Faith, more specifically a theistic paradigm based on a religious Holy Scripture or tradition, is belief in the absence of evidence and thereby ignorance elevated to a virtue. It poisons the very heart of our progressive society, which has long been deprived by science of the need for superficial and superstitious answers to the questions we humans are longing to understand by our very nature. We now know that our sentient species came about not at the hand of an almighty artificer, but by means of evolution. God did not create humans – humans created god. Likewise, it has been for millennia that rather than humans channelling by sermons the word of their revered deity, they have abused the concept of god to ultimately legitimize their efforts to achieve personal interests. So it has coincided that in every war fought and every crusade that ravaged ancient lands, the supposed omnipotent being, as confirmed by the particular priests and preachers, has been on each side respectively, affirming the virtuous warriors of their actions’ righteousness. And virtuous the crusaders were, by the standard of the Bible. And virtuous the modern Islamists are, judging from the eyes of their predecessor and prophet Mohammed. There may be forever those inherently evil humans that lack empathy or morals – but for a good human being to commit an atrocity in the conviction of their righteousness it takes faith. May that be a political ideology or religion, the unequivocal dogma arising from a paradigm of absolutism is the core of all problems facing humanity today. By no means am I trying to slander the names of those that choose to moderately practice a religion – I am merely challenging the prevailing systems of indoctrination and worship which pave the way for more radical forms of irrational and pernicious belief. My following criticism accounts only for the intrinsic nature of religion itself as well as its most common manifestations, as it would be futile to elaborate on all of the innumerable variations of practice found in our pluralistic society.
An uncompromising nature of faith is the very foundation of any theist belief, for a deity compatible with alternatives may not, by definition, be called a deity. Yahweh, Allah and Krishna are mutually exclusive concepts. Therefore, out of any believers’ assertions about their own religions’ truthfulness must also logically follow the assertion that all other religions are false – in that sense, we are all atheist; only some of us go one or a few gods further. If any religion on earth truly represents the word of an assumed god, at least 69% of the world’s population must be wrong in their assumptions about the nature of the universe. Therefore, the faithful belief in a religion also includes belief in a fallacy similar to that of nationalism: That one’s religion is the right one simply because one is born into it. This comes hand in hand with asserting that one can, by the study of an ancient scripture, understand the morals and intentions of a supposed omnipotent being. Man thereby beholds his intellect equal to an absolute truth, revealing this telling narcissism: the believer does not submit himself to a theocratic paradigm – he submits his god to an egocratic paradigm, which must surely be the greater and more offensive heresy as opposed to the blasphemy we atheists proclaim. Furthermore, when it is pointed out to theists that omnipotence is a logical misconception, referring to the apparently paradoxical ability of an omnipotent entity to both limit its powers and remain omnipotent, a common answer is that god is too mystical in his ways for us to understand him – and yet all of the holy scriptures of the three Abrahamic religions claim to know everything about how dearly god cares about your sexual preferences and on which day of the week you rest or work. An application of logic is denied while the most mundane things are self-evidently held to be true and imposed on society, as for example holidays or weekends. More importantly however, every modern theist finds themselves in the predicament of old-fashioned verses in their texts contradicting progressive values. Rather than abandoning their religion however, many people choose to cherry-pick those ideas that suit them, entirely ignoring for example Mohammed’s military campaigns or the Bible’s comments on unbelieving family members or homosexuality. This logic reminds me of Alexander Gauland’s recent remarks on the third Reich being nothing but bird dung in German history. When you break a bone, you do not focus on the sane part of your body: you will try to cure you injury. You cannot ignore the unpleasant virus of backward thinking patterns in your religion if you want to call yourself a believer, unless you want to identify as secular. The reason this is avoided is because deconstructing the Bible, the Qur’an, the Torah or Baghavad Gita for all irrational or backwards content, one will be left with scarcely more than a small and basic set of common sense rules for social conduct – morals which have been instilled in us because of our dire need for sociability to survive. By – guess what – evolution.
As a result, every Muslim, every Hindu, every Christian and every Jew ends up believing in a set of ideas that encourage and promote violence on the base of man-made scriptures, ignoring logical as well as scientific refutations of their prehistoric conceptions. They inadvertently support the origins of fundamentalism. The only justification for such faith is that, as is commonly stated, it allegedly helps people. Not only does the Orwellian idea that lies, if they please you as an individual, can be accepted repulse me and remind me of ‘Alternative Facts’ or ‘Doublethink’ in 1984, they viciously prevent humans to take steps to genuinely better their circumstances. Most prominently, Mother Teresa was a friend of poverty rather than a champion of the poor – in her own words, she said that ‘the suffering of the people helped the world’. And why would presidents like George W. Bush take effective countermeasure against climate change when he reportedly believed that the world would end in biblical Armageddon? There is no incentive to exert justice or achieve fulfilment in your lifetime when you belief that there is an omnibenevolent judge that will serve ultimate and absolute justice at the end of times. To paraphrase Karl Marx, to call for the abolition of religion is to call for the end of those vicious circumstances that require illusion for happiness. My struggle against religion will likely continue for the rest of my lifetime, yet I shall never give up science, reason and true, intrinsic morality which is not forced by a supernatural being, as ideals worth fighting for. I hereby rest my case.
Von Jan Banholzer