Destructive dogma

Ray Comfort complained about what he perceives as immoral on Facebook. In a vein similar to Westboro Baptist Church's appreciation of dead soldiers, he claimed God is punishing us for what he arbitrarily sees as immoral, because of his faith. Denial of facts, blaming victims of "God's wrath" rather than God himself, and thus supporting the tyranny of God (even though it does not really exist, since God does not exist) are three major problems with conservative theism. Ray Comfort wrote this:

“Here is the news. Unprecedented floods are covering much of the nation, and record-breaking droughts are in other places. Massive killer tornadoes are ripping across America as never before, and dozens of huge wildfires are out of control. The heat index is off the chart, a plague of different cancers are killing hundreds of thousands, and these are on the increase.

"We don’t know why these things are happening, but one thing we do know, it has nothing to do with our morality or with God.

"Let’s now get back to our adultery, fornication, pornography, lying, stealing, homosexuality, cooruption[sic], violence, abortion, hypocrisy, and blasphemy.” (Ray Comfort, July 27, 2015)

Comfortable ignorance

So, basically, Comfort has no idea why bad things happen, but he chooses to blame them on things he has been taught not to like which have no connection to the bad things he mentioned. No, it is actually worse. Comfort claims God is the one behind all the bad things (because we "sin"), but even so, God is not the one to blame. Instead, we are, because who would not deserve death and eternal torture for questioning the supreme overlord or expressing their love toward someone who just happens to be the same gender?

This is the same kind of nonsense rhetoric as the suggestion that women who do not dress modestly corrupt men and cause earthquakes. It is not only disingenuous to make up connections where none exist, but it is also morally abhorrent to actually condone God's use of disease and natural disasters to punish humans with death (and eternal torture thereafter) for any perceived offenses, many of which cannot in any way be considered immoral (like fornication or homosexuality). What may be even dumber is the fact that both non-violent "crimes" as well as violence are supposedly punished by God with more violence and deaths of innocents. This would make God violent and hypocritical, not to mention that power seems to have corrupted himhe does anything to keep his powerand his arbitrary disappointment in humanity causes him to essentially abort humanity.

The thing about morality is that it is universal. Morality applies equally to everyone, even supreme beings. An action considered immoral when it is committed by one must also be immoral if committed by another. Morality is, of course, in large part subjective, although it can be more or less logical; to say why one thing is immoral, one must provide an actual reason, like that an action hurts someone else. Things like homosexuality do not affect anyone else negatively, but opposing homosexuality hurts homosexuals. Morality is also not black and white, which is another reason why "objective morality" makes no sense; killing may be considered immoral because it hurts someone, but if the shades of reality are taken into account, there certainly are many cases in which killing would not be immoral, like in self-defense, for example.

God does not follow his own supposedly objective morality, which makes him a hypocrite. Not only that, but his objective morality is objectively oppressive and irrational: people are taught to follow blindly and never question, or they will be punished; people are persecuted over harmless differences, like sexual orientation. Only for the fact that God does not exist, the greatest hypocrites are theists, who are horrified by genocidal dictators on Earth and yet happily support their make-believe genocidal dictator called God.

It is also disingenuous to suggest we have absolutely no clue as to why things like natural disasters occur. It can most certainly be explained by science, and conservative theists' favorite "lie" climate change is part of this explanation. A very telling example Comfort himself provided is that "the heat index is off the chart," meaning the environment is seeing an increase in temperatureglobal warming. Instead of looking to scientists and answers provided using the scientific method, ignorant theists like Comfort claim it is happening because God is angry and that God's wrath and punishment are justified. Theists suffer from the same psychological breakdown as abused spouses: they believe they deserve abuse and that the abuser is right to do so, even when it is obviously the other way around.

Comfort sarcastically wrote that "one thing we do know, it has nothing to do with our morality or with God." If we strip away the sarcasm, this sentence makes sense. Adultery, fornication, pornography, lying, stealing, homosexuality, corruption, violence, abortion, hypocrisy, and blasphemy do not cause climate change or cancer; to say they do is irrational, like saying the lung cancer you got after smoking for years is your gay son's fault, even though his gayness has nothing to do with the cancer, but the smoking does. Likewise, human activity in the form of deforestation and pollution, not homosexuality, is to blame for giving the Earth the cancer we know as climate change.

Let's look at the sins for which we deserve death and torture. And when I say we, I mean all of us, even those who have not committed these sins. That is what conservative theists seem to be saying, anyway. Okay, here is my take on it:

Adultery: This is certainly a bad thing. However, God is not the hurt party, nor is it a "crime" that should be punished. The person whose partner cheats deserves to know and should thereafter move on from the shitty person who cheated, but that is about it. Also, adultery has been around for a long time, even in highly religious societies. Why would God see fit to punish it now?

Fornication: There is nothing immoral about what one chooses to do with other consenting adults. Give me one objective reason other than "God said so" as to why having sex would be immoral. Just one. Before you mention it, no, sexually transmitted diseases are not reasons why sex is immoral; they are just a possible consequence of sex, like pregnancy and an orgasm. Lying about being healthy when you know you have an STD is also not a reason why having sex is immoral; it is immoral to not inform the other person and then have sex with them, which hurts them, but the sex itself is not the immoral part. Seriously, just one reason, other than God and your distaste toward promiscuity.

Pornography: There is nothing immoral about pornography, in and of itself. If people do not participate in a pornographic film by their own volition, but rather because they are forced somehow, or if the participants in the film do not consent to the film's publication, that would be immoral and one should not support it. However, I suspect conservative theists who claim pornography is immoral mean the mere act of watching any pornographic film is what is immoral, and they probably care less than most people about the persons in front of the camera. There is nothing immoral about watching other people have sex, if they consent to it, and there is nothing wrong with self-gratification; that is because neither act hurts anyone, and if it hurts no one, it cannot be immoral.

Lying: I believe this is a gray-area, as one can lie for a variety of reasons. A lie, in and of itself, is no "crime" that warrants the harshest of punishments, like death and torture. Most often, the harm caused by a lie is not necessarily the lie itself, but the reason for the lie. Killing people to gain control of oil is the immoral act, and the lies are there to cover it up, which would be an example of a lie for bad reasons. Telling your loved one they do not look fat at all is a lie for a good reason, as you want to spare their feelings. One more thing that must be considered is that religion is the greatest lie of them all, with real consequences like oppression, persecution, shame, and death.

Stealing: Like lying, stealing is a gray-area and death and torture are not punishments that fit the crime. A hungry child who steals an apple to survive is not, in my opinion, being immoral. Big corporations stealing money away from healthcare, education, and other "evil" socialist programs are immoral on the other hand. And it is generally speaking the Christian right, in America, that supports big corporations' right to steal from the hungry and poor.

Homosexuality: There is nothing immoral about homosexuality, as it harms no one; as I said before, what consenting adults do with each other, whether they tenderly make love or have an orgy in which they sodomize each other, is not immoral, and bodily autonomy supersedes God's ego. For something to be immoral, there must be a rational, logical reason why it is immoral, and even then, it is very often at least partially context-sensitive and even subjective.

Corruption: This is certainly bad and is actually one of the reasons behind climate change; politicians are bought by big corporations that spew toxic shit into the environment and cause climate change. Why would God punish all of humanity for it (or any of the perceived crimes I write about here)? If hell is meant for punishment, why would punishment be needed here on Earth, especially since life on Earth is "just a test"? And how can God be considered good if he arbitrarily punishes people for not harming anyone? It seems power corrupted God, or more correctly the people who invented God.

Violence: This is also very bad, but why punish all of humanity, even innocents, and is it not hypocritical to punish it with more violence and death? Besides, one of the major reasons behind violence is religion. Another is power and a third is greed. Conservative theists support all three.

Abortion: A lump of cells have not yet become a person, so no, abortion is not immoral, any more than menstruating or ejaculation is immoral. (See my satirical blog post "How women and men murder children" for more information on how menstruation and ejaculation are immoral.)

Hypocrisy: We are all hypocrites in many ways, especially God and conservative theists, but it is no crime that warrants punishment, only criticism.

Blasphemy: I am pretty sure dictatorships are immoral, whether Kim Jong-un is the supreme overlord or God is; blasphemy is a concept invented to shame and push down, so that people will not question and thus let the church keep its power. This is extremely immoral, whether God exists or not. In fact, if God exists, he would without a doubt be the worst dictator of all time. Yes, Godwin, that includes Hitler.

Other people comfortable in ignorance

Let's take a look at some of the comments, which are equally ignorant as Ray Comfort's post. There were also some good comments, although pretty much exclusively from atheists.

One such atheist, David, wrote that "none of this is happening in predominantly atheist and tolerant Northern Europe, where we continue with our peaceful lives ignoring myths and superstitions. It's like 'god' lost his geography book?" One reply was that if one is doing "evil" and "God does not give you a good whipping for it" (remember, this is the "loving" god of Christianity), it is nothing of which to be proud, as it means one is not "His child." Another theist told David that he is "a sinner like the rest of us" and that he should look to Jesus to be "saved" from his "sins" which have separated him from God. Another theist posted a link from 2014 titled "Quiet year for disasters in USA; not so in Europe" (the year written about is 2013).

Of course, the theist who posted the link did not realize that Europe is a big place, and the article wrote about Germany, not any of the Scandinavian nations, like Sweden, which may be some of the most secular nations in the world. What I want to comment on the most is the disgusting dogma that everyone is a "sinner" who must be saved by blindly worshipping God; that is a fabrication theists are indoctrinated into believing to push them down and keep them from thinking for themselves. It is also rather amazing that so many believe God is responsible for murdering thousands upon thousands of people and still want to worship him.

The definition of "evil" these theists have is also much skewed. They have defined evil as anything that is contrary to what their god says (except the things they have selectively discarded from the Bible); their quite-frankly-frightening dogma actually makes them believe something is evil because someone (in this case God) has an opinion about it, rather than what the thing actually is.

This dogma is, indeed, a deep pool of ignorance and hate, not just hate for others, but also for oneself. A theist commented that "it has everything to do with our morality, or lack thereof, and God, considering we've decided that we don't need Him, don't want Him, are offended by Him, and we'd be better off without Him! What fools we are to have rejected God!! I can only pray that God's mercy will send revival before His wrath descends on us!! We desperately need revival, but we so deserve His wrath!!" For living our lives as we want, without harming anyone, and for finally not only tolerating but embracing differences like sexual orientation, these people believe we deserve to be murdered. For thinking for ourselves and not being blindly devoted to an overlord, they believe we deserve to be tortured for all eternity.

The thread beneath the post was just filled with dogma. People predicted the end of the world and complained about Obama and the anti-Christ. They spewed the usual rhetoric that God is good even though he will only "save" those who blindly worship him. And, of course, they speculated as to when Jesus would come back. Atheists who commented rationally were met with Bible quotes and "God wants you to repent for your sins." A theme of hate was the opposition to same-sex marriage and the "redefinition of God's word." From this thread, it is very obvious that indoctrination is extremely effective (frighteningly so) and that Christianity was invented to get people to obey. What better way to make people obey than to imbue in their very core that they are evil, just for existing, and need God to be "saved" from themselves?

A while back, a theist on Twitter wrote that he is a "rotten sinner deserving to burn in hell forever." I tweeted about it (see embedded tweet) and then also wrote about it some more on Facebook and Tumblr. As I see it, this belief in sin and inherited sin is one of the sickest and most destructive things about Christianity, as it is the root of many other problems, like the opposition to same-sex marriage (even though, obviously, not every theist is opposed to it). I wrote this:

One of the most destructive lies theists are taught is that they are “rotten sinners” who deserve to burn in hell, and that God is kind and merciful for “saving” them from eternal torture. This is one of the things that keep theists from questioning, because they believe that they are not worthy, that they are evil just for existing, just for being human. This horrible, closed-minded belief is forced into the open minds of children, and that should be the very definition of child abuse.

No crime warrants eternal punishment, and especially not the “crime” of simply existing, merely being human. To “inherit sin” is illogical and immoral; it is nothing more than guilt by association and a way to push down those brainwashed into believing it. Without this belief, the Christian faith falls apart, and for that reason, it should fall apart. (Facebook and Tumblr, July 22, 2015)

Times like these, when one is faced with thousands of people who hold extremely disturbing and dogmatic beliefs, one can safely say fuck off to any politically correct acceptance of religion. If anything, the indoctrinating belief system known as religion is destructive and teaches nothing but hate, either hate for others or hate for oneself. And the worst part is that this hate, including self-hatred, is taught to children, whose minds may forever be shut for fear of not being worthy of their fucking savior.

Patrick Hall

Author of speculative fiction. Blogger of thoughts. Devout atheist. Scary leftist. Awkward introvert. Proud great ape. Amazon: