Thursday, 11 February 2016

Why are we afraid to admit we know things?

There seems to be something of strange issue in the sceptic community. Something that raises its head on twitter from time to time. I think it's a by-product of scepticism but I'm not sure it's a good one. 

It's this thing that we can't admit that we know something. 

Tell people, including atheists, you know gods are pretend, and many of them will lose their minds. 

"You can't prove there are no gods any more than a believer can prove there is one" or "How can you possibly know that, it's impossible" "You can't prove a negative"

Fewer people would have an issue if you said you knew Leprechauns were pretend, but I don't see the difference. 

Leprechauns - characters from mythology, never shown to be real, obviously pretend creatures you never hear of besides un-provable stories about the supernatural. 

Gods aren't different, you know. Maybe you might take issue at 'obviously pretend', but if you're an atheist, I don't know why. If you're a theist...well I don't know why either. 

The only difference I can see is that there's are still a lot of people who think gods are real, but that's not reason to think they are.

Gods have everything in common with being made up, and nothing in common with being real. When you ask a theist what characteristic their god has that meet a criteria of existence, they can't answer you. 

It makes me wonder, what are we holding out for? What is keeping us from saying we know gods and goddesses can't, and don't exist? People might say well, you can't know everything. True, but I don't need to know everything to know there's no pink dragon living in my garage. 

I know my name is Donovan. How? Well, because my parents told me and they're the point of truth. Maybe they named me something, but called me something else? Okay, but I've seen my birth certificate. Maybe it's a fake? Yeah, I guess it could be. But at what point do we say it's ridiculous to keep doubting? 

I think we should avoid hyper-scepticism and at some point we have to be okay with 'knowing' something. I'm happy to say, I know my name is Donovan, because the alternative - that it's been a decades long cover up by someone who knew better, is so preposterous that I don't need to give it any credibility at all. 

I've been questioned for saying I know the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. It makes me wonder what's going on in the head of someone who thinks you can't know this. What possible event do they think might happen to make it so the sun doesn't rise in the east tomorrow? A catastrophic explosion? The earth suddenly flipping poles? What are we afraid of? It can't be that we're afraid of being wrong, because you're not going to be wrong. We know we're not going to be wrong. And we know we know we're not going to be wrong! Do you know the sun will rise in the east tomorrow? Yes, you do. Own it.

Keep in mind, knowledge doesn't require absolute certainty. Maybe you can't ever be 'absolutely certain' of something...but I bet you're not going to ever leave a building by a 12th story window just because you can't be 'absolutely certain' you will plummet to the ground. You *know* you'll plummet to the ground. Don't be afraid to say you know it'll happen.

I'm a gnostic atheist to the same extent that I'm a gnostic ALeprechaunist and I'm a gnostic apinkdragonist. Gods and goddesses are creatures of mythology. We know this for a fact. Zeus, Thor, Nike, Jupiter, Ra, Venus, just to name a few, we know these gods aren't real. I've no issue adding Yahweh to the list. Created by superstitious people, when we didn't know about the universe, didn't know how to investigate the universe, let alone that we even could. Gods are only ever invented by primitive people who don't know better. We know better now. I can't understand why any sceptic would give the existence of Yaweh even the slightest credibility. 

What if we remove the names? Not Yaweh, not Thor, not Athena, just 'god'? Does that make the idea any more credible? I don't think so. Gods are made up. They are obvious human constructs, so it comes back to the question - why are we afraid to say we know they're not real? 

The answer is, for some at least, because you suddenly get barked at about how you know! People say you've now made a claim and shove burden of proof at you. It creates a hassle that people don't want to deal with. Can I prove 100% that no gods exist? No. Can I make a case that shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that no gods or goddesses exist, yes, I can. For myself at least. 

Is this enough for me to say I know they don't exist? I think it is. 






Monday, 1 February 2016

A brief response to Ken Ham

On January 30th, Ken Ham, President, CEO, and founder of Answers in Genesis tweeted the following: 



"Atheism is nothing more than the religion of naturalism in a failed attempt to rebel against the Creator God"

I saw the above and felt it necessary to respond. 

I received some positive feedback for my response, including a suggestion from @BJPrice1 to put it into a blog. So I have. 

My response...

Ken, my fellow Australian, you are a disgrace to thinking. You're an ignoramus. Your brain has malfunctioned. 

Atheism is the logical and reasonable response to the totally absurd and unsupported claims that mythological beings are real.

If you were able to show, with evidence and verifiability, that gods exist, atheism would cease to be a thing.

It is, indeed, a fact that atheism exists because people recognise that your claims are ridiculous and unsupported.

Atheism is not an attempt to rebel against anything, Ken, let alone the god you happen to imagine is real.

Atheism is people being reasonable in the face of billions of people being gullible, superstitious, and ridiculous.

I sincerely hope that you one day value logic and reason over faith and superstition.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Release the doodles and boobies!

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is in Europe and it's not without some controversy. 

In Italy, along with talk that wine wouldn't be served at an official dinner - something the French refused to go along with - certain statues were covered to avoid offending the visiting president. The question is...why? 

According to several publications, Italian politicians have called this cover up an act of 'cultural submission'. This criticism is attributed to 'some Italian politicians' though I can't find a direct quote. 

What I find strange is that both the Italian and Iranian governments have said they didn't request the cover up. 

So, why do it? 

Well, because someone somewhere thought it was a good idea to pander to religious sensibilities. 

It wasn't. 

Covering up works of art because someone is religious is without merit. It's achieves nothing good, and makes us as a species, worse off. 

I had a friend say that if the Italians are willing to do it, and the Iranians are willing to have it happen, why is it a bad thing? 

Forgetting that it happened without any official request, it's a bad thing because it reinforces the idea that pandering to religious sensibilities is okay. It's a bad thing because it puts art in a category that suggests it's shameful and that it should be covered up. It suggests that it's okay that someone's superstitious nonsense is a priority over common sense. 

We're living in 2016. This isn't pre-renaissance. This isn't the dark ages. How did we ever get to the point were it was thought that some statues should be covered up lest they offend someone? The whole idea is absurd. 

The problem here is, once again, religion. Specifically Islam. You may ask how, given they didn't request for this to be done, and that's a fair question. 

Islam (or followers of) has become well known for being less than tolerant of ideas it doesn't agree with. Just ask Kurt Westergaard, Salman Rushdie, or the staff at Charlie Hebdo, to name a but a few. 

I'm aware that the threats and violence these people have faced aren't to do with uncovered statues, but they *are* because of the religious sensibilities of Muslims. 

Now we live in a world where people don't want to do anything that might upset Muslims. This has come about not because Muslims have made a reasonable case for why certain things shouldn't be done, but because of violent and deadly reactions to things such as cartoons. If you want to convince someone of something, you should do it with reasoned argument and discussion, not fear of death. 

Because of this we find ourselves in a situation where works of art are being covered up despite no one officially asking for it to happen. We're so keen to avoid upsetting followers of the supposed religion of peace, that we're falling over ourselves to protect them from things they didn't even ask to be protected from (and nor should they!)

It's ridiculous. 

So let's not. Let's not think it's okay to pander to this nonsense. Let's not reinforce the idea that religious people get to decide what other people can draw, or sculpt, or paint. Let's not be okay with the absurd idea that someone's religious beliefs should be considered special anywhere other than inside their own heads. 

Let's not cover them up, let's release the doodles and boobies! 







Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Why the impact of David Bowie's death was different.

On January 10 the world lost one of it's great music superstars. 

Just six days prior, I lost my mum.

Both David Bowie, and my mum, Vera, died from cancer. David's death was felt around the world, possibly by millions of people. We heard terms like 'outpouring of emotions' and 'tributes flooding in'. Local radio stations and music channels dedicated time to playing David's music, and sharing sound bites of people talking about him, as well as quotes from David himself. 

As far as I know, my mum's death didn't make the news anywhere. 

Do I think this is wrong? Do I think my mum has been treated unfairly? Not at all. 

My mum was an amazing woman. A true champion of life, and it was an absolute joy to have known her and to have been not only a part of her life, but a result of it. You can read about what became her final act of life here

I think if you read the above, you'll agree that she was an extraordinary person. 

David was also an extraordinary person. His life touched millions. He influenced countless musicians that came after him. Chances are, if you like a modern music act, they were directly or indirectly impacted by David Bowie. 

In the aftermath of the death of David Bowie, amongst the aforementioned 'outpouring of emotion' came what's become known as the 'grief police'. People who have taken to social media to tell others how they must grieve, if they must grieve at all. 

There are two things I'd like to comment on.

The first being the difference between the impact of my mum's death, compared to the impact of David's. (Or Alan Rickman's or Glenn Frey, who I found out while writing this has just passed away, or any 'celebrity' for that matter). It's quite clear that mum's death had a much smaller impact on the world than David's did. Does that mean David was a better person? Does that mean David was loved more by his family than my mum's loved her? Not at all. What it is, is that David's life was very different to the life my mum lived. Through his music he became known around the world. He was 'famous'. My mum wasn't famous. She lived what was, at least compared to David, a simple life. This difference doesn't bother me. I'm not sitting here thinking that my mum's death should be acknowledged the world over, like David's was. The difference in the impact of their deaths is indicative of the difference in the lives they had, not in their value as people. 

The second thing is people telling others how they should grieve. No. Just no. I don't want to assume to tell someone how *they* should feel about someone else's death. I have no idea what impact David Bowie, or anyone else, had on the life of someone else. I have no idea how someone used David Bowie's music to make their life better, or to get into music themselves, or whatever impact it had. Sure, that person may never have met David or may not have known David personally, but does that mean David's life didn't have a significant impact on theirs? Not at all. 

Every life is different. Every death is different. Every death is different to different people. It's not for us to tell others how they should react when someone dies. It's up to them to decide. If someone wants to sit on the back step and cry quietly, so be it. If someone wants to send a series of tweets or to make their Facebook status an epic devotion and tribute to someone who had an impact on them...so be that too. How does it hurt anyone else? 

Life is a wonderful thing. It's short, but also the single longest thing any of us will ever experience. I love that mine has been impacted by great artists from around the world. Some I've met, many I haven't. Some who'd even died before I even knew of them. 

Whether they be a singer, actor, painter, writer, comedian, sculptor, director, poet, or dancer, if your life has not been impacted by an artist whose death has moved you to grief, I feel sorry for you.  







Saturday, 9 January 2016

My mum

Mum. 
She is buried next to a man named William. I can't remember his last name, unfortunately. I remember her telling me that she would be 'neighbours' with a black guy from America. What I didn't know is why she chose that spot.
Devenish cemetery is a small country town cemetery. It's laid out like any other. All the graves grouped together, kind of in rows. However, about 30 metres beyond the last row, across the dirt, right up against the back fence, on its own, is the grave of William. An 'American Negro' according to his gravestone.
William died in 1918 and because he was black, he wasn't allowed to be buried with the whites. That he was buried there at all shows, apparently, that he was respected. I assume he worked for a rich local family.
When mum visited the cemetery to choose her plot she saw William's grave and asked why he was out there on his own. When she heard the story of him not being allowed to be buried with the others in the cemetery, she thought that wasn't fair, and wasn't good enough. So she chose to be buried next to him so he was no longer on his own.
So now there are two graves beyond all the others, across the dirt, right up against the back fence.
In a way this is mum's final act and I think it's a beautiful and amazing way to sum her up

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Fluid morality

There was an exchange on twitter about abortion. The secular humanist involved was pro-choice. The theist was anti-choice. Not unexpected. 

At the end of the conversation the theist tweeted that she would never trust anyone whose morals would 'change with the wind' implying that unless your morals were locked in stone by a supernatural deity you were somehow inferior. 

It lead me to think about whether a locked morality was a good thing. My first thought was to slavery. Although there are regimes and areas where slavery still occurs, it can't be reasonably denied that the modern attitude towards slavery differs from the past. Any decent person I know would think the owning of another person as property was abhorrent. Not that many generations ago, slavery was common in even the more 'advanced' societies. 

This is one example of the shifting of morality. There are others, such as interracial marriage, and marriage for same-sex couples. People as recently as the 1960s protested marriage between a black person and a white person. In Australia two people of the same sex cannot be married at the time of writing. In the US now though, any person of any colour can marry any person of any colour, even if they are the same sex. The first part of this is true for Australia and although it's a long and tedious process, the second part will eventually be true. 

In my own life I have shifted my morality. Many years ago I was in favour of the death penalty. I thought that if you'd committed a crime that was heinous enough, you deserved to lose your right to life. I also thought that it was the cheaper option. Surely it would be cheaper to execute someone than to house and feed them for life. 

Although I was young and hadn't given it much thought, I don't want to excuse it. It was what I thought was right at the time. I came to realise that it wasn't cheaper to imprison someone for life than to execute them so I could no longer use that 'reasoning'. (As though the taking of someone's life could be an economic decision)

More so I came to understand that for a society to be anti-killing, the state couldn't engage in the practice of executing its citizens. I didn't see how a state could kill people but demand of its people that they don't do the same. 

Since then I have read more about the death penalty and my opposition to it is stronger than ever. I'm at the point where I can't see how someone can claim to be a secular humanist and in favour of the death penalty. 

I recently read a six part series on the death penalty written by Godless Mom. You can find it here. It is extremely well written. It evokes emotion without being an appeal to emotion and backs up its points with supporting evidence. I challenge anyone who is favour of the death penalty and calls themselves a secular humanist to read this and make a reasoned case for having capital punishment. 

There are few jurisdictions now that have the death penalty. Australia last executed someone in 1966. Our morality toward  the death penalty has certainly moved on to the point where we now plead with foreign governments to spare Austalian citizens who have found themselves on death row on foreign countries. 

I'm glad to live in a society that's not locked into one way of thinking. I'm glad I am a person who can reasses an opinion I hold and change it based on new evidence or being presented a point of view I've not previously considered, or even just reassessing my own thoughts and conclusions. 

The alternative is a society that sees owning people as okay. One that stones people to death for adultey or cuts off someone's head for blasphemy. Something we still see on the more barbaric societies of today such as ISIS, Saudi Arabia. 

We will forever need to be able to look at what we do as a society and say, you know what? This isn't good enough. We need to change it.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Club

Imagine a club. 

There are lots of rules in the guidelines of the club.  The rules tell you a lot about what you can do, and a lot about what you can't do. They tell you how you need to treat people who never joined that club, and how to treat people who were in the club but decided to leave. By "how to treat them", it means killing them. It says so, right there in the pages of the club's guidelines. 


Some people who are in the club follow all the rules of the club, including the parts about killing people. They're called "extreme". Some people follow some of the rules of the club. They're called "moderate". They don't kill people because of the club. But some of them sympathise with those who do. 


No one knows if the boss of the club is real or the leaders of the club just pretend he is so they can rule over people. But if the boss of the club *is* real, it's clear that he wants people to follow all of the rules of the club, not just some of them. 


Sometimes when members of the club, following the rules of the club, kill people, people from outside the club claim the killings have nothing to do with the club. Even when the members of the club say that what they're doing is on behalf of the boss of the club. 

People from inside and outside the club have taken to using derogatory terms to describe other people who highlight that the club plays a part in the killings, even though the people doing the killing say the rules of the club play a role in the killings. 

Some people have even said that criticising the rules of the club is racist. Even though members of the club are not a race. 

Many people, both inside the club and outside the club, think that the club isn't a problem because not many members of the club follow all of the rules of the club. They say that if only a small percentage of club members take the rules literally then the problem is with them, not with the rules of the club. 


I would suggest that even if NO ONE followed the rules of the club literally, if the rules of the club call for people to be killed, then surely the rules of the club are problematic and should be questioned and criticised.

I wonder how you feel about the club. I wonder if you think it shouldn't be criticised and that people who do so are racist. I wonder if you think it's okay for children to join the club, and to be told that the rules of the club are how everyone should live. I wonder if you're okay with children being forced to join the club -  a club which is homophobic, sexist, and discriminatory. 


Imagine Islam. 

There are lots of rules in the guidelines of Islam.  The rules tell you a lot about what you can do, and a lot about what you can't do. They tell you how you need to treat people who never joined Islam, and how to treat people who were in Islam but decided to leave. By "how to treat them", it means killing them. It says so, right there in the pages of Islam's guidelines. 


Some people who are in Islam follow all the rules of Islam, including the parts about killing people. They're called "extreme". Some people follow some of the rules of Islam. They're called "moderate". They don't kill people because of Islam. But some of them sympathise with those who do. 


No one knows if the boss of Islam is real or the leaders of Islam just pretend he is so they can rule over people. But if the boss of Islam *is* real, it's clear that he wants people to follow all of the rules of Islam, not just some of them. 


Sometimes when members of Islam, following the rules of Islam, kill people, people from outside Islam claim the killings have nothing to do with Islam. Even when the members of Islam say that what they're doing is on behalf of the boss of Islam. 

People from inside and outside Islam have taken to using derogatory terms to describe other people who highlight that Islam plays a part in the killings, even though the people doing the killing say the rules of Islam play a role in the killings. 

Some people have even said that criticising the rules of Islam is racist. Even though members of Islam are not a race. 

Many people, both inside Islam and outside Islam, think that Islam isn't a problem because not many members of Islam follow all of the rules of Islam. They say that if only a small percentage of Islam members take the rules literally then the problem is with them, not with the rules of Islam. 


I would suggest that even if NO ONE followed the rules of Islam literally, if the rules of Islam call for people to be killed, then surely the rules of Islam are problematic and should be questioned and criticised.


I wonder how you feel about Islam. I wonder if you think it shouldn't be criticised and that people who do so are racist. I wonder if you think it's okay for children to join Islam, and to be told that the rules of Islam are how everyone should live. I wonder if you're okay with children being forced to join Islam -  a religion which is homophobic, sexist, and discriminatory. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

When *do* we talk about Paris?

We see it regularly in the US in the aftermath of a mass gun shooting...'now's not the time' or the more graphic 'not while the bodies are still warm'. 

Of course people are sensitive, emotions are heightened. The bodies *are* still warm and for thousands, if not millions, the tears are still flowing. 

So we hear cries of not speaking about it, because that would be distasteful, don't you know? 

At some point, though, the conversation has to be about what the problem is and how to fix it, rather than just expressions of sympathy for the victims.

Well may we say "at the appropriate time" or "not while the bodies are still warm." But new bodies are added while the previous *are* still warm. There is no break in the massacre. 

So tell me, when *is* the right time to say this has got to stop? 

When *is* the right time to say your God is NOT helping? That *people* need to act? 

They say 'Pray for Paris' but to whom and for what? Are we praying to tell 'god' what happened because he doesn't yet know? Or he knows, but doesn't know it's bad? One thing is clear - either god is not real, or he simply doesn't care to intervene. Pray if you really must, but people need to wake up, the prayers are NOT working. 

This by @Godless_Mom sums it up succinctly...




Prayers are expressions of faith. When faith is the problem, adding more faith isn't the answer. 

We can pretend we don't know what caused a group of men to murder over 100 people in Paris. We can pretend we don't know what caused a group of men to murder 200 students in Syria. We can pretend we don't know what has caused Islamic state to murder thousands and thousands of people. But we don't have to pretend two things:

1: They're doing it because of what they believe, what they have faith in. 
2: No one is speculating as to whether or not they are secular humanists. 

Whatever their driver, be it religious, or political, it is not reason based, logically worked out, nor compassionately discussed. 

Whilst the world continues to value faith and superstition over reason and logic, tragedies like this will continue to occur. 

We need to keep promoting reason and logic. We need to keep expressing the values of secular humanism. Lives are at stake. We need to do it all the time, and not be shamed for doing so. 

Sure, we could wait until the bodies are cold, but if we do, it'll never happen. Because they're killing people every single fucking day.




Sunday, 1 November 2015

Offence

When it comes to being offended the quote that I see most often (Apart from 'I'm offended!') is this gem, from Stephen Fry....



I'm pretty much on board with Stephen here. Why should *I* care that *you're* offended? 

Well....because you're my friend would be a good starting point. For example I have friends who are creative, whether it be music, writing, or painting. If they were to show me some of their work and I said it was shit and never wanted to see any of their work again, they'd be offended, and rightly so. 

There's also the situation of having a conversation with someone about a topic where you disagree. Obviously for me that would be atheism/theism. If I want to have a good dialogue with someone and I begin with 'so, you believe God is real? You must be some kind of fucking moron' they're going to be offended, and any hope of reasonable conversation is gone. 

But, I'm not sure that's what Stephen is getting at here. Without the benefit of being able to ask him directly, I think Stephen is talking more about being offended by things that, essentially, have nothing to do with you. I don't think he's talking about personal insults such as being called a disgusting pig, or talking about insulting one's work or effort. 

I would suggest that Stephen is talking about things such as the controversial art work, by Andres Serrano, titled Piss Christ...



The title being an obvious give-away, this is a plastic Jesus on the Crucifix submerged in urine (Serrano's own). 

As stated in the photo's Wikipedia article, when this photo was to be exhibited in Melbourne in 1997, the then Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, George Pell, tried to prevent it from going on public display. The Supreme Court refused his request. Someone tried to steal it, and then it was attacked by a teenager with a hammer (some irony there). 

The problem? The Archbishop, the attempted thief, and the vandal, were offended, and wanted it off display. 

I'm definitely with Stephen here.

If the photo was to be displayed in their house or their superstition building (I think they call it a 'church'), then I could completely understand their objection to it. One should certainly have the right to decide what is and is not displayed on their own property. 

But Piss Christ wasn't set to be displayed in a church or someone's home. Piss Christ was put on display in an art gallery - independent of any religion. There's no reason that a church representative should have any say over what an art gallery can display. What right does an archbishop have to decide what other people can and can't see in an art gallery? I can't see that they have any. 

An individual decides what they put on twitter or what they post to Facebook. A writer decides what they write about. A podcaster decides what they talk about. Likewise, the art gallery decides what exhibitions it puts on. People decide for themselves whether  to follow on social media, whether to listen to a podcast, or whether to go and see an exhibition. I shouldn't be denied the right to see art just because George Pell, or anyone else is offended. 

You're offended George? 

So fucking what? 







Friday, 30 October 2015

Purpose without god

"I didn't ask to be born" The catch-cry of the angsty teenager. An exclamation from a mouth that belongs to a body that's surviving off more hormones than oxygen. 

They're right too. They didn't ask to be born. No one does. It happens before we're even aware of who or what we are. We are alive, and that's our starting point. 

Not asking to be born is one thing we atheists agree about with our theistic friends. However, our theistic friends seem to be of the opinion that without God our lives have no purpose. I have been asked why we, the non-believers, don't just kill ourselves? They openly wonder what we have to live for. 

I have said before that being an atheist doesn't mean I've got nothing to live for, it means I've got nothing to die for. 

Now please don't confuse this with me saying that I *wouldn't* die to save my children, for example. Because I would, of course. What I mean is that for me, in death, there is nothing. 

But a theist believes that when they die they'll be forever in a world of bliss, and paradise, and, if the right flavour of belief is correct, 72 virgins. (Of course if virgins is your thing, 72 for eternity feels like being short changed. Assuming you want a virgin for the obvious reason...they're only a virgin once. Maybe it's one 72 year old virgin.)

For me though, life is everything. Everything I'll ever experience will be experienced in *this* life. That's what I mean about nothing to die for and everything to live for. I mean it literally. 

Some theists though seem obsessed with having an ultimate purpose. 

I don't understand why, even if Earth is consumed by the sun in 5 billion years, I still can't enjoy the here and now. I will die one day and that will be that. Is that enough reason to not enjoy today? I can't see how. Why is my enjoyment today dependent upon being in heaven when I die? As I said, being alive is my starting point. Why not enjoy it? 

Theists talk about having the ultimate purpose (which seems to be just getting into heaven...what then?) but they never say why it should matter. They never say why the ultimate purpose is necessary. 

Matt Dillahunty has used the book example. You start reading a book, knowing it's finite, knowing it will end. But you read it anyway. I doubt anyone avoids reading the first page of a book simply because there's a last page. 

I know the counter to this is that you remember the book. I might finish a book today, but I can remember it tomorrow. They book stays with me once it's finished, but my life doesn't. 

But I do have tomorrow. I even have this afternoon, or later tonight. And even if I didn't why do I need heaven later in order to enjoy NOW? Maybe I throw a blanket down on a remote beach and lie there with a friend looking up at the stars. Must I need to know I'll one day be in heaven to enjoy that moment? Must I need belief in a deity to be glad I was doing that? Of course not. 

Yes, maybe a theist has an 'ultimate' purpose in life and as an atheist, I don't, but they fail to explain what it matters. They fail to convince me I need one. 

I'm happy to define my life's own purpose. I'm happy to decide for myself what I would like to achieve, where I would like to go as a human being. 

A friend of my daughter would have been 14 or 15 at the time when she said 'I would die without God in my life'. I don't see any honour in this. I don't see anything of which to be proud. This is a sad way for a child to be thinking. How dare someone convince this person that her life is worth something only if a god is real. How dare they convince her that her worth is tied to a fairytale? 

God is unseen and unheard. Yet religion knows exactly what he wants, exactly how he feels. And it tells you how to behave and tells you that without *its* particular god, you are worthless. It's a scam, and cruel and ridiculous scam and millions of good and otherwise intelligent people fall for it. 

Why does religion try to convince people without its god, they are worthless? Because if they didn't people might realise they can live free and happy lives without it. If that happened, where would the money come from?