Why religion needs warning labels

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but religion is not a victimless crime.

Every year thousands of people die as a result of religious practices and beliefs; a lot of them children. It’s such an epidemic that I think it’s time for religion to come with warning labels.

I’m not kidding.

We should regulate religion like cigarettes or alcohol. Don’t feed it to children, and slap a warning label across every book of “Holy Scripture” that reads: Warning! This can damage your mental and/or physical health, and it can cause you to harm others.

Other warnings can include:
This religion may cause depression, anxiety, a sense of fear, and feelings of self righteousness and superiority.
It may cause delusions.
It may block those things in your brain that help you understand facts and data.
It may cause false hope.
It may stop you from getting that thing checked out by a doctor.

Okay, maybe you think that warning labels are a bit excessive. Well, then, how about we try recommendation labels?

It’s recommended that you take this religion with a bucket of salt.
It’s recommended that you demand proof for every claim made by this religion before believing. (It’s recommended that you seek that proof from someone other than your priest, pastor, rabbi or imam.)
It’s recommended that you view religion as a collection of myths and fables written by people with extremely limited understanding of the world and how it worked.
It’s recommended to keep it out of the reach of children.
It’s recommended that you have that thing checked out by a doctor.

And lastly, and most importantly, it’s recommended that if you view Jesus as your co-pilot, you don’t let him take the wheel.

The Fresh Taste of Crow in the Morning

Disclaimer: I am not smart. I am not well-educated, well-read, erudite or well-spoken. As much as it is an embarrassment to admit these things, I do so, so that everyone take my utterances with a large amount of salt. And whenever you read something that makes you shake your head, please refer to this paragraph.

So American held an election, and to call the results a little polarizing is like calling space a little ‘out there’.

The election of Donald Trump, and the election cycle that preceded it, brought to the surface tensions and hostilities brewing in this country for years.

As with all things polarizing, when things break one way or another, the inevitable finger pointing starts, and this was the case over the last few days. Twitter and Facebook became battlegrounds with people hurling vituperations like pitching machines gone haywire. Full disclosure: I’m guilty of being quite the asshole on Twitter, which I realize is ironic given the above sentence. Hypocrite, thy name is Wisnton.

So what’s this got to do with atheism? Everything.

The divide in the atheist community is reflective of the divide in America. As Martin Hughes over at Barrier Breaker pointed out

“We’re really starting to hate each other, which leads to us attacking each other more, which leads to the atheist movement becoming less and less about attacking religion, and more and more about whether you’re a social justice advocate or an anti-SJW in the atheist arena.”

I don’t want to get into the whole SJW vs Anti-SJW argument here, other than to say it’s one of the core issues that’s separating us as a community and as a country. I, being the non-smart person that I am, have no answers on how to fix this, and it seems we’re destined to travel on opposite paths at least for the time being.

The point is that people who advocate for a secular government are now looking to the future with a sense of dread. True, Trump isn’t an overly religious person – hell, some even speculate that he’s a non-believer. Mike Pence, however, is every bit the Christian, and rumors are that he’s going to be very influential in the Trump administration. I think this, combined with such a decisive victory, emboldened the religious right. Progressive ideas, of which secularism is one, is out of fashion in America today.

I’m a terrible soothsayer. I foresaw Clinton sweeping the country in a landslide. More than a few people said – people whom I mocked and derided – that I was wrong, way wrong. I was. Way wrong.

I don’t know if the atheist community will come together in light of this turn of events; somehow, I think not, but I’m going to try and make an effort. My goal is to be less vocal about politics and more vocal about church and state issues.

Lastly, I do hate the taste of crow, but eating it can often be good for you, I’m told.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to weigh in.