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?

Patrick H
Gormley


RELIGION IS NOT FOR FREETHINKERS
 
What of the Christian doctrine that religious freedom is the most basic and important one and without it there is no such thing as real rights?


What does that mean?

The first thought is that in practice Christianity does not worry about religious freedom for children are forced to the baptism font and dragged to confirmation and communion and ordered on pain of damnation to pay money to the Church.

Second it assumes that religion alone really matters. As long as you have religion, hospitals, health, governments have to go if something has to go. Religious freedom rights mask a willingness for religion to force itself on others and on the law.

Three religion does not admit that true religious freedom means a person can transition without social disapproval or worse from one faith other. Religion should tell people to leave it if their research shows that it is man-made or false. An honest religion helps people to leave.

Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

 

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

 

2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
 
Ronald Dworkin stated that there is no such thing as a right to religious freedom. What should happen is that religion should be included among other ethical entities and outlooks. He said there is a “general right to ethical independence”. He justified the existence of arguments and bodies that have differing ethical views.
 
The problem with his view is that lots of religions look for freedom despite being opponents of "public order, health or morals". A religion for example that bases its faith on deliberate lies can hardly deserve the same right to freedom as a religion that cares about truth. It is an opponent of public morals.
 
Dworkin denies that religion demands belief in God. He thinks that religion is only faith that your existence is important in itself no matter what you think or what others think. Its objectively valuable. Another ingredient of real religion is that you must look at the universe with awe and wonder.
 
He reasons that both the believers in God and many atheists agree with this so belief in God is only a minor difference between them. This shows a total misunderstanding of what God means. God means the living being who is infinite goodness who alone is to be valued. Hardly a minor thing and Christians believe that God alone is to be loved with all our heart.
 
Dworkin wanted to dilute the meaning of the word religion because he saw that countries were using a more specific definition and awarding special rights and privileges to entities that fitted the definition. It became a rationale or excuse for giving religious people more rights than the non-religious. By diluting the meaning, he hoped that equality would be achieved to a greater degree.
 
People should be allowed to believe whatever they think is true because forcing them serves no purpose. It is doing a disservice to truth in the name of truth!
 
As people often err, we have to allow freedom of thought. Truth is ruined and faith in it is destroyed if freedom of thought is limited or taken away. It is better to risk error than to risk suppressing truth. Unfettered debate is the only way to get the best chance at finding the truth. Sometimes what sounds crazy is in fact true. Sometimes error contains a little or a lot of truth. Whoever opposes freedom of speech in fact is a defender of ignorance and an enabler of liars and bigots.
 
Benjamin Franklin observed that truth supports itself and does not need anybody to enforce it. "When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil powers, its a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one". Religion uses laws and influences the state to hinder freedom of speech. This is about power. It does not have much faith in truth or God when it feels the need to manipulate.
 
What if kings and politicians believe religious nonsense and feel that they have the right to believe that they know best and should force their religion or religious views on the people as they have to force something on them anyway? The Church says that if you won't be subject to her you will be subject to something else so you might as well be subject to her. And besides if she has the truth as she claims, you should be subject to her only. The notion that God puts leaders in a position of authority even if they are not that godly implies that we please him by obeying them and letting them impose their values on us.
 
The atheist does not reason that way. If atheism is correct then it would follow that if we have the right of freedom of thought and freedom of speech, that if either ours or theirs has to be sacrificed then it should be theirs.
 
If you really believe that God alone matters for he is all-good and the source of all good, then it makes no sense to set up a system of law for ignoring him. Belief in God then is intrinsically anti-secular. It makes you wonder about how deep the secularism is in a person who claims to believe in God and who goes to Sunday worship. The secular state has to remove all traces of the God doctrine and refuse to encourage it in any way. Do not forget too that secularism is a basic human right. Do not forget that anything that takes away the right of people to make their own minds up be it God or religion or the state, produces war. The only thing you need to do to bring about a war is to severely damage people's democratic rights.
 
As policing what others think is impossible, religion has invented an all-knowing God who forbids freedom of thought. We read in the Bible that God considered Abraham justified or righteous simply for believing in what God said. Both Catholics and Protestants believe in justification by faith. This means that if you don't believe what God says you are sinful. It is a sin not to believe. But it is a virtue to believe. The act of believing is a righteous act. Protestants go as far as to say that justification is by faith alone. For Catholics justification by faith is the start but you need justification by good works too. But nevertheless justification by faith is the foundation and the most important thing. Justification by works is impossible without it. Using God to threaten people who think for themselves outside permitted boundaries is the lowest trick of the low. Freedom of thought includes the promotion of self-fulfilment and personal autonomy. Restrictions on what we must think and the warning that we are immoral or sinful and deserving of punishment for not believing something is a violation of a fundamental human right and the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It opposes our growth. It indicates fear of the truth. No true friend wants to stop you thinking for yourself - the person that does that suspects that what he wants you to believe is rubbish and doesn't care. It makes us think and live under a threat. It can only make us willing to bully people who have a faith that differs from ours or who leave our faith.
 
The doctrines that doubting God is a sin and that faith justifies are not merely harmful in their consequences but ALSO IN THEIR CONTENT! They are insulting and dehumanising doctrines in themselves even apart from any damage that they may result in. They want to hurt the person who is considered to be offending against or undermining or challenging a religious idea. But an idea has no rights. Only people can have rights.
 
Without freedom of thought, truth itself ceases to be perceived as truth. It becomes dogma. People will not understand it anymore. If you believe 1 and 1 are 2 because somebody says so that is dogma. If you believe it because you have considered it and understood it as best you can, it is truth.
 
Without freedom of thought and freedom of speech other rights would soon vanish. If your religion murders and you are not allowed to think it is doing wrong, then you have turned your back on the right to life. Religious dogmatism is an implied insult to all human rights. The hypothetical says as much about the kind of person you are inside just as much as anything else does.
 
The real Christian who believes the Bible simply has to try and stop anybody challenging the tenets of his faith. Period. Many Christians don't realise this and what happens when they do? History shows that the blood flows.
 
Believers in God who see the harm in religion, atheists and agnostics need to start doing something about the regrettable and dangerous influence of religion on our society and our politics. It is simply unfair that something so twisted should have so much clout.
 
Religion is just a con and its members are being exploited. Their right to the truth is undermined by religion which seeks to control their morals and their thinking and grab their money while inducing a need for religion that arises from something as bad as a drug addiction. This outrage has to be halted and information is the solution. Religion is intolerant towards real human rights for it takes away the right to truth. The rights it supports lose their credibility because of that. Would you believe a Nazi who cleaned a septic wound you had in a concentration camp really supported your rights if you were a Jew?