How is secular humanist governance better than theocracy?

How is secular humanist governance better than theocracy? September 7, 2013

Occasionally I’ll get a PM that I think warrants a public reply.  The questions recently posed to me by quranresponse are a good example:

I am talking to you now, as smart atheist manwomen I want to see your opinion how can atheism solve the world problem

Atheists are simply people who are not convinced that any actual deities really exist. There is no collective group of that kind. About the only thing all atheists agree on is that there isn’t any reason to believe in gods. However there are many atheists who believe in other things that are almost as absurd, homeopathy, reincarnation, extraterrestrial alien visitors and so on.

I identify as apistevist, meaning that I’m a rational empiricist who don’t hold any beliefs based on faith. For the purpose of this conversation, you could also consider me a secular humanist, as that seems to be who it is you mean to address.  So let me correct your question as necessary in order to answer.

How could rational, analytical, and compassionate people deal with these real world problems with real-world solutions rather than pretending that a magic invisible ghost will make their wishes come true, or actually do anything to help? Or how could we construct laws based a reasonable and enlightened analysis of reality rather than the primitive authoritarian mandates of the ignorant and bigoted savages who wrote all our supposedly sacred scriptures?


(1) wars: Religions way of solving this problems:

The old testament says fight back.

The new testament says turn your cheek to the transgressor.

Islam says fight back the transgressor until they stop.

(A) How can atheism stop war?

Diplomacy. It doesn’t matter what our out-dated, hate-filled, prejudicial doctrines and man-made mythologies might have said. There is no such thing as a ‘religion of peace’. Religion only knows how to react violently because they don’t understand reason and have never practiced tolerance. That’s why secular humanist diplomats will be necessary in order to end wars and other violations of human rights.

(2) killing or murdering ineccent people?

Religions way of solving this problems:

Actually jail doesn’t exist in religion books as a part solution, it is man made solution who thought that, the law of God is unfair and it is not wise, so he thought himself is more merciful and wiser than the one who created man and knows how to fix him up.

Actually jail is part of the problem.

(1) The old testament says the killer must be killed.

(2) The new testament doesn’t give a solution, because Jesus died for the killer sin, and Paul said Christians no longer live on the law of God.

(3) Islam says the killer must put to death unless if he killed some one by mistake. Or the family of who got killed forgive the killer.

(B) How can atheism stop the killing?

Again, ‘atheism’ doesn’t stop killing, and religion obviously doesn’t either. Secular humanism does however.

Religion’s preferred punishment is almost always death, regardless of the crime. But the death penalty is a statistical failure just like all their proposed solutions to other problems always are. Here in the US, the states that still have the death penalty also have the highest murder rates; its a negative correlation.  The problem there is one of society, the conditions imposed and the types of responses that are culturally coaxed.  When murder happens, and that person is caught and tried, we should remove them as a threat, and whether they are imprisoned, institutionalized, or what have you should be determined by the particulars in each case.

(3) stealing:

Religions way of solving this problems:

(1) The old testament has no solution it just says don’t steal..

(2) The new testament doesn’t give a solution, because Jesus died for the thief sin, and Paul said Christians no longer live on the law of God.

(3) Islam says if the thief make of stealing a job government must cut his hand.

But if starving people steal to eat, no cutting hands for those people.

(C) How can atheism stop stealing?

It seems that religion only knows how to react violently, out of vengeance. Again this is because it’s a belief system rooted in dichotomy and bigotry, with little or no desire to consider extenuating circumstances and NO ability to question itself objectively. Rational apistevists have that.  That again is why secular humanist leaders are better equipped to invent punishments and deterrents that are more appropriate and actually bring justice in one form or other as necessary. For example, payment of fines, or performance of community service, things like that.

Despite the severity of their punishments, religions have still consistently failed in virtually all attempts to curtail criminal behavior, and have in fact actually empowered or promoted criminality in many ways. More reasonable laws are usually more effective.

(4) rape:

Religions way of solving this problems:

(1) The old testament says if some one rape your daughter and paid you money it is ok..

(2) The new testament doesn’t give a solution, because Jesus died for the rapist sin, and Paul said Christians no longer live on the law of God.

(3) Islam says rapist must put to death, to keep the society clean. (D) How can atheism stop rape?

Islam also allows that the victim should be blamed, which is about as wrong as wrong can get.

Religion doesn’t solve the problem of rape at all; it exacerbates it. It should be (and in some atheist societies, it is this way) that women could walk about scantily-clad or even nude, and that men would have respect or sanity enough not to be violent against them on such paltry excuses as a lack of human decency or self control.  I mean, you don’t bludgeon children to death when someone’s kid is crying loudly and annoying you, right? So why would you victimize a woman just because you find her attractive? That’s sick, but that is the attitude that is typically perpetuated by religion.

Among religion’s many failures is that it is supposed to inspire moral behavior in all people, regardless what they look like or how they dress, and yet we constantly hear about sex crimes being most often committed by devoutly religious people, and these also tend to be the most savage cases too.

Rational progressive people admittedly can behave that way in relatively rare instances, but its neither as severe nor as frequent because we just have no excuse for it.

(5) Starvation or hunger.

Religions way of solving this problems:

(1) The old testament says charity..

(2) The new testament says charity.

(3) Islam says charity and sadaqa.

(E) How can atheism stop Starvation and hunger?

We would say charity too, but that would be secondary. The first suggestion is education, including sex education, empowering women to control their reproduction, and empowering all people to better master their situation. Otherwise all the charity you have isn’t going to work. This is another area where religion always fails.  Remember you’re talking to a Texan now. So I have some direct experience with several aspects of this particular failure on the part of the religious right.

So my question in response is that, since religion has failed so completely in all these applications and more, why do you still practice it?

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