sucker born every minute”
are more embarrassing to witness than a flagrant display of
belief in the ridiculous, especially when it occurs in people
that are clearly smart enough to know better – if they would
just try. Religious people are not all fools, although the vast
majority excel at foolish thought and behavior, they just suffer
from a weakness that predisposes them to slavishly adopt the
facile beliefs surrounding them, especially when it comes with
the imprimatur of authority. People that always want to do what is 'right' don't
ask questions and will follow the rules regardless of the logic,
or lack of it, underlying those rules.
Think of the most idiotic, asinine, foolish rituals and
practices imaginable and some religion or cult somewhere has
turned it into a sacred tenet of their belief system. The list
of examples is nearly endless but a few are listed below. And
remember that these religions and cults maintain
that they alone are the one true faith and all the others are
In many places in Africa it is quite
polite when visiting friends or relatives to express one's
sympathy with them for having such "ugly" or "unpleasant"
children. The idea is that witches, always on the lookout for
nice children to "eat" will be fooled by this naive
stratagem. It is also common in such places to give children
names that suggest disgrace or misfortune, for the same
Lightning burns down many
Amish buildings but they
refuse to use a simple metal lightning rod because it would
contradict God's will. Many Amish won't even use buttons on
Japanese doomsday cult
('supreme truth') was founded by
Shoko Asahara who fancies himself the reincarnation of Jesus,
among other things. Blind in one eye and nearly so in the
other as a result of congenital syphilis, Shoko Asahara
naturally gravitated towards a career in acupuncture. Aum Shinrikyo’s beliefs
consisted of hastening the arrival of an imminent apocalypse.
Recruitment consisted of kidnapping, drugging and
brainwashing. After their botched nerve gas attack on a Tokyo
subway most of the key members were arrested and the remaining
cast of flotsam changed their name to
generally repackaging the cult. Despite the façade change that
was pre-planned anyway, Aleph remains wildly unpopular amongst
the Japanese public - go figure. Aum Shinrikyo had some highly
educated scientists working on their arsenal of weapons of
mass-destruction, demonstrating that in a country where
education consists of rote memorization rather than independent learning even educated people can
fall prey to their own gullibility.
Aztecs, considered 'deeply
religious people' by historians, performed human sacrifices in the most brutal and painful ways
possible because they believed that if they stopped appeasing
the god of death the world would end. This 'powerful' religion
(and empire) proved to be no match for a few dirty Spaniards
doesn’t technically have a god-deity but in practice the once human
Buddha, often in the form of obese and
gaudy statues, comes remarkably close. Buddhism fulfills the
standard religious mold because it's based on escaping life,
Earth and reality in general rather than in simply addressing
it head-on as the Nihilist does. Buddhism like all beliefs
forsakes the issue of the here and now for a fraudulent and
impossible goal i.e. higher spiritual planes, nirvana, etc.
Careless diet finished off Buddha Siddhartha who was sickened
by tainted pork. The great Buddha died as he lived: carelessly
ignoring the immediate significance of reality for escape in
Tantric Buddhism of Bhutan: And
the kernels of corn? They are the calculus of devotion. Each
time the gray-haired woman named Tum Tum prostrates herself,
she slides one of the 108 kernels (a sacred number) across the
floor. In three months she has moved the kernels 95,000
times—1,000 prostrations a day—and will continue until she
reaches 100,000. "Sometimes I get so tired I fall over," says
Tum Tum, whose knees have left grooves in the floorboards.
"But I won't stop. This is our tradition." 
Cargo cults sprang up as a result of
the culture shock, invasion and infection, created by the
American military bases built throughout the previously
isolated south Pacific during
World War II.
astounded natives didn't know what to make of these new
people and their mysterious machines but they began to believe
that all of it really belonged to them and not the thieving
white man – they just had to lure it back. The cargo cult
worshippers began to mimic the devices they had seen, making
wooden copies of rifles, radios out of pots and rope,
and idolizing dollar bills and photographs. All they had to do was
parade around acting like American soldiers and soon the giant
metal ship would land and bring heaven along with it! Needless
to say the believers are still waiting.
are an intriguing example of seemingly foolish rituals because
they demonstrate the fundamental nature of belief: the human
mind unsystematically grasping at explanations for unusual
events using a forced context consisting of the limited range
of everyday experiences. As the cargo cults show, the
anthropocentric and teleological views of reality are
fundamental flaws characterizing all belief systems.
Catholic Church excommunicated many animals even as
recently as the 20th century including eels, dogs, horses, and
rats, to name a few. Ecclesiastical (religious) courts even
put animals on trial. France in 1522 put all rats on trial for
damaging barley crops but the case was eventually adjourned
without verdict because the rats never showed up in the
courtroom! And when court orders failed to alter the behavior
of the offending animals or insects it was blamed on Satan.
These numerous and lengthy legal trials against animals were
funded through tithes paid to the Church by the public, i.e.
Mexican priest Marcial
Maciel, a serial pedophile, built a religious empire called
the Legion of Christ with assets in excess of $20
billion. Yet, although his predatory sexual activities were
known to Catholic authorities, it wasn’t until 2010 that the
Vatican officially stated that, after decades of refusing to
punish Maciel, his behavior "constituted
real crimes … devoid of scruples and authentic religious
sentiment." Maciel, called a
“disgrace to humankind" by one of
his victims, operated with impunity inside the patriarchal
Church, using his unchecked authority to force obedience and
silence upon his victims. 
The Church of Christ,
otherwise known as Christian Science, was founded by Mary
Baker Glover Patterson Eddy who wrote the book Science and
Health with Key to the Scriptures. CCS preaches that evil
and sickness are just illusions but with faith they can be
overcome, spiritual powers are stronger than physical, and
even denies the existence of all matter including the human
body. Christian Scientists are notorious for refusing to
receive medical treatment for themselves and their children
with predictable consequences for everyone except the
A Jewish sect known as the
Essenes took observation of the
Sabbath to a new level by refusing to use the toilet at all on
that day. They considered using the bathroom an unclean act in
the sight of God and as a consequence their latrines had to be
located out of sight of the village, and not a minor distance
either, scrolls from
about 2,000 years ago indicate a distance of over a kilometer.
This distance didn't even offer any health benefits because of
the particular waste disposal methods the Essenes used,
spreading disease and parasites. 
Members of the
Followers of Christ, and other
Christian groups, believe in
'faith-healing' and refuse to allow themselves or their
children to receive medical care, no matter how serious the
illness, because to do so defies God's will. Unsurprisingly to
everyone except the faith-healer followers, their avoidance of
medical care even leads to the death of their children, and
has put some of them in court on murder charges.
Haiti, land of voodoo, a major worry is that witches
will steal the body of a recently deceased relative. In order
to prevent this from happening they will bury thread and a
needle without an eye in with the body because this will keep
the witches occupied for centuries as they attempt, in vain,
to thread the needle and then forget about stealing the dead
believe that certain animals are so sacred they can only be
worshipped and never harmed. Consequently, cows wandering
through a town will cause traffic jams and leave steaming
piles of waste everywhere even as the humans live in disease
and on the verge of starvation.
Because Hanuman the monkey God is highly revered, aggressive monkeys are a
common plague on rural Indian
villages. Using their attentive
monkey senses they are quick to detect weakness in the humans
and often take over entire villages, carefully targeting the
soft throat and genital regions of any puny human foolish
enough to threaten their new domain. All efforts to convert
the monkeys to the peaceful ways of the Buddhist and Hindu
have met with failure; hopes remain high.
Lacking an abundance of ATM
cash machines, and displaying a concern for women typical of
nearly all religions, Hindu men that need a quick buck can,
and do, burn their wives alive to collect the dowry.
requires its followers to pray five times a day facing the
direction of Mecca, preferably with the knees and forehead on
the ground and the ass in the air.
strictly forbids pork and alcohol as well as any depiction of
the human form, so for instance cross-walk signs in Middle
Eastern countries will feature black silhouettes with the
heads rubbed out! Despite the fact that Islam is one of the
simplest religions around followers find no lack of details to
interpret in different ways and then kill each other over the
disagreement, as evinced by the bloody religious civil war in
Iraq brought to you courtesy of the faith-based leadership of
one George W. Bush.
In the tribal Islamic country of Yemen, the practice of
marrying girls to adult men is common practice, frequently
resulting in the slavery, and often death, of the girls. In
2009 some in the government tried to pass a law setting 17 as
the minimum age for marriage, but it was repealed as being
“un-Islamic”! In Yemen more than a quarter of females are
married before the age of 15.
In July 2008 Saudi Arabia’s
religious police that enforce Wahabist
Islam announced a ban on the sale of cats and dogs,
resurrecting an old rule in order to prevent men from using
the animals as a means of meeting women, i.e. walking a dog in
the park. 
Christianity isn't the only
religion that has a problem with the human body in its natural
form, conservative Islam even forbids unclothed bathing.
Genital mutilation is
either highly suggested or outright mandatory for Islam,
Judaism, Christianity, and many primitive tribal cultures as
well. Various forms of self-inflicted mutilation can also be
found in many religions and cults. Mutilation ceremonies are
often conducted as a means of indicating the believer’s faith,
suffering and devotion for God.
sect often wear scarves or surgical masks to prevent breathing
in an insect and snuffing out the life of a reincarnated soul.
notorious for endlessly pushing their ‘Watchtower’ tract onto
anyone who can fog a mirror, refuse to serve in the military,
salute a flag, or celebrate any holiday or birthday –
apparently because their religion forbids them from forming an
allegiance to an earthly power. JWs also believe that only
144,000 people will go to heaven and that they will remain
behind to take over the Earth after everyone else is killed
when the world ends … soon, really, it will happen any day
and Muslims believe that
their animals must be slaughtered in particular ways otherwise
the meat is 'unclean'. Unfortunately for the animals, scientific evidence, and modern sensibilities these religious
slaughtering methods are torture killings.
bleed to death in what government advisers say is "very
significant pain". … Religious slaughter is exempt from the
provisions of the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing)
Regulations 1995, which insist that creatures such as cows,
goats and chicken be stunned first. Under the Jewish shechita
system, kosher cows, lambs and poultry have their throats slit
and then bleed to death. Halal animals also bleed to death,
but some of them are stunned after the incision is made,
depending on the interpretation of the Koran. 
Even the non-religious end
up supporting these practices when they buy meat because the
extra cuts are sold in the regular market without any markings
indicating how the animal was killed. And the scale of this
activity is enormous. In Britain alone over 100 million
animals a year are killed by kosher
(Jewish law) and halal (Islamic
cult leader Jim
infamous for forcing his flock to drink poisoned punch in the
jungles of South America killing over 900 in mass suicide, came from the mainstream Christian
denomination Disciples of Christ.
But what pushed him over the edge?
For decades missionaries
have been flying into Sub-Saharan Africa and spreading the
Christian faith like a wildfire. The natives come from far and
wide eager to get a free meal as much as they are to hear the
gospel message delivered by enthusiastic and convincing white
people, so strange they may as well have beamed down from a
different galaxy. While the missionaries claim millions of
saved souls by promising an unverifiable posthumous salvation,
the unstated price is the present turned into a living hell.
After the missionaries fly away on a silver bird the new
foreign beliefs mix with ancient tribal superstitions, then
add endemic over-population to the cocktail of mental poison
and consider this little black nightmare coming at you
straight out of Uganda. Praise the Lord and pass the
machete it’s the Lord's Resistance
Army led by former Catholic altar boy turned
professional psychotic Joseph Kony.
The official mission of
the LRA is to turn Uganda into a theocracy based on the
Biblical Ten Commandments. The LRA spreads fear and gains
recruits by capturing and mutilating children and forcing them
to kill their parents – and that’s on a good day. Christian
missionaries, Joseph Kony and the LRA are powerful testament
to the words of Voltaire who once stated,
"Those who can make you believe
absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
Ancestor worship is a
resilient tradition in Chinese culture, never fully
extinguished by secular Maoist Communism. The tradition called
minghun (afterlife marriage)
involves burying a dead woman along with a dead unmarried man,
after a posthumous marriage ceremony, in order to ensure his
happiness in the afterlife. Although illegal it is not
uncommon for profit-seekers to kill women and sell them as
‘ghost brides’! Minghun is just one particularly egregious
belief-practice characterizing a culture that places a higher
value on women dead than alive. 
The Holy Book of
Mormon originated from metal plates
buried in a forest in New York that were discovered by Joseph
Smith, Jr. after supposedly being guided to the secret location by God,
Jesus and an angel named Moroni. Smith hid behind a sheet and
translated the mysterious symbols to his followers using
special glasses found with the plates. The
origin of the Mormon religion reads like a joke without a
10,000,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (LDS) apparently really believe what’s
written in their holy book.
The Mormons didn’t get to be so numerous on the basis of an
appealing set of beliefs; they got there the good ol’
fashioned way: brainwashed from birth. They're ordered
to marry and have children if they want to attain the ‘highest
levels of divinity’.
Brigham Young had between
28 and 49 wives (but who's counting, right?),
and although polygamy is no longer officially sanctioned by the
Church of LDS, it is nonetheless still practiced. Polygamist
Mormons have turned their religious beliefs into a financial
scam because the second (third and fourth, etc.) wives are
viewed by the state as unmarried single women with children
(where present) and no assets, so they qualify for
taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.
The Mormon Church’s polygamy, or “plural marriage” as they
call it, is yet another demonstration of the manufactured
‘word of God’ being used to manipulate the young and the
gullible and to justify otherwise unacceptable or harmful
behavior. In this case, religious-based polygamy is just a
trick to try and sanctify raping children. Warren Jeffs,
the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints in Texas, and now convicted of sexual
assault on children, had at least 78 wives. Twelve of Warren
Jeff’s wives were 16, and another twelve were 15 or younger.
Taking his inspiration from the sacred Book of Mormon, Jeffs
encouraged other men to trade their teenage daughters for
child brides of their own. 
take adherence to rules and
rituals to an extreme, refusing to use mechanical and
electrical devices or do any kind of work, including cooking, driving,
or cutting hair on the Sabbath. Public transportation is shut-down on
the Sabbath, and rabbis control all Jewish marriage and
Israel.  Influential Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv
proclaimed that Jews can’t wear Crocs shoes on Yom Kippur
because they're too comfortable. Halacha
(Jewish law) forbids the use of any electrical devices on the
Sabbath, so Orthodox Jews have specially built (Shabbat)
elevators that operate without the need to touch any buttons
or switches. But even that’s not safe enough because some Jews
argue that simply the weight of the rider still increases the
electricity used and therefore violates Halacha! 
insult to injury, upon marriage Orthodox Jewish women have
their heads shaved and the hair turned into a wig for them to
wear!  Yes,
G-d of Orthodox Judaism is a very active deity obsessed
with minutia, and not surprisingly just about everything that
happens is caused by God. Otherwise, like all forms of Judaism,
it's based on a severe form of exclusivity where all gentiles
are the lowest form of life and all Jews are the highest; multiple, and often imaginative, forms of duplicitous
behavior stem from this warped belief.
Judaism, known worldwide for its
wealth of 'wisdom' and 'wholesome traditions', has its own version
of the Taliban who exert enormous influence within Israel.
Jewish fundamentalists enforce G-d’s rules vigilante style by
assaulting women who dress or act inappropriately, like
wearing red clothing because the bright color attracts
attention. They also demand and receive gender-segregated
public busses (women sit in the back – waaaay in the
back), vandalize clothing stores they don’t like, and torch
music and electronics stores for ruining souls.
"Three years ago, a son of Israel's Sephardi chief rabbi,
Shlomo Amar, was accused of kidnapping a 17-year-old boy,
beating him at knifepoint and terrorizing him with snarling
dogs because he had sought the attentions of the accused's
And that’s just in their free-time when
Zionists aren't shooting Palestinians in the guts and
building settlements with oversized Israeli flags on stolen
Religious vigilantes operate in a society that has granted
their community influence well beyond its numbers — partly out
of a commitment to revive the great centers of Jewish
scholarship destroyed in the Holocaust, but also because the
Orthodox are perennial king-makers in Israeli coalition
Traditional Jewish religious laws exert enormous influence
upon society in Israel, even trumping secular laws. Jews in
Israel can only get married under Halacha rules, and
these rules have no minimum age limit for marriage.
the world the
slaughter of animals through torture killing, and every other aspect
of diet, are
regulated by kosher rules that are so arcane and bizarre that
not even the Rabbis can agree on them, but they make a small
fortune putting their kosher stamp on as many food, and even
as possible. Kosher marks can even be found on laundry
detergent, revealing that it's all just a scam anyway – and
you get to pay for it through the added price!
Catholics are forbidden to eat meat on Friday as decreed in
the law of abstinence. In a marriage between a Catholic and a
non-Catholic, the Catholic is required to convert the
non-believer; and of course the kids will be raised Catholic.
And there will be
of kids unless the Catholic parents disobey the Pope, because
the use of contraception is a sin according to the Church.
now well known that many priests have been found guilty of
child abuse and pedophilia. Despite what Church officials have
stated, shocking incidents of pedophilia were not rare or
isolated but were in fact systemic, and occurred over a
period of decades in Catholic schools, reformatories,
orphanages, and other institutions around the world. Even more
appalling, Church authorities knew what was going on but chose
to cover-up the acts and shield the perpetrators, rather than
stop the sexual-abuse of children under their control. And
it’s not just sexual abuse either, the Catholic Church, and
associated enterprises, has always been a bastion of physical
violence and psychological abuse targeted at the young and
vulnerable. The Church’s perversity is pervasive, persistent
and it extends all the way to the top. The Pope’s brother,
Georg Ratzinger, was in charge of a boys choir that a former
student described as being run on "a
sophisticated system of sadistic punishments in connection
with sexual lust".  The Catholic Church has
unequivocally demonstrated the terrible hazard of
unaccountable authority while totally undermining the supposed
moral righteousness of their religion.
was a bishop in Turkey, martyred in the year 305. St. Nicholas
is better known today as Santa Claus and once did double duty
as the patron saint of pawnbrokers and beer drinkers. Sadly
you may need to find another deity to pray to as you binge
drink since Nicholas was un-sainted by the Catholic Church in
church is based upon the hallucinatory visions
experienced by Ellen
Gould White after sustaining a serious head injury. The SDA
church is fanatical about vegetarianism, the imminence of
Jesus’ second coming AKA the end of the world, and the
fact that the seventh day of rest is on Saturday not
Sunday! The infamous Branch Davidian cult leader David
Koresh split off from the SDA church.
Church of Scientology
originated in the early
1950s with fantasy fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and his
Dianetics book. With a belief in past and future lives,
miracles, mystical Thetan’s and bizarre space alien
interactions Scientologists target Hollywood celebrities to
add credence to their supposed path to spiritual
self-improvement. Yet Hubbard’s Scientology has nothing to do
with science and everything to do with the perpetual mental
and financial servitude of followers. Children are contracted
for up to a billion years of service to the Church that now
enjoys tax-exempt status as a religion. The entrapment of
children is furthered with their ‘Delphian School’ using
‘Study Tech’. The Church reaps millions of dollars from
believers charging them for ‘audits’ that lead them to higher
ranks in their hierarchical pyramid, and the large personal
investment further compels Scientologists to believe and
follow along, while intimidation and harassment keep most from
fleeing the worldwide cult. 
People that follow
animistic religion in Siberia are
careful to watch what they say and how they express it because
malicious spirits eavesdrop on conversations and will attempt
to sabotage human efforts. Yet by simply using metaphorical
language when discussing important topics they are protected
against the machination of evil spirits because the spirits,
despite superhuman powers, cannot understand language
expressed in metaphors. 
Apologies to any religion,
cult or belief system not maligned or
Gullibility is divine, thus sayeth the Lord.
Can I get an ‘Amen’?!
Mental Illness or Mental Religion?
some people fervently believe in ghosts or when they follow
commanding ‘voices in their head’ they're treated as delusional,
crazy or even psychotic. These people are given medical
treatment and brain-chemical balancing drugs in order to manage
their mental illness. Yet when people profess the most intense
beliefs in certain other things no one has ever really seen,
such as demons, Allah, God, angels, heaven, hell, and so on,
these people are treated with the greatest of reverence and
respect and even made into leaders and wise gurus who become
rich from the donations of their faithful followers!
What is the difference here? The fantasies and delusions are
equally foolish whether it’s the belief and obedience to a
psychotic voice in the head or an imaginary deity residing in
some magical place no one can see. Religious beliefs should be
placed in the same class as mental sickness or any other serious
psychological disorder that degrades the quality of life and the
individual's ability to deal with reality.
One of the fundamental (but understandable) flaws with modern
psychology is its assumption that sanity is defined using the
mental character of the majority as a benchmark. But this
standard isn’t really objective, it’s subjective and merely
based on a relational comparison that's used incorrectly to
define an aberrant standard for mental health. Just because
many people believe in something that doesn’t make it valid, and
just because a lie is repeated a billion times that doesn’t make
it any more truthful than it was to begin with.
Why Do People Go to Church?
For many people church
attendance is just about gaining a level of acceptance and
trying to find solace with others.
is about the comfort that comes from fitting into a crowd where
the shared belief is just a common delusion. Another unstated
benefit of church attendance is the intellectual equalization
effect, which is especially appealing for lukewarm minds. It can
be quite comforting to be with a friendly crowd that all hold
the same childish beliefs because it puts all the members on the
same (low) intellectual plane.
say that religion doesn’t really hurt anyone because at least it
gives people something to believe in and a reason to work
together but those benefits can be gained from any idea-set as
long as it’s consistent. All people are really gaining from
religion is the comfort that comes from a life of staid habit
and the illusory elimination of ambiguity from knowledge. By
pretending to hold an absolute truth life becomes much easier
because sides and boundaries are clearly defined and everything
becomes black and white. This is just like saying life is easier
as a slave because you don’t have to think for yourself and
someone else makes all the tough decisions for you. It may be
true but it is hardly a desirable status!
Why Do People Believe?
difficult to explain using standard terminology precisely
because they seem to defy common sense. Human beliefs are so
often detrimental to the individual, forced to maintain them
with considerable effort against all evidence to the contrary,
that the model of the meme was introduced to try and
explain the phenomenon.
Memes are used to explain how beliefs can take hold of a mind
and spread even though they are so often surprisingly useless to
the believer. Memes are the equivalent of genes except instead
of being part of physical reproduction they function to
reproduce ideas. However, just like a virus memes need an
external host with which to replicate, hence the human mind
works quite well as a vehicle to convey and magnify ideas and
beliefs without regard to the benefit of the host but merely for
the benefit of the meme and its increased propagation.
convincing appeal of the meme model, other explanations can
suffice to explain the spread and tenacity of beliefs such as
simple human social dynamics – the need for acceptance, the
protection that comes from cooperation, and the stability that
comes from consistency and habit made even more stable through
artificial, reality-immune constructions.
where people feel economically insecure and uncertain
about their future
Individuals that lack a sufficient sense of personal
efficacy in life, be it of thought or action, will default
towards authoritarian modes of living where everything is
divided between the powerful that dominate and the weak that
submit. But in reality personal power is all in the mind and
outside of obvious physical limitations everyone is only as
constrained as they think they are.
this is another reason why the stranglehold of religion on the
mind is such an insidious threat – it intentionally constrains
the efficacy of the individual and it engenders the belief in a
fundamentally false authoritarian view of reality based upon the
exploitation of one group over another, just as God dominates his
creations and the priests deliver orders for their flock to obey,
and so on down the line. Further, in this warped world of faith,
salvation can only arrive from an external, and by definition,
more powerful source. The only real ‘salvation’ that can ever be
achieved has to be self-motivated, but this is why people that
have a weak sense of personal efficacy also lack any sense of
personal responsibility – I have no power to control my life
therefore nothing I do is my fault. Welcome to the hell
that religion and belief creates.
matter what the Church authorities tell you to do – do it. If
it’s right, it’s right. If it’s wrong, they’ll be accountable,
Chauncey G. Webb (Mormon) 1903
strong versus weak power distribution forms is never fully
explained except through tautology and the excuse of divine
intervention. But in practice the ‘strong’ get to the top
because they create their own free will, they seize
opportunities and lead an active and engaged existence. While
the ‘weak’ achieve their status because they accept the
authoritarian order and agree to live a passive and unengaged
life disconnected from responsibility and any sense of real
remember: belief is a choice
The lesson of
Nihilism, contrary to religious belief, is to not run
from life, 'evil', and the world in general but instead to meet
it head-on with aggression and aplomb.
The Bible Explained
Anyone that actually reads
the Bible will realize that 'the good book' is full of terrible
behavior examples, gratuitous violence, sexual perversion,
nonsense rules and glaring contradictions; but mostly it’s
simply a hopelessly confused and practically impenetrable mess!
From cover-to-cover the Bible just doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of
sense. Comprehending the Bible is made even more difficult by
preachers and theologians who pick and choose bits and pieces so
they can present the message they want to convey, without regard
for context or accuracy, for their thirty minute sermon to the
flock who only reads bits and pieces of the Bible themselves.
But the incoherency of the
Bible transitions into focus if you read it recognizing that
God, particularly in the Old Testament, is really invoked not as
reason to explain events but as an excuse and a justification
for contemporary authorities to get away with words and actions
that would otherwise be unacceptable to most everyone, and
indeed that the people would reject outright and probably flee
from for their very lives!
gave them over to statues that were not good and laws they could
not live by; I let them become defiled through their gifts–the
sacrifice of every first-born–that I might fill them with
horror so they would know that I am the Lord. – Ezekiel
20:25-26 (NIV) 
When you read the Bible
through the perspective of tribal rulers exploiting the fears
and superstition of the people to sustain their blood-soaked and
thoroughly despotic reign of terror and error, while gratifying
their debased desires in the process, the pieces of the picture
start to fall into place. The Bible isn’t a guidebook,
it’s a screaming warning in the form of a maniacal depiction of
what not to do (and what not to let anyone else do as
well)! And this makes the Bible all the scarier
because so many believers really do try and use it as a
rule-book to live by.
Belief and Purpose: The Challenge of Absurdity
before that a reduction to the level of survival is a convenient
basis for a common cause, but what exactly does a person really
need for survival? Food, shelter, and clothing are tangible,
standard issue necessities sufficient for a non-sentient being.
But humans have complex minds attached to their physical bodies
and they've evolved as social creatures that exist within, and
because of, collective interdependence. Consequently, a sense of
community is another element necessary to human survival.
humans have a conscious awareness of reality they also have
another need, which is a sense of identity, or to put it another
way, a social context with which to place themselves in relation
to other persons and objects in time and space. Finally, every
person needs a sense of self-worth and a purpose within that
context of community and identity otherwise they are faced with
a very potent absurdity that must be mentally rectified one way
or another to maintain sanity.
and the necessary sense of social bonding to others breaks down
individuals become isolated and alienated from their social and
physical environment. Individuals cut-off without any social
context lose their sense of purpose in life because the
individual either cannot deliver any value to society or what
they can do or produce is not needed by society, consequently
they lose a sense of purpose in life. If this situation carries
on long enough then existence becomes an absurdity for without
any purpose or point to anything the individual lacks any reason
to continue the struggle of life. Thus the thinking goes that
‘if I'm worthless, then so is everything around me, and
life is pointless’. At this stage the individual becomes like a
computer on a classic episode of Star Trek that
self-destructs when faced with a reflective non sequitur as the
ego returns conflicting and erratic output from the irrational
This is the
unstable and anti-social state of mind that the
school shooters find themselves trapped within. Full of
anger from an ego cheated of its sustenance these kids ask
themselves: 'if no one wants me and I have no purpose, then
why am I here?' The resulting spree of violence and
self-destruction from this chain of thought is sometimes
referred to as an expression of nihilism. But nihilism is a result not a
society that makes vast segments of its own feel worthless and
redundant is a society on the road to ruin anyway.
It may well be
that school shooters are acting rationally but basing their
actions upon irrational input; however this alone is not enough
to produce the outburst of deadly violence. Psychotropic drugs
have been used by nearly all of the school shooters.
Anti-depressant medication, such as Prozac and Luvox, can
lower inhibitions and in extreme cases the individual
begins to live in a dream where the counter-balancing force of
intellect is no longer sufficient to prevent the emotional
response from taking over. When this is combined with a
conditioning to violence through an immersion and obsession with
shooting and killing, such as through movies and games, this
individual may eventually act out in a deadly school shooting.
and superstitious take another track to the absurdity of
existence, they argue: “… since I am here, then I must
have a purpose!” However, this is merely employing an absurdity
they like to counteract an absurdity they don’t
like. Superstition and religious beliefs are just a means of
psychological self-preservation in a situation that is full of
apparent absurdities; they protect the ego by mitigating the
influence of the simplified logic of self-destruction. Like a
duckling that will follow the first thing it sees after hatching
from its egg people also imprint by adopting whatever belief
system they discover upon self-awareness, usually the beliefs of
their parents, and so the cycle continues.
But what is religion and spiritual belief really about, what is
it trying to find? Religion is really just the attempt to find
some sort of cosmic meaning that comports with subjective values
and generates a divine purpose behind everything, but since such
a thing doesn’t exist it must be concocted! These
convoluted efforts to circumvent absurdity indicate the
importance of purpose and self-worth to the health and survival
of the human psyche. Widespread feelings of inadequacy compound
the problem as they are propagated throughout cultures
influenced by the incestuous echo chamber of corporate driven
mass-media, promoting unrealistically high expectations and
standards in wealth, beauty, and social esteem (fame). Today many
people work longer hours not because they actually have to but
because they think they have to; they need the extra cash to
compete for the status symbols of living based on
mass-consumption. Instead of one car, now they need three.
Instead of one television sufficing, now they need three – one
for the bedroom, one for the living room, one for the den.
Instead of a 1200 square foot ranch house being enough for a
family of five, now a family of three needs at least a 2800
square foot home. The issue is: given that competition is
instinctive, what do we compete for when we already have
everything we need?! So, this is not really an issue of
competition, which is woven into human nature, but rather the
character of the competition itself and the metric people are
using to rate their self-worth.
environment of foolish competition it becomes imperative that we
reassess the values that are driving us to collective
self-destruction one individual at a time. Today we live in a
cultural environment that is largely antithetic to human mental
and psychological health and one that even promotes anti-social
behavior through TV, music, films, and a broad assortment of
media, while many physical structures fracture community
and direct human interaction. A surfeit of primary desires such
as food, clothing, personal time, and entertainment – far beyond
the survival level is such a recent phenomenon in history that
human nature has not yet evolved an adequate response to deal
with it. Consequently, self-destructive behaviors emerge such as
eating to sickness and obesity or promiscuous sex until death by
brains misfire when presented with a situation to which we
have not evolved a response." - Evolutionary biologist
Robert Trivers, 2005
teenage school shooters are probably the most visible product of
the absurdity of existence without meaning they are by no means
the only expression. Indeed modern existence has become a
carnival of self-destruction. The hedonistic lifestyles of
many gay men are another example, for once one assumes a
completely homosexual lifestyle their purpose as a biological
being is entirely negated for they cannot reproduce and their
sense of chronological context is lost. Without a biological
purpose or context homosexual men have a redundant existence,
and for many in this state all they have left is to seek
short-term pleasure even at the cost of a painful death by
horrible diseases in the longer-term.
dilemma is largely a problem of social redundancy. An individual
that has no sense of purpose becomes introspective and
depressed. Thus as social and economic redundancy has increased
in modern society so has depression, suicide, and similar
deleterious mental and physical conditions.
There's no such
thing as meaning without context, for such a situation is an
absurdity. Meaning is a subjective creation that emerges from
the confluence of four primary elements: food-shelter-clothing,
self-worth, identity, and the social context of community.
Individual purpose is meaning directed into action; the solution
is action in a social context because purpose, just like life
itself, is a tautology – you create it by doing it.
Defeating Religion, Superstition and the Culture of
The gap between
the world of the believers and the faithless is so deep and
profound that it really marks a rift in the species, a
biological differentiation between the thinkers and the drones.
Everything in our modern world from space travel to electronics
to modern medical care is a result of the rational thinkers, the
people who have ceased to believe in and use God as their
guidance at least long enough to function productively according
to rational thought. The sky won’t come crashing down upon us
all when we challenge the authenticity of religion and beliefs.
The public once believed that when a train topped 50 miles an
hour it would crash into a wall of air and that human powered
flight was impossible because God didn't give people wings.
Faith never built a train or an airplane – careful objective
research, engineering and construction did!
“A lot of folks want the supernatural –
they want something special. They want to believe in something,
but they don’t know which way to go. You put the right thing in
front of them and give them half a reason to go for it, and they
will.” – Duane Laflin, 'magician for Jesus' explains
particular appeal of his act even to an adult audience, 2008
The essence of
belief is escape; it is about inventing a comfortable lie
to avoid an uncomfortable reality, a reality that many believers
are completely incapable of processing. A surprising number of
humans are simply unable to exist in a universe that doesn’t
revolve around an anthropocentric, self-centered perception of
events that provides them with answers to every question in
monochrome simplicity. Believers are incapable of interfacing
with reality because reality requires independent thought and
evolution operates on a scale far in excess of our own lives. In
the meantime we have to operate with the material already
present, such as it is. We can’t directly change the religious
faithful because their beliefs are carefully constructed to be
immune to common sense while the believers are programmed to be
resistant to all reason and logical counter-arguments. But we
can do it indirectly by changing the environment, by altering
the cultural landscape. The majority of religious followers are
not really beyond hope; they merely follow the course of least
resistance along the cultural topography, like a river down a
valley. The path to collective health and sanity requires a
revision of the constraints of culture, ambient values and the
standards of acceptability. We have to begin to make the
cultural environment less friendly and tolerant of superstition,
foolish belief and other forms of willful stupidity.
promotion of superstition and belief in paranormal phenomena
dulls people's minds and establishes dangerous misconceptions
about reality in our society. Such efforts have to be countered.
For many, the regressive belief in superstitions and miracles is
an escape from the hardships of life. Once trapped into
irrationalism, they become more incapable of mastering reality.
It is a vicious circle, like an addiction. They become
vulnerable to exploitation by astrologers, godmen, dubious
pseudo-psychologists, corrupt politicians and the whole
mega-industry of irrationalism. – Sanal Edamaruku, 2012
Christians and every ridiculous notion they hold so dear but can
never prove or substantiate in any way; make them embarrassed
and ashamed to continue believing in their childish
fantasies. The religious should feel embarrassed not because
they can never be anything but hopeless losers but because they
don’t really have to be hopeless losers! Since believing
is a choice, religion is a case of optional maladaption to the
environment. Where is the excuse?!
poorest countries have the most religious people
Mock all the
religious be they Mormon or Baptist, Sunni or Shiite, Orthodox
or Hassidic or anything else. The world is too small and
dangerous to allow collectively suicidal beliefs to perpetuate
and inflict suffering upon everyone regardless of whether
they’ve earned it or not. No more excuses for gullibility; no
more special exceptions for foolish behavior, and especially not
for the fools that promote it. Instead, promote intelligence,
criticism, healthy skepticism, and a challenging intellectual
environment that doesn’t roll over and die just to make people
feel good about their self-inflicted disabilities.
Coping with Believers and Religious Zealots
A considerable portion of email comes to me from people asking
for help in dealing with coworkers, neighbors, and strangers who
are outgoing moral conservatives, religious fundamentalists,
self-righteous Christians, and the like. ‘Is there anything I
can say to them that will convince them otherwise, or at least
get them to tone-down the threats of me going to hell as a
nihilist, atheist, or anarchist?’
The rest that haven’t had to deal with religious opponents might
be thinking, ‘why does it matter?’ It probably will be an
issue at some point, but regardless the stakes are higher than
you might realize. Ideally, everyone should be free to believe
whatever they want, yet in practice conflict is inevitable
because the more fervent the believer the more strongly
compelled they are to try and convert everyone else to their
faith. Indeed, most religions mandate proselytization and
conversion, even by force if necessary! So in reality there’s
just not much space for freedom anyway. And the stakes are high
when moral conservatives are relentlessly trying to dumb-down
school textbooks to support ‘creationism’, God and capitalism,
while theocratic maniacs are involved in bloody wars to get
their claws on power. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that
if you aren’t fighting back against superstition you’re going to
be under their thumb in no time. Once reason and impartial
consideration are thrown out in favor of faith, no one is safe.
So, consider what Voltaire said: "Those
who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit
atrocities," and remember that those atrocities done in
the name of God may one day be done against you and your family.
Suggesting a book or a film for the religious-type to learn from
is usually of limited effectiveness because they always seem to
have their own books and movies that will reassure them
otherwise. But, even if only for your own benefit, here are a
few that I’ve found beneficial:
The God Delusion,
by Richard Dawkins. The author takes a very step-by-step
approach to establish why God is a sham, why it matters to all
of us, and what we can do to move beyond superstition and into
a stage of healthy living.
The God Who Wasn’t There
by Brian Flemming (DVD). This is a great one to watch, made by
a former Christian who realized that the contradictions and
overall absurdity of Christianity, and religion in general,
are simply too much to believe in. He goes on to explain the
origins of Christianity, how it became a myth
through centuries of elaboration, and that Jesus Christ may
have never even existed.
Where’s the Appeal?
Since supernatural deities are bogus, everything that flows from
that belief is equally misguided; and since everything that the
believers have is either demonstrably false or unverifiable,
where’s the appeal in it? In order to efficiently address the
situation you need to get an idea of the religious mindset that
you’re up against. The previous writing here, such as Why Do
People Go to Church? explains much of the psychology and
social factors involved. For many believers God and faith offer
certainty; with faith they finally ‘know’ something that
can’t be rescinded or made obsolete through progress and
development – 'the God I follow is in charge and as long as I
follow orders I have nothing to worry about'. This (imaginary)
certainty gives the believer an anchor in the stormy sea of
life. The believer looks out into a big world and sees that
technology is constantly rebuilding everything around us;
secular culture is continually growing and changing, and that
science (being a process of hypothesis and verification) is
constantly being revised. But for the believer, ‘God and my Holy
Book are always the same!’
Much of the resistance to dumping belief is simply a fear of the
unknown and the ever-present threat of damnation and hell for
disbelief. But which hell are you afraid of? If you’re a
Christian then you’re going to Muslim Hell, and vice versa. You
can’t believe in every God, so what makes you sure the one you
chose isn’t the wrong one? There’s a multitude of ways the
absurdity can be thrown back in the face of the believer. Humor
and satire are very effective ways of revealing foolishness
masked by routine and tradition.
Ultimately it’s not enough to highlight foolishness, we have to
offer something that’s appealing and reassuring without the need
for faith and religion. Planet Earth is filled with unique
experiences, interesting places, different people and ideas. The
universe is filled with mind-bending oddities and peculiar
forces that are waiting to be discovered and explained. There’s
no real reason to fear it or to concoct myths in order to hide
it from an open mind. Existence is much brighter and rewarding
without specious rules and imaginary barriers.
What can I say to them to make them change their mind?
People do change their minds about important matters, but
it only occurs after deep consideration, frequently only after
years of internal debate and personal turmoil. So, there’s
really no single thing you or anyone else can say that will
instantly change minds. Some despair that after working on
enlightening a believer they realize, after another week of
church and Bible study, the believer is right back at the
beginning! The social network that the religious have is the
major force holding them in tight orbit around their stellar
black hole of faith. Unless you can convince them to stop going,
the best thing to do is start (or join with) another social
network to counteract the onslaught of superstition. This can be
done a variety of ways, a word-of-mouth meeting at a friend’s
house, online forum, or scheduled event.
Religious demand for ivory causes slaughter of endangered
Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews terrorize children 31.10.11
Nigerian traffickers use black magic to trap women in
"Without faith in ancient, traditional
beliefs, this modern form of slavery would not exist."
Study finds that religion is going extinct where it isn’t
popular anymore because it no longer confers any status or
social utility, 22.03.11
Christian fundamentalists bulldoze South American forest for
Pakistan scans Google, other sites for blasphemy,
Praying man let his daughter die,
"If I go to the doctor, I am putting the
doctor before God. I am not believing what he said he would do."
New Jersey Rabbis arrested for
human organ trafficking, corruption, and money laundering.
energy are limited in life, that’s why priorities are so
important. Violently protesting
a parking lot in Jerusalem that's open on the Sabbath must rate right
at the top of the list for Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel.
Official investigation reveals
Catholic authorities committed chronic and wide-spread
child-abuse in Ireland. 20.05.09
Following tradition Pakistani tribesmen bury five women alive
for wanting to choose their own husbands, 30.08.08
Seventh-day Adventists pray for lower gasoline prices,
Brigitte Bardot criticizes Muslim slaughter, French government
fines her for 'racism', 06.03.08
a new and terrible phenomenon is leading
to the abuse and the murder of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of
children. And it is being done in the name of Christianity.
Children are targets of Nigerian witch hunt, by Tracy McVeigh, Observer, December 9, 2007.
belief in equality myths and taboo of race denies reality,
In the name of equality, France has so
idealized the melting pot that it has made its minorities
invisible — on paper at least.
"Everyone is equal. That is what is
written. But behind that is something else." - Hassan Ben
Some argue that the recurring violence
must make France rethink its taboos.
Riots point to racially divided France, by Barchfield
and Leicester, AP, November 30, 2007.
Turkey tries to ban Richard Dawkin’s book for ‘insulting sacred
From: AP via Guardian, November 29, 2007.
Man 'marries' dog to beat curse
The wedding took place at a Hindu temple
in Tamil Nadu state. The "bride" wore an orange sari with a
flower garland and was fed a bun to celebrate.
November 13, 2007.
English fraudster gets 20 years for US church scam
Most of the 900-odd victims of Liverpool-born Welsh, 63, had one
thing in common: they fell victim to his callous manipulation of
their religious faith.
From: Guardian (UK), July
Notable story in Jewish national mythology comes under scrutiny
The new paper
is only the latest in a series of attacks on the original
Masada dig, which some scholars now think was colored less by
scientific rigor than by a desire to enshrine the desert
fortress in a national mythology of heroism and sacrifice.
Once a pillar of Israeli identity — army units used to be
sworn in on the mountaintop, shouting the sentence "Masada
will not fall again!" — the Masada story fell out of favor as
Israelis became less comfortable with glorifying mass suicide
and identifying with religious fanatics.
The very story of the suicide, as recounted in dramatic detail
by the 1st century Jewish-Roman historian Josephus Flavius,
also has come increasingly into doubt. Many scholars now
believe it was either greatly exaggerated or never happened at
New research questions some Masada remains, by Matti
Friedman, AP via MSNBC, June 22, 2007.
Explained – The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought,
by Pascal Boyer, 2001, Basic Books.
Toilet tied to tale of Dead Sea Scrolls, by Alan Boyle,
MSNBC, November 15, 2006.
Ghost brides are murdered to give dead bachelors a wife in the
afterlife, by Jane Macartney, The Times (UK). January
4. Bhutan's Enlightened Experiment, by Brook Larmer,
National Geographic magazine, March 2008 vol.213 no.3, p. 132.
Halal and kosher meat should not be slipped in to food chain,
says minister, by Martin Hickman, The Independent (UK),
April 7, 2008.
6. Weird History 101, by John Richard Stephens, 1997,
Adams Media, p.126-131.
Saudi religious police ban pet cats and dogs, AFP, July
8. Like most any other religion variations in interpretation lead
to different behavior patterns and some Orthodox Jews will break
Sabbath rules in emergencies. Nevertheless the point still
remains that these kinds of harsh holy orders do exist and are
usually obeyed by followers of the faith.
Jewish 'modesty patrols' sow fear in Israel, by Amy Teibel, AP, October 4, 2008.
Thirteenth Tribe, by Arthur Koestler, 1976, Random House
publishing, (first American edition), p.157.
Rabbinical ruling causes havoc on
elevators, by Tia Goldenberg, AP, October 26, 2009.
Pope's brother linked to new
claims of child abuse by clergy, by Jerome Taylor, The
Independent (UK), March 9, 2010.
Mexico hit hard by Vatican's repudiation of Legion's founder,
by Tim Johnson, McClatchy, 11 May 2010.
What happens when you try to leave the Church of Scientology?,
by Lawrence Wright, The Guardian, 23 April 2011.
15. For a very
revealing look at the Bible in all its shocking glory check out:
Ken's Guide to the Bible, by Ken Smith, 1995, Blast
Fundamentalist sect leader jailed for life for sex with child
brides, by Ed Pilkington, Guardian, 9 August 2011.