Robertson and More - Rant

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it, They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. [...] Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come."

After Pat Robertson made comments saying that Haiti is cursed by a pact to the devil and trying to explain an earthquake via an act of the devil, many people (Christians and non-Christians) have rebuked him. The proper response, though, is not “Pat Robertson is not a real Christian” or “He misunderstood how God works.” The proper response is this: an earthquake is not an act of God or the result of a pact with the devil, but rather a product of natural causes. Like it or not, Pat Robertson is a huge spokesman for Christianity in America and greatly impacts our image as a nation.

Anyone who makes claims about what God says, the devil does, or anything supernatural should be critically examined, questioned, and should provide good evidence for what he/she says. Many people are appealed at what Robertson said (and with good reason). Why isn't this the case with all religious comments? Why aren't we critically examining all other claims made in the name of religion?

We need to stop giving credence and some level of special authority to people who claim to speak on behalf of God, religion, or anything supernatural. Religious individuals have no exclusive special claim to ethics, knowledge, or insight into supposed metaphysical realms. We're all humans and need to be honest about our claims to knowledge and admit that people don't have some sort of contact with a supernatural creator of the universe who knows us, loves us, made us distinguished and special, and watches us 24/7.

This isn't just a problem with fundamentalists like Pat Robertson, but it is a problem with virtually all areas of our discourse. People are simply being lied to with all of this chatter and are perpetuating lies that are diminishing our understanding of the universe, human-based ethics, science, and possibly everything. Religious individuals are not claiming to have hypotheses about the universe, but rather that they have the truth about metaphysical claims, yet have offered no compelling and conclusive evidence for these claims.

We're plagued with the idea of marriage being a “sacred blessing from God” and are unwilling to give homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals. It's quite obvious that religion is a major boundary to homosexuals.

According to Gallup polls in 2008, 44% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. 42% believe that all life on earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time. This is an educational tragedy and, without a doubt, religion is responsible for these poll results.

Cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad caused a great deal of violence, murder, death threats, violent protests, and outrage from Muslims all around the world.

Children die needlessly because they or their parents don't “believe” in medicine and decide to forgo medical care and pray for miracles.

We're stopping stem cell research – the most promising and pioneering endeavor in medicine – because we shouldn't “play God” with cells.

We tend to give credence to religion and religious individuals because of some wicked idea that religion is above criticism or that we shouldn't challenge ideas because people hold them dearly. Thankfully, many individuals like myself are willing to stand up and stand out to challenge religion and all of the damage it is doing to humanity.

Open discussion of critical issues that matter to us shouldn't be the case only with religion, but should be the trend with all areas including ethics, sexuality, politics, and education. We need to talk with people who agree and disagree with us in a fair manner without fear that “people will be offended.” We desperately need to abandon the idea that we shouldn't talk about critical areas in our lives.

Sure, religion also does many good things, but all that can be had from religion can be had without...and we'd not have to worry about all of the damage done exclusively because of religion. Do we really need to believe in claims on no or insufficient evidence to be good people and do good things?

Sure, not all religious people are bad people (and most of them aren't bad people), but the ideas that they spread and hold dearly are contributing to the base of these fundamentalists and are spreading lies. “Religious moderates” aren't guilty by association, but I want to hold religion responsible for all of the bad things that are done exclusively because of it. Each religious individual should carefully research, ask questions, and face the most compelling objections to their faith just like I did whether or not they want to change their mind or will change their views. The simple idea that there is a God is quite possibly the most worthwhile investigation and really carries many implications that shape life.

Let's not sacrifice rationality, education, intellectual honesty, open conversation, and human life in lieu of religious ideas.