Billions of People Infected With Faith

In our lifetimes we’ve all seen or read about diseases that once killed millions, reduced to a minor inconvenience that can be avoided with a simple immunization. Our ability to defeat disease is a testament to the scientific method. This set of easy to follow rules provides the framework for any cure that has ever been. The experiments themselves may have been too complex for the layman to understand, however this simple framework that takes us from hypothesis to proof can be easily understood by almost anyone. This methodology has served humanity so well in fact, that I can only wonder why it hasn’t been applied to tackle the grandaddy of infectious disease; the most prolific epidemic to ever be set loose upon planet earth. This contagion that is referred to as “faith”.

In truth we all know the solution to wiping out faith once and for all is deceptively simple. All we need to do is to prohibit the teaching of religious doctrine to children. If we could manage to do that we could wipe out religious faith in perhaps one or two generations. This would yield a society based on secular ideas, filtered through the purifying process of the scientific method. At each new stage of our development, we could stand and rest on the best possible knowledge in any given endeavor. From these footholds we could then push off to learn even more. Can you imagine a world where we actually listen to the world’s foremost experts on any given topic? A world where all of science would be freely allowed to hypothesize, struggle through a process of falsification and then, after the rigors of this process are over, reach a proof as close to the truth as humanly possible? Even in those instances where the hypothesis is wrong, we learn new facts, unearth new questions and thus our understanding could potentially grow in the process. In short can you see, in your lifetime, a world where humanity begins to reach anything like our full potential?

Well, I’m sorry to say that I can’t, and I can say with some certainty, neither can you! Why the hell not? Well, it’s because we know that any time the findings lead us away from that which is written in the articles of faith, we’ll find we’re on a path riddled with land mines. Dogma-bombs are exploding overhead while we crawl through the barbed wire that is religious doctrine. It’s hard to concentrate with all this noise distracting us from proceeding in an orderly fashion. Instead of doing battle with the problems that we all face, science is in a constant battle with the infected. Those indoctrinated into a world view that teaches that belief without proof is a virtue. And so, we waste valuable resources on a constant skirmish with a disease for which we have a cure. If it’s true that the medicinal properties of reason are wasted on those infected by faith. how can we proceed?. Should we soldier on, with the heaviest of hearts, while we abandon the faithful? The unfortunate truth is that this is a triage situation. We’re trying to save a planet here!

It should be the goal of Atheists to marshal our collective political muscle before it is simply too late. If we are able to exert enough secular pressure upon governments to make more difficult, or illegal, the practice of infecting children with faith, we can begin to create a society capable of tackling the problems we face. We must turn our attention to the children everywhere on this earth. Wherever children are under educated and under fed, we must find ways to raise the standard of living. We must ensure that our governments will not fund any religious pursuit, and lobby for religious organizations to pay the same taxes as any similar secular counterpart would have to pay.

Whenever faith is held up as an equivalent to science, we must illuminate the incongruity. When those infected by faith site the holy texts to refute science, we must show those who are susceptible to the cure how one simply cannot compare that which is written in an ancient scroll with tried, tested and factual scientific evidence. It must be shown, again and again that the process that produces scientific evidence is as close to pure as we can make it, while the holy texts are based on outmoded ideas that have long been falsified. We must also recognize how the infection causes the faithful to act in any debate on the subject of religion versus science.

Religious apologists always seem to use the same arguments. When it’s an argument on something specific, the holy text itself usually forms the basis of it’s own undoing. At this point most theists will divorce themselves from the text by inventing a non-literal interpretation of it. This leads to a kind of religious rope-a-dope that produces a stalemate in nearly every contest. Since holy texts are not written in our current vernacular, these multitude of interpretations can go on ad-infinitum. As the debate rages on, another generation of children are infected. Therefore the only useful goal of debate is to make free thinkers of those who are at risk of infection. This increases the likelihood that the children of those hedging their bets will at least be spared contact with religioniogenic ideology, for the most impressionable stages of early childhood. Anyone who enters any such a debate should ask themselves if the format of the debate will allow this objective to be achieved. If not, the format will need to be altered, and when this cannot be done, the invitation to engage in debate must simply be declined. I have watched hours of video of Christopher Hitchens in debate with any willing theist. Thus far only one has ever come close to bringing something even remotely original to the discussion. Douglas Wilson, a pastor from Moscow Idaho, in the documentary film “Collision”, actually provides some intelligent and thoughtful points in favor of his variant strain of the disease known as christianity. He does this so eloquently in the film that you almost forget that he is infected. However when he says that he does not take the bible literally word for word, but nevertheless believes it to be absolutely true, it becomes very clear indeed that he must be counted as one who has been stricken. Pastor Wilson is one of a very few infected whose faith has not dissuaded him from thinking. After all it’s his faith that allows him to believe absolutely what he cannot take literally. So even he, one of the best examples of a thinking man’s theist, must cross an ideological bridge to allow him to have this absolute belief in the bible. It is unfortunate for him that this bridge of faith has absolutely no substance on which he can stand. He may invoke the name of god until he is blue in the face, but until he can prove the rationality of faith, he can only pretend to cross this bridge. It is obvious, to me at least, that it is only a world view warped by infectious faith that allows him to see his feet planted firmly on the other side.

I am neither capable nor qualified to develop a treatment protocol to reduce this outbreak. Those who are more educated and more intelligent than I am must engage themselves to this end. I only suggest here that the scientific method is the most likely candidate methodology for the rectification of this pandemic. However before we can go forward here all Atheists and Anti-theists must have a common set of objectives. This is essential because we do not, for the most part hold weekly meetings. We have no anthems, no fight songs etc. So our objectives must be made clear.

We must never forget the universal truth of science. This truth being that any information discovered by science is available to everyone. The mixture of two reactive chemicals (for instance) at standard temperature and pressure yields the same results for anyone, regardless of ideology. This transparency and independent verifiability is what makes science uniquely able to unify all the peoples of planet earth. The only reason that the pandemic of faith continues to propagate itself is that the majority of the population does not understand the science and cannot give the evidence the proper weight.

Victory over this viral infection will only be achieved when the vast majority of people realize, that even though for the time being science is a somewhat leaky vessel, it, unlike faith, holds water long enough to allow one to have a drink.

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