Tuesday 18 December 2012

Moving Forward in Reason

A Guest Post by Seon Lewis

The argument as to whether religion is a good or bad thing is an ongoing one. Some argue that it is; others think not. Of course this divide is along party lines: the non-believers/believers line. Religious people are certain that religion is a great thing, in that, they argue that having a cosmic watchman that sees and knows everything you do is not only good, but needed. It keeps the individual morally grounded. 

Growing up in a country that is virtually 100% religious, I was one of the many Grenadians that accepted the idea that God is certainly needed to be a moral person.   As with so many in the other Caribbean countries, I had no other choice in the matter of choosing what I believe. It was quite simple; I was born in a country whose main faith is Christianity. So Christianity it was. In other words, I was indoctrinated into the faith from my childhood. I am matured now, and as David Ince, a fellow atheist blogger from Barbados, wrote, I learned to “put down the ducky.” I have come to realize that religion does not have a monopoly on morality. And, as some people may indeed need religion, and God, to keep them in check, many of us don’t. We are moral people because we are, being good for goodness’ sake. Good without God! (Like the title of Greg Epstein’s book.)

On the other hand, religion has in the past, and continues to be, a major motivating factor for many people to commit atrocious crimes. Parents in the Faith Healing community, for instance, continue to damn their children to death by refusing to grant access to medicine for otherwise manageable diseases. Their faith in God to heal their children is the problem: blind faith, faith not planted in reality, but in religious, dogmatic teachings. We have Islamic Jihadists, killing innocent people because Allah “told” them to do so. In the Caribbean, intolerance is rampant, and, the “Holy” Bible and the Qur’aan are the religious texts held up as the justification for this inhumane behavior.     

The creators of religion may not have made it up for malicious purposes. It, however, has become the generator of many evils. It has become a cesspool of bad ideas, that often turns otherwise good people bad, and even as some people argue that religion has kept them on  a moral path , it operates more so in the negative direction than vice versa. 

What then can be done? For starters, we can and should not adhere to doctrines that encourage us to hate and discriminate against our fellow humans. Instead of allowing ourselves to be guided by books that spew divisive teachings, we should make every effort to be good people. Abandon these Bronze Age guidelines and rules that were written by Bronze Aged people. I have divorced myself, not only from the dogmas of Christianity, but from theism altogether. I am not suggesting that this should be your route. But I am urging you to think about the belief you hold and how it influences your worldview—how it affects your relationship with other human beings. 

The road to this freedom, the freedom whereby one's mind is not held hostage by these religious books and doctrines, is not an easy one.  As Caribbean people we understand the risk. Like people from around the world who have chosen this path, Caribbean people choosing to live a life free from religious dogmas also means social suicide. Most of us, if not all, have experienced being ostracized for questioning the faith and the effects it has on our society. In my community church, I recall, preachers preached about me, declaring me to be the devil, and literally crazy. Despite the trauma, however, many of us are embracing rationality and reason. We have chosen to promote and build a better world free of the divisiveness of religion.

We are now moving forward. I now know that I am not alone. You too are not alone. With great people like the creators and admins of this blog and others, we can move forward in reason, forwarding humanity and ensuring that our islands embrace reason and rationality. With the hard work of these people, the Caribbean community now has access to great nonbelievers’ online communities like the Freethinking Island,  the Caribbean Atheists group on Facebook, Caribatheist's (David Ince's) blog page, and the Caribbean Freethinkers’ Society. Come join the conversation. Your viewpoints are certainly valid.

Peace, in reason.

Seon Lewis is the creator of Spice Island Atheist,a blog about freethought in Grenada, the Caribbean as a whole, and beyond. He is also the author of From Mythology to Reality: Moving Beyond Rastafari, and has appeared as a guest on The Freethinking Island. You can find his blog at http://www.spiceislandatheist.blogspot.com.


  1. Bahhhuuuuteeeful!!! I especially love this one about religion being a "cesspool of bad ideas"

  2. Thank you Kahluahgal. It is the truth....

  3. Well written Seon and thanks for the kind words towards me as well as others working in our fledgling freethought movement. You deserve a lot of credit yourself. You are definitely a big part of why this Caribbean movement is starting to gain some success. Keep up the great work!