Why I Mock Religion
I rarely take much "in your face" heat over my unrelenting dismissal of all things religious. In fact to some extent I am perplexed by the fact that people so solemnly follow the old adage, "never talk about religion or politics".
At any rate, as I have said many times, I gave up on religion at about the same time I gave up on Santa Claus and for mostly the same reasons. Not only could no one prove the existence of Santa or God, they really couldn't give me a significant, rational purpose in the act of continuing to believe.
Even pragmatically, when I stopped believing in Santa, I still got Christmas gifts, so that didn't end poorly at all .....
So, because I loved (and love) people in my life who are people of faith, I stoically swallowed my disbelief and became at best a closet agnostic and at worst an unfaithful atheist. Then I got older, had some time on my hands, career and family security and felt less encumbered by what others really thought of me and I decided to expose myself as the religious bigot that I had become decades before.
Soon, after examining my own thoughts and looking at our world, I realized that I wasn't just an atheist, but that I was actually angered and sickened by religion. I am an anti-theist.
I think that I blogged about some reasons why before, but that was mostly on an intellectual level.
What do I FEEL and what do I BELIEVE. I mean if we are talking about faith, I should speak in the language of faith. Feeling and Believing and Passion and Soulfulness - not taking an academic or philosophical or scholarly view, but a HUMAN view.
The two most common arguments from others as to why I mock religion are (1) By mocking something that isn't testable, I feel smarter or superior to those that are willing to give up logic and simply believe and (2) I actually do believe in my deepest psyche and I am masking fear by being overtly anti-God.
So, before I share my feelings on the subject, let me respond to these seemingly logical and oft used accusations.
To the First - sadly, no matter how I wish it wasn't true, I do in fact feel that I am endowed with an intellect that is above average - meaning simply that I am not special in any profound way, but that more precisely, I am simply smarter than "most" people. This seems to be a fact. Given that I am aware of this fact and given that others are also aware of this fact and given that if anything being (on average) superior in some respect to others, actually makes me very uncomfortable. So, no, my normal motivations are to appear more common and less smart, not the other way around. Sure, I talk a lot and post a lot of things (some non-sense), but in my mind the more someone talks, the dumber they usually look. So again, I think by rambling, I am actually covering for myself and trying to fit in. Something I have desired for most of my life. At the end of the day, I actually RESPECT those that are truly faithful and have faith and hold their faith dear. It takes a lot of courage to believe something that is unproven and unknowable. The only problem is that for every TRUE believer, there are thousands that pretend and those pretenders are so transparent to me, I often feel like my "super power" is seeing their doubt and hypocrisy. (a pop culture jest in case you think I am serious about super powers)
To the Second accusation - While I have no qualms about tempting God, because I have had a great life (for the most part) and consider myself lucky, not cursed and frankly "blessed", I have never had the moment when I thought that a higher power was about to strike me down. Also, by not believing, I don't buy into the punishment thing and while I do believe that evil exists, I know that it exists as part of the human condition, the human mind, the human culture and sub-culture. It is not a conspiracy of the heavens, evil is a coding error in the human brain. There is no hell and often, bad people actually prosper and do well, those of whom who are not completely insane or anti-social. In fact the observation that "good things happen to bad people" and "bad things happen to good people" is one of the many unknowable questions that religion so conveniently answers for those that can't stand the idea of having things without explanations.
Now - Why do I mock religion?
(1) All religion is premised on the key that humans are defective. It takes away a person's self worth.
(2) Religious differences are a major (not only) factor in tribal conflict, war, death and injustice.
(3) Religion is based on illogical premises, propagated by arbitrary references and a misuse of the capacity of the human intellect. Many intelligent and/or well educated people are people of faith, but religion prospers most where secular education is either the least effective or the least respected.
(4) Religion is used by one class of humans to control and manipulate another class of humans.
(5) Every religion that has ever existed, has failed to endure, once enough time has passed. 5,500 or 2,000 years is nothing. If you wait long enough, the big 5 will fade away (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism).
(6) Taxes, Tithing and Supplication = Social and Political Injustice
I do NOT mock religion because I hate religious people. I mock religion because I hate religion.
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