If religion were invented today, the perpetrators would be laughed at by the masses, and eventually locked up in an insane asylum when they were considered dangerous. The danger today is that the zealots are allowed to roam the streets. Worse, they are allowed to influence our government, which is constitutionally illegal.
The founding forefathers bade that religion be totally separated from state. They had a reason for this, based on the mistakes of the "old country". I hear over and over the statement, "If that were their true intentions, then why is it on our money and in the Pledge of Allegiance? Well, wake up. That wasn't added until the 1950's, nearly 200 years after our fathers drew up the most important documents of this nation. There were some pretty intelligent men in that group. Are you telling me now that they were not literate enough to express their true meaning? That they made a mistake in their wording?
Yes, they also stated that mankind should be free to worship (or not) as they pleased, but that was only one small part of their plan. Our country was not based on religion, it was based on freedom. Sadly, the importance of those words has been transposed. Worse, so has the thoughts behind it, as the last seven years* has glaringly exposed.
* This refered to the reign of Emporer Bush, beginning in 2000 A.D.
Other than an occasional forward to firstname.lastname@example.org I do not normally respond in any way to spam (I don't even usually read past the sender/subject in the index), but this one was directed to my spam-trap address anyway. It was one of those 'I have <insert acquirement story here> a lot of money and I want to give it away' scams. No biggie -- happens all the time. But this one puported to be looking for 'only someone special who will use the money to protect and promote religion as an institution,', whining about the number of people who have the audacity to be thinking for themselves and no longer believing in some mythological omnipotent being. It irritated me so much I could not resist the urge to send the following reply:
I'm not only atheist, I'm religion intolerant. It makes me sick to my stomach. At best it's a childish myth, at worst it's a way of controlling the masses. It's about time mankind grew up. Almost everyone agrees that Roman and Greek "Gods" are mythology. Somebody climbed the mountain and found out there wasn't anything up there but Ice and thin air. So the people used to saying, "If you don't do as I say, God'll get ya!" decided to move the original bogeyman up higher.. into the sky where they never dreamed anyone would be able to check. Well, guess what, dodo-brains... We've been there -- and beyond, and there's nothing there but gases, rocks and vacuum. GET OVER IT!
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, quoting and/or paraphrasing Ali Hasson Muhammad, in the book The 16th Round:
Hanson told me that Man's mind was an explanation-seeking organ. Thus a spirit was conceived as an entity roughly shaped from the clay of superstition, which gave Man an excuse for being, and relieved him from the burdens of his own conscience. The mind, Hasson said, was a label-placer to justify the faults inherent in Man's own deeds and weaknesses.
He said that the belief in the Holy Spirits merely invoked in Man a response to justify the world's creations and degradations. Because Protestants, Catholics, and skeptics of many other denominations invariably loved mystery better than they did explanation, they could readily believe that God — this spiritual being — actually created heaven and earth. By throwing aside their objectivity, they could conceive of a universe that had not always been here, but could always be here, and that words such as "beginning" and "end" were all man-made symbols to identify a passing phase in life."
This isn't exactly pure logic, but it works for me.
If the church is to control the masses, then religion must exist.
The church must control the masses.
Therefore, religion must exist.
It's unfortunate, but true, at least in the eyes of the church and other religious leaders for the last who knows how many millennia.
"When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion." — Robert Pirsig in Lila
Why should the lack of some ridiculous "Supreme Being" negate the possibility of another plane of existance? Perhaps if mankind would release their desperate grip on mythology we could eventually discover the truth.
I hear all the time by those wishing to convert me or someone else, "How can you witness the miracles around you daily and not believe in a higher power?" My question is this: How can you look around you and see the millions of tiny and monumental miracles that happen every single day and not have more faith in this planet; in what it can do, all by itself, without some giant hand coming down from the sky and mucking things up.