Religion equates reward with heaven and hell with punishment. If you follow the pronounced religious lines you go to heaven if you question you are assigned to hell. So can we safely assume religion demands unconditional submission and promises in return assured safe passage to heaven. Most people dont have problem with this arrangement since one does only sacrifice his rationalism. Some do it because its what his family does or simply to live one has to believe God for no apprent reason. But cheer up RATIONALISTS the scenerio is not too bad and presently 15% or more of the US population question the concept of God. I would like to make it clear that atheist would not object to the humanitarian, moral, ethical aspect of any religion. As long as religion is dynamic , free from dogmas and preconditions the people will live more harmoniously. More over all GOD BASED RELIGIONS are the products of some primitive and archaic minds and were essentially ment for the society of that period.
Good points, Laju. You’re right, a lot of religions came into being 100s or 1,000s of years ago when, among other things, most people were illiterate. Back then people had no understanding of the scientific forces of nature, so it’s easy to see why they might come to believe in higher beings when they were suddenly stricken with plague, floods or drought (‘Only a powerful god or gods could have made such a catastrophe happen. Have we done something to displease this god that He would would suddenly punished us? It’s the reason humans started making sacrifices, animal or human–to appease the god(s). Most religions are indeed archaic.
The idea that there’s a Satan makes no sense whatsoever. Why would there be this evil being with Enormous Power, so much that he can pull people into hell and have them burn forever? WHY would Satan, or ANYbody for that matter, even WANT to do that? [you don’t make a lot of friends that way, by sending them to burn forever……]
And if Satan’s that powerful then he must be smart. How come he hasn’t thought things through and had a ‘paradigm shift’ in his thinking? [":Hmmmm, maybe burning all these people isn’t the ONLY way, maybe I should try being nicer….].
Clearly Satan is only SYMBOLIC–a human-like characterization of Evil, to make it easier for people 1,000s of years ago to grasp and believe in. It was a simple explanation, invented by religions, to draw people into their churches for protection from the evil Devil.
Atheists and non-Christians would certainly appreciate it if Christians didn’t try to force their (also odd) notion that you have to believe Jesus is our savior if you want to go to heaven. That’s sillly. NO LOVING God would inflict ‘burning in Hell for eternity’ on good atheists and non-Christians, just because they didn’t BELIEVE that this man named Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago was our Savior. What DIFFERENCE does it make? If Jesus IS our savior, then he will introduce himself to the atheists–like my husband–when they enter Heaven’s gates. And my husband would just chuckle good-naturedlyl and say, ":Oh, guess I was wrong all these years.": And Jesus would chuckle good-naturedly too, NOT send my husband to hell.
What disturbs me about Christians is that they can believe something this irrational in the first place. Because if they can believe that Jesus is our Savior, and if you don’t believe that you won’t go to heaven–if they can’t think that through for the nonsense that it is—then you can’t really trust Christians to think ANY serious issues through. Like going to war in Iraq.
…..and I sure don’t want Christians pushing their unhealthy believes on MY children, let alone others’ children in the public school system and elsewhere.
…and I’M NOT ALONE, Christians. There’s a reason why the citizens of Dover PA (my state) voted all the members off of the school board for bringing the non-scientific notion of ‘Intelligent Design’ into the classroom–illegal and Just Plain NOT Science.
It has been a long question of what causes people to do the right thing, fear of hell or desire of heaven? Which is greater? The truth is that both of these draws for salvation are not really what causes people to change. Rewards, well, if you don’t follow it, you haven’t lost anything, so people often don’t worry about rewards and decide that doing what they want is a better reward. This isn’t just to imply on spiritual matters, but the world at large. Likewise, punishment is only a real deterrent if the punishment is immediate and obvious. Even a child will disobey if the punishment is not getting to do something in a few hours. The future punishment isn’t enough. If you tell them not to touch the knives because you will give them a whipping, you can be assured that they will not touch the knives as you are standing there. However, once that immediate threat is no longer present, they will be right at those knives. People are still this way when they get older. After all, many people believe in hell and still do things wrong. Now let’s say that you find out that your child is having a parent day at school. You go to that parent day. There wasn’t any reward (other than perhaps personal enjoyment if you enjoy it). There wasn’t any real punishment for not doing it either. The reason you go is because you love your child and you want them to be happy, and this is a means by which you can make them happy. Love is the only motivation that endures. While fear of punishment or hope for a reward may bring us to God initially, it is not the thing that keeps us from sin. Our salvation is a gift, and gives us new desires to love God. As such, it is our love for God that is our only successful drive to keep us from sin. It’s a little ironic I think. It’s the opposite of what people often think, because that love stems from God’s mercy, and since when is mercy regarding a transgression a motivation not to commit a transgression? God does indeed work in curious ways. Those that would believe that they have God fooled are only fooling themselves. I’m pretty sure God isn’t up in heaven going ":Doh! Why didn’t somebody tell me there was a loophole?": He’s God. Those that focus their lives on just whether they are going to heaven or hell have very little or no relationship with their Creator. As for are all people hypocrites? I’m fairly certain, and I think anyone who had only that vice would be counted blessed. We are also liars, covetous, hateful, and many other things. I would recommend Thomas Brooks for a more in depth study on the topic, the book ":Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices":. He does a much more thorough job at explaining the matter than I will go into. P.S. What comment were you referring to by the atheist?
First off, being a Rationalist you have to decide on your own about whether or not something is right or wrong based solely on your own research or thinking which is based solely on your logical understanding an analysis which is often contrasted with your emotions. So, what’s right? Your way, my way, person a, b, or c? So you see, if we put man in charge of making all the decisions, you can see how crazy things will get, simply because what’s right to me, may not be to you or to anyone else.
This is where God fits in. HE sets the standard. To begin to think we can fully understand God is just simply not logical. The Bible teaches us to love our neighbors and respect one another. Look at the world today. I don’t see much of that happening anymore. You take God out of the equation and you BECOME a primitive and archaic society, void any reason, where man makes the rules driven by all that is wrong or evil, hatred, greed, money, power.
Without a moral law giver, you can’t have a moral law, if there is no moral law to differentiate what the difference between right and wrong are, then what do you have. Chaos! Man running everything. Then were all doomed!
Just My Thoughts!
This puts god on a par with Santa Claus (be good and you’ll get presents), and while I have no problem with that, there are many who will.
Don’t religions have to be ":god-based,": or at least have some sort of ultimate authority figure involved? I’m an atheist who lives a very honest, ":moral": life without the need for the carrot or the stick. Most thinking people could manage this without any kind of formal ":religion,": don’t you think?
FYI, Buddy–The cut and paste biblical stuff isn’t nearly as impressive or persuasive as you think.
15% and + of the US population question the concept of God, this is way more in France (but it’s a secular country so it’s easier for us to think by ourselves ^^ No ":In god we trust": for instance, no one forbidding Darwin’s theories at school, and so on).
It seems that in order to be good, some people need to think that a God will punish them if they don’t behave well.
As far as I am concerned, I am an Atheist and I absolutely don’t need any God to behave correctly! This time is over, let’s move on guys!
All it is is if you see Jesus as His son. If you believe that your sins were washed away with His death and resurrection then God wants you to be with Him in Heaven. Hell, rather than the metaphorical hellfire and brimstone, is simply eternal separation from God. He doesnt hear your cries anymore, you dont get a second chance like when your living. You could do the worst thing in the world and be so lost and then cry out to God and He would hear you. You always have that chance to turn to Him and He is always listening. But if you hear what Jesus said and just totally dont believe Him and reject Him and never accept Him then when you die, you live with your decision and are eternally separated from God because thats what you chose to do.
This isn’t even a question. Besides I am sure that you and I can agree that we know Rational Relgious folk and Irrational Atheist. Everyone reguardless of Race Creed or Culture has opportunites to be irrational every day.
It was irrational to suggest the world was round at one point.
The promise of reward in Heaven and punishment in Hell are but two of Christianity strategical baits to keep the allegiance of simple-minded subjects. There is no such a thing as Heaven and Hell as places for one to go to. But it’s not good for the business of religion that its slaves be enlightened on that.
No. If you follow Christ, He will be in you and you in Him.
If you disobey Christ, you will distance yourself from Him.
In Heaven, you dwell with Christ in peace, love, and joy.
In Hell, you suffer unspeakable torture and are far from Christ.
You do not have to believe Jesus is God in order to follow Christ. Just love one another.
Not that it matters… well I guess it does if it is reason for people to fight in the name of it…