The Beginning

We live in an expanding universe that’s in accordance with the Hubble–Lemaître law, and because of this astrophysicists can give quite an accurate age of the Universe by looking into the past; stars. Stars that are a very long distance away from Earth. They use powerful red shift capable telescopes to study the birth of our universe, and measure the rate of expansion (Hubble constant). They claim the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old. Within that Universe are galaxies like our very own Milky Way that scientists estimate to contain 100 thousand million stars, but our galaxy is relatively small compared to others, that contain a finite number of stars that makes our 4.54 billion year old Blue Planet all but irrelevant. But living on this blue planet are theists that come in all shapes, sizes and colour and they all share a belief. Humans are special because we are god’s children and alone in the Universe.

Let’s think about this logically. God creates a vast universe that’s incomprehensible in size, that’s home to trillions of stars that could contain life as it’s in the correct location from a Star like the Earth is. It’s not impossible and mathematically speaking it’s highly probable; albeit only primitive unicellular life, or something that we aren’t even aware of. How arrogant must a theist be to think that their god created all of this empty space, but put all life on one planet. It’s god, right? Surely someone so wise isn’t going to put their eggs all in one basket. If he’s the creator then he’s an artist, and an artist is their worst critic as they’re seldom happy with their work, especially their first piece. He’s made mistakes with life on Earth. He’s given life illnesses, diseases, plagues, viruses and infections. Surely he, or she would want to do a better job next time?

Lucy, or if you’re a nerd, AL 288-1, is the oldest found early Australopithecus afarensis human remains that are dated at 3.2,000,000 million years old, and after rearranging her skeleton, scientists realised that she was bipedal. paleoanthropologists were digging in 1974 when they stumbled upon her remains in sediment that had already been dated at 3,000,000 years old, so if her skeletal remains were resting deep within, she had to be at least the age of the sediment.

So theists think we were created. Let’s take Christianity as an example as we all know the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, and the original sin. If they’re of the Ken Ham variety they believe that the Earth is a little over 6,000 years and god made it all with just the power of voice. Erm no. We’ve found artefacts, tools and even city remains that date older than that! Then there’s the type that says that god hid Dinosaur bones deep in the ground to test our faith. Like really, ya think so?! They are so pigheaded and ignorant that they refuse to acknowledge the science, yet alone the evidence that supports that god created anything. Scientists have found fossils of cyanobacteria that date as far back as 3.5,000,000,000 years ago, and these microbial organisms have given NASA an indication of what they are looking for on Mars for indications of life. Scientists are fairly confident in their ageing techniques as they’ve advanced at a tremendous rate as computers have become more powerful. The fossils were found in a remote part of Australia and the question scientists have asked is; did life begin elsewhere and hitched a ride on a meteor?

Religion: terrorism and violent extremism

It’s getting all too frequent hearing about terror attacks and it being fuelled by religious motivation. I was just reading an article about 110 Christian farmers being slaughtered, mostly by slit throats or decapitation in Nigeria by the notorious Islamic terror group Boko Harem. What motivates people of faith to murder and maim innocent people and even declare that god is great after you’ve severed someone’s head off. Just recently there have been several attacks in France where the victims were beheaded, and on the 9th of November 50 people were beheaded by ISIS in Mozambique, and another 50 were executed in April as the gunmen chanted “Allahu Akbar”. The terrorist group are using extreme poverty as justification for their violence as they attempt to put Mozambique under Islamic rule.

“Religion is the most powerful entity on earth. A phenomenon that has conscripted millions to give or sacrifice their lives without so much as a minuscule query about their chosen beliefs or particular ideology. And today thousands of years on despite the huge advent, discovery and the advance of science forensic or otherwise, millions are still prepared and equipped to fall or kill in the name of their God, their Holy Scriptures, their messengers, their prophets and their faith” – Cal Sarwar

The Oxford dictionary defines terrorism as ‘the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims’, but why terrorism? Why not create a political party and do it the correct way. The Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have no desire to enter the political field peacefully as they have one ambition, and that’s to turn the world into a caliphate. A caliph is a claimed successor of Muhammad and has a natural right to lead, and they do this through strict Sharia Law. Islamic State claimed the establishment of a caliphate under the leadership of Iraqi born terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, until he killed himself by suicide vest during the U.S led Operation Kayla Mueller, who’s aim was to capture him.

I guess it’s unfair to just focus on Islam, despite their violence being extremely prevalent throughout the last 40 years, so let’s focus on different sects of Christianity and the bloodshed that they’re responsible for. In the Reformation period that was during the sixteenth century, many people broke away from the Catholic Church due to the direction they were going, and the brutality that occurred during the inquisition. The people that broke away were called Protestants which literally means protestors against Catholicism. They were targeted in vicious terrorist attacks by Catholics as they’d turned their backs on the church.

As technology has developed it’s made terrorism much more dangerous, with people like Osama Bin Laden brainwashing young men to destroy none Muslims, or Aleph (formerly Aum Shinrikyo) who believe that it’s their mission to destroy non-believers in god and have carried out multiple terrorist attacks including a nerve gas being released in the Tokyo subway. Terrorism has become a very serious national security issue to many western countries as sometimes it’s just a lone person like Libyan-born Salman Ramadan Abedi who walked into the Manchester Arena wearing a suicide vest and killed 23 people and injured over 800. Does anyone know that motivation to kill children at Ariana Grande-Butera pop concert? What could that possibly achieve in the political field other than terrorism being a cowardly and barbaric act.

Is religion an emotional response to reality?

Humans have evolved into a social species, and no one really wants to be alone, or lonely, unless they’re not wired up right. We all know that life can be a struggle and we are often affected by situations that are out of our control, but is turning to religion an emotional response to this as they need comfort and support when there’s nothing else, or is it down to fear of being mortal and knowing one day we’ll die and the need to believe that this life isn’t the end? Piety, which is the status of being reverent towards religion is described by the Oxford dictionary as ‘a belief which is accepted with unthinking conventional reverence’.

‘To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. 
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.‘ – Thomas Merton

It’s almost a dependable emotion through fear that they’d don’t want to be alone, and through faith in the individual’s personal god, they can seek solace knowing that they’re being watched over and guided. Many theists that I’ve engaged with make the claim that through submission to god they lead an objective life with god as their guide, and often maintain that atheism and agnosticism are emotional responses as our desire to sin outweighs our desire to love god, and to some extent even hate god. I’ve seen a lot of tweets recently claiming that atheists are living in denial, and we know god exists, but rebel because we want to lead a hedonistic lifestyle that’s filled with sleaze and debauchery, and it’s the emotion of hatred, that’s influenced by Satan that leads us to claim that we refuse to believe in god/s.

I’m an emotional person. I feel empathy and compassion. I’ve felt love and I’ve felt loss and sometimes it’s hard and a crutch of support would have been useful in times when I’ve felt alone, but despite my emotions, I’ve always managed to remain rational and the ability to apply logic and reason. At not one time in my life have I ever been down and felt the need to talk to any god. How do you know which one you’re even talking to? How could you possibly know they were even listening?

Religion is usually indoctrinated into children and depending on the location, or the culture, a person will often grow up studiously learning about their religion, and what’s expected of them. Some faiths teach the children from a young age that it’s a sin to question their faith and that god just is, you must love him undoubtedly, a obey his every command. It’s a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome where a captive falls in love with their captor as over time they’ve become to know no better. Regardless of what many theists claim, a lot of cultures and religious communities have guidelines and expectance and one cannot just simply dismiss their faith or they’ll become an outcast or worse. So essentially religion is bondage, and it’s a prison for the mind.

Despite this, many theists creepily get joy from the fact that they are a servant to their master, and pledge unconditional love to their god. They love through dependancy as they can’t abhor the thought that this life is the only life, and that they don’t want to die alone. They love through fear, as their actions, if they violated any scripture, could end up with them being judged by god and punished for disobedience. They love through ignorance as they’d rather dismiss the reality we live in, and ignore the progress that science is making and just accept that god is the creator, we are his creation, god is just, and if babies die it’ll all be part of god’s master plan. They’re in love with an idea. A concept if you will. A concept of spiritual make-believe that gives them superiority over the faithless as they believe that once they leave this life their spirit with reside beside god for all of eternity. They’re in love with objective morality as they believe that without god you have no guide to lead you through life to be virtuous. I’m sure that you’ll agree there’s a lot of alleged love involved with religion, amongst other emotions, especially fear. Fear of eternal damnation and being a slave to god’s nemesis, Satan.