Common Sense Would Dispel Religion

    By James Hervey Johnson | 1949
    Positive Atheism

    (Photo by Daniel Tseng on Unsplash)

    The statement of Jean Meslier, Catholic priest, who wrote a magnificent work against religion 200 Years ago, that common sense should dispel religion is very true.

    He reminds us that if we would use the common sense of every day life in considering the miracles and dogmas of religion, we would not believe them.

    If our next door neighbor told us he had successfully ordered the sun to stand still all day as Joshua claims to have done, we would consider him a plain liar or insane. Thus by using this common sense we would know that Joshua’s story is not worthy of credence. Thomas Paine said about Jonah and the whale, “Is it easier to believe that a whale swallowed a man and carried him 3 days in his belly, then cast him up alive, or is it easier to believe that a man lied?” Common sense would discount the report.

    If our grocer told us his son had been crucified, but had been raised the third day, and later had ascended to heaven, we would likewise consider him a liar or a “nut.” So when we are told such a story by a priest who has read it in a book written by an unknown writer, common sense tells us to consider it a fable.

    It is a psychological fact that the average man is apt to believe a big lie while not swallowing a small one. Adolf Hitler, the mad German dictator, recognized this method of fooling the people and said that they do not recognize a large lie because of their lack of mental power, but that they are able to detect small lies because they themselves often tell them.

    So the light of common sense, thrown on the stories of making snakes out of rods, of the Red Sea dividing itself, of Christ’s making wine from water, curing blind men by rubbing spit in their eyes, walking on water, the story of the flood, God’s making the world in six days, of making a woman from Adam’s rib; and all the mythical, miraculous stories of the Bible would cause any sensible man to question the veracity of the whole book, including all the stories of the gods, spirits, angels, devils, and the things that common sense tells us are not true.

    When we read the Arabian nights, or Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tale, or Alice in Wonderland, common sense tells us that these stories are for amusement, and the genii which comes from the lamp and gives its owner whatever he wants, the fairies who grant people their wishes, the magic powers of the animals which talk, are all imaginary. Why not apply the same common sense to religious stories?

    When we read of the theories held by savage and primitive people, we smile at their belief in evil and good spirits, but these poor deluded people believe such spirits are hidden in each rock and tree. We have progressed enough to know better. It is time we took a step further and discredited the similarly foolish stories written by the primitive, ignorant Jews. We know that the poor savage is under the influence of a scheming, crafty priest or witch doctor who tells him these stories to get the better of him and keep him paying tithes. They play on the credulity of the savage as our priests and religious leaders play on the credulity of our young, ignorant and lower classes of people.

    If the waitress in your cafe were to tell you that she had become pregnant without intercourse with a man, but had had a dream that the Holy Ghost had impregnated her, and she was soon to have a child, would you believe it, or would you think she was trying to cover up an indiscretion? Apply common sense to the story of the virgin birth of Jesus and the results will be the same.

    So it is with all the other portions of the Bible with its vengeful, wrathful God who showed his hinder parts to Moses; who created people sinful and then punished them for their sins; who ordered the Jews to slay the Canaanites so they could take their land, cattle and virgins; who sent his son to be crucified and then resurrected him.

    Apply common sense to the silly doctrine of the Trinity.

    And in the end, if common sense is used, we will discount the whole of the Christian religion as a mass of mythological stories, probably originated and propagated for the purpose of giving the priests and rabbis control of ignorant people so they could exploit them and live lives of ease and plenty.

    James Hervey JohnsonJames Hervey Johnson was an atheist and outspoken critic of organized religion. For nearly a quarter of a century he was publisher and editor of The Truth Seeker from 1964 until his death in 1988. Through his efforts as an activist and benefactor, Johnson contributed significantly to freethought in the mid to late twentieth century.

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    1 COMMENT

    1. Excellent article and well penned!! James Harvey Johnson was an inspirational freethinker!!! Thanx for sharing this part of his work and writings !!!

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