The Antitheist Herald

Christopher HitchensEvery year since his death, I do something to celebrate and commemorate the life of Christopher Hitchens, one of the writers and polemicists who most influenced me in my skeptical inquiry of religion, Christianity and Islam in particular.

On December 15th, 2011 Christopher Hitchens died, and every year since I’ve done something to further one of his causes that I most identify with: To expose and criticize religious attitudes and ideologies that are not conducive to the well-being of humanity as well as the actions perpetrated by the religious adherents and officials under the influence or authority granted them by their religious institutions.

By far, my most outstanding effort in furthering this cause has been my Facebook page, “Antitheist Herald.” Every day this page posts evidence of Christopher Hitchens’ claim that “religion poisons everything.” It’s in his memory that this page was started and it’s my ongoing respect for his work that inspires me to keep the page running. Yesterday, August 8th, 2014, marked the start of the 3rd year that Antitheist Herald has been maintained and I see no evidence of the page slowing down.

As a Christian, I grappled with various problems apologists grappled with for millennia and have invariably come up short on a reasonable, coherent, and satisfying explanation for many of the logical inconsistencies and lapses in reason that seem to be inherent in religious thought; though, the problem that has given me the most grief is theodicy, the problem of evil; a new example of which is highlighted at least once each day on my page.

In one of many of Christopher Hitchens’ assessment of religion he said,

Religion is the outcome of unresolved contradictions in the material world. If you make the assumption that it’s man-made then very few things are mysterious to you: It would be obvious to you why there are so many religions; You will understand why it is that religion has been such a disappointment to our species – that despite innumerable revivals, innumerable attempts again to preach the truth, innumerable attempts to convert the heathen, innumerable attempts to send missionaries all around the world – that the same problems remain with us. That nothing is resolved by this. If all religions died out, or were admitted to be false, all of our problems would be exactly what they are now: How do we live with one another? Where, indeed, do morals and ethics come from? What are our duties to one another? How shall we build the just city? How shall we practice love? All these questions would remain exactly the same. Emancipate yourself from the idea of a celestial dictatorship and you’ve taken the first step to becoming free.

This is a point easily grasped by materialists, atheists, and skeptics alike — but one that is lost on many of our believing friends. One of my other intellectual heroes, Richard Dawkins described the materialistic world thus,

In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

I believe Karl Marx was correct in writing that, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” We use religion as a drug to cope with our existential angst, but this opiate addiction is a serious problem and the side effects are grisly. Yes, an opiate has its uses, but only insofar as it aids recovery — I do not believe the analogy fails here.

God With Us

“The Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo (left), the motto Gott mit uns, or “God with us” on a Nazi uniform Koppelschlösser.

Religious beliefs have inspired some of the greatest works of philanthropy and art and has alleviated the mental anguish of many of its adherents, but it has also been the cause and justification of many, if not most, of mankind’s evils towards his brothers and sisters; it vindicates the bloodthirsty, validates the bigoted, offers sanction and sanctuary to zealotry, enforces compulsory doctrine of the irrational, opposes intellectual honesty and humility, proliferates unfalsifiable, pseudo- and un-scientific claims, ideologies, and explanations, promotes unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of people, grants confirmation for believing the preposterous, and through all of this it manages to pervade every aspect of the human condition; from our diet and dress to how we raise our children and care for our partners to how we tend to our planet and understand our place on it — nothing remains untouched, I am tempted to say “uncorrupted,” by the influence of religion.

“Antitheism” is the active opposition to theism. This position goes beyond the understanding that theism is false to saying that it is also harmful — which is what my page attempts to demonstrate.

The Antitheist Herald is not a hate group and I make no financial profit from running it. It is a network of individuals who feel a moral obligation to share the everyday evidence of the dangers posed by religion and its negative effects on humanity and its institutions. I invite you to like it, contribute to it, and share it.

Have We Forgotten?

Have We Forgotten 1

When the World Trade Center was attacked eleven years ago on this day, the media was buzzing with visuals from ground zero. The most popular clip I had seen was of the second plane hitting a tower, in which you can hear the newscasters saying, “Oh my God.” On a rarer video tape I had seen years later of the first tower being hit you can hear a man behind the camera crying, “Holy shit.” It is obvious that the problem is best identified as more the latter than the former.

Religious moderates and political liberals have characterized the actions of the terrorists as having to do with socio-economic problems due to oppression, poverty, occupation by foreign powers, etc. The people who actually orchestrated the attacks beg to differ. In the aftermath of September 11th, it was a religious organization that claimed responsibility.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda group, gave a statement declaring that this is nothing less than a holy war:

Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of God and your enemies.

I would like to touch on one important point in this address. The actions by these young men who destroyed the United States and launched the storm of planes against it have done a good deed.

They transferred the battle into the US heartland. Let the United States know that with God’s permission, the battle will continue to be waged on its territory until it leaves our lands, stops its support for the Jews, and lifts the unjust embargo on the Iraqi people who have lost more than one million children.

The Americans should know that the storm of plane attacks will not abate, with God’s permission. There are thousands of the Islamic nation’s youths who are eager to die just as the Americans are eager to live.

When a religion is founded on conquest and military strength, the fruits of its actions will not be those of peace. September the 11th was not the first attack and has not been the last. According to the (obviously biased) website thereligionofpeace.com:

Have We Forgotten 2

Facts, however, are not biasedand I encourage you to do research on these numbers for yourself. In my view, the 2,977 victims of 9/11 are fact enough  to support my point.

A counter-crusade is not necessary and should not be an action that crosses the mind of good people — but reason is. For any civilized people, reason is key to their success. It is unreasonable to ignore this problem. Simply type, “Islamist” into Google News every morning for another glimpse into this problem. The destruction of the World Trade Center was not a punctuation mark in a statement of one religion’s turmoil nor was it just a brutal chapter in international, political history; it was a restatement of one religion’s thesis. My thesis is that you should never forget this.

We should and will move on (most of us already have) because that is what reasonable people dobut we should never forget the day that the epitome of unreason was expressed in our lifetime.