Why be an Atheist?

1. Religion is harmful because it claims knowledge of an absolute truth about what it is to be human. By definition such a claim is dangerous. It leads to immoral decision-making and excludes new insights into what it is to be human.

2. Religion blocks the development of rationalism as the guiding principle of human development.

3. Religion hinders the development of scientific knowledge.

4. Religion gives a distorted view of reality by claiming false things to be true.

5. "Reality conflict" produces real emotional distress - with damage to individuals and their families. The faithful suffer stress because the evidence of their senses and experience conflicts with their religious beliefs. An extreme example of such a conflict: in theory religions welcome death as the ultimate salvation - in practice few of the faithful seem to be very keen on it.

6. Religion creates and reinforces rifts between different communities. It spreads from generation to generation like a computer virus and perpetuates these rifts over many generations.

7. Vices develop when people are forced to keep different aspects of their humanity in separate compartments. Vices are created when natural behavior is defined as sin.

8. Religion discourages the development of democratic systems of government, freedom of expression and the evolution of society. Because religious organizations are hierarchical and the guys at the top are always right this encourages an undemocratic mind-set. Perhaps this is why so many religions are so tolerant of war - the ultimate imposition of power over others.

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