18th April 2012

“Why bother criticising religion if it causes so much hassle? The answer is: look back at our history. How did Christianity lose its ability to terrorise people with phantasms of sin and Hell? How did it stop spreading shame about natural urges – pre-marital sex, masturbation or homosexuality? Because critics pored over the religion's stories and found gaping holes of logic or morality in them.”

Johann Hari

9 Responses to “18th April 2012”

  1. R J Says:

    why bother, indeed .

    the religions of this world have earned

    every bit of criticism they are called

    upon to face .

  2. Defiantnonbeliever Says:

    Why hasn’t it been criticized more with less restraint? It is upping the anti lately terrorizing science, medicine, social law, and the very sustainability of life on the planet with it’s obstructionist and whackadoodle bunk.

  3. Dan Says:

    A little off-topic, but on a personal note I returned to work today after the long Greek Easter weekend (a week later than Catholic/Protestant Easter). They have this strange custom of insisting on insisting and kissing everyone they know on the cheek whom they haven’t seen since Easter, and saying “??????? ??????!” (literally translated: “Christ is Resurrected!”). And it’s considered rude if you don’t reply with “Truly, he is risen!” (but in Greek, of course).

    Because I don’t look Muslim, and because I don’t wear my views of religion on my sleeve as they say, everyone (and I mean even slight acquaintances whom I barely know, as well as those I know well) are coming up to me all week this week and doing this. I’ve been politely side-stepping the issue by replying in a secular “Happy Holiday” kind of way, and occasionally getting ugly looks from people for that reply.

    And it’s just not right. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in the power of a Zombie Jesus to absolve me of my wrongdoings. That’s just silly. And to shove silly beliefs in my face and think that I’m the rude one for not joining in is just asinine.

    So I truly am very appreciative of and impressed by everyone who has the nerve to criticize these bozos openly. Maybe, slowly, they’ll start to acknowledge that there are some people in the world who, unlike them, has a bit of sense. For me, I’m simply too mild-mannered and just want to get along. But sometimes I wish I had a bit more nerve.

  4. Dan Says:

    Damn, sorry about that – it seems that WordPress doesn’t accept Greek text.

  5. Scarlett Says:

    “How did Christianity lose its ability to terrorise people with phantasms of sin and Hell? How did it stop spreading shame about natural urges – pre-marital sex, masturbation or homosexuality?” ….. It didn’t!

  6. R J Says:

    DAN AT 816

    your 3rd paragraph expresses the feelings of many

    people who have serious reservations about the point,

    and value, and influence of religions in the world today.

    we dont buy into it …………….and dont apologize

    for our viewpoints.

    nerve really doesnt have all that much to do with

    sharing our views……….but, there is NO point in

    being indiscreet .

    and there is nothing wrong with keeping your thoughts

    private .

    i happen to know people who despise blacks. i happen

    to know people who hate the police .

    and……. these people spend lots of time and effort and

    money to work toward ends for these groups that

    they feel are justified.

    they do this QUIETLY

    sometimes, dan, it is simply wiser to keep vour views to yourself.

  7. Dan Says:

    Yes of course I agree with you generally – being discreet and courteous are important for maintaining social relationships, of course. Those are the reasons why I don’t voice my opinions much in public.

    But at the same time, it makes me appreciate so much more what people like Hari, Dawkins, Myers, Harris, Dennett, and many many others do through their writings and speaking engagements. Because if no one criticized religion, as Hari says in today’s quote, we’d be much worse off.

  8. reetBob Says:


    I’d extend that to all wishful/magical thinking, all pseudoscience and any other cherished beliefs that are contradicted by evidence.

  9. Gunnys Says:

    I can see no reason why everything shouldn’t be open to criticism… besides hurt feelings or a strong dislike of change.

    If it passes “the test”, adjust actions accordingly. If it doesn’t, adjust actions accordingly. Today must be subjective day.