Believing in the Unbelievable               

Leland W. Ruble

Freethought Perspective

When does it begin? Why does something (an absurd concept) that makes no sense and so utterly contradicts the laws of nature, become in the mind of an individual believable?

The main source for believing in the impossible, improbable, and absurd, is mainly derived from religious and supernatural sources that rely on fictional accounts of reality rather than reality itself. The religious tend to view an event or situation in the bible as true based on the false assumption that because it is depicted in the bible, therefore it's true. There is no questioning or skepticism of the biblical text, and asking, "Is this depiction of god true?"

The god depicted in the biblical text, is as unreal as any character in a book of fairy tales, comic books, and fictional writing based on imagined characters. Those who believe in an entirely imagined caricature of a super-duper deity directing events from an unknown realm in a just as unknown galaxy in outer space is accepted as a reality, merely on the basis that because it is in the biblical text it cannot be a false or fictional account of the god they believe is a reality. The authors surely didn't make this stuff up did they? Believers assume the biblical description of reality is true because they have been constantly informed by the clergy, that the authors who wrote  what they did, were under the direct influence and inspiration from from this god.

In other words, the religious have been instructed to believe that everything in the bible is factual and true because its authors were inspired by the same god they depict in the biblical text.

It's no coincidence that the first introduction to the biblical god is when a child's mind has not developed to the extent that it can separate fantasy from reality.

It's easy to indoctrinate a child not yet exposed to viewing existence from other points of view. When they are first—against their will—introduced to the biblical text, they usually accept it as true because the adults teaching the text, said it was true and believable. There is no other intervening adult opposed to the biblical text, to explain that, "Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't a true representation of reality." There is only one point of view and that is the viewpoint of the Sunday school teacher, who over and over again, says that the bible is a true representation of reality because the intelligent and godly authors of this fantasy were inspired by the god whose name appears throughout the text.

Unlike the fantasy of a Santa Claus that most children quickly realize is a fiction, the god of the bible is far more difficult to reject as a fantasy because its image is constantly being supported and promoted throughout the environment in which we exist. Whereas Santa Claus is an image that appears in a once a year event, the god of the bible is a yearly and daily event publicized, and difficult to avoid in daily conversation, mentioned in newspapers or in discussions on TV, radio, and the mass media.

Just because a Sunday school teacher says that god is a reality, doesn't necessarily make it true, but in the still undeveloped mind of a child, whatever the teacher says, is believed, at least until the child is more mature and capable of questioning that what he has been led to believe is not based on facts or concrete evidence.  Unfortunately, a majority of those taught at an early age to believe that the biblical god is a reality, remain believers in this fantasy for the rest of their existence.

A child in the restricted environment of a Sunday school class, is unlikely to question the teacher and ask, "How or why do you believe that what you're teaching us is true?" What convinces you that a snake or donkey can talk? Why isn't it clear what exactly was the fruit Adam and Eve ate? Was it a plum, melon, coconut, fig, or banana? How did Mary become impregnated by a ghost? How is this possible? Why did this god create night and day on the first day of creation, but waited until day four to create the sun and the stars? How did this god's sons come down from heaven and have sex with earthly women?" (Genesis 6:1-2). This is just several of the countless improbabilities in the biblical text that are so fantastical and improbable, and not only contradict the laws of nature, but are also incomprehensible except in  the mind of religious fundamentalists who accept such drivel as realistic and unquestionable. If one's faith is based on this kind of frivolous blabber, then the belief derived from such a source is highly questionable.

If the biblical source for this fantasy was a god, what kind of a god would inspire its authors with such an inept inability to describe events in a coherent, intelligent manner, and instead allowed his authors  to explain incidents in such a haphazard, incomprehensible manner? if inspired by a god, what kind of deity that allegedly created this planet and life, is so unintelligent that it was incapable of instructing its authors on exactly how to explain situations in a format that is so bungled and incoherent, that it raises doubt and further creates the suspicion that the authors were unaware that their efforts at making their god believable, would, at some future date, be highly suspect, laughed at, and perceived by many as fantastical, lunatic illusions of unreality.

Isn't it more likely that the numerous authors who wrote the biblical fantasy,  were simply relying on previous fictional accounts of  gods and their own extremely limited perception of what a god might have or might not have done? Since they had no realistic example of a god, isn't it most likely that they invented the one depicted in the bible? How for instance, do you make a god believable, when such a deity does not exist in the first place?

Isn't it also, for instance, possible that the authors attributed, for instance, a massacre of men, women, and children to a god rather than to their own society's lust for war? Wasn't it easier to explain their society's warlike behavior to a god's direction of events, than to admit that they settled tribal differences by killing others to settle a dispute? By not admitting that they themselves were responsible for war, murder, and tragedy, they could excuse their motives by either blaming Satan or a god for the tragic results and thereby avoid responsibility for their own barbarian actions.

Without Satan, the god of the bible becomes irrelevant. Without the ability to create this planet and life (which is now, due to evolution and science, considered an impossibility), the god of the bible appears all the more as an absurd fictional fantasy conceived in the mind of god obsessed authors. For theists to continue to believe this fantastical delusion in spite of countless facts to the contrary, is due to the powerful influence god-belief has over the mind of the believer. Once it takes hold over an individual, it becomes a part of that person's personality and perspective of existence. To be told that his/her religious beliefs are nothing more than irrational delusions, especially at a later time in their lives, is just too much for the ordinary religious individual to accept. To now reject what they have believed for so many years, would mean avoiding social functions, habits, prayer, rituals, friends, relatives and many other activities which for many years, have become a part of their existence. How do you reject a belief after spending years believing your god was a reality and not the stuff of fiction? This may explain why some theists even though they may express some doubt in regard to their religious beliefs, continue to participate in religious functions for the stability it offers and a sense of community.

Individuals who come to the conclusion that their god-beliefs are fictional representations of reality, and that it is better to completely reject faith-based assumptions of reality no matter what the consequences are, rather than live as hypocrites, are those individuals who become atheists, humanists, and agnostics. They would rather accept rejection and the social disruption of their lives then to go on living the false delusion of a belief structured on the bizarre imagination of god-obsessed authors.

The same authors who wrote the biblical text would, if they existed in this era, be viewed as incompetent  writers of fantasy or improbable science fiction stories.

The notion that the religious establishment states over and over again, that the bible is believable because the authors were "inspired by a god" is absurd. In the first place not one member of the clergy can swear honestly and with conviction, that he or she knows what this god they claim exists, is constructed of. They don't know if this god is a mathematical equation; a gigantic brain; a member of a species of life on another planet that views this planet as its playground; an unimaginably immense computer that has the ability to make things merely by wishing them into existence, or as the bible depicts, a murderous, dictatorial, violent deity that expects humanity to bow down, pray and adore its image, and if not, accept the horrible consequences of hell as depicted in the text of the New Testament. They furthermore, cannot, and will totally avoid the question of "If a god exists, what was the source that created this god?" Saying that god always WAS, is an avoidance of reality.

Everything, even the smallest particle in the universe owes its existence to some source. A god is incapable of creating itself. The laws of nature do not allow for something to come into existence of its own accord. There must be a cause or source for the existence of something before it can exist. God could not have created itself out of nothing by merely wishing itself into existence. For example the planet Earth did not create itself, it is a product of events that transpired over billions of years. If there were no sun, the earth would never have evolved into a planet teeming with millions of diverse life-forms sustained by the right mixture of air, water, and all the other elements that sustain life on this planet.

The clergy say it is of no consequence what this god, that they can't visualize, looks like, just accept they say, their inconclusive answer that IT EXISTS because the bible says it does. This is one of the main problems, among all the other countless religious fictions that originated in the remote past, when it was acceptable to imagine or conduct rituals based on human concepts of what a god might or not be like. Different cultures have different concepts of what they assume or imagine a god might be. Once this totally irrational concept entered the human consciousness of the tribal community it was accepted as a reality. No one dared question those who proposed this fantastically absurd assumption because the majority within these primitive societies did not have at their disposal, knowledge of other concepts that might refute the pseudo-religious reality communicated by their alleged holy men. If there were, (and there was) other concepts of existence that did not rely on a god as the source of their existence, they were either not available to the public, or they were deliberately concealed, and in some circumstances, previous concepts and writing related to other philosophical concepts of existence were burned, banned, censored, or in the case of the great library in Alexandria, Egypt, destroyed because of religious fanaticism.¹

The priestly class, once in the possession of the concept of a god, had as another advantage, a powerful tool of communication that was useful to exploit the people in any manner that was advantageous to their  ambition to dominate over the society in which they existed. They could suppress, censor, and even commit murder in the name of their god by convincing the public that certain acts (contrived sins) that they deemed as contrary to the laws of their god, demanded death or severe punishment for the individual unfortunate enough to be prosecuted by the clergy. Many of the sins described as disapproved by their god, were man-made concepts of sin. You don't approve of a certain act? make it a sin or crime, and state that the punishment is the law of god, and the religious establishment can innocently proclaim they are doing what their god demands. For example, Catholic and Protestant fundamentalist opposition toward homosexuality and abortion rights, are primitive concepts of sin. Concepts that are no longer applicable in this era, when scientific evidence regarding the above mentioned, have clearly demonstrated that neither of these examples have anything whatsoever to do with a god or bizarre religious concepts of morality. As for opposition toward abortion, this medical procedure, is not as the religious proclaim, against god's laws, it an irrational viewpoint based on the false assumption that a fetus is a person even before it has fully developed within the womb. It's also a continuation of the religious fundamentalist continuation of suppressing a woman's right to ownership of her body. The wacky, idiotic fundamentalist theists have always expressed opposition toward a female's right to the same civil rights afforded males in this society. Abortion and homosexual opposition within the Catholic hierarchy, is resisted, because  neither function or act contributes to the recreation of more lives dedicated to beliefs promulgated by this religion.

Observe those who spend their lives ranting and raving against extending the same benefits to women that men receive in society, and you can immediately tell who, whether political or religious, opposes  extending the same rights to homosexuals in this society. Two extreme examples of this irrational perspective, is the pope and his hierarchy of braindead priests, and the Christian American Taliban yo-yo, Dr. James Dobson, who has become enormously wealthy preaching his implausible, nonsensical religious concepts on radio, publications, and books.

Sarah Palin, the current celebrity of the fundamentalist right, and John McCain's choice for vice president, is a perfect example of a politically motivated god enthusiast, who if she had the means, would start a campaign to eliminate legal abortion, and prevent homosexuals from having the same civil rights enjoyed by the heterosexual community. The main and obvious reason she was chosen as McCain's vice president, was to gain the support of the religious fundamentalist community that was, to an extent, responsible for the election of George W. Bush. Before McCain chose her, this establishment of religiously befuddled  zealots, was reluctant to voice support for McCain, because of previous comments he made (correctly), in condemning its leaders for some of their lunatic comments and actions.

The dominant role of the priestly class in societies, is responsible for as many or more crimes as those committed in societies dominated by dictatorial leaders with fascist inclinations. The crimes of religious hierarchies in the past were justified on the basis of a false, concocted theology.  They were committed with the same zeal and insanity that presently motivates zealous religious fundamentalists within the Islamic faith. In previous eras, acts of brutality and barbarism was rampant among the Christian establishment. Most readers are aware of the numerous inquisitions, religious wars, and the extreme religious autocracy of the early settlers in this country. These were individuals who left their native country because of religious beliefs considered so extreme, that they were restrained from practicing their puritanical beliefs and decided to start new communities in America, where they could freely structure a society without interference from government intrusion. It never occurred to them that their beliefs were based on the concept of a god that is as fictional as the son, Jesus, depicted in the New Testament.

The Christian Taliban fundamentalists who presently infiltrate the  landscape of America, have similar concepts of godism; an obsession that is no different than the fascist theocracy that  dominated the minds and actions of the early settlers, with the exception that the current theocrats are zealously motivated to turn this nation into a government of religious, political despots, who are at this  time, mainly associated with the current Republican party. McCain's choice of the unqualified, no nothing, Sarah Palin, make it all the more evident that this political party has attached its future success to the same ambitious campaign of the religious fundamentalist establishment's dedication to turn the USA into a fascist  Christian theocracy. Present indications are, that the election of 2008, may conclude with a resounding defeat of both the ambitions of the Republican party and the theofascist right.

The brutalities of a dictator usually cease to exist once that dictator has been ousted, or killed, but the murder, ignorance, brutality, and anti-democratic concepts of religious establishments worldwide, continue to exist, usually with benign approval of the government in which they reside.

For instance, Stalin and Hitler no longer exist, and the killing attributed to their regimes has ceased, but the religious fundamentalists on this planet continue as they always have, with no indication that in most circumstances, the unbelievable religious fantasy they promote, will at any time in the foreseeable future cease to exist.

The present tragic objectives of Islamic extremism, and the Catholic, Protestant undemocratic objectives in this current decade are an indication that the hierarchy of these god-oriented establishments are far from changing their godly ambitions and exploitation of society. Change, like evolution, takes time, and in the case of religions based on a theology of god-belief, it may be fifty years or several centuries before the false delusions of this belief are no longer relevant to living a rational existence on this planet.

appendix: ¹ Bertrand Russell made the following statement: "Every Christian has been taught the story of the Caliph destroying the library in Alexandria. As a matter of fact, this library was frequently destroyed and frequently recreated. Its first destroyer was Julius Caesar, and its last antedated the Prophet. The early Mohammedans, unlike the Christians, tolerated those whom they called 'people of the Book', provided they paid tribute. In contrast to the Christians, who prosecuted not only pagans but each other, the Mohammedans were welcomed for their broadmindedness, and it was largely this that facilitated their conquests. To come to later times, Spain was ruined by fanatical hatred of Jews and Moors; France was impoverished by the persecution of the Huguenots.

Colin Wilson, a popular science and researcher expressed his opinion that the demolition of the Alexandrian library was caused by Christian clergy. He writes, "The library of Alexandria—which contained, among other things, Aristotle's own collection of his books—was burned down on the orders of the Archbishop of Alexandria (backed by the Emperor Theodosius). Knowledge was evil; had not Adam been evicted from Paradise for wanting to know?"


posted by Brian Worley     All rights reserved



To Return to the Main Page