Abattoir: The World as Religion's Slaughterhouse

I long ago stopped arguing religion.  I put it into my personal dustbin and decided that debating the merits of organized religion was up there with debating the reality of Stephen King's Christine.  In other words: utterly pointless.  Fact won't change fate, and after a while I had no interest in trying.  I actually don't care about people's faith or lack of it.  Religion bothers me, however, when it starts to become policy.  When laws are made around religion, and groups are ostracized (or worse), is right when religion needs to be debated and dragged kicking and screaming into the era of rational thought and logical laws and policies.

Recently, some geriatric preacher predicted the end of the world in a proclamation that was like porno for believers.  He had predicted it something like four times before, and the last time the prediction didn't come true he claimed he had messed up the dates.  When the world didn't end on 5/21/11 he rationalized it away with the same lack of logic.  All well and good, except people slashed their kids throats, jumped from buildings and quit jobs and left families because some AARP reject said the end was here.

It's a claim that's been made time and time again.  The end is nigh.  On X date the world will end.  A book tells us so.  A vision tells us so.  Some guy in a bad suit said it, so it must be true.  Honestly, I don't care if people believe this crap.  Some guy jumps off a building because of the random mumblings of someone he doesn't even know, well, the world is probably better off without him.  Kids getting their throats slit is horrible and tragic, but since we, as a society, has agreed that such a strong faith is a reasonable thing .... How can you expect any less?

When people have faith (a belief) in something they can't prove exists, you run into these situations.  I think faith can be a powerful thing.  It does lead to good sometimes.  It gets people through hard times.  It also makes them susceptible to behavior that is utterly insane to the rational-minded.  You believe one crazy thing, you'll easily fall for another, and once you are lock-step in the psychotic swirl, you accept the values of that swirl all the more readily.  You believe in God, you start to believe you can be punished for certain thoughts or behavior.  You start to believe that, you start to believe a society can be punished.  You start to believe that, and then you start to believe you don't want to be around for that punishment.  You start to believe that, and slitting your kid's throat so that they won't have to around for it, either, seems humane.  That is logical, and it makes perfect sense ... if you follow a flawed path.  It won't happen to everyone (not everyone is a leader, but the majority of the population are followers and even apologists), but it happens to enough people.  Faith leaves the door open, and anything can get in.  Just ask the followers of Charles Manson.  They were nuts, right?  How does that differ from any other religion?  The amount of bloodshed?  Check your history.  The fact that they were hippies?  Check your idols.  The fact that Manson said the end was coming and tried to hasten it along?  Yeah, religion never did that.

Again, I avoid arguing religion.  I don't care that people have faith.  I'm actually happy that a lot of people do.  It keeps some of the rabble under control.  If the faith turns their lives into their own personal abattoir, then that's fine with me, too.  If it allows them to build houses in Mexico, that's just as good.  Once it starts to invade my life, though, I start to take it a little personally.

Come October, the new end of the world, we'll probably see much the same thing.  The creepy old preacher from Poltergeist 2 will be spouting his nonsense.  The people who fell for it last time will fall for it again.  More people will quit their jobs.  More people will deplete their savings.  And more moms will slit the throats of their young.  It's all pretty harmless, right?  Yeah.  Until they get their hands on some nerve gas and decide to speed things along ...

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link may earn me a small commission and herald in the end of the world.  Click away!

No comments: