by Marcus Loane
Why do I concentrate on Christianity? It is the faith system I have the most knowledge of, since I was born into a culture where it is prevalent.
Christianity is false
Christianity is false. The Bible is full of claims that science has disproved. It has stories that historians have shown to be false. It has many inconsistencies, both factual and doctrinal. It does not matter if we throw out Biblical literalism and regard the Bible as a metaphor for some deeper truth. We can water down Christianity as much as we like and concentrate on the "message" but still the message is false. Our ancestors were apes. We are apes. We were never "created perfect" so there cannot have been any "Fall" and there is no need for "Salvation". Without the need for a Christ there is nothing left to salvage from Christianity. Those who try, do it out of an emotional attachment to a tradition which intellectually cannot be justified.
The character of the Bible God plus the concept of infinite punishment for being born (guilty 'til proven otherwise), combined with the claims in the Bible that this same God is good and just, means it is a logical impossibility that the God described in the Bible exists.
Christian evangelism is like advertising. It tries to convince us we need a product that we don't. It creates a non existent problem so it can sell us the solution.
Christianity is barbaric
Christianity is violent and brutal. The central icon is the torture and execution of a man by pinning him to a piece of wood. Everywhere we are surrounded by the symbol of a cross. If there were a tradition that used the symbol of a man hanging from a gallows, a man being fried in an electric chair, or some other torture device, would we gaze at those symbols with reverence? The primitive barbarism of a god demanding a human sacrifice is painted as a kind and loving act. The vampiric obsession with the "spilling of blood" gets cloaked in a veil of cloying sentimentality. How many hymns are there about the precious blood, the spilling of blood, the blood of the lamb, being washed in the blood and even drinking the blood? The roots of Judaism and Christianity are ancient Babylonian and Sumerian traditions where animal sacrifice was required to appease the gods' blood lust. The symbolic human sacrifice of Jesus did away with the inconvenience of repeated animal sacrifice. That is all understandable. What isn't is that this throwback to barbaric times is painted as something beautiful. It appealed to ancient cultures cowering in fear and ignorance. In the communion ritual the congregation is encouraged to drink the blood of Jesus and eat his flesh. Incidentally, this ritual, like many others (eg. baptism) was copied from earlier Pagan traditions. If that is not bad enough, the Roman Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation cannibalistically teaches that the wine and bread is literally the blood and flesh of Jesus.
Just as heaven was thought to be literally in the sky, I suspect the idea of hell arose from observing molten lava for the first time (quite a shocking experience I'm sure) - "the fire in the bowels of the earth". Hell is unfashionable now. However it is a New Testament doctrine and many still believe in it as a physical place or the less threatening "separation from god". There are still those who believe it is a fire were the damned are burned eternally. Jesus himself used the words "hell fire". If Christians really believed that even one person would end up there, they would spend their every waking hour trying to save them. If they had any empathy or sense of common humanity at all how could they not? Yet most Christians are surprisingly apathetic. There are some (a minority, I hope) who actually relish the concept of the unbelievers getting their comeuppance. That is a terrible indictment of what fundamentalism can do to the minds of what I presume were once good people. How can they (or a loving god who devised the scheme) be content (or even happy) knowing that the majority of people who have ever lived will suffer such a fate? A census shows that approximately 30% (currently falling) of the world population are nominally Christian. That includes anyone who calls themseves a Catholic or Protestant. Perhaps 10% of those have religious beliefs and 10% of those describe themselves as "Born Again". Now these Born Again ones make up 0.3% of the world population. That means, in their view, over 99% of humanity is damned. They ascribe the all-good attribute to a god who set up a universe in the full knowledge (their god is all knowing) that 99% of humanity will suffer a terrible fate.
Now before anyone emails to say that just because I don't like the concept of hell does not make it untrue, that is not what I am saying at all. I am saying that you cannot claim that a god who devised the scheme is loving or just. The Bible makes such a claim, so that glaring contradiction means such a god is impossible. Christians who have persuaded themselves that such a scheme is just, have lost all meaning of the word just. To be born deserving of infinite punishment is the very opposite of just. There is nothing more unjust.
If hell is true then the god who created it is sadistic and unjust. If god is loving and just then hell does not exist. You cannot have it both ways. If you believe both, you are believing the impossible (square circles again).
The core beliefs of Christianity are the very antithesis of what they claim to be - just, moral, forgiving and loving. At the heart of Christianity is guilt and fear. I notice it in some discussions with Christians. There is the implicit threat, the fear of hell in the background - a believe just in case mentality. If you think that describes you, read about Pascal's Wager.
Christianity is harmful
Christianity has been used to suppress scientific advances which contradicted its dogma. Galileo proposed that the earth moved around the sun. The church regarded this as unbiblical heresy and threatened him with torture. In October of 1632 Galileo was summoned by the Holy Office to Rome. The tribunal passed a sentence condemning him and compelled him to solemnly abjure his theory. The Pope finally got around to apologising for this in 1992! Some blame the Christian church for over a thousand years of stagnation in the advancement of knowledge. Free enquiry and the necessity for repeatable experiments to establish truth were (correctly) seen as a threat to Christian doctrines and the power of the priests. A modern day parallel occurred in Kansas, USA where there were attempts to legislate for the teaching of the Genesis creation story in science classes, and to suppress the teaching of evolution.
Christianity has been used to justify some of the worst atrocities in history. Christianity is responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition and the burning of "witches". Christianity was and is used to justify intolerance, racism and slavery.
Christianity teaches us to despise humanity. It teaches us that we are born worthless and sinful and furthermore it is our fault. Is it right to teach children they are born sinful and it is their fault for being born that way. How can any thinking person equate that with a sense of what is just? Christianity can put a fear of hell into children that can remain into adulthood (as witnessed by the tired repetitions of Pascal's Wager). That is as damaging as other forms of child abuse. Teaching people there is an unforgiveable sin (which is a particular thought) is an extremely sinister form of mind control. If that cannot be described as brainwashing I don't know what can. Christianity leads some to go through their entire lives feeling guilty (or fearful) for imagined transgressions or not measuring up to some impossible ideal. This is most common in Roman Catholicism were constant internal monitoring is reinforced by the confession ritual. Like most other religions Christianity teaches people to accept dogma (for which there is no evidence) on authority. Questioning, doubt and scepticism are forbidden. It teaches people not to think for themselves. It is a prison for the intellect.
There is a terrible irony that something that is false, demeaning and harmful is sold as beautiful, moral, life enhancing and Absolute Truth. Now Christians may take offence at me criticising their cherished tradition. However they only have to look at the beliefs and rituals of some other faith system such as Islam or Voodoo, and they may seem bizarre and repugnant to them. It is familiarity with the Christian ideas that prevents adherents from seeing them the way outsiders might.
Beauty, harmfulness, morality. These are subjective. Truth and falsity, however, are not.