Evidence is what points to the truth. If you stabbed Johnny, the evidence will include your fingerprints on the knife and the CCTV which shows you entering his flat just before the killing. Not all evidence is equally good. There could be weak evidence for the truth or there could be strong evidence.
Religion gives lip-service to evidence.
Believers deal with evidence against their religion being true as follows:
They may dismiss it as weak evidence though it is strong.
They may dismiss it totally.
They may refuse to look at it.
They may distort it to remove its force or to turn it into evidence for what they want to believe.
They may create a lens to look at it through so that they will not absorb its meaning. For example, the Mormon says that he has prayed for a feeling that the Mormon faith is true because it is a sign from God. He gets the feeling and filters how he sees evidence for and against Mormonism. The evidence against it fails to sink in because of this filter.
They may engage in cognitive dissonance where they seem to turn off the part of their mind that knows their religion is unconvincing or false.
Which one of these approaches shows the worst disrespect for evidence?
Which one shows the worst disrespect for others? You cannot oppose truth without opposing others - without opposing their right to get an opportunity to know or consider the truth. Not looking at the contrary evidence properly is the worst form of disrespect for evidence. At least with the others, they are aware on some level that contrary evidence exists and of what it seems to say.
The vast majority of religionists do not look at the contrary evidence.
Religion recognises the importance of evidence. It will not let you jail a person who has not had a fair and thorough trial.
It will accuse you of sin if you say something bad about somebody just because you have some suspicions.
Religion claims to be the most important thing in the world. It is supposed to be better to be in jail over a miscarriage of justice than to be wrong in religion - to follow a false religion. It would seem that religion would treat evidence with the supreme respect which it says it is entitled to.
Alas! Religion has no evidence for the veracity of its dogmatised and outrageous fantasies. The evidence it offers is counterfeit. The Catholic Church uses miracles as evidence and many of these are dubious and more believable ones have been rejected because they didn’t slot into the Catholic doctrine. They are manipulating the evidence so that it becomes illogical to accept any of the Catholic faith. They expect strong faith and conviction which is totally unfair and can only be managed by self-deception. The end result is people trying to persuade themselves that they are strong in their faith - but the surface cracks and the insecurity starts to manifest as bigotry and intolerance.
Reason is not much help when religion is full of mystery. Every religionist believes this because all are warned to subject faith to reason. When reason contradicts faith it is ignored.
When the religious denounce doubt as sinful and calling God a liar it is plain that they are being anti-truth. You cannot reach truth or honesty unless you doubt. You cannot have evidence. Religionists know they ought to doubt but they won’t do it.
Reason alone is no good to the religionists. They admit this. They stand for the position that it must be supplemented by faith. But if reason is supplemented by faith in God or faith in atheism then it gives a different result, it brings you to different conclusions. Such reason is irrational because you are pretending to be objective but you are not. It is like using a dictionary together with a system that changes the meaning. The book is rendered useless.
And if reason is to be supplemented by faith it follows that there should be no religion. What each person should do is invent their own faith and it will suffice as long as it fits reason.
Miracles prove nothing because you only take them as evidence for God when you already believe in him. That is circular reasoning. God exists because miracles happen and miracles happen because God exists.
The Mormons say that they have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Book of Mormon tells us that if we ask God if it is his word that our bosoms will be miraculously made to burn within us by the power of God producing the feeling that it is true. This is deception. It is ignoring reason to exalt feelings. All who use the Mormon test know fine well that feeling something is true is no use. All religionists often feel that their religion is true.
People with different gods claim to have experienced the presence of their gods. Some think they experience that God is without mercy while others think the opposite. Such experiences are really just feelings. Religious experience is good for nothing. When you are a child you feel that you have a personal relationship with Santa Claus and experience his love.
It is bigotry to claim that God exists because you have experienced him because that means you are accusing atheists who claim to experience the absence or the non-existence of God of being wrong or lying. If experience makes God true then different ones make different gods true. The result is contradiction and confusion.
Religionists must know that when they say they have evidence for their faith which makes it worth following that this is not true. When they ask you to believe in their gospel they are asking you to keep away from the truth and serve them as a liar.
The Case Against Christ which seeks to prove that Jesus was what Christianity wants him to be says that in 1971, 45% of members of British Mensa were involved in a Church. This is supposed to prove that Christianity is not for the unintelligent (page 30). This overlooks the fact that members of Mensa are interested in thinking about their work and their brainteasers and not about religion. Like everybody else, they will not be experts in theology and will have their own rational interpretation of Christian dogma. They will play down the stupidity of the faith like most church members do.
Christians rationalise. Their religion claims to honour reason. It does not - reasoning is not rationalising. Rationalising is making your mind up before looking at the facts and the evidence. Reasoning is making it up after.
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