Monday, 7 January 2013

Comment #16: -- The 'Faith Through A Lens' Project

Date Started: 29/11/12
Date Completed: 11/12/12
Date First Published: 6/1/13

{Warning: This mini-essay is not Religion ‘friendly’. As an ex-Christian, i am abundantly aware of what it is, and how it works, and why it is due no reverence whatsoever. And so it will get none - i have no patience with it, any more. This mini-essay is motivated by the hyperlinked article on MSN, which has rather poor terrible form with its articles. It shall not go unchallenged.}

Firstly – what a terrible title. It’s obviously a pun, but really...

Presumably, the theists who compiled this god-awful album subscribe to the excoriating, piss-weak idea of Christian cultism as a ‘lens’ – a ‘way of seeing the world’ – which it isn’t – it’s a set of cultural dictations about how and what to think.

Anyway, lenses are for distorting – either they compensate for some pre-existent distortion (as in spectacles), or they impose distortion – that doesn’t make Religion any better – it still suggests that Religion is corrupting our worldviews. And are, thereby, inadvertently correct.

So i’ve changed my mind – it’s a good title...

Secondly – please don’t demean yourself with ideas that i shouldn’t be exploiting these images “for political purposes” – that is exactly what the photographers were trying to do. My intentions are to denounce the deceit with which they exploit them.

Thirdly - i don't usually bother with refutations of specific articles, like this, but i wanted to draw attention to this one, because it bears the supposedly-liberal, 'moderate' face of 'Western' Religion... yet i still find it repugnant!

And this is why...

Image #1

Caption: “This winning image portrays two former Romanian drug addicts who, according to the photographer, were saved by a Christian ministry. The image was one of 12 shortlisted in the Faith Through a Lens annual amateur photography competition, which profiles faith in the community. It was organised by church insurance specialist Congregational & General Insurance working with Inter Faith Network. The competition is now in its third year, and the 2012 judging panel includes the internationally renowned photojournalist Don McCullin, communities secretary Eric Pickles, the Reverend Dr David Cornick, general secretary of Churches Together in England and John Glass, general superintendant, Elim Churches UK. Baroness Warsi, minister for faith and communities, is announcing the winner in London on Tuesday 27 November. For more information visit

#1: Two drug addicts have swapped dopamine for delusion. But like ‘Theramin Trees’ said:

“Only with Religion, is everyone else required to shoot up, in order to sustain the high.”

I expect these two men remain ignorant of what they have swapped for.

It is entirely erroneous to say that these men have been “saved” by a Christian Ministry. It is not in the raison d’etre of a Ministry to make people’s lives better – it is to spread Religion – to indoctrinate – and to thereby make people’s lives worse. If any member of a Ministry incidentally makes anybody’s life better, it is not through Religion that they achieved it.

To ‘save’ these people from drugs requires counselling – not superstition.


Image #2

Caption: “The photographer says their picture represents the kindness of the human heart and quotes Jesus, who said: 'Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'”

#2: Yet another case of the Religious bastardizing morality – taking obviously empathic acts, and claiming them as determined by Religion, so that they can subvert other moral acts with Religious dogma that dictates contrarily to morality.

Only through the mind-rottingly simplistic, superstitious, emotionalistic nature of Religion, do people come to convince themselves that a world in which it is necessary for kind young men to help out decrepit, decayed old people is one in which a 2-billion-strong cult should exist, in order to worship the supposed designer of this situation!

The pictured man needs help because his body has decayed. His body has decayed because that is how reality works. Theism says this reality is the way it is because it was made this way by a deity.

To look upon this situation, and to say “theism’s helping this man out” is not just deluded – it’s sick.

Science (Medicine) gives us ways to deal with decay through age, and to prevent it from happening – Religion gives us excuses for sickness, and movements that, for example, prevent stem-cell research because it’s “playing God”.

This caption is an insult to what’s really going on in the image: empathy despite Faith.


Image #3

Title: "Hope, faith and love"

Caption: “According to the photographer who took this image, it reflects the faith of the woman that someone would give her a hot drink on a cold morning and is symbolic in that the drink was from it a stranger.”

#3: Again, this is empathy working. Faith gives us a system which excuses the inequality and suffering that put her in this situation. It is an insult – not a helping hand.

But the idea that she got it because she was faithful (read: "superstitious") - that's plain abusive! Have you heard of 'The Secret'? It runs off this very idea - it's a complete scam. Faith can only worsen her misery.

And yes -- this is exploitation is supported by scripture:

Mark 11: 22 "And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."


Image #4

Title: "Realisation"

Caption: “The photographer says his daughter Anna (pictured) was moved to tears by this depiction of Jesus's suffering in Bayeux Cathedral, in France. In a church that has stood for nearly 1,000 years, he said it showed the impact that the cross of Christ still has.”

#4: The image of a deity, murdered by his own father (himself), for fulfilling his own commands, to make up for his own mistakes in the Garden of Eden, and of a crying person who actually believes this is a reality we actually live in... is enough to bring me to tears!

No-one should live enmeshed in this abhorrent web of lies. This is not an image of hope, or of love – it is an image of death, destruction, torture, hatred – of the ultimate injustice of living under a theocratic dictatorship.

Indoctrinating people into believing these myths to be true should be acknowledged as child abuse... poor girl. Nothing is worse than mental/psychological pain.

Incidentally -- what are the Religion proponents trying to achieve - establishing that Religion is good because it can make little girls cry?!?


Image #5

Caption: “This photo was taken at the launch of a year of service, which coincided with the Baha'i festival of Ayyam-i-Há. Members of different faiths came together at the National Baha'i Centre, in London, to wrap up toiletries as presents to be given to homeless people in a local shelter.”

#5: Religious Charity – the ultimate insult to the desperate – metaphorical salt in their wounds.

Where are the efforts to actually improve their lives – to actually reduce inequality – to actually draw them from suffering?

All of the people who waste their time with puerile superstition are not doing this. Their trivial gifts will not relieve people from poverty – it will only relieve the giver of their guilt. Superstition will not help anyone – it will only inhibit those people from constructive thought – from working out how to relieve others from poverty.


Image #6

Caption: “The photographer says this image represents faiths at their very best. People of different faiths gathering to share a meal during Ramadan. The meal also marked the year of service programme, encouraging people of faith and those who are not religious to come together to volunteer and improve their neighbourhoods, and the promotion of good inter-faith relations. The photo is powerful because of the presence of the police and practitioners of the Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths. Many others, including the humanists, also attended the special event organised by the Federation of Muslim Organisations and St Philip's Centre in Leicester.”

#6: Religious self-deceptive hypocrisy at its very best!

Religious factionalism, by its very nature, divides people. When people of “different faiths” come together, they do so despite being in different factions – not because of it!

“Promotion of good inter-faith relations” is only necessary because Religion imbibes hatred between groups. Look around the world – where are people hating each other most effectively? Where they are of different Religious factions:

Protestant Northern Ireland and Catholic Eire; Islamic Palestine and Jewish Israel; Christian South Sudan and Islamic Sudan; Communist China and Buddhist Tibet; Hindu western India and Islamic Pakistan; the Hutu and the Tutsi in Rwanda; Kurdish and Islamic Iraq; Serbian Orthodox, Catholic Christian, and Islamic Bosnia-Herzegovina; Islamic factions in Afghanistan; Hindus and Christians in India; Wahhabi and Sufi in Somalia; Hindus and Buddhists in Sri Lanka; and hundreds of different combinations in conflict across the world, stretching back through history.

Religious ‘difference’ is what causes this bloodshed. This is why James Madison – writer of the US Constitution – said “The purpose of separation of Church and State is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”

And why Hitch said “Religion now comes to us in this smiling-face, ingratiating way, because it’s had to give so much ground, and because we know so much more. But you’ve no right to forget the way it behaved when it was strong, and when it really did believe that it had God on its side.”

We must not forget that any illusion of peaceful Religion is only that – an illusion – when it is strong enough, it makes us suffer, in terrible ways.

Take, for example, the systematic rape of children left in the care of Religious ‘authorities’. They excuse their actions so much, because they think they can get away with it. They think they can excuse their superstition’s consequences – we must not let them continue, or more lives will be ruined before they’ve barely started.


Image #7

Caption: “Four hundred people walk to promote unity among different faiths, according to the author of this photo, which was taken at Trafalgar Square in London during the Love of Faith Walk.”

#7: If only shouting “wake up” would work! Faithful adherence to Religion does so much damage specifically because people think it is a good thing, like the people pictured do.

It. Is. Not.

Religion, or any superstitious belief-system, is dangerous. Far from loving it – we should be fearing it – loathing it – condemning it – seeking to eradicate it, like we do with diseases, and bullying, and homophobia, and child abuse – all of which, Religion plays a part in exacerbating (causing).

The hyperlinks:

“diseases” – ‘Schools deny girls cervical cancer jab on religious grounds’
“bullying” – ‘New report on homophobic bullying shows continuing problems among ‘faith’ schools’
“homophobia” – ‘Homosexuality is not a problem to be ‘cured’’
“child abuse” – ‘Victims: Child sex abuse is crime against humanity’

And there’s plenty more where they came from!


Image #8

Title: "There but for the grace of God" -- {who's "there" - the guy on the right, acting through empathic morality; or the lady on the left - forced into poverty by a benevolent all-powerful deity?}

Caption: “This image was taken around harvest festival time. The photographer's explanation for it is that he wanted to highlight the idea of giving food to the most needy in society.”

#8: While Religious delusion leads people to thank a fantastical non-entity for the harvest – all of the credit for which is owed to real people – we see another case of moral bastardization. He does this through empathy – not because of Religious decree. But why is eradication of her situation not enacted, too? It’s not dealt with because Religious organisations are incapable of sorting it – they exist to enact superstitious ritual - not to sort reality out, but to excuse, and thereby exacerbate, its inequities and agonies.


Image #9

Caption: “Volunteers hand out lunch to older members of the community. The photograph was taken at St Stephen's in East Twickenham, London, and shows older members of the church giving out spring lunch for free to pensioners, regardless of their belief or no belief. The photographer says a talk was given after lunch from a representative of the Age UK charity to tell diners about benefits or grants they could claim for - which might not have happened without the lunch event.”

#9: Another case of Religious organisations claiming charity as its own. How many non-Religious elderly would have known about this? Does the Church do as Age UK and pop leaflets through doors? No – it announces in the Church – a hidden discrimination, deviously concealed by the clause “regardless of their belief or no belief”. By ‘establishing’ Charities to themselves, the way the Cult of England establishes itself to the UK State, they manage to conflate the two – further corrupting both Charity and the State, and hampering their ability to genuinely improve society for the better -- for example, dealing with the situation that necessitated the soup kitchen. Religious organisations will never do this – the soup kitchen is one of their tools to make them look good. call my cynical!


Image #10

Caption: “The photographer says his picture depicts how faith can sustain you no matter what your troubles are. The man pictured was staring at St Paul's Cathedral, in London, as passers-by gave him food and money.”

#10: yet another example of how Religion excuses suffering rather than deals with it -- “faith can sustain you no matter what your troubles”. No it can’t – it’ll hold you down, till you yield your last breath. And by then, you won’t be able to admit you were wrong.


Image #11

Caption: “This image, says the photographer, is symbolic of the human hands that knit the community together by offering help and support to others - from making phone calls, to praying, cleaning and preparing food.”

#11: The hands that bind... at the expense of those who do not conform to the cultural dogma.

How many homosexual or transsexual people must commit suicide because of communities overly concerned with keeping “the community” together? How many atheists must be vilified and rejected from society? How many children must be labelled ‘witch’ as a scapegoat for that community’s ills, and be cast out into the wilderness?

Sure – Religion binds the ‘in’ group together – but at the expense of anyone who has the misfortune to find themselves in the ‘out’ group.

This is how factionalism works – if you’re ‘in’ you get a wonderful, huggy feeling of being at home, and at one with your kin – and if you’re ‘out’ you have to feel the cold shoulder of social rejection; which, by the way, is a horrible experience, for any member of a social species.

And when conforming is contingent on “praying” which is, and i mean this quite deliberately, the perfect waste of time, and the perfect way to corrupt your mind into a form of premature senility, you can bet that i do not want to live in such a terribly stifling, oppressive culture!


Image #12

Caption: “Sharing food brings people together. And even the smallest gathering can share bread and know they are part of the whole worldwide body of faith, according to the person who took this the image.”

#12: This is the perfect symbol for how insulting, and how denigrating to humanity, Religious fake-charity is!

How can this person be supported by a crumb? They can not!

The gesture is symbolic – and nothing more – it has no real-world utility – it can not make anyone’s lives substantially better – it is a massive insult, not just to everyone who suffers the ignominy of poverty, but also to all those who are actually employing methods that can achieve the eradication of poverty.

Coupled in with that, is the fact that bread in Christianity is taken as a symbol of the flesh of a 2000-year-old half-dead half-deity who killed himself, to placate himself, for a mistake he made, in his own creations, whom he was apparently attempting to forgive, for committing the mistake that he actually made, himself!

And even though this non-sacrifice did (in myth) occur (“he lives”, apparently – net death equals zero) we all still have original sin, from the myth of Adam and Eve (an event which is, similarly, impossible for Physical and Biological reasons) and so we must all still eat and drink this guy, for ever more....

Is Christianity really saying that the whole Jesus story was the biggest cock-up in cosmic history?!?

Step 1: God makes people sin

Step 2: God forgives people for their sins by killing himself in a horribly gory way
(...and makes the image of a man on a death-cross a symbol of love? Whoever dreamt that one up was one sick bastard!)

Step 3: People carry on being sinful and living in disease and war and starvation and suffering and Religion and sin.

When the non-Religious look upon Religion, it is sometimes hard for them to imagine that they are even trying to be nice - to be moral - but i see Religion as humanity's biggest warning:

We can not be moral on good intentions alone -- we must know how to manifest our good intentions. Religion exhorts 'good' behaviour tirelessly, yet undermines any effort to find out how to employ those good intentions.

It undermines morality and replaces it with dogma; it undermines empathy, and replaces it with conformity; it undermines knowledge and wisdom, and replaces them with authority.

This is how Religion leads people to go so dreadfully wrong.

Thank you, ‘Faith Through A Lens’ people, for using your lens to elucidate how god-awful Religion is!

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