Change the laws re: public nudity and let’s see where that goes. And, if people really, really, want to eradicate the curse that is religion, the only way they will do that is by becoming compassion, not just compassionate, but by literally remaking themselves into beings unreservedly expressing compassion as their lifestyle. This will not only destroy religion, it will also destroy all forms of oppression.

    Somehow I don’t feel that Earthians are up to the challenge because they are Matrix-programmed creatures and religion is one indispensable leg of the three-legged trinity of controlling Matrix powers, the other two being the State and money. Conversely, compassion can never be ensconced within any aspect of Matrix domination of the planet, i.e., within any collective or institution. Only a self-empowered individual can know what it means to be living compassion. Such is literally a new nature and empathy must follow from that, not the other way around.

  3. Except for a couple of minor points, I agree with much of what you say.

    I will readily admit that in the US, a mechanized North made slavery unnecessary, but the South was almost entirely agrarian, and had it not been for the Civil War, it would have been at least another fifty years before the American South gave up it’s slaves.

    The other would be, “Religion is rooted in man’s DNA” – I don’t believe this – I believe that the tendency to see agency where there is none may well be part of man’s DNA, as the Stone Age hunter who heard the wind in the grass and suspected it might be a tiger, lived longer to pass on his DNA (as well as his wisdom), than the hunter who, hearing a tiger in the grass, assumed it to be the wind.

    Religion would certainly be a part of that agency.

  4. “Religion would certainly be a part of that agency.”

    I think that is a far more acceptable phrase. Wonderfully jotted down by the way.

  5. The Ancients saw images in the stars where none exist, just as we see images in the clouds – Rorschach was preceded by thousands of years.

  6. Ok, the tiger in the grass analogy is good, but no longer needed so when I step out of my kayak on the remaining wild banks of the Fraser river and I hear the Autumn grasses rustle, I don’t automatically go on the defensive waiting for a tiger, or in the case of southern BC, perhaps a mountain lion, to emerge. I know it’s the wind, there are no tigers, or anything so dangerous out there. In other words, my DNA doesn’t make me go on in survival mode any longer at the sound of rustling grass. Point? Why then is religion so endemic today, since it serves no natural purpose? Since it doesn’t explain thunderstorms, floods or droughts or earthquakes and invasions of insects, shouldn’t it have simply gone away?

    This relates to “the universe unfolding as it should” comment. It is dangerous to assume things, including assuming why religion remains such a potent force in a modern society that believes hardly anything religion teaches. Organized religion is not an aberration, it is real and it is powerful. To me it is a deadly enemy and must be treated as such: with circumspection and a calculated “respect.” “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.”

    At the risk of appearing totally “off the wall” (Sorry, too late for that!) I can truthfully state to myself, and for myself, that I know (understand) the original source of religion, and I know why it persists. I also know that for the foreseeable future, which, per vision, for myself, stretches into a thousand-year time span, it will continue to hold sway and eventually will change enough that it will be forced to morph with other forces and these forces will become one HUMAN element, fully under control of mostly self-empowered humanity, and note: of both corporate and discorporate entities.* Of course, that is just one vision, one possible future, the one I choose to pursue and work with. Other visions of alternate future(s) all lead to termination and/or denial of reality and changing paradigms and that’s unacceptable to me.

    *NOTE: In a different reality, religion (heaven and hell) is the Power that captures and holds discorporate humanity. Eventually “we” will break through that boundary and those captured entities will be able to once again communicate and interact with the so-called living, or the corporate ones. This is a very long story, so I’ll leave it as food for thought for those inclined to find mental stimulation in stretching their thought-membranes engaging paradigms outside the mandated box.

  7. Partial quote: “but the South was almost entirely agrarian, and had it not been for the Civil War, it would have been at least another fifty years before the American South gave up it’s slaves.”

    Alright, based on what we now know of current history, what if the British drive to end the shipment of slaves was two-pronged, and “empathy” just a convenient cover op? One, and foremost, to destroy agrarian-based societies within the empire in order to impose their version (in league with Washington, and seeing the mock-up of the 1812 “war” as just another psy-op to hide the collusion) of a new world order. Two, keep able-bodied “slaves” in Africa where they could be better used for mining and maintaining estates all the while imprisoned in segregated enclaves. And it worked. The US “south” was decimated by the industrialized north; Africa became a continent-wide slave pool for a tiny white minority of Europeans that kept power by arbitrarily and deliberately establishing “countries” that cut across traditional tribal lands, effecting a state of endless bloody conflict. All part of a plan that continues to unfold unabated.

    There is a written history, and there is history. Seldom do they match.

  8. It is fashionable to believe that slavery was abolished due to higher-minded progress. Sadly, this was only peripherally true.
    ‘See agency where there is none’ is the sort of sweeping statement worthy of the ‘because it is written’ of the religionists.
    Religions only need eradication where they are based on harmful, ridiculous and outdated superstition. This is not to say that seeking ways of reading meaning into life and the universe is outmoded. In fact, the ‘it all happens because of natural laws’ etc is a real example of closed thinking and a dogged refusal to acknowledge the interconnectedness constantly in evidence.

  9. In other words, my DNA doesn’t make me go on in survival mode any longer at the sound of rustling grass.

    I think you’re expecting DNA (or engrained memes) to alter more quickly than they do.

    At the risk of appearing totally “off the wall” (Sorry, too late for that!)

    Oh, I quite agree, that ship has sailed – but I will say that ‘normal’ is SO overrated.

  10. Interesting (conspiracy) theory, but the slave trade was big business, I can’t imagine it coming to a screeching halt just because the British Empire needed slaves in Africa – it’s not as though there was a shortage.

  11. I am happy to read this post, because it doesn’t deny what many Atheists deny, which is your desire to rid people of faith of their beliefs! I’m so tired of your double speak when you say that you’re just safeguarding your own freedoms and those of vulnerable people and children who are victims of religious preachers. You’ve clearly stated your case, and it is evident to all that there’s a war waging for my right to believe in God.

    Good luck with that!

  12. If someone wants to believe or think or say anything about anything, fine with me. As long as you do not judge anyone too harshly for asking questions afterwards.

  13. I don’t think anyone wants to take away your beliefs, Ufuoma, they just want all of you to stop trying to cram them down the throats of others. When was the last time a Buddhist knocked on your door and asked if you had heard the good news?

  14. I’m really getting tired, Ufuoma, of your abrasive accusations on Ark’s blog, your own blog, and now here. Bu-bye —

  15. Accusations??? What accusations? Did I read your post wrong? Are you saying that your title ‘Eradicating Religion’ and comparison of religion to slavery is not an attempt to rid people of faith in God? Really, is there a special atheist dictionary to understand your post or even the word eradicate?

    You’re back tracking and you know it. It’s the double speak of atheist. You have to appear nice and civil, when your intentions are not at all that. You create the idea that the persecution we experience is all in our heads, because you are the tolerant ones… while you’re conniving on your strategy for the new world order.

    I gained a new respect for you by reading and understanding your post, but if you want to chicken out of admiting the obvious, then you’re just a scared little rebel. And a liar to boot. No respect there.

  16. Before you get TOO much spittle on your keyboard Ufuoma, you might care to notice that this is not my blog, but Kuba’s, so your rant at me for the content of this post is misplaced.

  17. Personally, I don’t know what the “argument” is all about, but by your tone, friend, I would not want anything to do with your theology. Humility and acceptance don’t appear to be your strong points. So, just for your own information, from the get-go, you lost my interest in anything else you may have to say. Sad that religious people have to talk and act like drug pushers. Oh wait, I did religion and I do remember: it is a drug. Sorry, carry on.

  18. Interesting… I was confused about that, because I clicked on your gravitar, and it took me to the blog. Am I to assume that it’s like the Isaiah 53:5 Project that features other bloggers, and that you are one of the contributors? Or are you truly the blog owner, while Kuba wrote the post? I guess it would help me to know who is truly deserving of the respect for this post.
    Either way, you were very quick to respond to me, considering that you claim that is not your blog. And I bet you’re among the dozen who signed their name in agreement to the post by liking it. So for me to say that you’ve finally come clean on your stance is not too far fetched a claim.

    But I guess you’d rather stay in the closet about how much you truly hate my faith. No biggie. Bu-bye!

    Big ups to whoever boldly wrote this post. My initial comment was to them.

  19. Hi Sha’Tara. I liked the first portion of your comment. Very insightful. In general you make really sound arguments… But I can’t help noticing that your Compassion doctrine (or whatever you would call it) sounds a lot like religion… or at least some sort of spirituality. So you really having left the park (called Matrix), you just got yourself a whole new bench.

  20. Pingback: The Intolerance of Religion in a Tolerant Society | ufuomaee

  21. I was confused about that, because I clicked on your gravitar, and it took me to the blog.” – I wrote a couple of guest posts for Kuba, and from that point on, everytime one clicks on my gravitar, it directs to Knowledge Guild – WordPress works in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform —

    I don’t hate your religion, but I do hate being called a liar.

  22. Further, Ufuoma, if you will read with more care than you obviously did this time, you may also note that Kuba didn’t write the post either, she merely quoted the author, Sam Harris. It would be wise to get your facts straight before you launch into accusations.

  23. I gave you a chance to apologise for lying against me on my blog that I deleted your posts when you knew very well that I did not, just so you could cast me in a bad light for censoring your friend. Instead of admiting this and apologizing, you said “I never lie”, a blatant lie in itself. If that doesn’t make you a liar, I don’t know what does.

  24. And really, what does it matter that Kuba didn’t write the post herself? It is her blog, and she quoted the whole thing, without expressing any contrary view to the author, which implies that she completely agrees with and supports it. And the lot of you commenting and liking the post are also agreeing and supporting what it says.

    You will do anything to protect your nice guy image, but really, your mask is falling off!

  25. Pingback: The Intolerance of Religion in a Tolerant Society – Grace and Truth

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