Saturday, November 3, 2012

My imaginary friend told me i don't have to think

It's taken me forever to understand one particular aspect of the religious mindset. Having largely dropped superstition from my thinking since i was around ten to twelve years of age, it's been difficult lately to remember just how polarized the religious view is, how absolute the delineation between one's indoctrination and the evils outside the sect. It stems, of course, from religion's primary use as a tool of social control. The 'us versus them' mentality, the channeling of instinctive kin recognition into this particular use of ritualistic behavior to cement social bonds against unbelievers is as central to religion as the promise of life after death.

Intellectually, i've held that understanding of sectarian polarization in some remote corner of my brain alongside the knowledge that religion, for anyone but a caveman making up an explanation for thunder and the phases of the moon, is basically a refusal to think, a shrinking away from the unpleasant effort of logically working through the problems of the univesrse - cogitation constipation, if you will. I did not grasp the implication, just how completely religion precludes the concept of logic itself.

Recently, i've decided to skim through some snippets of Bill Maher's HBO show, Real Time, both through the segments HBO provides online and various youtube clips. This led to other Bill Maher comedy and commentary clips. I ran across the following paragraph in the screaming of some fundamentalist at the beginning of this clip (min. 0:40); i am transcribing it myself so pardon any inaccuracy.

"You liberals are hypocrites. You say 'don't yell at me, don't get upset at me, you know, just have free thinking, open your mind, don't be so narrow-minded' and as soon as somebody disagrees with you you start cussin' you start getting upset. [you're?] outside of Jesus Christ, you hate God, yew haytcher country!"

The way in which he says 'you hate god' was what made me sit up and replay the segment. It seems a key to understanding the religious incapacity to grasp the basis of individual thought, and the inevitable rejection of religion through independent thought. The revelation (biblical pun intended) is that there is no rationalism from a fundamentalist viewpoint. We're just another heathen sect. They are incapable of discerning between rational atheism and the disciples of Baal, Amun-Ra or the dark lord of the morning star. They see it as just another religious war because they cannot imagine anything outside religious indoctrination.

And it isn't. The common atheist frustration is not spurred by disagreement. That would imply a weighing of factors, an informed opinion, a search for truth by both sides. Religion is a refusal to think, a wholesale, gullible entrenchment in the safety blanket of childhood indoctrination. By the same token, the fundamentalist cannot imagine a life not ruled by irrational adherence to socially-imposed dogma. He believes atheists are only usurpers from another faith. There is no disagreement between reason and religion because they're not even speaking the same language.

I don't hate gods. I can't. It is impossible to hate something that doesn't exist. I like stories about gods. They entertain me. I'm a big fan of mythology.
I hate religion itself, the particular deca-millenial subjugation of will and intellect by social pressure toward irrationality.

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