Fixing America In 500 Words Or Less


Chapter 35

ARE ATHEISTS HONEST
ABOUT WHAT CAUSES WAR?


       Unlike in the time of Thomas Jefferson, when “Creator” and “church” represented two distinct and different ideas, “religion” today is a very loaded term. ¹  It is an obvious and grave historical error, as many atheists do, to lump belief in God and institutional religion together, as if these are synonymous.

       Many prominent historical people who believed in God rejected the religions of their society and otherwise, ascribed to no particular religion. Names on this list include Socrates, Jesus, Paul, Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Albert Einstein, who do not necessarily agree with each other about God or anything else.

       Jesus is not the founder of Christianity or anything remotely like it, ²  nor is it any more fair to blame Jesus for what people do in his name, than it is to blame Isaac Newton for Hiroshima.  The same applies in varying degrees to Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra and certain other so-called “founders” of various religions.

       There is no greater critic of fundamentalism or religious hypocrisy in history than Jesus, nor is there any greater advocate for love, peace and freedom.  On the other hand, the American, French and Russian revolutions were fomented by educated and so-called “enlightened” intellectuals.  These and many other conflicts have been fought in the name of idealism like democracy, socialism, communism, anarchism, fascism and nationalism, religion often playing a relatively minor role.

       Like religion and various forms of idealism, science and education are historically intimately entwined with war and human oppression on a massive scale, tracing back from ever more effective ancient weapons, DaVinci's war-machine inventions, on up through the Manhattan Project, the modern-day military industrial complex and ever worse weapons of mass destruction. Mussolini, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin and Ayn Rand, whose philosophy is often used to justify capitalist oppression, were atheists.

       Obviously if religion causes war, none of the rest of this would be included in history books, nor would a single atheist ever take up arms.  Those who blame belief in God for war are plainly liars.  It is fair to say religion is a tool often used to foment war and human oppression and, it's just as fair to say science and education are often used for the same purpose.  It is not accurate however, to pretend either one is a root cause of human aggression.

       According to Jesus and the Encyclopedia Britannica and, according to ALL known scientific and historical evidence, war and other human oppression arises from what is within all people.  Greed, frustration, fear, hatred prejudice anxiety, gossip, false witness, theft, rape, murder, inequality of wealth, slavery, war and all manner of human oppression, arises from what is within us all. ³

       Families, tribes, armies, religions, corporations, unions, organizations, clubs and all other “groupings” of human beings, consist of individual people, each making their own individual choices.  It would be refreshing if atheists would grow up and begin placing the blame for humanity's problems where it belongs, squarely on our own self-contradicting shoulders.

       Are atheists honest about what causes war?  You decide.


{ See Does Science Really Know What is True? for related information. }



NOTES:

1. In 18th Century America, based on the writings and actions of America's founders, the phrase "separation of church and state" clearly refers to separation of institutional religion and state.  While only two of the founders of the United States claimed to be deists, several more were Christians with deist leanings, including Madison, Adams and Washington.  Unlike these three, Jefferson didn't claim to be a Christian, but he also never denied being one. Jefferson's family belonged to a particular Protestant brand of religion known as the "Church of England", which strongly indicates what the term "church" refers to in Jefferson's writings.

It was common for 18th Century deists and others with deist leanings, to separate God from organized religion and, place free and open discussion of God under education, science and reason.  And not surprisingly, this is found frequently in the writings of prominent American founders.  There is no evidence whatsoever that any of America's founders would support the twisted and historically baseless modern notion of separation of church and state, which seeks to deny free and open discussion of God in public classrooms.  Denial of free and open discussion of God in a public science classroom is the opposite of what 18th Century deists stood for, believed in and strove to accomplish.  See Does the ACLU Really Support the 1st Amendment? for more information.

2. See Do Conservative Christians Really Follow Jesus? for more information.

3. It is historically naive, intellectually childish and irrelevant as to the root cause of violence, to blame war and other human violence on belief in God and/or, religion.  Human suffering from human violence results from bad choices made by individual human beings, choices emanating from greed, fear and frustration within our own selves, just like Jesus said.  It is historically irrational to pretend that religion is harmful while science and education are not; the historical evidence of the French, Russian, American, Chinese revolutions, WWI and WWII definitively demonstrates otherwise.  According to Jesus and ALL of the known historical, scientific and other evidence, war arises from what is within all human beings (source; Encyclopedia Britannica, "Human Sexuality" and related).

In the historical past, religion seemingly played a more dominant role in war-related violence than today, because societies in general were theocratic and structured quite differently than many modern nations.  The invention of printing and cheap mass dissemination of knowledge has gradually changed the excuses for war.  From a so-called "age of enlightenment" forward, by no means all, but societies in general on a global scale, have gradually been shifting away from theocracy and more towards nationalism and intellectual idealism; democracy, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and similar, as excuses to commit violence against our fellow human beings.  War and rumor of war (rumor of war causes great fear, social unrest and economic instability), murder, rape and other violence and, the resulting human oppression and human rights suppression, mass displacement, homelessness, poverty, hunger, disease, psychological trauma, emotional sorrow, suffering and pain remains.  Only the names of naive, shallow and self-justifying human theories leading to a variety of new excuses for war have changed.

Those who blame belief in God, which is not all synonymous with institutional religion, for human violence and other oppression, are deceiving themselves and others who buy into such a twisted and baseless claim.  War is very clearly greed-based at the root, involving either the protection of or theft of wealth and almost always, war is about both.  Human beings are individually and collectively responsible for our own bad choices and resultant massive global suffering.  Neither science, education, philosophy, religion, nationalism, democracy, communism or socialism are a root cause of human suffering.  No scientifically enhanced WMD or "sword" of religion or idealism can cause violence, unless and until a human being decides to wield such a sword as a violent means to a destructive end.

Consider the following arbitrary list of names:  Isaiah, Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Alexander, Julius Cesar, DaVinci, Maimonides, Kepler, Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare, Newton, Columbus, John Locke, Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, George Washington, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Samuel Clemens, Gandhi, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Edwin Teller, Albert Schweitzer, Helen Keller, Joseph Stalin, Harry Truman, Chairman Mao, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Mother Teresa, Ayn Rand, Joan Baez, Jimmy Carter, Charles Manson, Jerry Falwell, Dick Cheney, Pat Robertson, Christopher Hitchens, Barack Obama, Bill Maher.  Is belief in God really the cause of humanity's problems?  Isn't it really true that all of us contribute to the negative global pile of human oppression, whenever we treat someone worse than we want them to treat us, just like Jesus taught us?  Who is trying to kid Who?

For related information, see Does Belief in God Cause Human Oppression? also, Is Atheism Scientific? and Does Science Really Know What is True?.




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Copyright © August 20th, 2003 by Richard Aberdeen.
Copyright © Jaunary 7th, 2014 by Richard Aberdeen.
Copyright © February 1st, 2014 by Freedom Tracks Records.

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