Ken Larsen's website: My views on religion
"The world is my country, science is my religion." Christiaan Huygens 1629-1695
"I'd rather light a candle (science) than worship the darkness (religion)." -Ken Larsen June 1, 2011
To me, religion is the polar opposite of science. With all the bloodshed worldwide caused by religious fundamentalists and political warmongers who exhort their masses by preaching "We will win because God is on our side", I don't want anything to do with religion. It's not part of my life and never will be.
Proof that God does not exist - the speed of light argument
September 14, 2006: I attend a debate entitled "Does God Exist?" in Carrboro, North Carolina. It featured a videotape of a 2004 debate between William Lane Craig, an evangelical Christian, and Austin Dacey, PhD and secular humanist (euphemism for atheist) and was followed a question and answer (Q&A) period that was handled by a local secular humanist, Randy Best, and a local pastor, Mark Acuff. The event was reported by the local Chapel Hill newspaper.
During the Q&A session, I asked of Pastor Acuff:
Ken: "Is God just for the earth or the entire universe?"
Acuff: "For the entire universe."
Ken: "If something happens on the far side of the universe and something else happens on the earth, does God know about both events simultaneously?"
Ken: "That's not possible. According to the laws of physics, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Given a choice between your answer and the laws of physics, I believe the laws of physics. That's why I regard religion as just a bunch of rubbish."
The fact is that the speed of light (186,282 miles/second) is an upper speed limit on how fast information and matter can travel in the universe. This prohibits any entity from "ruling" the entire universe. Therefore, there cannot be a god. God does not exist. QED
Some theologians contend that God exists outside of nature, space, and time and therefore is not constrained to comply with the laws of physics. To me, that's ridiculous. But, if there's a remote possibility that that were true ... and that these theologians communicate with God as they all contend they do [example], then they should be able to ask God where else in the universe does life exist. They could get God to tell them where astronomers should point their SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) optical and radio telescopes. But, the theologians can't do this, because there is no God.
My views on the origins of God and religion:
The concept of "god" was invented by ancient man as a way to explain lightning, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, solar eclipses, death, and other phenomena.
Religion was then created to worship these gods.
Later man learned that this "god thing" ... aka "religion" had some real utility. You could use it to subjugate/brainwash people. It was a great way to motivate people to fight wars for you. "We will win because God is on our side." The most horrific evil example of that occurred on September 11, 2001 when 19 Islamic terrorists sacrificed their own lives to serve their version of God.
The Republican Party has feigned piety to convince evangelical Christians that they should vote Republican. It was a brilliant maneuver. They essentially hijacked far-right Christianity at low cost and got Donald Trump elected.
"In God we trust" was added to U.S. coins beginning in 1864 ... during the Civil War. 620,000 men lost their lives during that war. When you have that kind of carnage and you want want your men to keep fighting, tell them about placing their trust in "God". That, in a nutshell, is what religion is all about.
December 14, 2012: I have a new response to people who ask me if I believe in God: I tell them that I believe in electric motors, not God. It turns out that electromagnetism is a relativistic effect. Relativistic effects would not occur if the speed of light were not an upper limit. Per my earlier proof, God cannot exist if there is an upper limit on the speed of information flow. Consequently, God and electric motors cannot exist in the same universe.
Ditto for GPS units. They incorporate an adjustment for relativistic effects. Consequently, if you believe in both God and GPS units, you're contradicting yourself.
October 17, 2005: On this day I played nine holes of golf with Lonnie Bell, the pastor of a nearby Baptist church. It was a chance encounter. As we strode down the first hole we asked each other the usual questions like "What do you do?", "where do you live", etc. After Lonnie introduced himself as a Baptist minister, he asked me what church I belonged to. When I responded "I'm not a believer", that piqued his curiosity and what followed was two hours of amicable debate on religious tenets. One of the questions I asked Lonnie was "Is Jesus the only child of God?" Lonnie replied "yes". I then asked him, "Then why would God put him on the earth?" I explained that the earth is a small planet orbiting a small star (the Sun) on the outskirts of a mediocre galaxy. Putting God's only child on the earth would be like Donald Trump putting one of his children in the Yukon. It didn't make any sense. I then followed that question with "and why would God put Jesus on the earth 2000 years ago?" I explained that God should have waited until the late 20th or 21st centuries when video technology could capture his deeds. I also explained that if I had I been born around the year 1500 (pre-Copernicus) I might have been religious, because in those days the prevailing view of the universe was that it was geo-centric - meaning that everyone believed that all stars and planets orbited the earth. Under that view it was plausible to regard the earth as the most important place in the universe and being "God-created". [Note: Copernicus died in 1543 and edicted that his "De Revolutionibus Coelestium" not be publish until after his death. It documented his arguments for a sun-centered (heliocentric) system. He worried that he would be persecuted if it were published during his lifetime. Copernicus's work did not gain acceptance until astronomer Johannes Kepler gave proof during 1609-1619.]
Lonnie's parting words to me were "If I want the truth I should read the Bible.". My response was "If I want the truth, I'll read scientific journals".
It should be noted that during my 9 holes of golf with Lonnie we strongly agreed on one thing: Man has done and is continuing to do a lot of damage to the earth and his fellow man.
The central argument used to support the existence of God is "Look at all that exists around you. It obviously must have a creator. God is the creator." My response is "If everything has a creator, then who created God?" You can't say "Everything has a creator and then exclude God from your questioning."
provocative questions for people who believe that there is a God:
1. If homosexuality is evil, why did God create homosexuality?
2. Why has God placed the earth in solidary confinement? [Our solar system is so remote that it would take 78,611 years to reach the nearest star traveling at 10 miles/second.
3. Why did God create the asteroid belt, Uranus, Neptune, and the myriad other celestial entities? [These just fly around serving no purpose.]
I advocate that the phrase "In God we trust" be removed from our currency and as our national motto. It makes our country look stupid ... placing trust in a non-existent entity. To me, "In God we trust" means the same as "In Santa Claus we trust" or "In the Easter Bunny we trust".
November 30, 2006 update: I just finished reading Richard Dawkins's "The God Delusion" (2006). Richard Dawkins is a biologist and an atheist. "The God Delusion" is a refutation of religion. To my surprise, "The God Delusion" has spent 24 weeks (as of March 16, 2007) on the New York Times Best Seller List. That tells me that we may finally be shedding our last vestige of the Bronze Age. Science is the present and future; religion is the past.
December 14, 2006 update: I recently finished reading Carl Sagan's "The Varieties of Scientific Experience - A Personal View of the Search for God" (2006 compiled and edited by Sagan's widow Ann Druyan). Carl Sagan was a scientist and an atheist, and this book explains his atheism.
July 13, 2007 update: I just finished reading Victor Stenger's "God - the Failed Hypothesis - How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist" (2007). I don't think the Pope could read it without shedding his religious beliefs.
I agree 100% with these books and highly recommend them to anyone who believes that religion still has value.
June 17, 2010 updates: A statue of Jesus was struck and destroyed by lightning in Ohio. If there were a god, why would that happen? Also, if praying works, why don't all the prayers pray for an end to the Gulf oil disaster? BP shouldn't need to do anything. The answer to both of these questions is the same: We're on our own. There is no supernatural being who intervenes.
March 24, 2011: Anchorage, Alaska's Ed Sawyer asked me on Facebook, "I am curious ... what you will say when you are finally standing in front of the "man" himself.! :)" My response was I'd ask him why he permitted my older sister to live only four days. But, it's a moot question as there is no "man" or "god" or "gods".
George Carlin on religion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo
There are an estimated 4200 religions in the world. [Christianity and Islam are the two major ones.] If a person is Christian, they follow the Bible. They reject the Quran (which is the Bible for Muslims). From a Muslim perspective, a Christian is an atheist. By the same token, from a Christian's perspective, a Muslim is an atheist. They don't believe in the same God. Extending this across the entire globe, we're all atheists.
Many fundamentalist Christians don't believe in evolution. They adamantly reject the notion that man evolved from a primate. They open their Bible and the cite the story of Adam and Eve and that God created them. Well, if you reject evolution, you obviously reject the notion of evolution within the human species. However, the human race has evolved. The evidence is all around us. If you don't believe in human evolution, how do you explain the fact that some people are black and some are white? There had to a be a split at some point in the history of the human race. That's evolution.
Is there any harm in believing in a God and following a religion? I assert that the answer is yes. The major reason is that some religions are "pro-breeding". They preach against birth control. This is a huge negative, because world population has exploded out of control. [details]
Here are my opinions on death and consciousness.