VIEWS ON RELIGION
James Hervey Johnson was an atheist and outspoken critic of organized religion. He summarized his thoughts by adamantly proclaiming that “religion is against all reason” as it is not based on scientific evidence but demands acceptance without proof. He felt that any intelligent, thoughtful review of the evidence for and against religion would invariably lead to his own conclusion that there is no god and that religious beliefs are contrary to reason.
Based on Superstition - Not Science
Mr. Johnson pointed out that most religions originated long ago in our history as early attempts by primitive, ignorant, and superstitious populations to explain the origin and nature of the universe. He noted that key religious claims lack objective supporting evidence and are in direct contradiction to our current scientific understanding. Science suggests that the universe operates in accordance with natural law and does not require the ongoing control of a supernatural being. Johnson believed that nothing exists that is contrary to natural law and that religion tries to anchor man’s intelligence to the superstition of ancient times.
Demands Acceptance by Faith - Not Evidence
People embrace religious doctrines on the basis of faith – for many, religious dogmas and doctrines were imposed upon them in childhood by their parents, priests, and teachers before they were capable of evaluating the evidence for themselves. To Johnson, acceptance of anything by faith was a folly – he suggested conclusions on any issue be drawn only after a thoughtful review of the evidence.
A Scheme to Make Money
Mr. Johnson characterized organized religion as a “gigantic money making fraud” which persists due to the huge profits. If religions were no longer profitable, he argued, they would soon fade away. Johnson was so outspoken in his opposition to tax benefits given to religious organizations that he tried to eliminate them in San Diego whle serving as the county Tax Assessor in the 1930s. He was also very critical of other benefits provided to clergy such as discounts on entertainment and transportation.
Hindering Man's Progress
Johnson believed that religion had historically impeded man’s progress by suppressing free thought and scientific advancement for centuries, using imprisonment, fear, torture, murder, and warfare as its tools. Religion has been (and still is) the primary cause of many wars throughout human history and countless independent thinkers, including many great scientists and philosophers, have been imprisoned, tortured, or killed by religious leaders because of their beliefs.
Protecting Power by Any Means
According to Johnson, religions maintain power through manipulation of the media, the government, and the minds of their members. They have been successful in suppressing evidence which disproves their beliefs and have created widespread prejudice against atheists, effectively limiting the expression and publicizing of anti-religion views. He suggested that the historical practices of killing off atheists and other independent thinkers along with promoting large families among believers further spread religious influence while silencing contrary voices.
God is A Myth
Johnson liked to point out that no one sees or hears god, that there is no scientific evidence of god’s existence and, that if god really does exist, why doesn’t he openly show himself to mankind? Further, he pointed to the random suffering and inequity within the human race as further evidence that there is no god in control of the universe, concluding that god is only a myth eventually destined for a place in the graveyard of history.
The Atheistic View
Johnson believed in an orderly universe that is self-operating in accordance with natural and scientific law and that there is no need for, or evidence of, any super intelligence controlling and continuing its operation. He hoped that the eventual widespread abandonment of religion would free vast resources which could be better used for the benefit of mankind instead of feeding the greed of religious leaders. Johnson tirelessly promoted his views in hopes that man would no longer be hindered by religious beliefs, a condition which he felt would improve the well-being and happiness of the human race.
James Hervey Johnson wrote extensively on his religious beliefs during nearly 50 years of activism. The following works are available directly online through this website or using links to other trusted websites:
“Religion Is A Gigantic Fraud” – this article by James Hervey Johnson, date unknown, provides a brief summary of his thoughts on religion.
”Religion: The Super Enemy of Freedom” – this article, written by Johnson in June 1983, focuses on the ways religion undermines our freedoms.
“God Is a Myth and Religion is a Gigantic Fraud” -- this article appeared in the "Scientific Truthseeker", circa 1970. It includes a recap of Mr. Johnson's thoughts on religion along with an extensive bibliography of books which support his anti-religion views.
The Case Against Religion – this is Mr. Johnson’s definitive work, published in 1949 which summarizes "the whole outrageous fraud”. The work was originally entitled “Superior Men”, in reference to Johnson’s description of mankind once free from the yoke of religious control. "When the world is ruled by superior men, there will be no wars, no crime, no sickness and no unhappiness" sums up Johnson's hope for the future of mankind. Note that this is a link to an external website, www.positiveatheism.org, which contains a large repository of related writings from many notable authors.
This reading list will be revised from time to time as new material may become available and is posted.
@2016 - The James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust