As a woman, as a mother and as a student surrounded by creative young men and women, I am often chastised by others for not being tolerant of religion.  I am told that being an Atheist requires just as much assumption as being religious and that in my dismissal of all faiths I am ignoring the good that religion brings into the world.

I do not believe that there is any good that religion, any religion, is doing in the world.

I think that every faith promotes ignorance, separation, discrimination and hatred.

When people contrast their faiths to those more extreme (often the Taliban) I compare them.

I do this because I am intolerant of the crutch of religion. I do this because when someone tells me that they are Christian, but have nothing against homosexuals, it rings about as honest as a Neo-Nazi telling me they have nothing against minorities.

I find their accusations that I would be happier in my "traditional place as a woman," to be hateful and coming from a place of spiteful ignorance.

I am aggravated as others try to hang a label of "agnostic" on me, when what I really am is an atheist.

I have no doubts that I have made the right choice to abandon the myths of my mother and her mother. There is no question in my mind.

People have said to me that they cling to the belief in gods out of a hope for cosmic justice.

I think that it is the belief in these gods that create most of the injustices we suffer in our lives. Our feelings of frustrations, our self-imposed limitations on our hopes for love and happiness, our misery in the feelings of constant scrutiny from an unloving, constantly judging omnipotent figure of our own design, all of these things are the waste product of an out-dated hate machine.

I find nothing redeeming in religion. Religion flaunts opulence in the face of starving believers and implants hatred in the innocent and inquisitive minds of children. It creates division where there should be none.

I am not tolerant of religion any more than I would tolerate any other form of indoctrinated bigotry.

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Comment by Carol Foley on February 28, 2013 at 11:53pm

I'm not opting to force people to abandon their idiotic religions at gunpoint.

I will not humor the idea that religion is somehow sacred, beautiful, or helpful to humanity.

Religion is poison because it stops people from questioning their uneducated judgements against others and allows them to quote "The Word of God!" while killing gays, 'witches,' adulterers and anyone else they fear for being different.

I've been down the road of religion, and it is ugly, cold, and answer-less to someone who someone who seeks the truth of the beauty of humanity.

Religion divides us into groups of believers and non-believers.

Science unites us as Homo Sapiens.

Comment by Joshua D. on March 1, 2013 at 12:04am
In your first comment replace science with religion. Or am I not allowed to pick and choose what I define as religion? You are doing the same with Lysenko simply because he doesn't fit into your idea of science. Religion is a method as well.

Nature is like a book. The tool used to examine it is science. Religion is a similar tool and as I've demonstrated both can be used to do horrible things.

What's the real problem though? And what would actually fix it? Your intolerance of the religious? Does that make you better?

It hasn't stopped me from questioning. I don't engage in any of those behaviors and abhor those who do. How do you account for me?

Scientism is just as dangerous as religion. It sounds like you threw off religion only to pick up another.
Comment by Joshua D. on March 1, 2013 at 12:15am
The failure to prevent war is the evidence? What responsibility would it have?how could religion even do such a thing?

I feel this argument is awful and shifts the blame away from the awful PEOPLE who were ultimately responsible for those travesties.

Rational thinking doesn't cause any of those things but rather irrational thinking which is responsible for all the events you describe. Religion in itself is just one in many vehicles we as people use to cause destruction.

Shameful really...
Comment by Carol Foley on March 1, 2013 at 12:19am

Science and religion are not interchangeable.

Religion requires you to fit observations into the mold of your preexisting religious dogma. If you choose as an individual to not do so, you are no longer applying your religion to your observation, you are making your observations in spite of it.

The claim that religion is as valid a tool for understanding the universe as science is ludicrous. So is calling science a religion.

It is a free country, you can call whatever you like "religion," but reality does not bend to your whims.

What's the real problem though?

The real problem is bigotry supported by the masses out of an Emperor's New Clothes style fear of standing against the claim that you must be righteous to feel this invisible god. It is the battle cry of the believer as he praises god while bathed in the blood of heathens like me.

And what would actually fix it?

Embracing the real science that shows that we are all the same. Understanding that what counts is how we treat others because this is what we actually have. This life.

Your intolerance of the religious?

Intolerance of RELIGION, not RELIGIOUS.

Does that make you better?

Better at thinking before I jump to conclusions about my fellow humans? Sometimes. I don't hate people because they are gay, or religious, or a religion other than my parents', or a different race, or gender identification. I only hate people for being awful towards other people.

Comment by Karl Mugele on March 1, 2013 at 5:15am

@MikeLong & unseen

Wow guys - is there such a thing as a religious hospital nowadays in your area?

In the UK some, possibly even many hospitals are called "St." something  - e.g. St Barts.  Religion plays no part in their function though.  The names are just traditional.

Some hospitals - possibly all - have some kind of prayer area for believers. I've never heard of a religious hospital though...seems anathema to me ;-)

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on March 1, 2013 at 6:56am

Yes, you are intolerant of religion...feels great, don't it. :)

Comment by Joshua D. on March 1, 2013 at 9:07am
Gallups mirror,

The point of the pick and choose statement was to demonstrate her error. I do pick and choose my religious beliefs but that's not how ive been arguing. It is misguided to lump all religions together but I generally have to operate under a misunderstood idea of belief and faith as well in these kinds of discussions.

As to the problem of evil well I don't know.

Hot cold, light dark, good evil. They seem to need each other to exist. I'm not God though and do not try and guess what his intentions are. If He exists who am I to question Him anyways?
Comment by Joshua D. on March 1, 2013 at 9:17am
Carol,

Religion isn't a good tool for understanding the universe the way science is. I never said that. The two books analogy comes to mind.

My problem with statements like yours is simple. Your presuppositions mislead you and cause you to view people negatively with no justification short of your experience with others like them. This is prejudice. If you met me and I told you I was a Christian you've said yourself you wold assume all sorts of things that weren't true about me, me hating gay people, etc...

It's equal to meeting a different race and assuming things about them. So yes you are intolerant, and that kind of thinking is the same that drives the people you seem to loathe. You just use different prejudices to do so. It's shameful that thinking like yours is applauded.

I am sorry that there have been people in your life that have created this prejudice in you. I wold argue that of those people were capable of hate then they weren't really religious anyways. They were just a part of a bad social group. If religion was gone people would still be hateful, vengeful, and awful to each other.
Comment by Karl Mugele on March 1, 2013 at 9:40am

Joshua D.

Funny you are making the same statement but about other religions.  You lump all "other" religions together. Why is yours so special?

Carol was quite cleaqr that it is the religion she has a probelm with and not the individuals.  She stated "Intolerance of RELIGION, not RELIGIOUS".  It is you who are on the back foot, trying to twist her into appearing intollerant.  Simply put you are the intollerant one, believing all atheists hate religious people.  As far as I'm aware, none (or very few) do.  Many do, including me, hate being told someone's particular religion is more right than any other and is comparable to non-belief or scientific study.

Any and all religions answer nothing, generate more questions than they answer, provably cause or become the cause of human conflict and suffering, impose ancient prescriptions and proscriptions on their followers, and even try to impinge on the livews of non-believers and people of other religions.

The funniest thing is that they are self-contradictory but their followers can't see it.  They beggar belief.

Comment by Unseen on March 1, 2013 at 9:51am

Catholic health care facilities form the largest not-for-profit health service sector in the United States, caring for nearly one-sixth of all U.S. hospital patients each year.

The 620 Catholic hospitals across the country make up 12.4 percent of the nation’s 5,010 community hospitals.

They provide 15 percent of the hospital beds and in 2008 accounted for more than 5.6 million -- 15.8 percent -- of the 35.8 million patients admitted to those hospitals that year.

In addition to inpatient hospital stays, Catholic hospitals handled more than 98 million outpatient visits, 15.7 percent of the national total. (source)

While I couldn't find similar stats,this google search will tell you that there are many Lutheran hospitals in the United States: 

And here is a list of all the Adventist hospitals operated by The Seventh Day Adventists.

I've been in two different hospitals operated by Catholics and have not been proselytized. They may be restrained by receiving Federal funding or maybe they simply feel that taking care of people's medical needs hassle-free is good publicity for their faith.

Religious people believe a myth. This doesn't make all of them and everything they do evil.

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