Religion. What’s the Harm



One can never get tired of this.


”This kind of faith is really the perfection of narcissism. God loves me, dontcha know? He cured me of my eczema. He made me feel so good while singing in church. And just when we had given up hope we managed to find a banker who was willing to reduce my Mother in Law’s mortgage.”

”Given the misery being imposed on some helpless child at this instant. This kind of faith is obscene.”

”To think in this way is to fail to reason honestly.”

”If you wake up tomorrow morning  thinking saying a few Latin words over your pancakes is going to turn them into the body of Elvis Presley, you have lost your mind. But if you think more or less the same thing about a cracker and the body of Jesus you’re just a Catholic.”



And if you are up for a longer exposition, try this  piece by Professor Richard Carrier.

Replete with links full of evidence to back every assertion, it illustrates just how harmful religion is to our global society.

Grab a coffee and park off for a few minutes.

What’s the Harm? 




32 thoughts on “Religion. What’s the Harm

  1. I’ve always thought this is obvious. God watched the Holocaust and the Gulag and did nothing, but he might intervene in the outcome of a football game (at least, you see people praying for that).

    He is right about it being a cult of human sacrifice. It even sounds like one. All the talk of being “washed in the blood”, symbolically drinking blood and eating flesh — aside from being morally abhorrent, it’s disgusting and nauseating.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I tried and failed to add the following comment to ‘What’s the Harm’ challenging one assertion:

    This part of what you have to say is suspect:

    ‘If we do not confront the fact of our mortality, if we hide from it and evade it by fabricating fantasies that we are immortal, we do not really grow up. We remain emotionally stunted, never having come to terms with the truth about ourselves and our lives. Worse, we also fail to make the decisions we would have made had we known this, admitted it, and done what we needed to make peace with it.’

    This is making unverified statements every bit as much as ‘when I die angels are going to carry me up to heaven’ and the like.

    You cannot know that there is no continuation of the life essence of all life forms including human beings, in some form or another, after death. Denial of the possibility is fundamentalist thinking. ‘You MUST believe there is nothing to believe in!’ Acceptance of it — as a possibility — is not going to stunt anyone, emotionally or intellectually.


    1. This is true only in the sense that we cannot absolutely know that there are no unicorns or dragons. We know a great deal about how human mental activities, including whatever might be covered by the term “essence” (if such a thing exists at all), are generated by brain activity. The idea that any of it could somehow continue after death stops brain activity is akin to the idea that a computer program could somehow continue running on its own after the destruction of the computer it is running on.

      Whether a given belief stunts people mentally probably depends on the person. I think it’s very possible that aging and involuntary death will eventually be eradicated by advancing medical technology, just as smallpox was eradicated. But the idea that things have an “essence” which can exist independently of the things themselves sounds like a pre-scientific philosophical word-game.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. There is no real relation to unicorns and dragons, here. Denial of their existence is based on reliable data, by their very nature as beasts. A wealth of information exists (only marginally testable scientifically because of its nature, and with those tests vigorously and unconvincingly debunked by the hardline anti- squad) suggesting that some essence is in fact independent of actual activity of the brain. As for your computer analogy, it is easy to continue it with a transfer to another drive, or by considering that the data is held as a total of or a part of a remote drive with different coding. A greater possibility than mythical animals.
        A dogmatic non-belief is potentially just as stunting; it precludes the careful examination of other possible scenarios.
        I suggest that the idea of eliminating aging is probably interfering with the natural cycle, and you will note the number of killing diseases that have rather effectively replaced smallpox to ensure only limited success in this direction.


        1. I suggest that the idea of eliminating aging is probably interfering with the natural cycle

          I would certainly hope so. With the exception of spirituality, there is nothing more ugly and horrifying than nature, and the history of civilization is the history of our liberation from its mindless and blood-soaked clutches.

          The eradication of some deadly diseases and the drastic curtailment of others by vaccines and antibiotics is the main reason why average human lifespan doubled over the course of the twentieth century, and why the misery and death among children which Harris cites is so much rarer than it used to be (infant mortality in pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer societies has been estimated as high as 70%) — suffering alleviated by human intelligence and technology, not God. If this is “limited success”, I welcome more of it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Considering the bigger picture, this ‘limited success’ has caused increasing overpopulation and consequent ecological disasters. This is likely, over the longer term, to result in misery and death on an unprecedented scale until the balance is adjusted, if ever. I can’t say I welcome that direction.


          2. You sound like Paul Ehrlich when he wrote his moronic The Population Bomb. Since that book was published, global population has doubled, the famines that repeatedly devastated the world when it had far fewer people have been almost eliminated, food security for most of humanity is better than ever before, the environment (with the exception of global warming) is in better shape almost everywhere than it was when the book was written, and birth rates in the majority of countries have fallen to or below replacement level. About the only thing that hasn’t improved is all the ignoramuses still bleating about “overpopulation” as if it were still 1980.

            Your position is basically that we were wrong to eliminate most of the misery and death that we suffered in a state of nature, because doing so might cause us to suffer misery and death in the future, even though all the empirical evidence is that eliminating successive forms of misery and death just means less misery and death over time. My money is on technological progress to keep on doing what it has been doing.

            There is no such thing as “balance” in nature. This is just a rhetorical gimmick for fatalists and technological pessimists to cling to when all their actual arguments are blown away by reality. It doesn’t mean anything. The reification of “nature” as something to which we should sacrifice and renounce improvements to our own well-being is essentially the same as the worship of the imaginary sadistic sky fairy Harris is talking about.

            Liked by 2 people

    2. Of course one cannot know! However we only have one reality we are able to access and interact with – this one
      Which is the reason why insurance companies tend to pay out life insurance to family, loved ones or a nominee of your choice after you die rather than hold it in a trust fund in case you send a message notifying your broker of an account on the ”other side” or that they should keep hold of it as you will be reincarnating as a well-hung, billionaire oil tycoon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is interesting to stray, on occasion, into the more balanced among the vast numbers of those who maintain, with conviction and apparent evidence, that there are other realities we can access.
        These are at least as convincing, to any layman, as the big bang theory where the avowed evidence can also be contested either on scientific reliability or — of course — on its manifest absurdity to any mind not able to encompass it.


        1. Such events, encounters etc seem convincing because most laymen are not aware of the science. And if they are in any way influenced or drawn to religion or the occult then this is exacerbated.
          But some people will not be convinced that the lady across the table with 10 kilos of jangling jewelry can’t communicate with your late Auntie Iodine, I’m afraid.
          However, if they care to at least examine the science, then so many things become quite straightforward.

          Meantime, you’ll have to excuse me as I have to scrape the face of Jesus off a burned piece of toast before the wife sees it!


          1. I take it you have never ventured to try it and been confounded by the fact that the lady informs you correctly that Aunt Iodine was in fact named Dettol.
            Much of the so-called pure science is constantly contradicted mumbo-jumbo. A 2018 quote: ‘There is nothing unusual about mistaken scientific theories or misguided scientists. That is the normal state of science.’
            I am now off to see the latest established bit of scientific knowledge blasted to fragments . . .


          2. I looked up that quote. It’s made my Michael Egnor. A neurosurgeon and supporter of intelligent design. And yes, I’m going to say it…he’s not a scientist. We need only look to Ben Carson for proof of this.

            But the reason I was suspicious when I read this quote about who said it, because an actual scientist would not use the word theory here. And yes while theories are sometimes mistaken, to become a theory there has to be quite a lot of evidence in favor of it. The Big Bang Theory is an example of that. It is not easily contested at all. I also wonder on what basis you make this claim “Much of the so-called pure science is constantly contradicted mumbo-jumbo”? Who are the people calling something pure science which is not. In my experience these are the charlatans like Michael Egnore pushing intelligent design, or Deepak Chopra pushing whatever it is he pushes. I don’t know of any scientists who make such claims.

            Liked by 3 people

          3. Even if that quote came from the newspaper vendor on the corner, it is undeniably true. Theories are constantly propounded that fail the actual test. That is part of ordinary scientific method, so why would a scientist shy away from the term? Other theories pass the tests of the theorists only to be disproved or amended by later research. The Big Bang, and then adding Inflation, and then Inflation contested, and then . . .?


          4. Constantly is an exaggeration…. At any one time there are far more theories that are confirmed than fail. And I would argue that anything that is actually a theory is the best explanation for what we know at any one time. New evidence of course may change our understanding. No theory is built on the back of one scientist alone… It must be repeatable by others. And none of this means that half baked ideas with no evidence are just as valid as any scientific theory. Quotes like those by Egnor are always said to try to make their theory which explains less of the things we know is as valid as any theory that explains more and makes better predictions about how the universe works.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. I stand by ‘constantly’ as even you admit many fail, even if a lesser proportion. Many will end up with amendments from the proposers, arising from the experiments. Your disparaging language applied to the Egnors and Chopras of this world show that you are closed to any speculation regarding all or parts being valid, lest worship of the god of science be compromised. And to say that no evidence is offered for these alternative ideas is invalid. It is evidence that is cumulatively impressive, even though individual examples are sniped at.

            To summarize my viewpoint: just as the more one looks at conventional religious ideas the more ridiculous aspects become apparent, the more one looks into some of the paranormal claims the more sense many of them make. Certainly enough to make the scientific knee-jerk reactions seem myopic.


          6. Your logic here is puzzling. If I said many airplanes crash that in no way an admission that airplanes constantly crash. Airplane crashes are exceedingly rare considering how many airplanes fly everyday.

            Your assumption that I haven’t investigate Chopra, intelligent design, or the paranormal is also telling. I don’t react to them in a knee-jerk sort of way, I have investigated their claims quite a bit and have found evidence to be quite lacking.

            But even if scientific theories were constantly failing it would be a little like saying explanation A makes more sense because other explanations have broken down. This is the same theist nonsense that tries to claim that if something is not known then God must be the explanation. Uncertainty is not an invitation to put whatever explanation you like in there and pretend that it’s valid. Now if you’d like to posit a better way of knowing than the scientific method, then I’m all ears. But this way of knowing has to apply to all of reality not just the special parts you want to claim are valid.


          7. My experience is soured by the scientific method being applied to matters botanical. As a Garden Judge I am sick of finding plants so often reclassified because of radical newer discoveries regarding origin and species.
            I am pleased that you have looked into these things. Strange that you regard the evidence as lacking for them. Sparse, perhaps, but not totally absent to a degree that completely dismisses them.
            Regarding explanations without scientific method:
            If something strange is within the certain experience of oneself or trusted individuals and the explanations for it range from impossible to unlikely, then the least unlikely will have to be adopted. This isn’t exactly scientific method, but it is the one that has to be applied if there are unexplained things one knows to be valid. Simple denial of them won’t work. That would be like saying, ‘Don’t understand it; therefore it doesn’t exist.’ Why do you have to proscribe one method to determine all of reality? Seldom does one method cover all contingencies. This is part of the human failing of trying to fit everything into one convenient box, or to divide everything into black or white without any greys.


        2. with conviction and apparent evidence, that there are other realities we can access

          There’s no evidence at all for the existence of any “other realities”, and every form of utter nonsense ever propounded has been accepted by some people with conviction, so the latter is meaningless.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. There is stacks of apparently irrefutable evidence, and highly persuasive scientific theory, if you care to do some wide research. It is mostly of the type, though, that immediately has those for whom anything seen as ab- or paranormal sends dashing into knee-jerk denial in the same way as Young Earth Creationists do when confronted with suggestions that the earth is 4.54 (until the next estimate) billion years old.


          2. From a lay person’s pov. neither scientist nor religious expert, the major difference I see is that while scientists and astronomers and all manner of reputable and learned people are more than willing to experiment, to take leaps of faith, to stretch out a hand toward certain ideas that will either grow or die–and in the end admit that yes, this was right, and yes, that was wrong, but we moved a bit closer to solving the problem because of it–and most theologians, of any stripe or belief do not admit error. any where. They say ‘it was god’s will, you heathen” and walk off.

            Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow this is really ironic because I happened to watch this very video last night and saved the link to post it somewhere on one of the blogs I follow here about the absurdity of religion and here today I open your blog and here it is!
    Great minds!😜

    It is a good one…so full of absolute logic that the brainwashed ones will never get.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. That last post of Mel’s was too ridiculous. How easily debunked his story is? Too easy. How often do we share thoughts with another in the room hearing the same things? That was asinine Mel closed minded faith. And it’s globally stunting personal growth and independent thought. Falling in line with a dogma designed to submit your creative will to another’s idea. Painfully harmful.


        1. But when his arse is up against the wall what does he do?
          Read his last comment to Steve!

          So, why should you trust anything your brain is telling you beyond pure survival? Why should you even wonder at all about these things? This subject doesn’t serve survival

          Sorry, you have some major cognitive dissonance going on here. I wouldn’t want to embrace such an incoherent worldview. Again, good luck with that. But I’m not the least bit interested.

          The man is a jumped up disingenuous tit of the first order.
          With him, it’s his god or nothing.

          Which leaves a bucket load of Muslims and Hindus scratching their heads.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Religion has stifled human potential. I’m hopeful for another golden age of discovery, and I don’t think it will be that complicated. It’s right under our noses if we can have a moment of clarity.


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