🏗 Draft 👷

Religion Is Obviously False

Last Updated ⬆️: 1st Dec 2019

NOTE: This post is in a super rough note form, if you couldn't tell. It was abandoned at this stage, but is left like this in case I pick it up at a later stage.


  • Everything has a probability of being true or untrue
  • To believe in something is to looks at the evidence in favour of that belief and decide that it amounts to at least a 50% chance of being correct
  • There's no point in beleiving anything that doesn't have at least 50% chance of being true as it's most likely to be wrong
  • All evidence has a percentage of being correct, the easier it is to repeat and other people to validate, the more likely that evidence is of being correct

    • All religious text as evidence is very weak evidence
  • It's ok to not have answers yet, more for us to study and test new theories against
  • The only evidence religion provides is written accounts from thousands of years ago
  • Any of these written accounts have a probability of being accurate
  • If they weren't first hand accounts, that probability goes down
  • Everytime the account was rewritten or translated, that probability goes down
  • When more separate accounts of the same thing are written and agree, the probability goes up
  • If claims are being made about how the world should currently work
  • 2 things here

    • Accuracy of written accounts of historical events
    • The testability of claims about the way the world works
  • Accuracy of written accounts of historical events

    • The longer ago something was originally written, the lower the probability of it being correct
    • If the account was written by somebody who actually did or witnessed it, the probability is much lower
    • If the person who wrote it was likely to be biased in favour of the points, the probability is lower
    • If the account is about something to do with the way the world works, but can't be tested now, the probaility is lower
    • If the account was preserved and edited by an organisation that had a clear political incentive to enforce it and reject counter arguments, the probability is lower
    • If there's no physical evidence to backup the account, the probability is lower
    • When there are more likely or simpler explanations the probability is lower
  • The testability of claims about the way the world works

    • If a theory can't be tested, there's no reason to believe in it? Is that reasoning ok?

If you can't test a theory in the modern day and come up with at least a 50% chance of your results being correct. You really shouldn't let that theory control important aspects of your life. As no part of religion can be tested in the modern day with current technology the only evidence we can look at is historical accounts. But we need to look at the credibility of that evidence. If there is additional physical evidence (not written stories), then that can help. Otherwise we have to look at all the factors that can adjust the probability of a written account being true:

  • Intelligence of the person who witnessed the account
  • Gullability of that person
  • If a first hand witness was the person who wrote it
  • The chances of that account being edited

I understand the desire to want to believe in it. Understanding there's something more and dying isn't the end. Someone who loves you unconditionally. etc. But staking important decisions in your life from beliefs in soemthing that can't be proven from sources which are unlikely to be true (and not massively adjusted tyhrough 1000's of years of people with strong motivations to change it) is not a wise idea.

The chances of it being correct are so slim. And beleiving irrationally can inspire others to do so, and lead you to make decisions which are ill informed.

The only really important part of religion is belief in an afterlife and judgement upon how good you have been based off the values of the religion. So those values are important, and they are what are defined from scripture.

The odds of a story written thousands of years ago, that has super important political implications, having not been modified and embellished over that time to represent something dramatically different from reality is slim. Especially when we have no pictures, videos or ways of scientifically proving the claims from those writings. It's suspicious to say the least.


1

The more important a decision is, the more important it is that the beliefs which influence that decision are accurate. When we make decisions based on inaccurate beliefs the chances of the outcome being undesirable for you increase. The easy rule is not to believe and base decisions on something that you don't think has at least a 50% chance of being true.

Beliefs are more accurate when:

  • They can be tested over and over again by many independent parties and the results are consistent with the belief

Sometimes you have historical beliefs which are beliefs in events which you can't test nowadays. Such as proving that x did y in the year z. The only evidence for these beliefs are from written accounts of the incident. Historical beliefs are more accurate when:

  • They were written from the perspective of a first hand witness
  • The original writers were not biased in the outcome of writing it down
  • There are many first hand accounts independently written that all corroborate the same story
  • The accounts were not embellished over time as they were replicated, preserved and translated
  • The event did not happen that long ago (basically the longer ago the event happened, the more likely the story would have changed and be embellished over time)

When it comes to religious beliefs, none of them can be scientifically tested, which means it's a historic belief and we have to look at all the criteria above to get an idea of how accurate we think that belief is.

Unfortunately none of those criteria look good for religious texts.

NOTE: Explain each one against religious texts


2

Look I get it, the unknown is scary. Death, creation of the universe, meaning of life, how should I live, why do I live. Not having an answer can be confusing and scary (especially not knowing what might happen after death).

And there's a whole bunch of super popular stories out there that can make you feel better about these things, with communities of millions and billions of people in them.

Religion has been a great tool for helping people live happier lives and keeping order in times of little to no communication and limited education.

But the idea of any religion being true is pretty ridiculous.

  • The claims in religious texts "co-incidentally" can't be proven or disproven by science, super suspicious, and is a reason not to believe them by itself (NOTE: If you can't prove it right now, it's not worth believing for important decision making)
  • The texts are so old and have been preserved, translated and distributed by organisations that have a clear incentive to embellish and change the narrative to enforce public order and personal power
  • And the stories don't make sense with anything we know and can prove about how the world definitely works right now.

Look at the reasons why you believe in religion. Are you sure there's no biases, that you're thinking rationally? If your whole family also believe in the same religion can you be sure it's not just something you take for granted because you grew up with it being so?

The more people who hold accurate beliefs, the better decisions we can make about the world. As our predicted outcomes are more likely to come true. Religion is a blocker on progress for the world, and the outdated moral belief system can be super damaging to modern living.

There's always a chance that any theory is correct, and I wouldn't make important decisions based on beliefs that I don't assign at least 50% chance of being correct. I put any religion in under 1% chance, what % do you give it?


3

The only evidence for any of the main religions are the religious texts. To believe those you have to:

  • Believe the stories are possible even though they defy our current knowledge of how the universe works and can't be proven or disproven
  • Believe that the stories were written as real events rather than as morale instructions for living or interesting fantasy
  • Believe that the people who wrote this down originally were not super gullible people or idiots
  • Believe that every single time the story was replicated, translated and preserved that they were never significantly embellished. Over the thousands of years that this happened. This means you believe in the absolute integrity of every individual and organisation that preserved and promoted these texts?

Come on? Seriously? There's always a chance that any theory is correct. But assigning a probability of more than 1% to any religion being true seems ridiculous.

I reckon nowadays most people who believe do so because of a mixture of some of the following:

  • Their family raised them as believers, and strong reinforcement as a child is hard to shake off.
  • They live/socialise in a community of believers, which means your living in a positive feedback loop of people encouraging you to believe. Again, hard to shake off.
  • They are scared of the unknown. Death, afterlife, how did the universe begin, the meaning of life etc. And as science hasn't got all the answers yet their best comfort is religion.
  • They have no incentive to disbelieve. Religion makes them happier and self righteous. They don't see the harm that ignorance and mis-belief causes to the world.
  • They are not intelligent or rational enough to understand why religion is unlikely to be true.
  • They have never heard of any alternatives.

A few bonus points for you:

  • Just because billions of people believe something, does not make it true (the earth is flat)
  • Just because you were told something growing up, and your community reinforce it, does not make it true (cults)
  • If you can't prove something with at least a 50% certainty it's not worth basing your decisions from it (as those decisions are more likely to turn out against your expectation)

Conclusion: Religion is stupid