Anti Theism

Here’s what I mean when I talk about people who just can’t seem to accept that maybe there are some things the organized religion does well. Here are the facebook comments about how a church raises 7.8 million dollars.

Question: how does a church raise $7.8 million? Answers: brain dead followers, swindling people, etc

 

Here’s the story about what they did with the money.

After leaving Catholicism, I realized I missed that sense of community. The tradition of a Sunday morning gathering with family and friends. According to research, The Unitarian Universalist Church has seen an increase in attendance. The congregation I attend primarily consists of humanists, agnostics and athiests. Harvard Divinity now has The Ministry of Ideas podcast. These brilliant professors have become ordained Unitarian Ministers. It primarily attracts the younger generation ~ “Nones”.

I had a vaguely similar discussion years ago. Someone asked on a forum if there was anything good about Christianity. I pointed out that it has brought us some of the world’s most amazing art and, especially, architecture. You just don’t dump all that money into making a building look like a shrine for no reason. It’s not ever going to pay back normally. That is, unless it is a shrine. Then the architecture brings in people, which brings in money.

Though rare as far as I know, sometimes religious organizations collect money for actual charity work instead of for their own pockets to pay for them talking to people in order to convert them so they can make more money. Most “charity” work they do comes with serious strings attached in my experience. And even when it doesn’t they usually heavily advertise that they are doing good, essentially using other people’s money for a PR campaign. But every once in a while you see a story like this one (actually, this is one of the better ones I can ever remember seeing).

 

The article below was posted on The Friendly Athiest Facebook page. It discusses the lavish lifestyle of a Catholic Bishop.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/a-penthouse-limousines-and-private-jets-inside-the-globe-trotting-life-of-bishop-michael-bransfield/2019/09/12/4a69fe48-ce87-11e9-9031-519885a08a86_story.html

The obvious abuses of power are not hard to find. It would be a massive undertaking to determine where all the money in the collection plates goes. One part that bugs me is all the buildings. Community space is always an issue for non-profit work, and having kitchens sit idle most of the time is a real waste. There are charity watch groups and you can find ratings across the board for the charity arms of churches, although I’m not aware of any study that averages all those out.

There are quite large organizations that do the work they say is inspired by Jesus, but they keep it separate from their mission work, like UMCOR. http://www.umc.org/how-we-serve/responding-to-disaster

Some of the churches in my area have found a solution to the kitchens sitting unused most of the time. They rent the space out to the public for gatherings like family events. In other words, they found a way to make money from it while enforcing their religious rules onto those who would rent. Big surprise.

My feelings and thoughts on this topic are so complex. I would appreciate your thoughts on this as I try to explain in my blog…

As a hard atheist and former Christian, I’m somehow a Humanist Universalist AND an anti-theist. It’s not that I can’t make up my mind. It’s that I am both things, deeply and simultaneously.

I’ve talked about my recovery from religious OCD, but in addition, I have Complex PTSD and Religious Trauma Syndrome from multiple experiences of religious abuse. My misplaced faith in Christ, Christians and Christianity took my home, my savings, my health, and very nearly, my life.

As a student of history I’m very aware of the negative impact Christianity and all religions have had on humankind throughout history, as a key driver of tribalism, genocide, torture and war. I believe there is a true possibility that the world as we know it will end in my lifetime, because of self-fulfilling prophesy, thanks to religious nuts in government.

And I hate Christianity, and all religion, for those things.

OTOH…

In my past life (2001), I published a book, “Sacred Sites,” about 400 historically important churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and Native American mounds I visited myself. My own book is still my favorite book (LOL!).

I still tour historic churches. I actually love them more, now, that I’m no longer afraid of being “wrong” and going to hell.

The objective fact is that as much harm as religion has done, it has also been a key driver of art, music, architecture, theater, dance, medicine, law, human migration, civil rights, and every human endeavor.

And I love Christianity, and all religion, for those things.

Would mankind have achieved all these things without any sense of the transcendent? I don’t know. I honestly don’t think so. I’m unaware of any culture in history that was utterly without some sort of spiritual beliefs, which suggests that some sort of need is being met in their creation by humans themselves.

And human beings do seem to benefit from celebrating life events together in community: birth, commitment, death. I still feel there is something transcendent when rituals happen – I don’t think it is a spiritual entity “out there,” but it is something real and profound, and often atheists discount it.

What am I?

 

 

 

 

 

What am I?
You sound like a human. You're also WEIRD. Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic. As a UMC white male in america, I was more immune to any kind of power trips, so I was free to dabble in religion and not be abused by it, so I don't have the same emotional reactions to religion that a lot of atheists have. The ability to move freely in and out of cultures, cross borders and challenge authority is not something most humans in history have been able to do. As a Midwesterner, I see it every day, so I had to have scholars explained to me that I'm weird. I've done sweat lodges, but I'll probably never fully understand the experience of tribal community that such a ritual is part of. I come into those experiences as an independent actor and even if changed somewhat, the experience kind of wears off.

I can see the value of the rituals and as yet I can see their limits. No one has convinced me that I should shed my since of self and devote myself to repeating rituals full time. From my perspective, it seems like the upgrade to humanity would be to recognize that power but keep it regulated, not in a government sense, but in the sense that we don’t think of it as abuse to lie to children about Santa Claus. We regulate it socially.

What we don’t know is, will that break the spell? One person recognizing they were lied to and walking out of church doesn’t bring down the organization. But what if everyone started treating church as more of a spectacle, like a good movie that you experience and get some insight from, but then walk back in to the light knowing that it was fiction. Would the positive benefits of the communal experience be lost? Given the negatives, I think it’s worth finding out.

To be fair, I think that Catholic Charities does a lot of good charity work, without (AFAIK) proselytizing to the poor people they help.

Catholic charities sometimes pretend to be doing good work, but it’s often not actually true. Take Catholic hospitals, for example. The church will buy an existing public hospital or put one up, causing the existing public hospital to close. Then they tout all the charity work they do. But when you actually look into it Catholic hospitals give far less charity care than their public counterparts. And that care is far more, sometimes dangerously, limited. I have read tales of women who almost died because they were not told that an abortion for a dying fetus with no chance of survival was not only an option, it was considerably safer than “letting nature take its course”.

Maybe you’re right. Maybe there is a lot more to it than I know. I’m no expert on Catholicism or charity work or anything. But in the example I looked into reality was very different than the picture they painted.

TimB said,

To be fair, I think that Catholic Charities does a lot of good charity work, without (AFAIK) proselytizing to the poor people they help.


True that. I spent a month in a Catholic hospital after a congestive heart failure and only once did a nun come to visit. Never once did she proselytize and only showed genuine interest in my condition and emotional health.

Perhaps my assurances that I was mentally very positive and was looking forward to resuming my hobbies stopped her from offering divine intervention. She even asked which blogsites I frequented and what type of music I liked. I’d say it was a good visit and I am prejudiced against Catholics.

I used to be pretty anti-theistic. Not so much any more. To each their own, so long as they feel the same way. I am adamantly anti-theistic when it comes to those who would push their beliefs and rules onto me, however. Especially those who fight to get their magical garbage into the school systems. Your home and your church are the place to be casting magic spells. Even Jesus, the grand wizard himself, said that.

That’s not to say that I’m not happy, gleeful, even, to point out particularly idiotic parts of the belief systems. Take Jesus dying for my sins, for example. Got sacrificed himself, to himself, to appease himself and to satisfy his own lust for blood. How the hell is that for me? What, exactly, does that do for me? I can be saved now by becoming a Christian? I could be saved before by becoming a Jew. What’s materially different about that? No more animal sacrifices? Well that was just sick to begin with, and during the Satanic Panic of the '80s every Christian I knew agreed with that (lol, and every single one of them without the slightest hint of irony). As far as I can tell Jesus did nothing whatsoever for me. It was all about God satiating God’s blood lust with a human/God hybrid blood sacrifice so that God could forgive me for not living a life completely free of sin, something God created me to be unable to do. So basically Jesus lets God forgive me for not doing the impossible. Thanks for that, dude. Sorry I was unable to pull of that which you made impossible for ordinary men.

And then there’s the who Adam, Even and the Tree of Knowledge thing. It was not an apple they ate, but fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And I have had Christians authoritatively tell me that before they ate that fruit they were naked and it wasn’t a sin because they had no knowledge what a sin was. They then backtrack that claim when you point out that if they had no knowledge what a sin was then they could not have understood that the serpent was lying to them. God said they would die, the serpent said they would not. But since they didn’t understand the concept of a lie the only thought they could have had on that was that it had changed and it was now okay. I guess when God wanted a night out after a tough week of creating he should have looked for a better babysitter than Satan.

For people with an obsession with an incoherent god, I can see how believing in T rump wouldn’t be much of a stretch for believing more BS.

When I worked in early childhood intervention, I would sometimes see Catholic Charities providing some services for those without financial means.

@Lausten

You’re also WEIRD. Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic
LOL. All but one. Is "rich" here in the comparative sense, that since I live in the United States I'm better off than the vast majority of folks in the developing world?

Because SSDI has me just above the poverty level.

@write4u

I spent a month in a Catholic hospital after a congestive heart failure and only once did a nun come to visit. Never once did she proselytize and only showed genuine interest in my condition and emotional health.
It has been my personal experience that Catholics rarely proselytize anymore. Evangelical & Fundamentalist Christians are the bad ones.

 

While I enjoy studying different religions, especially texts, I can’t stand the actions of humans who practice it or at least the majority of humans. Even when I was a practicing Episcopalian, I often ranted about somethings concerning religion, especially what humans do in the name of religion. I wasn’t too much different as a Xian than I am as a humanist/agnostic atheist (a 7 on the Dawkins’ scale) now concerning religion. I grew up among Fundamngelicals and I could tell you stories of the insanity that happened. It didn’t make me care much for religious practices and obviously I journeyed out of religion.

As for the article, the act of wiping out medical debt to 6000 families is seen as a good thing for some, but it was actually a means to recute. That sounds anti-theism, but as they paid off the families’ debts, they expect church attendance in return, with the hopes of converting them to their brand of Xianity. Basically brainwashing them. So on the surface, it seems good and looks good, the church had ulterior motives.

How may one ascertain their atheism score on the Dawkins scale?

Dawkins gave a means of ascertaining it either in one of his books (The God Delusion) or online somewhere. The Friendly Atheist explains it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMIe7eInGBU Also I screwed up, I thought it was 1-10, so I’m like 6.

Atheist Republic laid out Dawkins’ Scale very well: https://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/debate-room/dawkins-scale-theistic-probabilities

Oh yeah, I think I remember that. Looks like I’m a 7.