June 25, 2008

What Christianity Costs Christians

I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard some variation of the following:
Why do you waste your time criticizing Christian beliefs? Even if they are not true, it isn't like they hurt anyone. They bring comfort to many, so who are you to say there is anything wrong with them?
I believe I last heard it from my own mother! In this post, I'll offer a brief response.

Of course, I do not believe for a second that criticizing Christianity is a waste of my time or anyone else's. The irrationality of Christian belief is not even debatable, and that is sufficient to warrant criticism. However, it is really the harm caused by Christian belief that drives my blogging and not merely the irrationality.

To discover several examples of how Christianity harms Christians, I refer the reader to an excellent post by Truthseeker at exChristian.net. In a nutshell, the author points out how Christianity fosters dependency, encourages false expectations, , decreases enjoyment of everyday life, leads believers to waste both time and money, drives others away, leads thinking people to intellectual anguish, and deprives believers of many opportunities.

To this, I'll add the following observations about religious belief in general:
  1. Religious belief is divisive, fostering a particularly extreme "us vs. them" mindset which spawns intolerance and cruelty through dehumanization of the other.
  2. The comfort provided by religious belief is necessarily a false comfort, and this may prevent the believer from seeking effective, reality-based solutions.
  3. Religious belief tends to promote some form of fatalism, and this also tends to discourage effective problem-solving. This can actually be life-threatening.
  4. Believing something erroneous because it makes one feel good is not laudable in any way, shape, or form.
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