“Where will you be in 3011?” – Outreach Media

Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Thoughts | 7 comments

AH! Outreach Media! You’ve started the year with a bang, haven’t you? As always, these peddlers of religious propaganda have tried to stay current with today’s big stories, this time choosing the future as a topic, and particularly choosing Ray Kurzweil’s view of a possible future for humanity. More after the jump.

What does it say?

It says “Where will you be in 3011?” and goes on to quote the bible passage “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ”. The implied meaning is “repent or be forever damned”. But the real gold in this one can be found at the Outreach Media site, where the author has written about the amazing future we could have as human beings, about how we could, given time, make the world a better place for all of humanity.

It then goes on to say that we should all give up on this dream of the betterment of the species for a couple of reasons;

“…the earth may continue for thousands or even millions of years. But you and I won’t be here. God’s limit is called death. And it happens to us all.”

“Death is a punishment for disobedience.”

OK so we’re all going to die… well duh… Actually I have to hand it to these people because at least they are admitting what their whole fixation in life is, with death. But for death to be a punishment for disobedience? By this they are telling me that cell death and nuclear decay are punishments for humans being mean to God, ignoring him and his mighty creation? All animals (and plants for that matter) in the universe are dying because people are ignoring God? Or is it only the evil animals on Earth that die, everyone else has embraced God and lives forever right?

“And God’s not that impressed with our cleverness. No matter how clever we are, we can’t avoid the consequences of ignoring Him.”

Seems to me that someone needs to learn that they aren’t the centre of the universe, much like people need to learn that humanity is not the end product of existence on Earth. According to this, god doesn’t like gadgets, nor is he impressed with science, nor progress, nor the curing of disease, nor clean water, food, shelter, none of this matters to God. He doesn’t care that we are already living much longer lives than people did when they made up all the stories in the bible. He doesn’t care that for a large portion of the people on Earth, our lives are more comfortable and less disease ridden than those in the bronze age. No all god cares about is that we don’t ignore him. And yet again we see the God of the bible as a spoilt 3 year old child who stamps his feet when he doesn’t get what he wants.

What are the further implications of this poster?

Well firstly it tells me that my life is worthless. I don’t see a reason for there to be a god, I don’t see how it’s possible in fact, for there to be a god. I can’t say for certain, when grilled, if there is a god or not, but for all intents an purposes, there is none. This poster however is telling me this; “You will be dead in a thousand years (as expected) so if you don’t want to die, pay attention to God and Jesus.” Wait, so I’m going to die, we’re all going to die, and that is inevitable, but if I don’t want to die, I don’t have to, but I will die because we all do, but I won’t die if I don’t want to, and yet I’m still going to die? Make up your mind already!

Secondly, and more importantly, is the whole selfishness thing I’ve talked about before on my blog. Let me say it again.

When one believes in afterlife, there is less incentive to make this life all it can be. How? Well, if this life is an audition for the “real show” in the sky, then we are just kidding ourselves, and the quicker it is over with here, the sooner we can move on to heaven. So what incentive is there to make this life better? None really. The idea here is to focus on the self so intently so as to know whether you’ll be going to heaven. So what does it matter if millions will die as a result of climate change? As long as I am OK, that’s all that matters.

The poster and the blurb on the website for this poster are implying that we should give up on the possible glorious future of mankind, one where starvation and disease are things of the past, where we can live long and fruitful lives, explore the galaxy, set up colonies on other planets, live, love and be happy. We should forgo this possible future, because a holy book, one of many, says that we will be saved from death after death and that anything else we do is futile.

The bible speaks with such authority about things the authors could never know. In everyday life, when someone tells a story that is beyond belief, or that seems to be made-up, we call this fiction. The authors of the bible can know nothing about what happens after death, but thay can know what to wish for, what they would wish to happen to our consciousness. Science can’t know either, but the difference is, science will probably find out, religion definitely won’t find out.

“But”, I hear you say, “most of this is metaphor. God wants us to be happy. Outreach media are simply drawing attention to this fact. Christians don’t want the real world to end, nor will they let it. It’s not selfishness, it’s God’s will!”

Well, there is more, and in this month’s poster the clincher comes from the suggested prayer at the end of the page.

“Prayer: Dear God, please help me to hope in you, not in things that do not last. Please help me to worship Jesus and not the things of this passing world. Amen.”

BINGO! The world is a transient thing, so worship God. If it’s transient, why try to save it? It’s like letting water out a plughole, knowing it will all be gone soon, so why try and stop it? This is where the real danger of religion lies, in the selective choice of bits of real information mixed with chosen  fanciful bible/Qur’an passages. “Climate change is real? Well that’s OK, the world is dying anyhow. It says so in the bible!”

When it comes down to it, you can believe whatever it is you like. If it doesn’t affect me, go ahead and worship Zeus on an iceberg in Norway, for all I care, it’s your life, you can waste your time however you want. But as soon as stupidity is broadcast publicly, as soon as words which mislead, deliberately or otherwise, are plastered on walls with the sole intention of influencing people, this can no longer be counted as believing what you like without affecting me.

So where will I be in 3011?

Dead. So will you. But I hope my legacy here on Earth is remembered or recorded by someone. If not, fine. But I can tell you one thing, I certainly hope that if humanity is still thriving, that we have overcome this virus called religion by then.

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7 Comments

  1. I think people should avoid reading both this poster and your blog. After all, everyone who reads it will be, by your own admission, dead in just a thousand years. That’s a 100% mortality rate, just from reading your blog.

    I hope you’re happy, Martin.

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  2. Oh, Outreach Media is nothing more than a bunch of delusional twits. Their statement “Death is a punishment for disobedience.” is so self-evidently ridiculous that I cannot help myself but have a belly-laugh at their expense.

    Keep up the good work; we need to eradicate these oppressors of humanity from the planet! :)

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  3. Hi Martin

    For a person “Attempting to make sense,” you make no sense at all. I don’t know about Outreach Media but I do know that you, my friend, are not interested in anything but yourself.

    The crux of your argument is “Everything is dying, so what’s the point of anything?” You’re not an atheist, but a nihilist. Please yourself and screw everyone else, hey? Can you imagine if everyone did that, all at the same time?

    To defeat misinformation and disinformation we must offer something in return, an alternative, a paradigm that is more rationally compelling and critically substantiated for the logical mind than that we are rebutting. The simply the rejection of another’s cosmology is not enough and is really the refusal to truly engage with the subject put before you. In a word, it’s weak – lip service.

    Would you burn the books of those who espouse hate, terror and death because the words, ideas, mere abstractions, contained within them are dangerous and offend your sensibilities? Would you presume the right to usurp another’s birth right to express their beliefs however repugnant, violent or horrific? We must rely on the only tools we have as human beings to combat these arguments – logic, reason and language. We must put forward an alternative that simply makes more sense and trust in the innate spirit of human beings to decide for themselves.

    I don’t label myself as an atheist, gnostic agnostic, buddhist, christian, muslim, hindu or whatever. I was indoctrinated into that particular stream of Christianity called Catholoicism. At an early age it was apparent that I could not reconcile religion and science. So I educated myself – and there is a way.

    The acknowledgement itself that the world is a transient thing is borne out by the facts of science. We know the universe and everything in it is in a constant state of flux, this cannot be denied. The reprehensible mistake you are making is not admitting that every single nano-second is a tiny death and rebirth for everything. What you were a minute ago, you no longer are.

    Language is necessary for communication, but that does not efface the completely arbitrary nature of it. The texts of the great religions are anagogical, not literal. They point beyond themselves “Wherefrom words turn back, together with the mind, not having attained.”

    They are codes, Martin. Like language itself. The words represent something ineffable. Think of Jesus on the Cross. Supposedly 2,000 years later and that image, that symbol, is still with us today venerated by the many millions who believe in it. In that symbol of a man, or god, or son of god he will live forever in that violent pose – strung up, nailed in, bloodied and dying. Whether it really even happened or not is almost irrelevant.

    In the very act of dying, he lives forever in their hearts and minds – like you and I – dying and being reborn every moment. Forever dying he shall live forever.

    You’re trying to disguise your own dogma under the banner of ‘truth’. Do us all a favour and at least try to educate yourself and offer something useful.

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    • Poor Chris is suffering an acute attack of religion, as evidenced by his extreme reaction to Martin’s original post. I guess Chris will be feeling a lot better by 3011, though. ;)

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    • I think you are criticizing the author for the wrong reasons. the nihilistic streak you are so critical of is more the property of what he is quoting not what he is saying. It is usually religion that presents the nihilistic tendencies, emphasizing the utter futility and void-nes of the efforts of man kind in the face of the pre-determined world controlled and orchestrated by an all powerful and all seeing deity.

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    • I don’t think you read the article properly “my friend”.

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    • Hi Chris,

      I’m afraid that your application of the word nihilist and the actual definition of the word are subject to some serious disparity.

      By your definition, all activists, anyone who has ever fought against any form of establishment is a nihilist.

      While you are obviously welcome to your opinion, I’m afraid that the reality is somewhat different to your view.

      Many atheist, and Martin is quite notably one, commit everything in their ability to help people to realise the severe inequity present within religion, to ensure that secularism is adhered to and to inspire rational discourse and debate.

      This doesn’t sound even remotely like nihilism.

      Kind regards,

      Jake Farr-Wharton
      Author of ‘Letters to Christian Leaders; Hollow Be Thy Claims’.

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