The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The fallacy of religion

No. 1: As George Carlin put it, “When it comes to [B.S.], big time major league [B.S.], you have to stand in awe, in awe, of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest.”

I guess I should clarify a bit. I don’t mean just mainstream organized religion. I mean all superstition, from Santa Claus to the tooth fairy, from Lord Xenu to the hidden Imam, from Jesus Christ to God; all beliefs without evidence, beliefs based on faith are B.S.

I ask people to prove to me that God exists; how are you justified in believing in the existence of God? They always seem to reply with the question, “Well, can you prove to me that God does not exist?” Which brings me to the fallacy of the day: shifting the burden of proof. Shifting the burden of proof is a type of argumentum ad ignorantium fallacy in which a person thinks that something is true until proven false. Nobody has evidence to conclusively prove that unicorns do not exist, but we still reject this notion, simply because we do not have evidence to suggest that they do exist.

People often say that it’s only the fundamentalists or the radically religious people who give a bad name to religion. Most people are moderately religious and do not believe in killing infidels or bombing abortion clinics. But as the physicist Steven Weinberg put it, “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”

I’ve often heard some of my acquaintances express the notion that if they found out there was no God, they would steal and murder and rape all they want. Silly me for thinking that we evolved through a communal species, for I didn’t realize that morality, not to mention human dignity, only came after the commandments.

Perhaps if these inane beliefs in God and Noah’s ark and unicorns (Job 39:9-12) were less damaging or dangerous, I could permit these sorts of things. But I find the more I live, the more I come into contact with those who have been hurt by these bronze age myths and those who profit from perpetuating their aristocratic beliefs. I’ve often heard of this so-called “plan” that God has in store for all of his children. I ask, what in these eight years could possibly suggest a plan? As Epicurus put it, is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither willing nor able? Then why call him God?

We lose something precious when we allow for these unjustified beliefs to persist. We lose the right to speak out and criticize those who do terrible atrocities to our species, for who am I to say to those who think that women are inferior or that infidels should be killed if I think that I am allowed to believe in things on faith? Is not the Scientologist just as justified as the Catholic, considering both parties use faith? What difference is there between a cult and a religion? Once you understand why you reject all other Gods, you will realize why I reject yours.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a call to reason. We cannot and should not let the Robertsons and the Falwells to get away with audacious claims such as Sept. 11 was caused by homosexuals, since, in this country, you can get away with saying whatever you want so long as you have reverend in front of your name. I think we can all agree that we can use a little more evidence and some doubt when something is claimed by this administration, especially when there are some Americans who are a little too eager to see the end of the world. The American zeitgeist is changing, where men of reason can no longer tolerate this. There is a specter haunting America. Happy Easter!

Ken Ueda is a senior math, physics and philosophy major. He can be reached for contact at [email protected].

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