Saturday, October 22, 2016

2+ 2= 5: Why Religion is the Opposite of Truth

Christian's often like to point to the question Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" They argue that Jesus did not answer the question because he was, in fact, the truth revealed. But to accept that answer is not "the truth," but simply "belief" such Christians prefer, which is the very opposite of truth. And it is Christians - not atheists - who say so. Here is why.

First, we have to ask the question: does truth matter? Or can we simply decide what we want to believe "truth" is for ourselves? Christians almost always assert that truth is fixed, and immutable, in Christ. They also believe in absolute moral truths, as well.  Sometimes, to illustrate their point that "truth is immutable," they will offer the example that 2 + 2 always equals 4.  But this is untrue. As David Gershaw has pointed out, it actually depends on what measurement scale we are using.

Gershaw put it this way: there are four types of measurement scales, which include nominal, ordinal, interval, and rational. But only in the last two categories, he goes on to explain, does 2+2 =4. Hence, the "immutable" mathematical law that Christians hope to demonstrate through simple math, actually proves the Christian is wrong to believe that 2+2 always equals 4. Of course, the Christian never bothers to explain why a belief that 2 + 2 always equaled 4, means  we should therefore conclude that there are immutable moral laws.

But why does the assumption of mathematical absolutes, necessarily lead us to the conclusion that there must therefore exist immutable moral laws of right and wrong?   Why, in other words, should we assume that the existence of one has anything at all to do with the possible existence of the other? Such questions are never addressed, of course, because they are never considered. But there's more.

Christian's are not completely wrong, here, we should point out. Because even though they are wrong to claim that 2+2 always equals four, they are NOT wrong to claim that - regardless of which measurement scale we are using - we can derive answers to mathematical equations. Thanks to Alan Turing's halting problem, and a number of other mathematical stumbling blocks, however, not every problem necessarily has an answer.

But let us accept the reasoning used by Christians that 2 + 2 ALWAYS equals 4, and see if, by accepting this premise, we can find proof for God or even universal, immutable, moral absolutes.

Asserting the mathematical claim that 2+2 ALWAYS equals 4, means that Christians agree that absolute "truth" actually matters. They are asserting, in other words, that people cannot just chose to "believe" what the answer is to the equation, 2+2 =?. But before that mathematical problem is even cold, the Christian then breaks their own rule of mathematical absolutes (and by extension, moral absolutes) by then doing the very thing they argue we can not do - they chose to "believe" in the story that Jesus was both god and our messiah, who came to forgive our sins and deliver us from evil, so we can live forever in heaven and avoid going to hell.

But NONE of the "beliefs" about Christian "truth"can, in the mathematical sense, be in anyway tested, calculated, or proven to be true. Instead, these are all just things that Christians chose to simply "believe" are as true as their mathematical "truth" that 2 + 2 always equals 4. This, then, is to confuse the apple of math with the orange of morality, even though the two have not been demonstrated to have anything in common at all.

And with regards to "religious beliefs" that some Christians try to claim are "absolutes, the truth is that there is nothing of absolute objective "truth" in the purely subjective "belief" that a man named Jesus ever actually lived, let alone that he was a god or a messiah. Hell, there isn't even any objective proof that Adam and Eve ever existed in the first place, or that there is such a real thing as 'original sin," or any other kind of "sin" for that matter. At least, not in the sense that we as fallible human beings are offending some infinite being by what we do, as if ants could offend us by who the chose to screw.

Rather, all of these "beliefs" are simply bundled together, and gilded with the fear of hell and the hope of living happily ever after (which is exactly how every fairy-tale told to children tends to end). And in that sense, the story of Jesus and the 12 apostles is only as objectively "true" as Snow white and the 7 dwarfs.  

Such beliefs are what Mikhail Bakunin called "the philosophical vinegar sauce" of religious beliefs that, as he puts it, put together "the most opposed systems" of ideas with a complete and contemptuous ignorance of natural science, until two times two make five," and proves "the existence of a personal God." And while it is always entirely up to an individual to design whatever system of beliefs they find true for themselves, including beliefs in god, gods, or even religions, they should never confuse those beliefs with an objective "truth" that everyone else must accept, and follow.

For such religious beliefs may be beneficial to one person, but harmful to another. And all those who deny this only prove that religion, while it can offer things that are "true" to its believers, can just as often be the very opposite of truth. 

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