Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When you have no evidence, try fear

Got another TV show fan letter today, from this fellow, who voices a common apprehension (and don't snipe at his poor English, as it obviously is not his native tongue):

whats up i been muslim for 11 years after being a roman catholic, and i was shocked but i lost my faith, i was a sunni salafi, now i cant get enough with these atheist vidoes i am still scared about hell, someone told me i should start a show. i cant shake off the fear of hell though everlasting burning

Well, you just need to realize that hell is something religion scares you with in order to control you. It should tell you something about religion, that it has to use an idea like hell as a tool of fear/control, and that it can't just convince you of its truth through evidence and rational arguments. You don't see scientific journals saying things like, "And if you don't agree with our findings, you're going to be tortured unimaginably for all eternity!" Do you?

Any religion that has to resort to a doctrine like hell to compel compliance and obedience is, by definition, immoral.


  1. Any religion that has to resort to a doctrine like hell to compel compliance and obedience is, by definition, immoral.

    Well, you just know who is going to be compelled to show up here and question your basis for declaring that the doctrine of hell is immoral, don't you?

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  3. There is a very good example of this on Youtube. A very talented individual going by Agnosticman77, who has become an atheist after being a fundamentalist Christian, has been passionately presenting well thought out arguments against Christianity, and especially the fundamentalist version he grew up in (and he's a fan of the show), and he still has problems with the fear of hell as presented here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCInJAgSCws

    It is truly sickening how this brainwashing can keep hold of a rational mind

    (Edit: Corrected a typo)

  4. I actually caught a religious guy preaching on our college campus last year in this trap. He was up there feeding us the usual crap about how we're all sinners and we're going to hell if we don't accept Jesus, etc. I asked him if he honestly believed his god would accept my "faith" if it were motivated by fear of punishment. He said no, of course not. And I just flat-out told him he should probably take a new angle here with your argument why we "should" believe. These are the things I find so ironic about Christians. They claim that people who don't believe in god aren't moral, CAN'T be moral, then basically say the only thing that keeps them moral is having to "answer" to god. How's that any more moral? Then I'm supposed to believe in god because otherwise I'll go to hell. As if me believing with a metaphorical gun to my head is any kind of "real" faith anyway.

  5. I think it was significant that the final message in "The God Who Wasn't There" is "I am not afraid". I can honestly say that I'm not afraid of thinking or saying the wrong thing and being punished by The Cosmic Muffin for it. Nor am I afraid of death (well, the process of dying scares the pants off me sometimes, but certainly not what comes after).

    Or, if I may tie this in to your post about Richard Wright by quoting the doorman heard on Dark Side of the Moon, "Why should I be afraid of dying? There's no reason for it. We've all got to go some time."


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