Religion is one of the most destructive cultural forces in our world. Any goods that religion encourages can be pursued for their own intrinsic value – without religion. However the horrors that religion creates may be impossible to avoid while religion exists, indeed these horrors are often seen as desirable to religious minds.
In four parts, my free book on Atheism discusses:
CONFLICT – Why religion is a problem.
THE MIND – How we think and why people are religious.
REALITY – Why religion is false.
THE VOID – Religion’s significance and life without religion.
Why Atheism? (Extracted from the book’s introduction).
For as long as I can remember and in spite of a vaguely religious upbringing, I have been convinced that atheism is the only truly accurate position a person can hold regarding gods and religion. My mother recounts a tale of my informing my Christian Sunday School teacher that I didn’t believe in a god when I was five years old. Yet since then I have encountered many other religions and have often been impressed by their adherents’ works and philosophy or architecture and art; the diversity of mankind can be both a strength and source of great beauty. Far more frequently than not, religion has seemed to be no more than a harmless delusion. What reason is there now that I should go to the trouble of trying to convince others that atheism is the only genuinely accurate position and furthermore that they should adopt it?
Of the three viewpoints… atheism, agnosticism or one of the many religions or sects that exist or could exist in the world, almost every last one is exclusive of the others and only one position can actually be correct, as there is only one reality to interpret. It must be the case that only one position is true, particularly as each makes the claim that the others are either entirely false or that they are only a part of the truth. The largest group of religions, the Judeo-Christian faiths, made up of Jews, Christians and Muslims, is completely riddled with such stark divisions. When we consider that each religion or sect also contains a different set of instructions as to how a person must live their life in order to receive the benefits of their religion, there appears a massive potential for conflict in human interaction. This is of course more than just a potential, but indeed a reality; mankind has waged war upon itself in the name of religion well into prehistoric times.
Conflicts stemming from religious differences are not only military but also occur in many other situations, such as in governmental elections. If you are living in a country where the government or people make decisions based upon a religion that you may or may not be part of, it may be decidedly inconvenient for you; whether this means that you may not dress as you please, must bear the child of a rapist or are simply buried in a mass grave along with the rest of the heathens. Religion has for millennia proven to be a catalyst for conflict; its removal from our minds would not eradicate conflict entirely of course, but it is difficult to deny that the end of religious belief would be a productive step in the significant reduction of conflicts between people. While it’s not as great a problem as procreation, nationalism or biological disease, religion is certainly one of the greatest avoidable causes of pain, death and suffering in human history.
Please take the time to read Atheism online (or better still, download it as a pdf).
If you insist upon killing trees in order to read from their remains, you can order a paper copy of the book from http://www.lulu.com/content/4418248.
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The link below is the full versions of the book Atheism in double spaced text (pdf).