Paris attack confirm that religious beliefs contributes to terrorism

2015-01-07 17:20

The minority of us who base our beliefs on reason, evidence and sound argument should be concerned about our children’s freedoms. The fact is that we inhabit a world with a majority who derive their knowledge about their origins and place in the cosmos from dim-witted, outdated traditions.

They choose to follow a phony priest, whose claim to fame is to repeat contradictory story book verses instead of the claims of a credible astronomer or biologist, who work painstakingly to discover knowledge by observing the real world. The story of science is a more veracious and compelling one. It is one that unites all the known physical elements that make up the universe and all living forms here on earth. Apart from unity, it speaks to the miracle, fragility and sacredness of life and our brief existence in the deep vastness of time and space. When understood, you will let go of the vanity that crowds your mind – a vanity molded out of your tribe’s made up identity. Religions love to make up tribes. Like political parties, they feed on division.

With science, you will identify with all life on this planet and appreciate that we are all part of the same tribe. Religions love claiming they have all the answers. With science, you will view all knowledge as a work in progress – and we will keep refining it through free inquiry and civilized debate. There are some theories that can be regarded as fact but there are no sacred cows. You will dislike all forms of dogma but tolerate the views of others. You will tolerate the artist’s satirical representation of a politician, priest, corporate captain, scientist, celebrity or the hundreds of messiahs and millions of gods that different tribes have created. And you will still have a sense of humor.

You will not drill a bit into your brother’s head to demonstrate the strength of your belief. You will not slice off his head. You will not throw acid on the face of a little girl going to school. You will not kidnap children from their school to work as your slaves. You will not run riot at a shopping mall. You will not shoot at innocent people in a coffee shop. You will not gun down innocent people at their place of work. You will not hijack planes and crash them into buildings.

You will not be naive so as to believe that skin pigment, language or nationality makes you special in any meaningful way - the terror of apartheid and slave lynching in the US also had a religious justification. You will not have this childish need to be part of the chosen people. You will not desecrate mosques and churches.   You will not bomb school yards with your drones. You will not literally believe in crazy notions such as Armageddon or Jihads. You will not commit the terrible acts of Anders Breivik, by all accounts a racist christian terrorist (downplayed by mainstream media), who killed more than 70 people at a Camp in Norway.

Religious beliefs are a major source of dogmatic beliefs. Remove the cancer of religious belief through global secular education and you have a good chance of significantly reducing global terror and conflict.

Brave thinkers continue to give up their lives so that we can think and express ourselves freely today. It is to these incredible people that we owe our greatest debt.

Humans understand this.

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