The Problem with Pluralism

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” ~Voltaire

Years ago, a young lady I was trying to court told me one time, “You’ll never find the truth through science.”

This is one of the principal messages of religion, because it is the only argument it can offer against science. Science has always found the truth, and religion has always tried to hide it.

“Pluralists believe that all religious belief systems have some measure of truth, or that all are equally valid beliefs.”

Religion is built on Bronze Age fairy tales and crowd control tactics. It’s not meant to explore. It’s meant to exploit.

The claim of “some measure of truth” falls apart in the face of the factually ridiculous talking points of religion. Here are but a few examples.

  • Noah’s Ark. I’ve talked about this one before, but I want to add this: I find it eye-rollingly funny that Bible “scholars” keep discovering evidence of the great flood or the ark, yet never seem able to bring the evidence before anyone who can verify it as valid.
  • Killing or shunning of infidels. It’s tempting to blame this one on Islam, but most other religions are as hostile or dangerous to apostates.
  • The earth is 4000 or 6000 years old. This one is just an outright lie. It has been proven wrong in a concrete, mensurate way time and again, yet the Abrahamic religions continue to claim it as fact. This claim takes its claimants credibility to zero.
  • (Insert someone religion doesn’t like here) will go to hell. The concept of an eternal hell where consciousness is preserved in a state of infinite suffering is stupid enough on its own, but add to it that fact that the religious claim to know who is going there and why, and their zero credibility (last bullet point) dips deep into negative values.
  • (Insert name of nation) is a (insert name of religion) nation. Few concepts are as destructive as a single religion claiming it is the only correct belief system of the land. In many ways this is precisely the opposite of pluralism. No nation is free in which only one religion is tolerated, and most religions want to do this.
  • The evil in the world. In 1995, in the immediate wake of the terrorist bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, I heard people in television interviews and in person (I covered it) who had not died in the explosion thank God that they had been spared. Some of them compared it to a miracle. Nothing could be more silly or childishly self-serving as viewing a horrific tragedy as a blessing. 19 children died, but the 20th didn’t. Praise Jesus!
  • Mysterious ways. I personally hear this one day in and day out, usually to explain a tragedy that is out of our control. “We can’t know God’s plan. He works in mysterious ways.” But of course we can know, and as science has learned about the world, it has helped us understand the real reasons tragedies happen, and how to actually change their outcomes. Earthquake-resistant buildings. Seat belts. Air traffic control. The list goes on, and the mysteries were solved again and again, not by saying we “can’t know” God’s plan, but by acting in the real world around us.
  • There are no miracles. The power of prayer had nothing to do with developing a smallpox vaccination. That was science. The grace of God didn’t heal your daughter’s cancer. That was science. The laying on of hands and chanting didn’t create clean drinking water. That was science. No one has ever been able to prove that a miracle occurred.
  • The basic relationship between believers and their God is fundamentally immature. Father in heaven. We are his flock. We must obey. Doesn’t it light a fire under anyone else that religion treats us like children or farm animals?
  • But it feels good or it feels right. In the end, the faithful dismiss the real world by citing their feelings. They “feel” the holy spirit enter them. They “feel” the hand of Jesus in their hour of fear. They will tell you that you are a fool for not feeling God “in everything,” but won’t explain how this happens.

All of these examples and about a drillion more, talk to the credibility of religion. If you continue to claim, in the 21st century, that the earth was created in six literal days, despite that being obviously, demonstrably false, your are either profoundly ignorant or an outright fraud. What “measure of truth” do you have to offer?

Okay, so what, Richard? Why do you care if I believe that an invisible holy man is standing next to me? Because you teach it to children, you govern by it, you use it to make war. You hold us all back in your childish fear of finding real, mensurate, useful truth. You believe absurdities and commit atrocities.

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