I don't know what time it's supposed to be, but this is Harold Camping's fourth attempt at predicting an apocalypse. I don't know about you but personally, I stopped taking him seriously after the third failed attempt. (Or, you know, the first.)
Apparently, apocalypse prophecies have been going on for a while. According to this, one of the earliest predictions of an apocalypse took place around 2800BC. I quote:
"According to Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end."
Approximately 4811 years later, people are still stupid enough to believe that the end is going to come in the form of a predicted apocalypse or a rain of fire sent from heaven to smite us. Some are even stupid enough to waste their entire life savings to promote said predictions, proving once again that Darwin was wrong all along.
(Are we sure we're not still monkeys?)
I was raised a Christian by my parents; I grew out of it around the age of 17. When I told my dad that I was questioning certain things about religion, he answered that if my sister, my brother or I ever decided we were not Christians, it would kill him. After that, I stopped discussing religion with him and my mother and restricted myself to jokes, such as:
[dad is about to throw out Easter eggs, mum intervenes]
Mum: Don't throw them away! I'm going to take them to the church this weekend.
Me: They're not edible, what are they going to do with them?
Mum: It's Ascension day, you're supposed to take them to church on Ascension day.
Me: What's Ascension day?
Mum: It's the day that Jesus returns to heaven, 40 days after his resurrection.
Me: And what does he need the eggs for? Don't they have restaurants on the way?
or pretending I'm following Christian rules, such as:
[mum and dad are at our country house, I'm at our city house; it's Good Friday, and I'm eating chicken nuggets]
Dad (on the phone): You're not drinking milk, are you?
Me: Oh, no, no. I haven't drunk milk since yesterday. I mean, Tuesday.
Dad: Good. So, what are you going to eat today?
Me: Sorry, dad, gotta go! *click*
And I'm all right with that. They don't bother me with going to church, I don't depress them by telling them what I think of church. But every now and again (i.e. every single day), something will happen that will remind me why religion sucks. There are many reasons, but the most important ones for me are:
#1: It starts wars.
Since the beginning of time, religion has been at the very centre of wars. From the Crusades to the Reconquista, the Muslim Conquests, the European Wars of Religion and the numerous cases of Islamic terrorism, where there's been religion, there've been wars.
As Religious War Org puts it: "Please kill each other soon, so we can have our planet back."
Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people?
("Thou shalt not kill, unless it is to defend the honour of Me
and other Creatures of questionable existence.")
I honestly will never be able to understand what is going on inside the heads of those people. What levels of brainwashing does one require in order to believe that if they kill a bunch of strangers, 72 virgins are going to wait for them in heaven?
(Ever since Satanism went out of fashion, heaven has been having trouble with stock.)
What kind of IQ do you need to figure out that this is a load of you-know-what? And who the hell came up with the idea that we need to teach other people the "right way" of doing things?
Just take a look at this. (Relax, it's only like 90 seconds.)
I find this pretty impressive, and rather terrifying. This represents thousands of people lost, and it was all in the name of religion.
Now let's look at it more individually...
#2: It turns people into morally superior assholes.
When I used to work at Starbucks, we had the option of soy milk for lactose-intolerant people or people who were fasting. While untouched through most of the year, soy milk always became immensely popular during Easter. There was one customer, however, who had asked me if we had alternative options for milk during Christmas. The conversation went sort of like this:
Me: We have soy milk. It's 100% lactose free, if you're lactose intolerant.
Customer: Oh, no, no. I'm just fasting.
Customer: *smile of superiority* Yeah, yeah, most people don't know, but you're supposed to fast during Christmas as well. I bet you didn't know that.
Me: No, but I'm not Christian.
Customer: Oh, what are you? A Buddhist?
Me: An atheist, actually.
Customer: .... Oh. *takes the beverage and goes* Merry Christmas! Err.... Bye!
Many religious people have the cunning ability to convince themselves that by declaring themselves religious they're automatically elevated to a high level of morality that atheists can never hope to reach. It doesn't matter if they go to church twice a year; it doesn't matter if they say "Jesus fucking Christ!" ten times a day; just as long as they maintain the status of "Religious", they're better than you. And it's not just against atheists or agnostics: it's against other religions, too. The sort of mentality that makes 5-year-olds declare "MY MUM IS BETTER THAN YOURS!", which you should get over by the time you hit 13, carries over in many cases, such as:
(Courtesy of PostSecret.)
Congratulations, Christian bitch. You really showed that Jew!
... Wait, what?
Another example from PostSecret:
Yep. Apparently failure is measured in how many of your children learn to think for themselves. Postcard sender, all I say is I can identify.
#3: It blocks human rights.
This lovely British couple earlier this year was denied the right to foster care because they had stated to a social worker that they would teach children under their care that the "homosexual lifestyle" is morally wrong. As a reaction to the court ruling, they claimed they were being discriminated against because they were Christians.
("As Christians, we find it preposterous that we are not allowed to teach children to discriminate.")
I'm not even going into cases such as Westboro Baptist Church. I'm only going to say that apparently, religion is the perfect excuse if you want to be a dick against minorities, be they women, gay people, black people or aliens. All you've got to say is that [insert group of people you're against] threaten the "stability/sanctity/importance of [insert religious mumbo-jumbo]" and you're set.
#4: It's RIDICULOUS and IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
I recently discovered this on Facebook:
It was uploaded by a "friend" I've never met in my life and whom I quickly deleted after this. Not before I noticed one of the responses below her post, however:
The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat
his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master so he can remove an
evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a
talking snake to eat from a magic tree.
Brian McLaurin, you're my hero.
When I was in high-school, we had this crazy religion teacher who used to tell us that if a girl enters a church when she's having her period, she has to either burn the first sanitary napkin she used that month or throw it in the ocean.
(God condones pollution, among other things.)
The day when we were discussing Jesus Christ's death on the cross, she said that when he exhaled his last breath, God got so angry with humans that it started raining down. That's when I raised my hand and asked: "But isn't God supposed to not have the same emotions as humans, like anger?"
Her response was: "Errr... Yes, you're right. It wasn't God himself who got angry. It was nature. Nature got angry with humanity and expressed God's sorrow for the death of his son."
Then another student asked: "Why? He was going to be resurrected in three days anyway."
Apparently, it didn't matter. God had a temper that day. Can you blame him? His son died.
(Of course, God knew Jesus was going to die, but I'll get to that.)
#5: I can't be held accountable (or be proud) for anything I do.
I love this bit about Christianity. Judaism, Islam and Buddhism require you to persevere, to be a [let's say good] person until the end of your life so you can get your virgins/avoid being reborn as a ladybug/whatever. But in order to get into heaven, all you have to do is repent for your sins before you die. You can be an asshole who steals, exploits and kills people all your life, but if you repent on your deathbed, it's all cool, bro.
Now I know what I have to do! Now if only I wanted to spend the rest of eternity with religious people, I'd do it. But I don't.
And it doesn't stop there. Many religions assert that everything is predestined, but you're still judged by how you act. Get it? God has decided everything you're going to do, but you still get punished for doing it.
If I knew somebody was about to do something evil like, oh, I dunno, genocide, I'd do everything in my power to stop them. And since God is also omnipotent, I assume he has a hell of a lot of power. He just doesn't want to stop you, because you have free will, so you're allowed to do what he already knew you were going to do when he created you in order to give you free will.
If you ask me, God sounds like a bit of an asshole.
Moral of the story: