To my mind religion is the worse thing that ever happened to mankind. Sure, it converted the Vikings to civilization, but it also repressed and stifled knowledge that kept humanity in the Dark Ages until now and maybe centuries to come. As long as women are forced to wear a burka, humanity remains enthralled.

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Okay, let's make this a writing exercise? Uh... Can we try to come up with poems, haikus, or lists of the top costs of religion? I'll go first:

Segregation, separation
Degradation of humanity
Loss of innocence, loss of life,
loss of ego sanctity

Okay it's cheesy but... someone else will write something better :)
in the east and west
death and pain always brought on
by whats make believe

geez i haven't tried that since sixth grade. I dont think I'm any better at it.
HAHAHA O Your killin me Alex!!
V Way to go Richard!
The sky fairy frowns
when his people start thinking;
thoughts will hurt one's faith

that was pretty good
Damn, I like that Maria.
Danny, thanks for the critique. I’m a militant atheist writer who is very perturbed about the damage religion has done in history and at present.

Forget the burka statement, okay. The only point I want to make here is that religion has held humanity in surreal, abject servitude for millennia. I wish the women of Islam would rise up and say to their superiors, “You view life through his slit; see how you like it.”

The main point I want to make is religion has stultified the evolution of consciousness.
In the Dark and Middle Ages, the church had supreme control under law and culture.
The religious elite were the Second Estate and had it good. They could even break civil laws and claim immunity.

If science were encouraged back then, things would be different now. Please read my story of Lucilio Vanini. He, Bruno, countless others lost to history, were murdered because they dared to express an alternative idea.

Yes, I blame religion. No hyperbole here. It’s the conceit and arrogance of it. With a septillion celestial bodies in the cosmos, to think there’s a God up there who chooses Earth to get his celestial rocks off and watch every move we make so He can judge us.
1. First of all, Dan, “militant” does not necessarily mean “violent.” Here’s how my computer dictionary defines the word:

1.vigorously active and aggressive, esp. in support of a cause: militant reformers.

Florence Nightingale was a militant.

2. I think you’re defending the indefensible here. Of course, I admit that religion has done some good. I mentioned civilizing the Vikings. In 800 A.D., when Charlemagne, founder of the Holy Roman Empire, was learning to write his name, Muslims were doing algebra problems (they invented it) and performing skillful medical procedures. At that time Baghdad was the most beautiful city in the world.

Sure, Christianity, Islam and the other religions have done some good.

But recently during a speech at Columbia University, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragged there are no homosexuals in Iran. Sure, they either killed them or they are afraid to admit their sexual preference. The common punishment, by the way, is to cork up a rather needy and important part of the body.

I say, look at the way religion—not just Islam—distorts and deranges the worldview of the followers. I could go on and on with examples—look at history, and look at the misery it causes in modern days.

3. About Engels and the family, may I suggest Sperm Wars by Robin Baker. Only a small fraction of spermatozoa is capable to fertilizing an egg. The vast majority of gametes are for protection and defense—against the spermatozoa of other males. Sort of questions the appropriateness of monogamy.

4. Let’s compare our consciousness to my cat’s. I think it’s fair to say we know more about the world and cosmos. Consciousness can be traced back to early Australopithecine ancestors. It evolved. The important thing to realize is that consciousness aided natural selection. That’s why it snowballed. Being able to make a spear made them more ferocious than saber toothed tigers.

5. People were ignorant and the church was largely to blame. There’s no excuse for surreal horror that we talked about. Today, a scientist could claim that the moon is made of bamboo, but we wouldn’t torture him and then kill him. Admit it, these oppressers of science were deranged, misguided individuals.

With my mouth I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.

6.. No reason to apologize for the lengthiness. I’m enjoying the discussion both ways—reading and writing.

To my mind the length of time from Thales and Anaximander to Vanini was a tragedy for humanity. As the essay says, it was arrogant Christian thought that caused it. And finally, when a genius like Vanini came along, after 2,500 years and 250 years before Darwin, Christians persecuted him his whole life and eventually did him in a cruel, revengeful manner.
The only point I’m making is that militant does not mean violent, as you assumed it did. I’m not violent at all. Don’t like it at all.

Florence Nightingale was militant because she aggressively advocated a cause, that of saving lives during the Crimean War. I wasn’t comparing myself to her; I only said that we were militant.

Let me say you’re a rough man to debate. I said that the atrocities of the modern age are evidenced by the crematoria of Auschwitz and you countered with “Actually, only dead bodies were put in the crematoria.” Does the fact that crematoria only disposed of the bodies refute the fact millions were murdered?

As far as Roger Bacon goes, I think he was a little early for the renaissance. The great historians Will and Ariel Durant define the Dark Ages as the period from the death of Boethius 525, to the birth of Erasmus 1469.

Carl Sagan, whom I consider the greatest educator of the century, defines the Dark Ages from the birth of St. Augustine of Hippo to the birth of Erasmus. The former completely stifled and criminalized human curiosity.

Let me make another correction: “I call the Ben Hur phenomenon--the apocryphal scene of the chariot race scene, where the racers' wristwatches are visible.”

You mean to say “anachronistic” rather than apocryphal, the former referring to the apocrypha which were early Christian writings not included in the Bible.

Another point of disagreement about “throwing the baby out with the bath water. I made the point of the insanity of killing homosexuals in Iran and you refute this by saying it’s only one man. Are you defending this practice?




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