Thursday, January 16, 2014

Only Religious People go to Prison!

Only Religious People Go To Prison

     Yes, I know the title presents an obviously outrageous claim and you may feel compelled to argue against it, but let me explain.

     While perusing the Twitterverse this morning, I came across a post claiming to be a factual account of the religiosity of prison inmates: 

     The validity of this information didn't matter to me, what mattered to me was that atheists were counted as having a religious affiliation; not having a religious affiliation is not the same thing as having one (duh!). You're either religious or you're not (atheist), but since both demographics are included in this table as belonging to a religious group, only religious people go to prison. And since everyone on the planet is either religious or non-religious, this table can also say that everyone goes to prison. Clearly, this isn't the case. Here's why:

     Atheism isn't a religion and doesn't maintain a set of beliefs, it is a lack of belief in a divine power. It is a point of view on a particular topic and is not a world-view. For instance, if you were to interview a dozen Catholics individually about topics such as, abortion, birth control, euthanasia, Noah's fucking arc, or the origins of the universe, chances are you would get very similar response because they all share the same set of beliefs. On the other hand, if you were to present the same questions to a group of atheists under the same conditions as you did the Catholics, you may get very different responses. You can be an atheist and be against abortion. You can be an atheist and reject the theories of evolution and the big bang. Again, atheism is not a religion, and therefore not a world view (a framework of ideas and beliefs forming a global description through which an individual, group or culture watches and interprets the world and interacts with it). It is a single position on a single issue.
     I'm not offended or upset in any way, I just wanted something to write about this morning.

“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

― Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion

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