Religious Science – A Contradiction in Terms

My parents, my sister, and I went to a Religious Science church when I was a kid. My parents didn’t force us to go. I don’t know what would have happened if one of us refused to go. At one of the Religious Science churches, they had the largest theater organ on the West Coast (of the United States). I had from an early age been a piano and organ player and tolerated getting up early in order to hear the organ before the services. I used to tell people that the church I went to seemed more focused on the realities of life than what I saw of other churches on TV and in movies. It was not all reading from the bible, calling everyone a sinner, and singing about God’s glory. They talked more about actual financial issues than I had ever seen from other churches. Later in my cynical life, I realize this was probably just a lead-in to asking for donations.

I am not exactly sure, but I believe I had the beginnings of my atheism already stirring inside me when I was going to church. I was not buying what they were preaching. I only attended Sunday School once that I can remember. I know I didn’t like it and preferred being with my parents in the regular part of the church. The other kids in Sunday School just seemed weird and ill-mannered. They were not living the same life that I was living. These kids were believing the supernatural stories they were being told or at least not questioning them. There were jokes in the services, but none as good as the jokes I heard from more unconstrained comedians.

I believe they called themselves “Religious Scientists” because they were using the word “science” to bring some legitimacy to their religious beliefs. This is fine in theory but no examination of deities can stand up to the scrutiny of the scientific method. I put a link to the Wikipedia article on the “scientific method” because I don’t think most people actually understand what the scientific method means. It involves asking questions, experimentation, examining results, and peer review until scientists truly call something fact. A theory only becomes fact after many scientists have run that theory through many independent scientific studies. Evolution is not a theory because it has been proven correct so often that it is considered overwhelmingly by scientists to be true. What you believe doesn’t matter. You can believe a hypothesis but it will not stand up to the scientific method if it can be proven false.

Religious people see the scientific method as unsuitable for examining what they believe to be true. Scientists can be just as biased as religious people when they believe something to be true. Both of their beliefs can be found to be unsupported when they come up against the scientific method. When a legitimate scientist encounters a false result, they try more experiments until they come to a positive result. Even after they find a positive result, they run the exact same tests several more times to confirm the result was not a fluke. After that, the results get peer reviewed by other scientists. Admittedly, the steps I have given here have been overly simplified. When religious people have attempted to “scientifically” prove the validity of their religion, the scientific method becomes far too stringent. If you don’t have faith in the religion, no amount of science is going to help you gain the faith. You just have to believe.

I don’t think Religious Science is a bad religion (Catholicism, Scientology, and Mormonism definitely deserve high honors in this category), but I do think the followers are being lied to by the practitioners of Religious Science. Because a religion lies to its followers less than other religions does not make that religion good for people. All religions lie to their followers because there are no facts to back up the supernatural elements that all religions have in common. Supernatural equals unsubstantiated. This kind of narrative or text is fine in the realm of fiction but not fine for supposed non-fiction. Religious Science is a religion based on fiction as are all religions.

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The Moral Atheist

The biggest misconception about being an atheist by those who see atheism as a bad thing is that atheists cannot possibly have morals because they do not have a God or higher power to guide them away from immoral deeds. Obviously, all atheists chose atheism as a way to avoid being a moral human (and hang out in strip bars). How can you make decisions in life on how to do the right thing without guidance from a supernatural being? If your flimsy beliefs are the only thing preventing you from murdering me, you are no longer invited to my house for dinner. I pride myself in being a moral person not because I think someone or something is watching me but because I am a happier person without mistreating other people. I feel good when I do the right thing because what I do impacts others which in turn impacts me.

How do you know what morals are the right ones to follow? By the time you are an adult, your brain, your parents, and everyone else around you should have given you the skills to know right from wrong. If not, prison becomes an option. When your mom takes your hand as a child and walks you across the street, you are learning a valuable lesson about when it is proper and safe to cross the street. The bible tells you to obey thy mother and father but it is life that actually teaches you what is right or safe and whether your parents should be obeyed. If your dad drags you into the middle of the street almost getting you hit by a car, you are going to file this event down as the right thing to do (or file your dad as the wrong person to obey). Especially if your parents tell you to do what the Bible says and you see them openly ignoring their own advice, you are likely to think that morals are merely words that have nothing to do with reality.

Laws in the U.S. do more to keep people doing the right thing than the ten commandments ever did. Laws have changed throughout time because social norms have changed. To still adhere to laws from the past that most people agree do not apply to modern life is to live in the past (where people were much less attractive and the world smelled much worse). Many of the moral lessons of the Bible and other ancient religious documents are good guidelines today, but there are still lessons that are completely inappropriate in today’s world. The world has changed a great deal since these documents were written. Your morals cannot be stagnant. They need to change as the world changes. If you told people in 1937 not to be a Troll on the Internet, they would, at best, misinterpret that statement as a warning to avoid bridges.

A person must be forced to believe in a supernatural being to accept the rules of religious doctrines. These rules are drilled into children at an early age. The focus is mainly on learning these rules because they have to learn what not to do before they can start doing those immoral things. They are told what the rules are but not why they need to follow those rules. “Wait a minute!” you might say. They follow those rules because the religious doctrines tell them to do so. This is the equivalent of your mom telling you to clean your room because she said so. Your mom has no intention of going over the myriad of reasons you need to clean your room any more than religious parents have of telling their child why you do not take God’s name in vane. The difference between these two scenarios is the mom could actually list out the safety, aesthetic, and organizational reasons behind cleaning your room, but she is usually too exasperated to do so. The religious parents can only recite the same illogical religious text that the children questioned in the first place.

We have evidence all around us why someone should follow societal laws in a non-religious culture. When you see someone get hit by a car because they were walking outside a crosswalk or against the light, you see what happens when someone ignores these laws. He puts his safety at risk and he put others safety at risk to save one minute of using a crosswalk. If you look to the rules of religious doctrines, you will not be told what to do in this situation. You will not even be told to follow the rules of the government in which you live (unless the religious rules are built into your government). This creates a conflict between religion and society at large. When the government says all people are equal but your religion tells you that some people are inherently evil, you must decide which rules to follow (and a judge must decide how long to keep you in jail).

Not of Your Thinking Philosophy

The Point of Not of Your Thinking is to unite those of us who question, ask why, and don’t believe everything we are told. This is a place on the Internet for the logically minded, independent thinkers, and skeptics. There are not going to be too many fashionable or cool items here unless you consider things that make you think cool. Nerds of the world unite! There are plenty of places on the Internet to find conspiracies. This will not be one of them. One stipulation I have regarding articles for Not of Your Thinking is entertainment. The articles must be humorous, enlightening, and as truthful as possible. Hearing someone rant seriously about a topic that is dear to his or her own heart will usually bore most other people. I am not here to start a political movement. I am here to be the entertainment monkey of the skeptical world.

“I am here to be the entertainment monkey of the skeptical world.”

— Me

While the point of Not of Your Thinking is to question, one question I will not question nor will I answer is the question of religion (Any questions?). In the first place, religious discussions only become interesting if a fight breaks out in the middle of them. Secondly, the reason religion is a constant throughout history is because it cannot definitively be proven correct or incorrect. Belief is a weak argument. Anyone can believe whatever they want, but that does not mean I have to believe anything that person says. Not of Your Thinking is an attempt to discuss information that has been proven (or disproven) scientifically or through logic and reasoning. (And to use parentheses as much as possible.)

As one might guess, I am quite skeptical of religion. In my younger “please everyone” days, I called myself an agnostic. In my older years, I like the idea of getting under people’s skin so I call myself an Atheist. Basically, there’s not one definitive piece of evidence for the existence of God (except that people really, really want him to exist). There is also not one piece of evidence that he does not exist because of the rules setup by the religions who created him. To keep myself and others from having hours of useless and unending discussions, I am cutting off the religious debates now. This does not mean that inconsistencies within religion cannot be discussed. Especially in areas where religion steps out of its bounds and encroaches on non-religious segments of the world. I will certainly not ignore these happenings.

I have neither read the Bible nor examined in detail the many religions of the world. I know enough about them to know that they are based on supernatural superstitions. If they were not, they would not be called religions. When worship and faith take precedent over verifiable facts and scientific study, I do not intend to dumb myself down in order to take in these religious anecdotes and stories. Many other historical documents have been written that have more relevance than the ancient texts of the Bible. The Bible is at most an allegory but it is horribly outdated and has very little connection to today’s world.

Not of Your Thinking is not designed to speak ill of any person or group for who they are. I will always point out problems with what some people say and what they do. If someone is speaking in falsehoods or follows the practices of someone else’s falsehoods, those lies will hopefully be caught and shown to be false. If I miss any falsehoods, hopefully, someone else will point them out for me.

What is “Not of Your Thinking” (NotofYourThinking.com)

Goal:  The goal of this site is to give a voice to those who are tired of accepting the status-quo. It is for people who can and often do think for themselves. You have a brain and you’re not afraid to use it.

Who is it for?:  Free thinkers, individual thinkers, freedom of expressionists, creative people, skeptics, people who think more than they talk, nonconformists, nerds, atheists, agnostics, independent thinkers, nonconformists, and lovers of change.

Who is it not for?:  Theists, groups, party liners, conservatives, conformists, haters of change, haters in general (critics), lovers of the status-quo, sports jocks & fans, and those who don’t like questions.