Should Atheism be defended? This is a question that every inquisitive skeptic has asked themselves. After all,Should Atheism Be Defended? Articles if there is no god – or no proof of a god – then should this claim be defended? The zealots who wage holy wars, slaughter men, women, and children, can at least point to the omnibenevolence of a god of sorts to excuse their actions. The clergy who indoctrinate children and ban literature will be sure to state that it is for ultimate divinity that their actions are committed. And even religious figures feel the need to persecute minorities because anybody who believes differently does not feel the warmth of their god. These figures, characters, who have molded history in their own way can all claim to have found their beliefs on the belief in an almighty god. However, to those of us who cannot make such a claim, what can we say is the motive of our actions? And to those of us who defend Atheism, what can be said of those motives?
It is an intriguing question. The religious crusader will say that he is filled with the glory and rage of god, forcing him to do the will of his master. The impious thinker, however, cannot claim such a moving force that initiates his actions. It can easily be seen why some men and women may be so unrelenting when it comes to spreading their gospel. They are inspired by the divine, by the ultimate powers that govern the mechanics of the Universe. However, to those who are unholy and irreligious – those of us who find no value or inspiration in any scripture – we cannot claim to be filled with such awe and amazement. We can only claimed to be moved by the far inferior force of reason. To those of us who defend reason and rationalism, those of us who feel that there is an undeniable power in logic, there is nothing to fill us with inspiration that is divine. The same force that motivates the theologian does not motivate the philosopher. If this is true, then to why would a philosopher feel a desire to destroy the construct of faith? Why would the philosopher feel the need to debunk the power of religion? Should Atheism be defended?
Of the Benefits of Religion
One particularly interesting question when it comes to arguing the value of belief over nonbelief, is the question of reform. Over centuries, we have seen that there has been an obvious change in the attitudes of men from different cultures. There has been praise and hate for slavery, reward and punishment for murder. Different ages and different generations brought with them different ideals, all incorporating what they believed into the framework of government and society. There have been times when people questioned the rights of women and there have been times when people questioned the virtues of mercy and tolerance. Reform is perhaps one of the greatest questions when deciding if we wish to stand amidst the camp of belief or nonbelief. Has the church – has religion and its followers – befriended the cause for reform? Or have those who befriended reform been typically of an irreligious background?
Religion has been the base of abominations. It has destroyed lives, blighted futures, and tortured the innocent. In its greatness and power, it has gone unquestion as it killed relentlessly and its power went undoubted as it celebrated on the graves of its victims. There has been no institution so universally responsible for so much when it comes to suffering and destruction. The cultures relinquished, the hopes smothered, and the joys crushed — the tender moments torn to pieces, the affectionate touches demolished, the brightening emotions desolated — the memes and ideas propogated that taught men and women to be cruel to each other, to love vice, to hold vengeance against those who believe otherwise — these ideas can be drawn back to the solitary source of religion. Happiness was sacrificed so that the church could become massive. Mercy was traded for vice; sympathy swapped for cruelty; and charity immolated for viciousness. These all done so that religion and its leaders may grow in power and wealth. There is nothing so debaucherous of compassion and humility than this overgrown vestige of greed and cruelty.
The inclinations of man have run the gamut from natural compassion to corrupt hatred. It was the purpose of the church, the synagogue, the mosque, the temple, the shrine, the baslica, to exploit the superstitions and bigotry of the common man so as to benefit itself. The prejudices of the common man was condoned, as well as fostered and promoted, when it came to the teachings of organized religion. Hate and religion went hand in hand. There was no kinship of all living creatures, no love of each other. When religion exploits the masses, by embracing a bigotted hate of the people and enforcing it, by theft, by murder, by whatever foul and ruinous means, it becomes destructive of happiness. Religion permeates the world with fear, plants the seeds of destruction, and clamps down on independent thought. Reformers who have stood up to say that slavery, or inequality of women, or the rights of children, have always been denounced by traditional religion. Those who oppose cruel and vicious atrocities have always been the target religious oppression. Reform and infidelity are parallel. Orthodoxy endeavors to destroy both institutions.
In all rational considerations, it is best to fear the man who claims that god is behind him. It is not that this godly man will be more merciless or malicious with the accompaniament of religion. It is that when a man follows what he believes god tells him, and nothing else, he is ignorant of reason and oblivious to logic. There is no evidence that you could use to convince him otherwise of his convictions. We are often told by the clergy and the other religious officials of our time that without religion, this world would tear itself to pieces. There would be no common code of ethics nor would there be any morality — there would be no purpose to act good and no motive to behave kindly. However, rarely do leaders of religion see the errors of their ancestors. And even more rarer still is when they proclaim the errors of their religion. In this deep and dark insidious way, the ecclesiastical leaders have kept their followers ignorant and blind, incapable of making choices for themselves, and reliant upon the church to guide them.
What the scholars and historians of all centuries have failed to recognize is that religion puts a monopoly on morality. Within its borders, religion evicts reason and evidence. Once this is done, there are no ethics based on rational or comprehendible reasons. If an individual is inspired by god that all individuals of a particular race are inferior and ought to be punished, then they will believe that. Any argument that a philosopher can conjure up will be rendered useless. If a churchman agrees with slavery because his god agrees with slavery, what can we say to him? Can we avail to his sense of compassion, or perhaps his faculty of reasoning? We may simply and logically explain to him that every conscious being is fuly capable of feeling suffering as he is, and therefore none ought to be in the chains of slavery. But what good would this explanation do? The religious churchman can always fall back on the argument of the divine. It has long been conceived within religion that reason is inferior to faith. If the faith commands slavery and the rational demands emancipation, then the faithful will remain slavers and rationalists will remain abolitionists. When religion condones cruelty and barbarity clamps down on opposition, progress has come to a standstill and compassion has been traded for faith. It has been with triumphant leaps and bounds that reason has smashed through the cage of religion, delivering some poor victim from the vindictive, torturous ways of faith.