Guest Blogger

No Virtue in Religion

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 22, 2015 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Catholic Church, clash of cultures, dogma, Francis, religion, Roman Catholic Church, secularism

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Dominick L. Auci earned his Ph.D. in Pathology from Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and served for many years as Assistant Professor. He has written more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and currently resides with his husband in Louisville, Kentucky.

Someone recently asked if it was really necessary to "piss on" every report of "progress" in the Roman Catholic Church. Rhetorical or not, it was a fair and oddly insightful question whose meaningful answer must be more than a simple "yes" or "no."

First, some background. The inquirer, an LGBTQ leader and self-described secularist, is by no means a religious apologist. Yet the question itself implies an above-average generosity of spirit, a joyful hope that enemies will see the light and become friends, or at least reduce their enmity. Anyone with believers amongst loved ones must sympathize.

buddy_christ_2.jpgThe Roman Church and its new superstar pontiff, Francis, certainly do seem desperate -- especially lately -- to relate to the modern world. It would be rather cynical to doubt their sincerity simply because they've made similar efforts half a dozen times in the last few centuries, when the relevance of their cult was fading.

Only a darkly jaded soul would suspect virtue as a necessity driven by fiscal chaos or an attempted diversion from the unspeakable. A trusting soul would take the Curia and its Holy Father at their word.

So why not cheer on progress? Everything moves. Change is life's essential process. What better way to shape growth than to nourish and prune in proper measure?

Yet there is no way to prune poison ivy. It needs only to be pulled up, root and twig. That's the short answer to the question.

There are two great and rotted tap roots to the hideous vine of religion. The first is the idea that there is some virtue in belief despite evidence. This is patently absurd. Belief despite evidence is mental illness, nothing more.

The second is that knowledge comes from revelation. This is also an absurdity -- knowledge comes only from empirical, reproducible observation. Undeniably, institutions of faith have vast and admirable histories of education, socialization, and philanthropy. Omitting this would be a-historic and risk irrelevancy. The observation that atrocity occurs even in the absence of faith also holds equally true for beneficence.

The facts remain that people don't rise from the dead, bread and wine don't become flesh and blood, and not a shred of evidence indicates divine outrage is warranted over any prophet's portrait. Yet faith insists upon the veracity of these absurdities and enforces belief -- or at the very least silent obedience -- violently. Faith must eventually resort to violence and terror because it has no other recourse. Otherwise it would not be faith at all, but science.

Faith, in the final analysis, is nothing more than fear disguised as virtue.

no-religion.jpgFear of death, fear of losing loved ones forever, fear of the unknown, dark Bronze-Age fairy tales, and bizarre incantations of priestcraft combine into veritable night terrors that stalk even the waking day.

This is the only ailment the snake oil of religion works to salve. It is no good pointing out that a loving god would never have taken our loved ones, plagued us with age and disease, or tested us so cruelly in the first place. Thusly, and most fundamentally, rationality and religion are utterly and eternally opposed. They are mutually exclusive and cannot coexist.

Therefore, yes, it is absolutely necessary to cry out against every attempt to normalize, rationalize, or modernize religion. Arguably, it is the priests, rabbis, and imams masquerading as moderates and progressives who are most dangerous.

The delusion of religion is like a collective living thing that will do or say anything to survive. It is no accident that its choice victims are children, gateways to the future.

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to oppose every filament of religious tentacle extended into modern thought with the same ferocity, care, and determination that would be inspired by finding a poisonous snake in a child's bed. People are entitled to respect, not their delusions.

There is nothing respectable about persecuting homosexuals, stoning prostitutes, treating women like property, or teaching these values to children. There is nothing about a cross or half-moon that makes such heinous deeds admirable or even acceptable.

Decency has no choice but to offend the offensive. It is the very nature of reason to destroy superstition and of method to replace ritual.

In the end, there can be no middle or neutral ground. Every square angstrom unit of the universe is to be occupied by one force or the other.

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