One thing about religion that’s really bothered me from the start is how it does nothing to advance or increase human knowledge and let’s face it, it’s not for a lack of people who spend their entire lives studying religion.
A fundamental part of religion, the Abrahamic religions in particular, is that the devout claim to have a direct line to and converse with the almighty creator of the universe. This super being allegedly invented everything, knows everything and can do anything. People firmly believe they converse with this being. Yet they do not find it strange that they are – and have been for thousands of years – unable to get a single factual bit of new information, that they did not have before, from this being.
Some might want to point out how religious people such as Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton and Max Planck have made many scientific advances. It is true that some scientists are and were religious, especially in the days when not being religious was essentially a death sentence. They, like every other scientist – religious or not – made their discoveries through hard work and by using the scientific method. None of them claim to have received any information directly from the almighty creator of the universe and nobody who could not possibly have come up with a discovery has come up with a discovery. An illiterate goat herder, for example, did not discover perturbation theory.
And why not? If you believe in a ‘loving’ God how do you reconcile that this God withheld the germ theory of disease for several thousand years thereby condemning millions upon millions of people to suffer horribly and then dying prematurely? A huge proportion of the unfortunates being children. Do you just ignore the inconvenient fact and get on with it?
People claim to speak to their God all the time. People claim their God speaks to them all the time. Why does nobody care that they are completely unable to get any new information that they didn’t have before from this God when it speaks to them? How can this not bother people?
The Bible is chock full of vast stretches of bullshit and inanity such as how to burn farm animals – a smell the Christian god apparently finds terribly pleasing – and what to (or not to…) do with woman on their periods. About the only truly useful thing in the Bible was allegedly said by Jesus and goes something like “love… thy neighbor as thyself” but as it turns out he wasn’t the only person to say it and wasn’t the first person to say it, by a long shot. So to be a Christian you need not only accept that your God gives you no information you don’t already have but when he did give you some good advice, it wasn’t even his own, unique idea. And most of the preceding ideas, called the Old Testament, were truly terrible, decidedly inferior to many other civilisations that existed during that time (yes, surprise! The middle east was in fact not the only populated place on earth during the time of the Old Testament).
If you are religious and you want to learn something fundamental about what you believe, say the following prayer when next you speak to your deity:
Dear Lord, please tell me a fact I do not already know.
Want to put money on what you’ll learn? No? Let me help you: you’ll learn that you’re talking to yourself.
There is nothing in any religious text or any religion at all that could not have been invented or imagined by human beings. In fact, that is all religion really is: primitive human musings.
Religion does not increase human knowledge because the universe is stranger than humans are able to imagine and religion is nothing but humans imagining.