Religion DOES poison everything

The Hitch in better days

Christopher Hitchens is right – religion does poison everything that can bring Homo sapiens together.

I created a segment on my Google News front page to report on religious matters and some remarkable news items are caught within my set parameters.

I couldn’t help being made aware that Cherie Booth’s dippy sister has swapped one set of religious dogma and delusions for another. I couldn’t bring myself to read any of news items but did find some photographs.

Fancy changing your religion just so you can wear a flowery head scarf ALL the time instead of only on windy days.

Lauren’s photo shoot

Or pirouette in a blue and white tent? Sheesh. How shallow can you paddle?

Lauren pirouetting for all of us

There is, however,  a serious report of some 52 Christians and their minders (security guards) being killed in Baghdad over last weekend. It could be construed that Christians are once again being persecuted in the middle-east and half a million have fled Iraq so far.* Mind you the middle-east is bigger than Iraq so where are they fleeing to? It must be easy to get caught up in yet another border net, while fleeing, and be unable to move any further.

Riverbend was aware of this. She hasn’t written since this time 3 years ago. Are she and her family alive? Who knows. She wrote a blow by blow polemic blog during the beginning of the Iraqi occupation from the middle of Baghdad. She won awards for her blog and still we don’t know who she is. One brave girl.

The ‘War on Terror’ is and always has been misnamed. I think Bush coined the term and it was picked up gleefully all over the world. Its currency sickens me and always has. It is actually and always was, the war on any country in the middle east that wouldn’t allow the West free access (well, just a bit of dosh then) to the oil fields and to build pipelines to carry that oil through to the Gulf or through Pakistan for sea transport to the Western nations that need their oil hit in far greater quantities than they ever needed a drug hit.

The pipeline from Azerbaijan through Afghanistan to Pakistan or India presents compelling evidence for this.  See Unocal here. Looking at the middle-east conflict through oily eyes makes a lot more sense than spruiking FREEDOM for the proletariat/indigenes/traditional owners and the religiously marginalised. Excuse my heavy pen.

I have said elsewhere, and together with a lot of people with large profiles and journalistic status that I have ceased being politically correct about religion. All these monotheistic religions and especially Islam seem to actually think that they are religions of peace. I have difficulty understanding the amazing intellectual disconnect, cognitive dissonance and downright bare-faced lies the adherents of any/all these fanciful fairy stories can exhibit. Without shame and without intellectual honesty.

And there appears to be only one understandable excuse for it. Once you boil down the slippery arguments to an opaque nugget of some unrecognisable material you are left with ‘it makes me feel less alone; it makes me feel loved by some being who doesn’t tell me off or shout at me for being a dork’. Well, of course. What else could you expect from a non-being.

Poor old Tim Marshall in his blog plays the religious apologist without really understanding that that is what he is doing.

I think Richard Dawkins (and others) said it well when he said that the moderates of any religion enable the radical extremists by giving them legitimacy and a floor to stand on.

Poor old Tim Marshall hasn’t got to the point where he actually understands that Islam is a religion whose adherents are commanded to proselytise their beliefs by overrunning other ethnic groups and religions and countries until they have made the whole world according to Islam. The methodology to achieve this didn’t and still doesn’t preclude the sword and ethnic cleansing.

Has anyone looked at Ahmadinejad’s eyes lately or listened to his polemics?

Ahmadinejad the Engineer

He is one frighteningly committed dictator and a worthy successor to Khomeini. He makes histrionic type statements and demands which can be played down and/or brushed off. He sparked a walk-out at the UN in September. But he sees himself as a true believer. That makes him dangerous as well as a kook. Christians are similar to their brothers of The Book, although less violently oriented these days – a sort of older and more washed out version of their Islamic brethren. But make no mistake, there are the radical sects of Christianity that flex their muscles (well, tendons) in an attempt to counter the growing sweep of Islam and, it appears to take up the slack and lazy pretend members of holy christendom.

The Crusades of the 11th, 12th and 13th century were the finest proselytising and war defining hours for the Christians. Resting on your laurels is just not on for proselytisers now is it? Got to keep trucking. Christians are now playing catch-up to Muslims. As tag teams they’re not that bad, just a few centuries here or there. To me at this point, it seems the Muslims are winning at tag.

Jumping to the present, though the past always sits on the shoulder, the Roman Catholic Church, in the interests of proselytising and finding safe houses for its paedophile priests, has made such incredible inroads into Africa that the rest of us sigh and wonder if we can combat superstition and irrationality with reason and critical thinking and, above all, secular education. Sob, it appears not!

It is a monumentally difficult task. And AIDS is on the rise partly because of the Pope’s stupid, repeatedly broken record edict that every sperm is sacred and all women need a dose or preferably several. Sorry, with Catholics, make that ‘many’.

The other part is, of course, that so many paedophile priests were incarcerated in Africa through Vatican intervention. Intervention not on what the priests were doing but where they were doing what they were doing.

  • Oh dear, there are more deaths
Is it only me or do others feel a disturbance in the society? Do let me know.
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9 comments on “Religion DOES poison everything

  1. Michelle B says:

    My husband’s perspective is a very uncomfortable one for me to accept and is in opposition of mine own. Mine: some need religion. His: religious believers are made to think that they need religion. They are not given skills to confront reality and flourish within its limits. I think he is right and my inability to embrace his viewpoint is that it is so depressing.

    The mind game that is religion is disgustingly potent if people are fooled into thinking that they need the bollocks that constitute religious beliefs. Even if a religious believer can managed for a few seconds to note lucidly how revoltingly primitive all religious beliefs are, the moment of clarity will vanish under a burden of manufactured need of which the fabricators will keep churning out–that we need it for morality, for fulfillment, for comfort, etc.

    Though in the West, religious beliefs are on the decline and the fastest growing group are the non-religious, politically religious beliefs still carry enormous clout. And that must change.

    • Veronique says:

      Interestingly, Michelle, I tend to agree with your husband. People are fed a lot of religious rubbish when they are children. If they weren’t then the religions would wither and die.

      I would agree that the evolutionary imperative for community cohesion (safety) and superstitious agency (=lack of knowledge) conspire into the hands of the cynically power-motivated members of our communities that result in religious dogma being imposed on the populace.

      I hate it. I have lost several ‘friends’ because they couldn’t see religious belief as a delusion and were affronted by my description of their particular religious delusion.

      I give no quarter any more. I am sick of smiling nonsensically when people talk about their belief in ‘religion’ or ‘woo’ of any sort.

      You are right of course. Politically religious beliefs carry clout. To combat that, the non-religious need to gather together developing political clout by standing in elections and gaining power.

      Mind you, I have yet to see this come close. In Australia, there is the Secular Party of Australia. It is not that old but is growing. We need this sort of political push here in the UK.

  2. Rosie says:

    I have a real problem with your title and implied message that people and how they are in this world is defined by their religion. For many religion is what motivates the courage and commitment they act with in their work to bring peace and justice to the world, to survive captivity and torture and to justify the generosity and kindness with which they live their lives. For others it can lead to disastrous results. For me, a person’s faith is a matter of how that person lives it. Lauren Booth wishes to adhere to Islam, and she certainly has more guts than I have in her work for justice and taking humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

    • Veronique says:

      Well, I don’t really imply my message Rosie. I say it loud and clear. It is actually the subtitle of Hitchen’s book ‘god is not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything’.

      Making fun of people like Booth is exactly what is needed. Religious beliefs are not beyond criticism and neither they should be. You should have read my reply to the Bishop of Carlisle who blamed the Yorkshire floods of 2007 at the door of sin and homosexuality. I mean, come on, what sort of deluded twit is he? Would you have me treat him and/or his beliefs with respect? I hope not.

      Lauren Booth is behaving like an airhead celeb which is why I don’t take her seriously. She is into self aggrandisement and ego-stroking; political activism and a very public change of religion is a great way to get it. And she is defining herself and what she does by her religion.

      I doubt she has done herself any favours. A bit of good taste would have kept her beliefs private. But there she is in the open and I am certainly not the only one to be cynical about her ‘conversion’.

      People who declare ‘faith’ as the guiding light for what they do just don’t impress me at all. No one needs to spruik religious belief to survive anything or justify innate kindness and generosity, care and concern.

      Living a morally ‘good’ life does not require religion. Indeed, religious homilies cast a sanctimonious pall over a natural morality. Religions of all stripes try to hug natural morality to themselves and imbue some supernatural humbug to a natural species behaviour.

      So, Rosie, I have no problem sending up people like Lauren Booth. They are shallow grab-all celebs using human tragedy to advance themselves. They join all sorts of organisations to build their legitimacy. Give me Doctors without Borders any day. Give me the nameless people who live with indigenes in poverty and help them in Africa. Give me people like Aung San Suu Kyi who try to bring an end to totalitarian regimes in Burma, and she is incarcerated behind house arrest and has been for years. Would Lauren handle that? I doubt it.

      These people and others like them are worthy of respect – unlike the Lauren Booths of the world. I don’t think much of her half-sister or brother-in-law either. Must be a familial disease that has affected them. Must be religion!

  3. Dod says:

    In my view religion is in fact dying. What we’re seeing are the last struggles and thrashings of a dogma in the stranglehold grip of ever advancing knowledge made available to more and more people by advances in communications technology.

    Demolishing religious belief in any kind of god as a human delusion has been more than adequately done by many rational and reasoning thinkers for many centuries – I won’t try to upstage them.

    To religious people I say this; put aside for a moment your irrational belief and think, imagine you’d never been taken in by this clearly man-made construct. If I came as a friend and told you I know there is an omnipotent, omniscient man who lives in the sky who has the power to control everything and intervene in daily life in matters of life or death, you would, with every justification, phone for the people in white coats.

    For me religion is exactly this: a kind of insanity.

    Unfortunately, the promise that this life will be followed by a heavenly paradise has duped millions of people who can easily see through this virtually certain lie but don’t want to. I have to admit it is a brilliant deception; con gullible and mostly uneducated and poor people into believing that their generally crap lives are not important because heaven awaits – but only if they behave themselves – is a marvellous manipulative tool. Therein of course lies the fatal flaw of religion, it is unfalsifiable; but then the masses from which religion draws its followers seem unable to understand that anything meaningful must in principle, be falsifiable.

    Religion can always be found where poverty and illiteracy is rife.

    There are many who would argue that religion has done much good in the world but then almost nothing is ever all bad, Hitler, Stalin, Ghengis Khan etc. all did good things as well as bad so religion has nothing to boast about in this regard. Without question, to anyone who has taken the time to study religious history it’s abundantly clear that the overall effect of religion on humankind has been horrific. Rape of children, mass murder, mass torture, genital mutilation, subjugation of women – the list goes on and on and not just in the past but today, under our very noses.

    There is no doubt that religion brings many people comfort throughout their lives but is a false comfort, luckily for them however they will never know because death will be just like the time before their birth, no-one can remember that time and after death no-one will remember they were ever alive. What a tragic waste of life!

    I have no personal problem with people who practice their chosen delusion in private but I will not abide religites who try to coerce me into being fooled like they have. I cannot stand those who claim to know that which they cannot possibly know, it is not only arrogance of the highest order, it is simple stupidity. They don’t see the difference between belief and knowledge.

    Therein is the danger of religion that could be the death of us all, the completely unfounded claim of 100% certainty. The poison that religion uses to stultify knowledge and curb critical thinking.

  4. Michelle B says:

    Thank you, Veronique, for that passionately lucid reply to Rosie. Accommodationists treat religious believers way worse than activist atheists, for they treat them like crippled children.

    • Michelle B says:

      The rest of us are no longer willing to pay the price for the comfort that some more liberal practitioners of religion get from their superstitious beliefs. Liberal faith gives respectability to the very noxious notion that non-evidential beliefs are a boon, and not the vice that they are. There is nothing that religion does that secular ethics can’t pull off. Time the human race grows up.

  5. Dod says:

    Michelle B said:

    “Liberal faith gives respectability to the very noxious notion that non-evidential beliefs are a boon, and not the vice that they are.”

    Nicely put! Most people don’t get the “enabler” problem, it has to be explained to them.

  6. […] above the cultures behind the wearing of the shapeless body and face concealing clothing. I have lampooned Lauren Booth adopting Islam (a capitalist westerner; loves photo shoots of herself doing ‘good […]

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