October 21, 2009

Excerpts From An Apostate’s Letter To Family

Posted in atheism, family, history, religion, science, scripture at 4:03 am by Jerry

Dr. Sagan’s quote, that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” seems to fit in here and is the sole reason why I no longer believe in a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation story, or that Earth ever experienced a global flood, or that the sun stood still in the sky, or that the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. There is not just a lack of evidence, but evidence to the contrary. And, as it follows, if the material claims of the Bible can not be substantiated, how am I supposed to take the spiritual claims seriously?

…Do you entertain the claims made by Mormons or Muslims or Moonies? You do not. Because there is no reason to. When you (rightly) ignore the empty claims made by other religions it is because they do not pass through the filters of reason set up by your prefrontal cortex. Of course, these other religions make the same exception you do about their inability to give evidence for their claims. You must, they say, on faith accept that Mohammad ascended into the sky on a winged horse, or that Native Americans are descendants of Israel or that Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah. Unsurprisingly, you don’t accept these absurd claims. And you shouldn’t. But consider for a moment the claims made by Christianity in light of the same standard you set for evaluating the claims made by other religions.

When you determine that the Catholic claim of immaculate conception is ridiculous, you are using reason. When you determine that the Pentecostal practice of glossolalia is useless, you are using reason. When you conclude that the Lutheran latching-on of the doctrine of infant baptism is absurd, you are using reason. How is it that the beliefs you hold are exempt from this same kind of rational scrutiny? Before you’re tempted to retreat from the question by responding, “I am able to discern truth because the Holy Spirit guides me”, consider the probability that, of all of the 38,000 different denominations within Christianity alone and of all the different beliefs, that your particular portfolio of beliefs are all of the correct ones.

Isn’t it time we recognize reason as a gift and begin subjecting our own beliefs to the same scrutiny and criticism that we use in every other area of our lives? (bold mine)



1 Comment »

  1. Will said,

    Yes, these “Sacred Writings” should certainly be veiwed as ‘This is how people of that generation in that region’ explained the unexplainable. Many in the “Hidden-History” circles beleive that the religions were meant for the herd, while used to find those to initiate into the deeper mysteries, ie: full-emersion is meant to symbolize dying to self and being resurected to a higher purpose, and this will pass through my tired mind as I get up in the wee hours to feed my fussy new-born. Or “Dying on the cross:” the cross being the intersection of subjective & objective realities, and dying there is such a realization, causing one to veiw perception as a skewed version of what really is, “Through a mirror, darkly.” It seems we’re in a time of out-growing the literal interpretations, but beleifs die hard, eh?

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