Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Religion is a Lie" is a Lie

This name of this domain,, promises something completely different from what it delivers. While it pretends to be critical of religion, in fact it is nothing more than the usual gibberish-for-Jesus.

When your product is intellectually bankrupt, is it any wonder that you have to lie to sell it?


Eric Burnett said...

On the contrary. You interpreted it as what, discarding religion and embracing science? A reasonable interpretation, but that doesn't make it the only one.

A quick look at the site shows that it is actually contrasting organized religion with personal faith. These are different concepts, and people are perfectly capable of accepting one without the other. You and I may not agree, but since when is having a different opinion a crime?

I read your site for reasoned discussion, such as your talk at Guelph. Just bashing religion (or faith) arbitrarily doesn't help the cause though. That reminds me of a quote by Al Gore:

"When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, holler."

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Faith is still religion, isn't it? When the site promises one thing and delivers another, that's dishonest.

And who said anything about a "crime"? Please don't ascribe to me opinions I don't hold.

Eric Burnett said...

In this case, no, I don't think faith and religion are synonymous. Their website defines religion as a "man made system of rules, beliefs and traditions". They seem to hold a simpler view - faith in Jesus and God, without couching it in the traditions or specific views of any one named religion, or religious text, etc. More of a general faith that there is something more than this life. A difference in definitions I guess, but they are quite upfront about what they are talking about. I'll grant you that they name Jesus, although without pushing that you need to believe he was divine to have faith. Regardless though, I see nothing they have promised and not delivered.

sorry about 'crime', bad word choice I suppose. Either way, that was supposed to say "You and they may not agree...", not "you and I", with regards to your comment at the end. It reads to me as a blatant insult to anyone who has any kind of faith, with no argument to back it up.

Eric Burnett said...

I'd like to retract my earlier statements. While I do think that religion and faith aren't synonymous, digging deeper into this site and its sponsors shows it to actually be for a "nondenominational christian church", aka a religion as you said. Teaches me for responding without doing the proper research!

Jeffrey Shallit said...

When you say "A is B", a common interpretation is that "A is a form of B" or "A is an example of B". For example, I might say "a deer is an animal". This doesn't mean that "deer" and "animal" are synonymous. So I don't understand why, when I say "faith is still religion", you think I am declaring them to be synonymous. I'm not.

They can define "religion" to be "a man made system of rules, beliefs and traditions", but that's not the commonly-understood definition of "religion". For example, one definition found online is "a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices" (emphasis mine). Under that definition, their "faith" would certainly be religion. And I think it would be religion under nearly everyone's understanding of the term.

paul01 said...

It may seem a bit of a con for these people to say that "Religion is a lie." But I think that it is a bit more than a public stance, or a PR manoeuver. In fact it goes right down to the personal level and forms part of the personal stance of many an individual. A friend of mine who is "born again" stated to me that he hated religion in all its forms. And my aunt, who was a Jehovah's Witness certainly had an extrememly severe attitude towards mainstream religion, and would sometimes behave rather badly at funerals when clergy were attempting to lead mourners in prayer. Fundamentally I believe they see it as an opposition of faith and works.

Of course I do not believe for a moment that they are right. They are just as religious, and even more exclusive- dangerously so- than the mainstream religionists. But I do not think they are necessarily lying to us, or running a con.

Sometimes you see in religion surveys a category "non-religious" and some of the figures are rather high. I have often wondered how many of the responders might have been people of this ilk.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

No problem, Eric. I should say that they are welcome to believe anything they want, and worship anything they want. My main objection is to the false advertising.

Anonymous said...

First they ask which belief system will save you. Then the Belief section states their "bias" quite plainly: "With all our backgrounds and religious upbringings, we've only found those specific things in the person of Jesus Christ and we want a relationship with him." In my book, most of the worlds troubles were caused by some religion. To me, religion is just a sanctified wrapper placed on politics. I'll have to think this through a bit more because I have come to believe that faith is separate from religion.

Neel said...

Maybe it's just a "frame".