Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


SAYING THAT A DOCTRINE OF RELIGION IS A MYSTERY IS SAYING, "IT IS YOUR DUTY TO RESPECT GOD BY BELIEVING IT" IN OTHER WORDS, MORAL RULES MAY BE INCOMPREHENSIBLE TO US

Thomas Aquinas correctly taught that philosophy has to start with maths and then it uses maths to understand physics and then it works out the metaphysics from both (page 77, Aquinas). This is as it should be for you cannot interpret reality without maths and logic. But then he ended up with spirits, beings without parts or beings which have several powers which are only one power all of which contradicts mathematics.

God is supposed to be a mystery. He’s three persons in one God according to Christianity. I cannot understand him and that is something all God religion has reached a consensus on. Yet all God religion warns me and commands me to put this being before myself. I have to forget about what is good for me for his sake. So when I have to prefer this mystery God to myself, it implies I should prefer mystery to myself. Since I am most sure I exist then if I should prefer mystery then I should prefer my own. I should say it is a mystery of goodness why I kill my father and family to get their money. I should say it is a mystery how this could be good. God is a dreadful concept. He wouldn’t be so bad if he was an exalted man or something but the more mysterious he is made the more pro-evil he becomes. The Unitarian God of the Jews is a million times better than the Trinitarian one of the Christians for he is less of a mystery so the Trinity marked not an evolution in the doctrine of God but a devolution.

A religion that has loads of stuff that is meant to puzzle us can easily survive any evidence against it but ends up carrying no conviction. Yes, maybe emotional conviction which isn’t really conviction at all.

In Catholicism, Father Richard P McBrien rejects three ideas about original sin. He rejects the assumption that it is a denial of human freedom. He rejects the idea of Sartre that original sin is just the meaninglessness of human existence. He rejects the traditional Christian notion that that original sin is a personal sin that God blames us for though we didn't commit it (page 185, Catholicism, HarperSanFrancisco, New York, 1994). God blames us for the sin Adam and Eve committed in the garden of Eden at the start of the human race. He is forced to say it is a mystery and leave it at that. But that is a cop-out. He is hiding behind the mystery thing to disguise the absurdity of the doctrine and how it must be saying we are blamed for a sin we never committed or that we have somehow ratified this sin and shared in it thereby. He proves that in how he cannot say what original sin does to us. All agree that it makes us tend to sin but that tendency to sin is understood by all not as original sin but as a result of it.

The Church says that mystery in religion is a good thing for it requires a greater effort of faith from us. That really means that we take the risk of being wrong, and often of being seriously wrong, for the love of God and that is a good thing. That is a denial that what is right for us comes first for a risk is a bad thing only to be taken under serious conditions but here it is taken for one creed out of millions of choices. That is why the objection that it is worth taking the risk in case God will send you to Hell for not taking it is no good – it is because it is part of the creed. It is like saying, “Believe that if you don’t leave hot milk for Santa tonight that you will lose an arm in an accident next year”, and then saying, “Its worth the risk for you don’t want to lose an arm”. It is assuming the very thing that needs to be proven as true.

To believe in a God that would eternally damn those who have no faith or who want him to shove his gospel is to take an almighty risk. That is to say it means you agree you should be thrown into eternal damnation if you lose your faith or do something else or that other people should be thrown into it.



I have to care about my thinking first of all and make sure it is right and beneficial meaning that if faith is a bad risk then self-respect is sinful if this is acceptable behaviour.



To believe in mysteries is to risk being led astray intellectually and harmed so they should only be accepted when they cannot be avoided and otherwise to accept them is a sign of fake self-esteem or disordered self-esteem.



To believe in a God who was fairly evil but who nevertheless gives a Heaven for us to enjoy after death would be more rational than to believe the Christian gospel. To believe in a perfect God is also to believe he has the right to kill you and that you should approve though you cannot be sure enough if you will live on after death. In other words you consent to be killed and if an angel appeared to you from Hell offering you eternal life on earth in defiance of God you would have to reject him.



A God who makes you risk the most important thing you have – yourself and your identity – on pain of damnation is not a nice God and certainly no incentive to righteousness but only an incentive to hypocrisy and he will make a bully out of you for he induces fear. It is really saying that loving God comes first for only he can really benefit. If I cannot put myself first I cannot truly care about others for I would want them to do the same. To care about other people I have to care about myself so that I can use myself to help them. Love starts with yourself not with God therefore faith in God demands that it start with God so the service of God is making a pact with pure evil and deceit. Those who propound God are to blame for any evil committed in his name even if the creed condemns that evil for God is a diabolical concept. To summarise, I am the most important person in my life and anybody who wants me to take a risk with my mind and therefore myself is trying to abuse me and so a God who asks for faith is a being to be despised and shunned.

The mysteries serve only to make you distrust your own thinking. “God knows better” is the religious moral but this really translates as, “Those who tell me what God’s word or message is know better and thinking is only allowed as long as it is biased towards their conclusions”. The distrust of your own mind that religion seeks to implant in you forever is a serious attack on self-esteem. It is not the wrong that we do that destroys our confidence – it is the feeling that we are stupid. To do wrong knowingly does not mean you are stupid but that you are taking a chance. You are not a stupid incompetent person just because you have done wrong. There are no bones about it and we will make none: Roman Catholicism and Christianity in general is dangerous. Whatever tries to wear down self-esteem is bad news and to blame for any evil the victim does.

As with all mysteries nobody has any way of being sure that the mysterious doctrines are really revealed by God or inventions of the Church. Spirituality is never about God. It is about men and obeying them and treating yourself as their inferior. In return they give you good feelings which only put you deeper under their control without you really noticing. Catholic mysteries include: why the souls suffering in Purgatory cannot do anything for themselves. Why Jesus had to be born of a Virgin. Why Jesus did not let Pilate and his trained lawyers become witnesses of his resurrection appearances. Why he chose one man to be head of the Church despite the awful risk of danger in doing so. Why he bans babies from Heaven because they are not baptised though he accepts baptised people who have done many evils in their time. Why he rejects homosexual love within a committed and adult relationship. Why God tells us to use reason to work out what is right and wrong and then tells us that in the case of many issues like safe homosexual lovemaking and abortion when it is needed to save the mother we should ignore our reason and follow his directives whether they make sense to us or not for he knows better. How he can say he wants us to be adults when he accuses our reason of being defective that way – obeying him just because he says so is being childish. Why there is no secular evidence for the miracles of Jesus.

In short, nearly every single Catholic doctrine is a mystery in its own right. All Catholic doctrines are mysteries in so far as they rely on the mystery of God – for God himself is a mystery for he contradicts the rule that all things must have a cause for he has no cause and he allows unjust evils like killer viral infections and so on. So Catholicism is not based on reason or even Jesus but on the alleged authority of the pope and the bishops. With all that mystery it is a waste of time looking for evidence for their legitimacy so you just take their word for it. All this ought to warn us about how dangerous religion is for the mind for when the largest religion in the world is a bastion of irrationality nothing can help us if religion gets too much power.

A mystery is a seeming contradiction and often a real contradiction that believers won't confess is a contradiction. The resurrection of Jesus might not look like a contradiction or seeming contradiction but it is. It contradicts the fact that dead people stay dead. It is easier to see things like the doctrine that God is one person and three persons at the one time as a mystery. To say the resurrection is not a contradiction causes problems. If it does not contradict the rule that dead people stay dead then it is not a miracle. Then it is true that dead people don't necessarily stay dead. So it is not a wonder or a miracle if somebody seems to have risen. If dead people stay dead then to say Jesus rose is to say this is true and then contradict it. You might say you made your teaspoon rise by magic off the table and it was a once off. People will say this is not true for it can't happen for it contradicts the fact that spoons don't rise by magic. Christians want to believe this is a contradiction and then they deny that about the resurrection! They might say that there is evidence for the resurrection and that makes the difference. But evidence is based on the assumption that magic or miracle hasn't be interfering with the evidence. Also, Jesus made too many mistakes to be taken seriously as somebody that a God would raise from the dead to be our infallible teacher. Philosophy shows him up as just another self-righteous kook. Or a myth. When the philosophy says Jesus was dodgy all the historical evidence in the world is no good. Why? Because philosophy comes before historical evidence. We cannot believe in evidence unless we have a philosophical view of the world that declares it is probably true when certain rules are taken. For example, philosophy says that people can lie. We cannot do history without bearing that in mind. History is a philosophical discipline. All the miracles of Jesus are mysteries. It is therefore wiser not to believe in his claims.

If God exists then the smallest blade of grass rising out of the ground is a mystery, a supernatural event. If he doesn't then it is just a blade of grass growing up. The God concept turns everything into a mystery. Then when we see order and speak about natural law in the universe we are only talking about how supernatural mysteries are behaving in an orderly way. Even a miracle, a break in the natural order, has to follow some order. A person gets a cancerous tumour. The doctor finds it and declares it incurable. The person prays. The tumour disappears. The doctors find it has gone. The order in miracle is a part of the mystery too. The order in the universe becomes a miracle, a mystery, a supernatural event. So we must be mystified and baffled by everything if we want to believe in God. Religion presents God as a solution to the mysteries of the universe and life but the only result is more mysteries.



Prayer



God's mysterious ways is the excuse for religion saying prayer works even if it clearly does not. If your cries to God for help are for naught then the mystery explanation is out. That is because you can explain it by saying God does not listen, is hard-faced, useless, fictitious or the mystery is how you think you are a valuable person but you are not. Once you talk about mystery you have to admit you don’t know what the mystery is. You have no right to pick one solution. You confess there are several including some unpalatable ones!

Conclusion

Religious mystery is a curse. Whoever promotes it promotes religious evil. It is unjust to bind people to believe things that have no evidence supporting them or which have a big chance of being absurd superstitions. Religious belief starts with belief in mystery and the supernatural. The seed is always the same. The same seed leads to a man becoming priest and then pope as leads to a man becoming a Jihadist terrorist.


BOOKS CONSULTED

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AQUINAS, FC Copleston, Penguin Books, London, 1991
BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL, Friedrich Nietzsche, Penguin, London, 1990
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, Association for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, Dublin, 1960
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, Veritas, London, 1995
CHARITY, MEDITATIONS FOR A MONTH, Richard F Clarke SJ, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1973
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED, Edited by John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship, Minnesota, 1973
CRISIS OF MORAL AUTHORITY, Don Cupitt, SCM Press, London, 1995
EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, VOL 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
ECUMENICAL JIHAD, Peter Kreeft, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1996
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HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
HONEST TO GOD, John AT Robinson, SCM, London, 1963
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IN DEFENCE OF THE FAITH, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
MADAME GUYON, MARTYR OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, Phyllis Thompson, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1986
MORAL PHILOSOPHY, Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans Green and Co, London, 1912
OXFORD DICTIONARY OF PHILOSOPHY, Simon Blackburn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996
PRACTICAL ETHICS, Peter Singer, Cambridge University Press, England, 1994
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RADIO REPLIES, 1, Frs Rumble & Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1938
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REASON AND BELIEF, Brand Blanschard, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
REASONS FOR HOPE, Ed Jeffrey A Mirus, Christendom College Press, Virginia, 1982
THE ATONEMENT: MYSTERY OF RECONCILIATION, Kevin McNamara, Archbishop of Dublin, Veritas, Dublin, 1987
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THE BIBLE TELLS US SO, R B Kuiper, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1978
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THE GREAT MEANS OF SALVATION AND OF PERFECTION, St Alphonsus De Ligouri, Redemptorist Fathers, Brooklyn, 1988
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THE LIFE OF ALL LIVING, Fulton J Sheen, Image Books, New York, 1979
THE NEW WALK, Captain Reginald Wallis, The Christian Press, Pembridge Villas, England, undated
THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD, Brother Lawrence, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1981
THE PROBLEM OF PAIN, CS Lewis, Fontana, London, 1972
THE PUZZLE OF GOD, Peter Vardy, Collins, London, 1990
THE SATANIC BIBLE, Anton Szandor LaVey, Avon Books, New York, 1969
THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE, Michael Molinos, Christian Books, Gardiner Maine, 1982
THE STUDENT’S CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Rev Charles Hart BA, Burns & Oates, London, 1961
UNBLIND FAITH, Michael J Langford, SCM, London, 1982