>>> What do we gain from arguments like this wouldn't it be better to have a belief in god?
But thanks for asking, your forerunners used a sword to make their point. So I am TRULY grateful.
>>> we should be working together to stop world hunger, aids, war, homelessness, cancer
I agree, so why do you need religion for those things? I don't need a carrot (Heaven) or a stick (Hell). Even if there is a God, I absolutely REFUSE to accept any kind of scapegoating Human Sacrifice on my behalf. Where I have done wrong, punish ME for it, I will own my failures.
And if anything seems to hold promise for resolving these types of issues it would seem to be science, and not religious faith.
I find ample reason to try to be a positive force by examining my own existence and observing Nature. Nature rewards cooperation, symbiosis, interdependence, flexibility, action and foresight.
Brains serve two amazing purposes:
(1) to be able to model the world in order to make better predictions (giving us the benefit of a very flexible foresight without requiring any magic) - this requires memory and a whole host of other nifty computational tricks
(2) to enable us to act in the world with greater complexity than simpler organisms, it is a command-and-control center that gathers data via our sensory organs and allows us to 'act' in the world on the basis of our foresight by controlling motor functions
To be able to do such things, Brains require the cooperation of trillions of cells, working together -- and let's be clear, this is TRILLIONS of cells who have GIVEN UP their near-immortality (their progenitors survived for ~3.6 BILLION years!!! but this will be their last generation with a near certainty [with notable but rare exceptions]). The ONLY cells in your body that have any chance of producing maybe one or a few of the next generation of cells are your gamete cells. So every generation, hundreds of trillions of cells sacrifice their billions of years of continuity so that a few can pass through that narrow genetic keyhole.
How amazing is that? Why isn't that in the Bible? Why doesn't it describe genetics, and viruses and bacteria and diet as the sources of our diseases instead of 'casting out demons' into pigs? Where are the antibiotics to help compensate for our lacking immune systems? Where are the anesthetics that could have alleviated hundreds of thousands of years of horrific suffering due our very necessary but completely uncontrollable sense of pain?
[[Aside: And we know that pain is COMPLETELY, 100% illusory. There is no such thing as pain, there is only the EXPERIENCE of pain. There is no pain in the body that is experienced. Brains CREATE the experience of pain purely based on sensory data (often getting it wrong! failing to signal pain sometimes when it should and often creating false pain) because simpler organisms who lacked this sense destroyed themselves (even humans with our greater intellect cannot do very well without a sense of pain, look up videos of kids with this disorder where they cannot feel pain AT ALL).]]
But once we've taken care of the root cause of our pain, anesthetics enable us to heal more quickly and retain our sanity. And our collective mental state is EXTREMELY important for our individual morality as well. Childhood abuse is very harmful to ones innate senses of Empathy and Compassion that are the very basis of our sense of morality (a sense that is successful BECAUSE it enables those things I spoke of earlier like cooperation). This is why it is so critical for us to fight to end physical and emotional abuse of every human being.
The only way to make sense of this reality is that we're a deeply ignorant species, crashing our way through history, and slowly growing out of this ignorance. Not a SHRED of evidence for a God that I can see.
I can make peace with a universe that simply IS, and our suffering is an unavoidable by-product of that process (and our responsibility to manage it). But I cannot fathom how someone can look at the reality of the world and go 'Wow, what a design! Clearly made by an all-loving, all-just, all-forgiving being!'. Just boggles my mind because there is so much wrong with it. 2.5 million children will starve to death this year, while 10 million people total will suffer horrifically before their deaths of starvation and untreated, painful diseases.
I USED to believe in God. But only because I was indoctrinated as a child with lies that took me decades of careful study to overcome. A state of affairs that I can now see is nothing but emotional child abuse. I don't harbor any resentment over it, but I would love to see it change.
I also don't wish to make Religion illegal, that would be stupid and harmful and accomplish nothing positive at all. But I am here to give my small voice to a reality that, for thousands of years, wasn't allowed to have a voice or defend itself.
A reality I approach based upon a deep and profound concern for Truth.
Not an easy or comforting faith, of which there are hundreds of thousands of variations, but one grounded in evidence and logical reasoning.
Not one that claims ultimate truths but one that rejects the unsound and only cautiously accepts supportable conclusions.
One in which KNOWN sources of errors, bias, and illogical are systematically removed from our conclusions.
One in which demonstrably unsound methodologies (such as Faith) are rejected.