Sunday, November 9, 2008

Collective Insanity

With all this furor over Prop 8's sad passage, religion, especially the LDS church, is becoming a hot topic these days. I think it's a good opportunity for all of us to break open the much larger topic of religion in general and its replete influence on politics and law in this country. In a modern scientific society, is it not time for us to analyze our beliefs and bring a critical eye to ideas that, all too often, hold back progress and deny rights over one's own body and mind? Considering that the aggregate divorce rate is 22% higher in Bible Belt states than in 'blue states,' how is religion helping regulate morality and preserve marriage? I just think it's sad to amble blindly through life believing, as almost 40% of Red-Staters do, that Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale..

In 2007 I caught a few minutes of the American Atheists Convention on television, and something former SNL cast member Julia Sweeney said really drew my attention. She said when you're an atheist, you have a stronger belief in your morals, because you have to think logically about your actions. Instead of thinking, "I shouldn't steal because the bible says so," a serious ethical argument takes place elucidating the moral reasons why stealing is detrimental to society and human relations. The temptation to "sin" becomes weaker when confronted with a strong, thoughtful argument rather than an archaic dogma.

The following definition of Atheism was given to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Murray v. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203, 83 S. Ct. 1560, 10 L.Ed.2d (MD, 1963), to remove reverential Bible reading and oral unison recitation of the Lord's Prayer in the public schools. It illuminates the humanist tendencies of atheists and their emphasis on improving the earthly world rather than relying on a possible afterlife.

“Your petitioners are Atheists and they define their beliefs as follows. An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An Atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth for all men together to enjoy.

An Atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction, and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and enjoy it.

An Atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.

He seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man.

He wants an ethical way of life. He believes that we cannot rely on a god or channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter.

He believes that we are our brother's keepers; and are keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons and the job is here and the time is now.”


Jenny said...

Hey Di. I thought this was a really awesome post and I really agree. You should really go see the movie, "Religuous" that in still in theaters. I saw it over the weekend and I think it demonstrates in a humorous and serious way how detrimental religion can be to our lives and how useful secularism is. You'll really enjoy it!

Diana said...

Yay, thanks for commenting!
I'm trying to just write as much as possible and I figured this would be a good way to do it.
I do want to go see that movie, I should go to that really nice new theatre at Pico and Westwood..