Belief Without Evidence

Dalai Lama and Russell Brand
Dalai Lama and Russell Brand
His Holiness Dalai Lama tugs Host Russell Brand's beard whilst giving a series of talks examining the relationship between heart and mind at Dalai Lama: Real Change Happens In The Heart at MEN Arena on June 16, 2012 in Manchester, England. | Photo: Shirlaine Forrest | Dalai Lama, Russell Brand, Religion, Actor, Change,

An Atheist's perspective on the Boston Marathon Bombing

Just as various leaders of the Muslim community have condemned the recent Boston marathon bombings, I feel it's necessary for members of the atheist community to condemn the harassment and violence of Muslims that has resulted from these bombings'not because it is members of our community committing these acts (of course, it isn't), but because we ought to always advocate rational debate as opposed to violent action. When atheists, nonbelievers, and antitheists espouse a sense of militarism, it goes without saying that we mean it in a figurative sense. After all, why would we advocate violence when such acts are the very thing we admonish the most when pointing toward the harm religion has caused all over the world, throughout the ages. We nonbelievers must advocate an organic, gradual diminishment of religious thinking in mainstream discourse, precisely because it is harmful in this way.

Religion as a whole has spread as a self-perpetuating cycle based on an irrational premise, i.e. belief without evidence. The Islamic doctrine is irrational in this way, just as Christian doctrine is irrational. They are both based upon the premise that god exists, a belief that is completely unfounded. The violent and unspeakable acts carried out in the name of Islam mirror the violence of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, horrible acts carried out in the name of Christianity. In fact, you can point towards more recent Christian atrocities; for instance, the Vatican famously enacted a policy noninvolvement during the holocaust. One can quibble over which religious doctrine is more violent, but it ultimately doesn't matter. Both are based on a fallacy of great proportions. Some might argue that Christianity seems to have moved past its violent phase, while Islam is experiencing a more primitive stage in its socio-political evolution. While there might be some validity to this claim, it's ultimately a specious. One religion is not inherently better than another with respect to rationality, because they are all based on the same faulty premise. Beyond that, any distinction drawn is unnecessary as far as nonbelievers are concerned.

Logically, a religious doctrine that does not require evidence is the same as a doctrine that advocates violence and harm; the latter is an unavoidable manifestation of the former. How can this conclusion be drawn? For one, a religious belief with no sound basis is itself harmful. In the realm of ideas, prominent but fallacious doctrines like Christianity and Islam cause immeasurable harm to humanity, because they stifle our progress as a species. Secondly, when one opens the door to irrational discourse, violent actions are not far away. When it is acceptable to believe a claim without evidence, it's not a far cry to from violence becoming acceptable; this is because there is no factual basis to point towards. When no evidence is required in a doctrine, the possibility for violence dramatically increases. Ideas that do not required evidence are malleable. Peoples' emotions are easily manipulated. When you combine the two over time, violence is inevitable. Towards the betterment of mankind, religion must not be taken seriously in rational debate, because humoring these ridiculous beliefs are indeed a cause of great suffering throughout the world.

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Updated May 22, 2018 6:39 PM UTC | More details


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