This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Effect of the concept of hell on children

cynicaloptimistrealist's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by cynicaloptimistrealist

As someone who had a Catholic upbringing, but never actually believed my advice may not be up to scratch. Think about what you have been taught, if the Catholic upbringing is as standardised as I suspect you should have been provided with some psychological insulation against other religions, particularly new religious groups. In my childhood I often heard stories about groups which once they had a person in their grasp refused to let go, then I heard devout Catholics uttering "once a Catholic always a Catholic" when hearing that someone had jumped the fence for another group. I began to see it less as "something most of the adults seemed to believe" and more as a cult.

Then there's the message about accepting Christ equaling an afterlife in heaven and the alternative. If you go back enough generations in your family you'll find people who either never heard of Christ or rejected him. For people of northern European origin it's around 1,000 years or a little more, for most people of Sub-Saharan African or Asian origin it's no more than 400 years at most. So all those people, your ancestors, who never heard or Christ are cast into a pit of eternal fire for never having heard of him? What would you think of a prime minister or president who wandered the country with a group of soldiers executing those who hadn't heard his name or those who thought there were flaws in his policy? I think if you honestly make the comparison between an all loving, all forgiving being and an earthly psychopathic dictator, who are both are basically acting in the same way, then you will reach the conclusion that God is a psychopathic dictator in reality much closer to the Stalin, Hitler or Mao. Or, you will reach the conclusion that the whole thing has been made up. Not by one man, but by a committee. There is a saying "A camel is a horse designed by committee" - if you look at how badly the New Testament fits the old, how the 4 books in the new do not tally with each other (huge differences) and how the 4 books you think are the Gospels are actually about 4 of 40 that were chosen by a committee. Not to mention the fact that Christianity took three or four hundred years to decide that women had a soul.

The fear of hell is natural if they got to you, don't worry some silly idea gets to everyone for a while and some unfortunately for life. Have a good look at the world religions, note the techniques used to insulate them from new ideas, from Jesus telling Peter "Whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven" to Muhammad explaining to his followers that he had revealed the perferct word of Allah which was final and could not be altered (Seal of prophets). Look at how the Roman Empire survived as the Catholic church, with the same level of bloodshed, immorality and persecution as before. Apologists will counter "Oh they were the bad popes", but "whatever you bind in heaven.." means that if a Pope was helping himself to the wives of others or defiling corpses that was fine by God.

If I was to attempt to sell you a ferry ticket to Atlantis, I think you would correctly ask me to provide evidence that Atlantis existed and that a ferry company actually went there. You would check independent sources, you certainly wouldn't accept the information in my brochures at face value. Look for evidence of hell, not in the holy books (they're my collection of Atlantis brochures with happy smiling people enjoying the advanced technology and insatiable Atlanteans), is there any evidence elsewhere? I think you will find none. Do not take the word of people who threatened a man with death for discovering the Earth revolved around the Sun. I wish you well on your journey, if I ask you to think about anything it is this: When asked to spend money, you require evidence, when asked to judge a person, you require evidence, when diagnosed with an ailment or ilness you are provided with evidence, evidence is not just something you are told, it is something you can verify from multiple independent sources, why should you give your heart and mind to an idea without the same evidence you demand when parting with your cash?

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 23:39:09 UTC | #949937