>From: "Cynthia" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: The Unfathomable
>Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 13:45:50 -0800
> > Get a clue, the God concept is the most distructive concept ever
> > unleased on man by man.
>It is the concept of religion that is so harmful. The concept of God is
>merely the concept of a Prime Mover.
>Let's face it, in this country most people who believe in God, embrace the
>concept of a personal God, and they aren't anything like the way you fear
>that they are.
As a Randian Atheist growing up in small-town North Georgia, I well recall how easily religion could be used to justify just about anything. A good high-school friend of mine, early adopter, techno-nerd radio tinkerer, CB enthusiast, etc., replied to my tentative, "so what do you think about these atheists?" with, "I think we ought to just hang em from the nearest tree." And he was serious.
Religion has set up a boundary between ethics and rationality. God, the divine enforcer, tells us what to do, or else. I mean what kind of maline jerk would torture people for infinity for not believing he existed? Yet this IS the moral standard espoused by most popular religions. So, try to argue rational ethics with most religious folk and see how far you get.
"Thomas Paine, God damn his name." That's the start of a little ditty sung by the faithful in this nation of the brave and free. Paine, the real father of our revolution, had gone to France to help out with their ill-fated revolution. Because of a treatise he wrote defending religious liberty (!) in response to the practice of beheading people just for being priests, he was almost beheaded himself - rescued literally at the last moment. When he came back home, he found himself attacked for the same treatise, on the basis that he was defending atheism! He was literally hounded to his grave by the faithful, who then dug up his bones and scattered them, as a lesson to other atheists.
The need for Snow's Two Cultures to synchronize, and for ethics - and the related disciplines such as politics and law - to catch up with physics can hardly be overemphasized as we approach the point that Conrad Schneider predicted in the late '70's, when our power to destroy ourselves completely becomes too much for any conceivable defense. The literal "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" mentality is one of the primary blocks to that happening.