Category Archives: Letters
Dear Brothers and Sisters.
Please forgive the presumption of my writing to you as a group but there are just a few things I have to get off of my chest. I grow daily more concerned and alarmed with the state of our world and so I’ve decided to address myself to you, my fellow citizens of earth. It is my (likely misguided) hope that perhaps my single voice might generate a thoughtful pause, a calm moment of rational introspection in what appears to me to be a widespread and tumultuous orgy of self destructive, unreasoning, thoughtless chaos.
Right now, as I write this there are religious extremists in the Middle East rioting and killing people because another group of religious extremists here in North America made a video mocking the Muslims’ prophet. In retaliation for this “grave offense” these Muslim faithful have already had days of protests, angry riots, public violence and destruction of property. Here at home debates surge about what constitutes freedom of speech, whether people should be allowed to make this type of movie, and whether or not this movie constitutes a hate crime.
In Nigeria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Israel, and many other places around the world there is violence right now. Violence started, fueled, or at least exacerbated by religion in one form or another. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that a great deal of this conflict has roots other than religion, indeed religion and religious sentiment is often used for political and financial purposes but there’s a reason for that, and that reason is: BECAUSE IT WORKS! BECAUSE YOU LET THEM DO IT! The vast majority of you out there believe in a system with no objective basis, a system so open to interpretation and corruption that it can be used to justify anything at all!
I know, I know, a great many of you can’t read, and haven’t had any education whatsoever except in whatever your particular god demands of you. I understand your faith, you have nothing else, and no reason to believe thereis anything else. What about the rest of you? What about those who do have access to knowledge and information, the ones not forced by starvation and ignorance into the glorification of nonsense? What’s your excuse?
There are places in the western (so-called) civilized world right now where text books teach that the Loch Ness monster is real and what’s more that its reality “proves” the falsehood of the theory of evolution. There are educated people in my own part of our benighted globe that believe they have the right to deny basic human rights to a segment of our population because their stated sexual preference is in opposition to the teachings of ancient “holy” books. Important life-saving research in the area of stem cells is consistently blocked by religious groups because the material needed to do the research is judged by them to be life, regardless of the fact that said material is in no way viable as life. Contraception and abortion are anathema because only “god” gets to choose when life occurs or doesn’t. These issues are only the tip of a large and senseless iceberg.
I am an Atheist, but more importantly I’m a Humanist. I can’t prove absolutely that the deity you believe in doesn’t exist but ultimately that is immaterial. I think it’s apparent that your particular deity isn’t going to fix the massive problems of our world so I ask you this: Please, for your own sakes and indeed for all our sakes, put down the old books, get up off your kneelers and prayer mats, and let’s focus on the secular world for a little while. Let’s start acting as though we are one species, not many disparate enclaves composed of “the righteous” and everyone else. There are roughly seven billion of us on this tiny blue dot in the universe. We have capabilities and powers of creation and destruction undreamed of by the ancient prophets , perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about what happens in the “next world” and start concerning ourselves more seriously with this one. Who is really harmed by a movie maker’s opinion? Who is harmed by same sex couples? Who is harmed by allowing a woman to make her own choices about her body? No one!
I beg the following things of you: Please act as though this is the only world you’ve got. Turn your energies toward making it a more peaceful, more united, less divisive place to live. Act as if you yourself are responsible for the betterment of the world; don’t expect supernatural intervention or support. Forget what you think you know about the origins of the world and of life and find out what we can prove is true. Educate yourselves, fight for the education of others. Put the ghosts and spirits of yesterday from your mind and focus on tomorrow. Lets deal with what we know is real and true. I think you’ll find that once we put aside the divisions and prejudices and biases engendered by our various “faiths” we’ll be several steps closer to the paradise promised, but never delivered, by those systems.
Thank you for your attention.
Yours in Reason