Religion versus Atheism
Introduction Every rational human being has at one time or another thought of the existence of a supreme being that governs everything on earth. The world is made up of complex processes that could not just have occurred at random. Another amazing fact is that all these processes are perfectly balanced to sustain life. This draws an inquiry into the existence of mighty powers which members of atheistic community strongly refute (Strobel & Vogel, 2002, p. 41). The belief in the mighty powers is strongly engraved into the hearts of various religious believers. It is therefore a matter of challenge to defend or oppose the two sides of the argument. However, from the available facts and observations, it can unanimously be accepted that there is in deed the existence of supreme powers and to this stand is the paper biased at. Atheism refers to the belief that there is no God or any form of divine powers or deity. Religion on the other hand is belief in existence of one God based on the teachings of the Holy Bible, the Quran and other guiding principles in many other religions. These principles act as guidelines to religious believers in their entire lifestyles. Religion greatly construes atheism where three major philosophies: naturalism, rationalism and humanism act as the guiding principles. Atheists depend on skeptical and intellectual reasoning based on factual evidence while explicitly rejecting paranormal and religious dogma (Onfray, 2005, p. 25). While relying scientific principles Albert Einstein, the renowned scientist of the theory of relativity acknowledged that religion without science is blind but at the same time, he claimed that science without religion is cold dead (Nugent, 2008, p.53).
Main Issues of Contention Christians on the basis of Biblical evidence believe in God as being all-good, omnipotent, all-knowing and all-powerful supernatural being. They also believe that God is merciful and will always save them from the evil one. Atheists on the other hand attack this argument by maintaining that the existence of evil and any sort of mercy from God is logically improbable since Christians and other religious believers are often in problems. However, according to the arguments made by Christians to answer this attack is that God intentionally allows evil to exist in order to achieve the greater good of free will for humans (Onfray, 2005, p.125). The suffering can also be perceived as divine punishments which is regarded normal according to religious believers such as Christians. As a parent punishes Atheists argue that religion is unable to adapt to a world that is constantly changing. An example is in the New Testament, where Jesus advises us to love our enemies and treat them well. The world is becoming more and more competitive; such practices have become disadvantageous. On the other hand, Christians believe that the knowledge of humans is limited both physically and earthly and therefore we cannot understand the ultimate plan of God (Onfray, 2005, p.164). The harsh opposition to religious believers for being kind and loving to their enemies which often leads to economical losses can be quenched by powerful quotes from eminet people such as Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi speaking on business ethics said that while it is difficult for businesses to operate ethically, it was nevertheless not totally impractical According to the conception of atheists the Christians have promoted facts and myths that have differed with science (Strobel & Vogel, 2002, p. 29). As witnessed in the case of Galileo who was tried for stating that the earth revolves round the sun. Myths on creation have also not been scientifically proven. Christians argue that religion is based on faith even in notions that cannot be confirmed scientifically. The existence of God cannot be questioned and it always bits human understanding. The question of knowing the facts of creation is beyond human thinking and not even scientists can decipher the secret. At the same time, the theories such as big bangs have numerous limitations which make them futile. Christianity according to atheists creates unnecessary hindrances to natural human behavior through imposing guilt or fear. In Christianity, it is considered a sin to have sexual intercourse before marriage. Most natural human emotions such as, anger, jealousy and lust are considered sinful. This causes unwanted emotional and mental trauma. However, aspects such as sexual behavior and need for homosexuality have been misunderstood by the entire scientific community (Dawkins, 2006, p.214). The scientists have instead come up with genetic conspiracies to convince the public to accept that homosexuality is congenital. Homosexuality and sexual desires are purely mind processes and can be learned and avoided as understood by psychoanalysts. But there are exciting gains from religious practices that rebuke premarital sex. The world will have reduced numbers of HIV/AIDS cases and other venereal diseases. Opponents against religion have noted some unusual trend in the cause for war in the world by religious believers over history. They claim that the human history has persistently witnessed wars caused by religion groups such as the al-Qaeda and the jihad (holy war) (Onfray, 2005, p.199). In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, leaders and people who immensely believed in God mercilessly conquered in order to expand their territories with selfishness and greed. More recently, human history also witnessed French and European wars on religion. Innocent blood was shed on account of religion. Although these accounts can be made, most of the causes of the wars are purely due to the extremists groups and not the group that strictly believes in God (Onfray, 2005, p.189). Atheists have sharply pointed out the kind of vice and ill-treatments subjected to women in most religions such as Islam and Christianity. Christianity often discriminates women according to atheism. An example is in the Roman Catholic Church where women were not supposed to serve in the alter decades ago (Onfray, 2005, p.189). Even today, women are never ordained to become priest and this has been marked out as a serious form of discrimination. This is a practice of discrimination against women can be traced back to the early church when service and sacrifice to God was only offered by men. However, whichever level the atheist may point out these disparities, the fact remains that men are superior in all senses both in contemporary living and from the religious teachings. But Christianity tries to reconcile especially in the New Testament that all people are equal before the eyes of God. Other religious supporters have argued that women and men are equal but have different in responsibilities. In the past, racism has been practiced on the basis of Christianity. An example is the Ku Klux Klan and Mormon Church in America Onfray, 2005, p.182). Blacks were treated in a hostile manner and denied relevant duties in the church. However, later great Black leaders emerged during the black Christian revolution, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. who led the American Civil Rights Movement. The point of religious groups advancing racism has been an issue of contention. Most of the religious groups that have caused unrest to the society have mostly been fueled by political regimes that have existed in history. There is a close association between the state and religious groups. This is probably due to the laws of the land and the potent political leaders who seem to govern the entire system of human beliefs and manipulate for their own gains. Therefore, Ku Klux Klan and Mormon Church were purely instigated by other ‘extraterrestrial’ factors not instilled in religious teachings. Christianity is against euthanasia which is also referred to as mercy killing. Atheists argue that there is no point in trying to keep elderly or terminally ill people alive. This special group, according to the atheists is in constant pain and helpless. It is argued that it is unethical to refuse to relieve them of their pain Onfray, 2005, p.215). Christians are in the opinion that euthanasia is one of the ways of performing murder and should be illegalized the same to abortion. Christians have a common belief that only God has the right to take a life. This is a controversial issue that has been discussed and debated all over the world. But it is agreed by common philosophy that the termination of any human life is killing and killing is illegal even when applying the laws of the land. Conclusion In general, atheism versus religion is wide topic that can generate lengthy and interesting debates. A number of fallacious arguments emerge as proponents of either side continue to defend their positions. However, every person is free to choose their own believes and faith. We cannot judge which faith is right or wrong. All we can do is strive to become better people in the society and accept others as they are. It does not matter whether the atheists or Christians are right. Ultimately it is up to the individual to make the choice.
Two disagreeing sides, religion and atheism increasingly continue to be debated upon without the hope of any of the sides emerging a winner. The supporters of the religious beliefs have always stayed put with their convincing arguments on why they have to practice religion despite the controversies existing in their historical and modern lives. The most contentious issues that still remain to be debated on include the reason for God’s punishment on the religious believers. This concept is understood by the religious believers as a divine punishment that equates to parents punishing their beloved children despite how loving and merciful the parents might be to their children. To the atheist, they believe that this element of divine power to avoid suffering is a misplaced ideology as religious people are constantly seen to suffer. The issue of being ethical is related to the economics where atheists point out that it may not be wise to be ethical while running business. This observation is counterattacked by religious people borrowing from Mahatma Gandhi’s business inspirational quotes that reaffirm the importance of ethics in business. Religious beliefs have been given support even by government bodies in the prevention of the sporadic spread of HIV/AIDS although this point is understood differently by atheists who claim that these beliefs only add terror to humans. Societal unrest caused by religious groups such as al-Qaeda has been blamed extensively by atheists. However, religious believers have come out to defend their position that most of the groups causing unrest are instigated by members of the extremists groups. The kind of discriminating of women in religious groups such as the Catholics has been a point of blame on religion. Women are not permitted to be ordained and serve in alters but this has been argued as a ‘specialization of labor’ where each member of the society has some unique role to play. The historical religious groups such as the Mormons and the Ku Klux Klan which fueled racism has also been the center of debate but these groups can be said to have been energized by political factors. The last issue of contention surrounding religious belief is abortion and euthanasia, the practices that intentionally terminate human lives.
Dawkins, R. (2006). The God delusion. London: Transworld Publishers. A controversial text, The God Delusion portrays how atheistic thinkers perceive religious believers. This text also shows criticism of the religious belief in God or gods. The text explores monotheist, atheist and secularism to provide a balanced analysis critical to understanding contentious issues in atheism and religion. Nugent, T (2008). Ted, white and blue: the Nugent manifesto. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc Nugent makes significant contributions to the debate on the importance of religion and science when they are fused together. While this mix is not common, Nugent confesses that even though he is a strong supporter of science, agonists and atheists should respect religious beliefs Onfray, M (2005). Atheist manifesto: the case against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. New York: Arcade Publishers.
Michel Onfray in the book, Atheist manifesto: the case against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam touches critical areas of philosophical and religious reasoning on the issues of atheism as they apply to renowned philosophers such as Spinoza. From this exploration, it can be appreciated that the thinking on the basis of religion in complex and not to be taken for granted. It requires faith and not scientific experiments in labs Strobel, L., & Vogel, J (2002). The case of faith. Michigan: Zondervan Publsishers Lee Strobel and Jane Vogel provide serious counterarguments in the reasoning and beliefs in religious circles. The Case of Faith serves the central source of criticism on religious beliefs and permits the making of critical analysis on both atheism and religion.