The Religion of Freedom (1998)
by John Patrick Michael Murphy
Freethinkers employ reason when they are beseeched to join a religion. Religionists seem to employ reason in all areas of their lives except religion, and even here they use it to disregard all religions but their own. So we have a continent of common ground. Religionists reject all but one, freethinkers, one more. Religionists are not critical of us for examining the doctrines of Islam, Wicca, Buddhism, or Hinduism and rejecting them as fallacious, but when our attention turns to Christianity a bar is placed in our path. We are called evil and un-American for sharing our honest thoughts. We are told we are naught but kindling for the hell their god has fired up for us, and they look hurt when we complain about it. At least now they wait for their god to do it. Servitus, Bruno and millions of others weren't so lucky.
Thinking critically about their god was a capital crime called blasphemy. All philosophy was heresy in their theocracy. The echo of all that holy gore is still with us. From the airwaves, and even in print media we freethinkers are demonized still. If we speak of their bigotrous history and the crimes committed in the name of god, we are called Christian bashers. We do not bash Christians, but rather Christianity. And think of the terrible weapons we employ like logic, reason, thought, the searing simile, the fearsome metaphor and on rare occasions, we are so nasty as to bring out the ominous onomatopoeia, all found in arsenals called libraries. We set forth lucid reasons why we reject it, and assert that we can be good and decent people in spite of our "failing." "The very idea!!!" they exclaim.
One of our brightest lights, Illinois Attorney General & Civil War Colonel, Robert G. Ingersoll, (1833-1899), defined the "religion" of freethought:
'Real religion means the doing of justice. Real religion means the giving to others every right you claim yourself. Real religion consists of duties of man to man, in feeding the hungry in clothing the naked, in defending the innocent, and in saying what you believe to be true."
My problem with Christianity is not the impossibility of the mud man, Adam, or the rib lady, Eve, or the snakes from sticks tricks of the Pentateuch, Balaam's talking jackass, or even the God ordained wars of conquest, genocide, polygamy, slavery, and other nauseations found in the "good book," but rather its fundamental flaw - there is no love in the Christian hereafter. Here's Ingersoll again:
"The only thing that makes life endurable in this world is human love, and yet, according to Christianity, that is the very thing that we are not to have in another world. We are to be so taken up with Jesus and angels, that we shall care nothing about our brothers and sisters that have been damned. We shall be so carried away with the music of the harp that we shall not even hear the wail of father or mother. Such a religion is a disgrace to human nature."
That's my biggest problem with Christianity - salvation depends upon belief. My beliefs come from thought and reflection. I can't control them. I don't choose to believe - it just happens. In the case of religion in general and Christianity in particular it never happened. Call me a stillborn christian.
Just who will be in heaven and hell anyhow? Read the hearsay of Mark (no one knows who he was) and he claims to quote Jesus: "...he that believeth not shall be eternally damned." Oh great. In heaven we have the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer who dined on his kill, but in the end, repented and was reborn, In hell we find disbelievers like Anne Frank, a Jew killed by Christians, and Dr. Albert Schweitzer who made a living of giving, who found, after years of study, that Jesus was either a man or a myth. He couldn't be bribed by heaven, or extorted by hell. He would not give up his reason, his humanness, for any god, so long as he lived. I picture our first six presidents, along with Taft, another non-Christian, sitting around the steam rooms of hell as confounded by the scheme of salvation in the "after life" as they were as mortals.
So what's our agenda? How about a constitutional republic "for the people, by the people, and of the people." How about government neutrality toward all religion, protecting freedom of, and freedom from, religion? How about the title of this article?
"The Religion of Freedom" is copyright © 1998 by John Patrick Michael Murphy.
The electronic version is copyright © 1999 Internet Infidels with the written permission of John Patrick Michael Murphy.