Knowledge of the Natural World (1999)
by John Patrick Michael Murphy
All that we know comes to us from our five senses. All that we know and all that we have found, from quarks to quasars, are part of the natural world. Freethinkers can only share their ignorance of the alleged supernatural for we have no knowledge of it.
Religionists have been trained, and indoctrinated, with the supernatural. They hold forth on something called "revelation." God, they claim, has chosen to speak to a few select members of our species and reveal that this life is a divine experiment, and we are the subjects, the victims of this plan. In the end, those who follow the rules of revelation are sent to heaven, and the rest to hell.
Over the centuries the revealers have told the reveals that God wants certain things. In ruder, cruder times, when churches were the slaughterhouses, and priests wore butchers' aprons, it was mutton and fattened calves. Now, it is money. There is a consistency to it - God always wants what his priests desire.
Freethinkers were here before the revelation. They prayed by planting and were rewarded by the harvest. They fixed their attention on the world in which they happened to live. They concluded happiness here was the highest goal. They heard the message of religion and said: "Those who speak, do not know. Those who know, do not speak." That is how the idea of life after death was described tong before Jesus, who supposedly made his earthly debut in Palestine. On this side of the grass we hear from those who do not know. From the other side, we encounter a uniform silence.
Imagine living a life that forgoes happiness and pleasure here, so that the next time around you can "wing it," coasting along without a worry or tear. Imagine waiting for the end and not yearning for those you love. Instead, you wait for a white light and a band reaching out to lead you to paradise, but it doesn't come.
It isn't there. Imagine going out angry and resentful at only the approaching darkness and annihilation coming at you, no light, no hand reaching out. Imagine the emotion in your last moments as you realize you have been tricked.
That's not the way I want to leave.
A life well lived is enough for us, and if somehow we are recycled into another consciousness, so be it. Then we will live that life, and live it well. If the only absurdity of Christianity was salvation by belief, as Mark and John claim, it would be harder for Freethinkers to be confident in their rejection of the superstition that is Christianity. But they made it easy. Along with the divine notion of "salvation by faith," we have the dehumanizing god-sanctioned institutions of slavery, polygamy, lapidation (stoning) of non-virgin brides, indiscriminate slaughter of children and the aged, religious persecution, and sexism.
Ingersoll asked, "Who is the blasphemer, the man who denies the existence of God, or he who covers the robes of the Infinite with innocent blood?" In Deuteronomy, God commands that each of his followers shall be the first to lapidate his brother, father, mother, and wife who would entice one to serve other gods. Remember, Jesus, with his new covenant, claimed to endorse each "jot and title" of the old covenant. Ingersoll read it and asked a devastating question that has never been answered:
"Can we believe that any such command was ever given by a merciful and intelligent God? Suppose, however, that God did give this law to the Jews, and did tell them that whenever a man preached a heresy or proposed to worship any other God that they should kill him, and suppose that afterward this same God took upon himself flesh, and came to this very chosen people and taught a different religion, and that thereupon the Jews crucified him. I ask you, did he not reap exactly what he had sown? What right would this God have to complain of a crucifixion inflicted in accordance with his own command?"
"Knowledge of the Natural World" is copyright © 1999 by John Patrick Michael Murphy.
The electronic version is copyright © 1999 Internet Infidels with the written permission of John Patrick Michael Murphy.