Thursday, February 25, 2010

Christianity makes you fat.

Jesus never existed and the bible is completely made up by man, sounds harsh but even hard core theologians tend to concede the latter point. Religions are natural extensions of explainable superstitions evolved along a predictable path which should be obvious. And it is a trivial task to point out the major hypocrisy in all the monotheistic religions in the same way it's easy to point out the madness inherent in most cults (and yes I'm also talking about you Scientology).

Although I have found one area in which I've not had an ideal retort; that of the nebulous and vague realm of human morality. Violent crime in primate and human communities are roughly equal and that any species living in a social (mammalian) society will self-generate a system of basic moral rules as a defense against otherwise inevitable extinction.
So while it's obvious to me that we do not derive our morals form any form of supernatural rain maker it's hard to argue against without data. Take this typical exchange for example;

Me: "So if you accept the bible isn't literally true why would you subscribe to it?"
Ghost worshiper: "It doesn't matter if it's true or not, it makes me a better and more moral person".
Me: "That's bullshit though isn't it."
(Just to paraphrase)

Not completely happy with my closing statements I decided to look into this a bit more, and get some of those tricky facts.

Not just Christians of course but many religious types speak of allowing a transcendence of animalistic urges, and how often these very same people can disavow evolution and the common ancestor in the same breath is boggling. I always took that idea of man being 'better' or 'above' the animals as offensive, that man is at all different from our mammalian cousins is just plain insular.

So let me get into the meat of the matter then, any argument made claiming religion in any way helps your moral fiber, or the community or world at large, is bogus and based on either opinion or anecdotes.

The real story is it's possible to statistically show Christians in the US earn less, are fatter, have average divorce rates, are less moral overall, have average domestic abuse rates, are more likely to support torture/war/capital punishment, are more racist, consume the most pornography, have higher incarceration rates, have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs when compared to the non-religious. 

Of course this isn't that religion makes you poor, or uneducated, but it simply preys on those people and plays to the psychological sense of community that these people are often very susceptible (exactly how street gangs recruit).
The real tragedy is that most religious people actually try to be upstanding people, but they are starting with a disadvantage in succumbing to irrational superstition in an attempt to achieve their goal and there is no gain for the church structures to change this, a group of educated and enlightened people would naturally threaten their power.

Knowing that religion doesn't actually, factually, morally, statistically, help you in any way at all, why still bother?


1 comment:

  1. Great post.

    Do you have sources for 'Violent crime in primate and human communities are roughly equal and that any species living in a social (mammalian) society will self-generate a system of basic moral rules as a defense against otherwise inevitable extinction.' ?

    How the Mind Works, by Steven Pinker, actually has a few really interesting points related to this.

    The chapter related to Sex in particular. For instance: female elephant seals tend to congregate on a stretch of beach that can be monopolized by one bull, hence the bulls fight over this particular stretch. As larger males are better fighters, they have grown to be about 4 times the size of females on average.

    In other words, species with males competing for mates by fighting generates a male that is larger than females.

    Gorillas compete for mates in a different way than a Bonobo. A adult male bonobo is 1/4th the size of an adult male Gorilla. But his Testicles are 4 times the size.

    This is a round about way of saying your statement of primate societies having roughly equal violent crime is hard to believe.

    I have sniped one paragraph of your post. I am a jerk. Sorry.