Uncle Tom Part 2

I, Jennifer Hancock, will not be converting to ChristianityUncle Tom’s Cabin Part 2

8/6/09

Ok – so recently I had read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  I really liked it.  I wrote about it and about how much I liked the version of Christianity promoted in the book.  That prompted a nice woman named Becky to write me to encourage me to convert to that form of Christianity.  Here is why that isn’t going to happen.

It comes down to certitude. I happen to truly believe that certitude, and specifically religious certitude, is one of the most dangerous habits of the mind anyone can hold.

Moral Dilemnas are hardYes, it would be really nice to not have to think through moral dilemmas anymore because I was certain that whatever I did was going to have a positive outcome.  But the world doesn’t work that way.  And thinking that it does has very serious consequences.  For example – the 9-11 hijackers were certain that they were doing good.  The man who recently let his daughter die because he was certain prayer would save her thought he was doing good.  I could go on, but you get the idea.

As hard as it is to think through moral dilemmas on your own, it is preferable to doing evil while thinking you are doing good. After all, the easiest way to get good people to do bad things is to encourage religious certitude.

So, there you go.  I should have probably made that clear in my original article, but I will not be converting to Christianity anytime soon regardless of how attractive some forms of it may be.  I simply don’t believe gods exist and even if they did I still believe that religious certitude is too dangerous to fall victim to it.  So, I will continue to be an atheist and a Humanist and will feel secure in knowing that at least I am doing my best to do good and avoid evil.

Now, as for my writer.  As I said, she was quite nice, if not a bit fervent.   To clarify a few things for her.  I do not believe that stupid and mean hypocritical Christians reflect poorly on god as I do not believe that god exists.  I think they reflect poorly on the ability of religion to help people live good moral lives.  So, really, their existence is an indictment of organized religion, not on whether or not god’s exist and whether or not such god’s are worthy of worship.

2nd and for this I will offer a collective “our bad” on behalf of the Freethought community.  When we freethinker’s talk about humilty, we are talking about intellectual humility.  Religious humility is meaningless to us.  However, intellectual humility is conversely related to religious certitude.  Someone who is intellectually humble is someone who admits that regardless of how sure they are, they may be proven wrong.  And we Humanists and Freethinkers feel this is especially important with regards to religious belief.  Because it is the only thing that prevents religious certitude, which is not just annoying, it is seriously dangerous.  So, again, our bad.  Humbling yourself before god doesn’t make you a good person.  Intellectual humility may help though.