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An Argument against Religion (Part I)

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I thought for my first Comment article of this term I would tackle the always controversial and touchy subject of religion, my view is one borne of experience and reading on religion, science and history so I hope it will be convincing. The religion I will specifically discuss is Christianity but my argument isn’t restricted to one religion; I will set out this article as my response to reasons/arguments used in favour of religion and against atheism/agnosticism.

 

“Evolution is just a theory, if we evolved from monkeys why are there still monkeys, you can’t prove God didn’t have a hand in evolution, Creation as prescribed in the Bible literally/figuratively is the origin of Man, etc”

Well firstly, Evolution is indeed a theory: a theory created by scientists much smarter than I am and despite what some Christian Scientists may argue, they are in the minority. On that note gravity is also a theory but I don’t suggest you jump out of your university room window on the top floor to test it out. I’m no evolutionary biologist, but I know that evolution means humans and monkeys as we know them today, evolved from a common ancestor, not some sort of Pokemon-style evolution from monkey to Human. This process took flipping ages (millions of years) and so is understandably hard for our limited human brains used to 365 day years to comprehend. I can kind of understand if you take the Garden of Eden story as a ‘metaphor’ but if you take it literally I don’t really know how to respond to that. Noah’s ark if it existed would have had to have been monumental in size and to round up that many different species without them killing each other doesn’t make sense.

“Faith requires that leap into the dark, it’s just my faith etc”

I respect people that have faith in God, I really do, it’s just not something I can buy into. It’s the reason I would define myself as an Agnostic Atheist: I’m 95 percent sure there’s no God (or Thor, Ra etc) but I’m willing to accept humanity does not have all the answers yet, Science still doesn’t fully explain how the brain works for example. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time. The lack of full knowledge should not push us back into earth-centred theories of the solar system or conceptions of God favouring one society/people over another.

“Without religion how could we have morals, society would descend into anarchy/amorality and have orgies on the streets etc”

This is a personal favourite of mine and quite an insulting thing for someone to say to another human being. Anyone who reads history will know that churches of all denominations have had pretty shady concepts of morality (and still do). The Catholic Church tends to get picked on in this light, recent and historical sexual abuse, worrying responses to the Nazis and inquisition being three examples. But extreme variations of morality can be seen within Protestantism as well, especially on the issue of gay rights in both America and the UK; Northern Ireland still does not legally recognize gay marriage for instance. I’m not going to pick on the extreme example (Westboro Baptist) because they are a small minority.

On the issue of morals, do we really need to be told by the Ten Commandments to not kill others, or to respect our neighbours? I get the impression that some religious people think if they lost faith in God they’d automatically head out on a killing spree, which is quite worrying. As much as I enjoyed reciting hymns in primary school assembly, I derived my morals not from God but from my parents. You do not need the fear of Hell/angering God to be a good person and it is fundamentally worrying for our conceptions of humanity if people believe feel they do.

 

 This is the first part of a debate series I hope will be countered by a religious commenter. To avoid protracted comment wars, the author will not directly respond to comments below, instead answering them in the next installment of the debate series.