There is no god and that’s the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion died out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.
Although I would make a distinction between personal faith in a greater meaning versus religions that encode arbitrary “nonsense” into mores.
The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik.
In a surprising announcement, scientists at Stanford University revealed yesterday that beginning this Thursday, human arms will become four to six inches shorter. The slight anatomical change, the most significant evolutionary development among homo sapiens in approximately 10,000 years, is expected to occur sometime between 4 and 4:30 a.m. EST.
However, these public incitements to murder and violence do not always end there; there are many waiting to carry out such acts in the name of religion. On Tuesday, one such man gunned down Salman Taseer, Punjab governor, business tycoon and a vocal critic of abuse of the blasphemy law. Taseer was shot dead outside a restaurant in Islamabad by one of his own guards, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri. Shortly afterwards, he handed himself to police, beaming with pride in front of cameras while confessing that he had killed Taseer because of his opposition to the blasphemy law. As Taseer’s bullet-riddled body was taken to hospital, later to be pronounced dead, Qadri’s confession was broadcast on television. A young bearded man, smiling, staring right into the camera while confessing a murder. There was no sign of remorse, only an uncanny smile reflecting reassurance that God will accept his great deed.
Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”
Kentucky Fried Creation recounts the visit by Indian Krish Ashok to Cincinnati’s Creation Museum.
For the uninitiated, the Creation Museum is a 21 million USD attempt to prove Darwin, Science and General Common Sense wrong. It is a museum dedicated to proving that the Bible was literally right and that the universe was created in 4004 BC. Nice vanity year no? Palindromic too. Like custom registration plates for one’s car. Not 4372 BC or 4197 BC. I’m sure God’s plates must read “D00D” or something
But my fear of shotgun-wielding redneck evangelical Xenophobic christians turned out to be entirely misplaced. Bad science apart, the place was thoroughly pleasant. Our carefully crafted Christian avatars were about as useful as a comb would be to Patrick Stewart.
I am always disappointed when my precisely nurtured stereotypes fail to come true.
The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record.
Nicholas Kristof: Is This America?
For a glimpse of how venomous and debased the discourse about Islam has become, consider a blog post in The New Republic this month. Written by Martin Peretz, the magazine’s editor in chief, it asserted: “Frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims.”
Mr. Peretz added: “I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”
Thus a prominent American commentator, in a magazine long associated with tolerance, ponders whether Muslims should be afforded constitutional freedoms. Is it possible to imagine the same kind of casual slur tossed off about blacks or Jews? How do America’s nearly seven million American Muslims feel when their faith is denounced as barbaric?
Charter for Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life.