EppsNet Archive: Religion

Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?

 

My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race. I cannot, however, deny that it has made some contributions to civilization. It helped in early days to fix the calendar, and it caused Egyptian priests to chronicle eclipses with such care that in time they became able to predict them. These two services I am prepared to acknowledge, but I do not know of any others. — Bertrand Russell, “Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?” Read more →

Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

 

Then Christ says, “The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth,” and he goes on about the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It comes in one verse after another, and it is quite manifest to the reader that there is a certain pleasure in contemplating wailing and gnashing of teeth, or else it would not occur so often. . . . I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture, and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take Him as his chroniclers represent… Read more →

Whence Then is Evil?

 

EPICURUS’s old questions are yet unanswered. Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil? — David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Read more →

Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?

 

I do not myself think that the dependence of morals upon religion is nearly as close as religious people believe it to be. I even think that some very important virtues are more likely to be found among those who reject religious dogmas than among those who accept them. I think this applies especially to the virtue of truthfulness or intellectual integrity. I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, although it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organized beliefs. — Bertrand Russell, “Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?” Read more →

Is It Humane to Believe in Everlasting Punishment?

 

I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates. You find him quite bland and urbane toward the people who would not listen to him; and it is, to my mind, far more worthy of a sage to take that line than to the the line of indignation. You probably all remember the sort of things that Socrates was saying as he was dying, and the sort of things that he generally did say to people who did not agree with him. You will find… Read more →

There Has Been a Rumor

 

There has been a rumor in recent years to the effect that I have become less opposed to religious orthodoxy than I formerly was. This rumor is totally without foundation. I think all the great religions of the world — Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Communism — both untrue and harmful. — Bertrand Russell, 1957 Read more →

The Great Virtue of a Free Market System

 

The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another. — Milton Friedman Read more →

Is Christmas a Joyous Day? (A Movie Review)

 

SPOILERS AHEAD! The central character in this movie is a Buddhist monk who has achieved immortality, he looks about 50 but he no longer ages. There is, however, a prophecy that a girl born in the same town that he was born in, but 100 years later, will kill him. [SPOILERS START HERE] So for the last 14 years, he has had his disciples locate and murder every girl born in that city in the year 1999. In most cases, the bodies were disposed of so the cases were treated as missing persons, or in some cases, as accidents. (As I write this, it does seem like the police should have been able to connect the dots a little sooner.) When you see it in a movie like this, it seems grotesque and inhuman that a religious leader would order a mass murder of children in order to preserve his… Read more →

Another Reason I’m Not a Christian

 

One of my nieces had a seizure, was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a brain tumor. The last report I heard was that one doctor thought the situation was very dire, while another thought since she had no history of seizures, the prognosis was not so bad. We don’t know yet. This woman is a good person, religious person, faithful churchgoer . . . why do things like this happen if the world was created by a good, omnipotent God? As a purification for sin? In that case, why am I not the one getting a brain tumor? I haven’t been to a church in decades. It’s another reason I’m not able to believe in God. You have to spend too much time finding excuses for pain and misery in this suffering world. Read more →

Why I Can’t Be a Liberal

 

I saw a couple of things trending on Twitter today . . . one was the death of Rush Limbaugh, and the other was “Rest in Piss,” a vulgarism that a lot of people were using to celebrate Limbaugh’s death. My own political views aren’t based on left or right, Democrat or Republican. They’re based mainly on freedom and self-reliance. If you can mind your own business, keep your hands to yourself and you’re not defrauding anyone, you can do anything you like, I don’t care. For example, if you want to have an abortion, if you want to marry someone of the same sex, go ahead. These views would align me with people on the left of the political spectrum. I’m also disgusted by the right-wing penchant to inject religion into politics. But I would never, never, never identify myself as liberal, as progressive . . . liberals are… Read more →

God Cannot Feel Disappointment or Pain

 

“Your god must feel a bit disappointed,” Doctor Colin said, “when he looks at this world of his.” “When you were a boy they can’t have taught you theology very well. God cannot feel disappointment or pain.” “Perhaps that’s why I don’t care to believe in him.” — Graham Greene, _A Burnt-Out Case_ Read more →

Woke White Boy: Giving Tuesday

 

I wanted to remind you that today is “Giving Tuesday,” a day set aside every year to interrupt the Christmas shopping blitz so that Americans like you can give to non-profit causes like attacking free enterprise, capitalism, freedom of expression, religious values, and everything that makes America remarkable. Please fight back. — WWB Read more →

It’s Hard to Remember Which Side the Intolerant Bigots Are Really On

 

“One thing I’ve noticed about online dating profiles is that a lot of people will say something like ‘No Trump Supporters,’ but I’ve never seen one profile where someone says ‘No Trump Haters’ or ‘Trump Supporters Only.’” “That’s interesting. I mean, Trump is a polarizing figure but I’d expect it to split about 50-50 between ‘No Trump Supporters’ and ‘No Trump Haters.’” “No, that’s not the case. It’s not 50-50, it’s 100-0. Nor are there specific exclusions mentioned for other polarizing figures, i.e., ‘No Bernie Bros’ or ‘No Socialists.’ I’ve never seen ‘No Atheists’ or ‘No Christians.’ But I see a lot of ‘No Trumpsters.’ “Ironically, the main beef about Trump and his supporters, as I understand it, is they are intolerant bigots. It makes you wonder, you know, which side the intolerant bigots are really on.” Read more →

Praying for Protection

 

Texas state lawmaker calls for ‘praying for protection’ instead of gun reform in wake of mass shooting CNN Let me ask you: what is “gun reform”? Why would it be better than prayer for preventing mass shootings? Pray for protection and if you get shot, take comfort in knowing it was God’s will. Can I get an amen? Read more →

God’s Silence

 

“But just think of Gethsemane, Vicar. Christ’s disciples fell asleep. They hadn’t understood the meaning of the last supper, or anything. And when the servants of the law appeared, they ran away. And Peter denied him. Christ had known his disciples for three years. They’d lived together day in and day out — but they never grasped what he meant. They abandoned him, to the last man. And he was left alone. That must have been painful. Realizing that no one understands. To be abandoned when you need someone to rely on — that must be excruciatingly painful. But the worse was yet to come. When Jesus was nailed to the cross — and hung there in torment — he cried out — ‘God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?’ He cried out as loud as he could. He thought that his heavenly father had abandoned him. He believed… Read more →

See You in Hell

 

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] Many are outraged that President Trump didn’t recite the Apostle’s Creed at the Bush funeral. Most of the outraged wouldn’t know the Apostle’s Creed from Apollo Creed. But they’re outraged because they were told that they should be. See you in Hell! Read more →

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