10/100 Somebody Has to Say It

…and I’ve developed a reputation as being a bit of a git so why shouldn’t it be me? Talking to the Infurious team this morning over IM, Aidan reckoned this would simply be an example of the “Wise Fool”, better known to me as the “wisdom of innocents” – the idea that some people speak … Continue reading “10/100 Somebody Has to Say It”

…and I’ve developed a reputation as being a bit of a git so why shouldn’t it be me?

Talking to the Infurious team this morning over IM, Aidan reckoned this would simply be an example of the “Wise Fool”, better known to me as the “wisdom of innocents” – the idea that some people speak the plain truth because they do not perceive the social mores which prevent some people from being honest. I remember talking to a friend of mine a few months ago and we had some issues. We agreed to be totally honest. Turned out that wasn’t such a good idea as many people are not ready for absolute honesty.

The worst thing about home truths is given away in the name. They are home, or relative truths – which is why I have been variously called everything between “the most honest man” someone knows to “a monster, a brute, a savage”. Both can’t be right? But yes, of course, both are right.

So, today I’m going to rant about religion.

I was reading on the OSX-Nutters list about what a great theory Buddhism is, how it encourages compassion for your world and yet the Dalai Lama considers homosexuality a sin.

There is no god. Get used to it. God, and religion, should be used as intended, simple parables for simple people to help condition them for life as an adult and instilling them with simple moral values. There’s nothing supernatural about Buddha or any of the other paths. They’re all just fables.

How can anyone read Genesis and take it literally? Why do people need the idea of a supreme being? What’s his motivation? Why does he consider homosexuality a sin? Why is he opposed to gambling? What basis does he use to consider birth control sinful?

For all of my life, my mother has been a devout catholic and it goes far enough that when she’s looking for something she’s also praying to a saint. And when she finds that something it becomes proof that the saint intervened. A similar example in the not-really-real religion “wicca” would be their steps to perform a “getting a new job” ritual. My friend, who allowed herself to be deluded by wicca for a few years, explained it to me. Essentially, you do all the things a normal person would do – like applying for jobs you’re qualified to do, researching the post, turning up to the interview well turned out, being personable…and then you perform a wiccan ritual. These steps will possibly get you a job. I beg your pardon?? Seems to me that if you did all of the preliminary steps but left out the silly ritual you’d get the same result.

There is nothing wrong with being gay. I’m a heterosexual man. I have friends who are homosexual men. There’s nothing wrong with them. I don’t understand how they can like guys because I find guys to be really ugly but they like nothing better than a stubbly chin and strong arms. There must be something in it because my Better Half also likes the stubble and the arms.

As he doesn’t exist, it’s impossible for god to hate gays. And even if he did exist, why exactly does he hate them? It doesn’t make any sense.

It seems to me that religion started out as a social contract. Respect your elders, don’t steal or kill in your community, don’t lie or spread malicious gossip in the community and don’t chase someone else’s wife.

Taken as a social contract, the ten commandments make a lot of sense. It’s only when someone added the godly bits that it seems to be become a load of codswallop. Don’t worship idols other than this one? Don’t use his name in an oath? Don’t work seven days in a row. What the hell is that all about?

In my Magnum Opus, Qabal, I wrote how primitive peoples added a face and a name to the sky, the storms, the sea in an effort to provide some understanding. We now know that these things are moved and changed through the operation of physics and chemistry. We don’t need to have a guiding supernatural intelligence to explain it when these things work according to observed principles. Isn’t it time we moved on from making up fairy tales in order to help us sleep at night?

I look around today and consider that money, religion and love have to be the three greatest evils in the world.

We’re not going to be able to get rid of love. It’s intrinsic to human nature. And our society is built upon trade, so money – or barter – will always remain. But religion? Let’s start to take a stand and consign God and religion to where it belongs – the province of children’s stories; comparable to the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Bogeyman.

[Chris Brogan’s 100 topics]

0 thoughts on “10/100 Somebody Has to Say It”

  1. My mother also prays to St Anthony in order to find stuff, and then gives his statue an offering when she finds it. I put it to her that if St Anthony was so great, why didn’t he help her not lose it in the first place? Having to pay him for stuff makes it seem rather than a protection racket to me – maybe he moved it in the first place.

    But hey, if people want to cling to their faith, it’s probably the one thing you can’t convince them to change. The more you try, the stronger their need becomes. It’s perhaps the one thing you need to work out for yourself.

  2. I disagree (of course).

    I can’t think of anything religion has done for society and in fact faced with current problems in the Middle East and the problems religion is causing everywhere else I’m surprised it is permitted to continue.

    Whether we’re talking about Creationism taught as Science or threatening death sentences for cartoons you have to ask whether religion has done anything for the advancement of civilisation.

  3. How can you disagree? I’ve said that my mother believes (which she does) and that I ridiculed her for it (which i did). I then said it’s very hard to dissuade someone from their beliefs (which it is). I’m not sure which part you are disagreeing with…

    My personal view is that religion is a simplistic world view kept by those who would rather not think for themselves through laziness or stupidity, is used as a tool by twisted individuals who want power, and is scourge that is keeping mankind in the Dark Ages. Your milage may vary.

  4. I dearly wish there was a way to get people to have some sense. But you’ve lived in Northern Ireland – that alone must be proof that it can’t be done sort of massive social engineering. Basically, some kind of IQ test before being allowed to have a kid would be a start, but it’s not really consider in good taste to say something like that. Or maybe Posh and Becks could make a TV program in which they embrace the books of Dawkins and Hitchens…

  5. To clarify, I’m not advocating one belief system over another. They’re all as bad as each other. I’m advocating reason, science and, frankly, the recognition that humanity has been responsible for everything good and bad in this world and that “blaming” an omnipotent god for everything is both underestimating humanity for the good and allowing us to escape our just deserts for the bad.

    I could never understand how people could abdicate their responsibilities to myths.

  6. Here’s a pretty good scientific and logical theory for how the world came to exist, a model for physical laws, and explanations for how stars and galaxies and plankton and plants and people all exist. All these theories can be tested, predictions made, and oh yeah, we have proofs for almost everything.

    And here is a story about a magical supreme being who just wished it all into existence. Oh, there’s no proof about this, by the way. And there are a thousand different variations of these story to choose from. if you pick the wrong one, and live in the wrong place, people will kill you – just so you know.

    Which is more likely to be correct? The crazy supreme being theory? Of course not. It’s clearly nonsense. But there is something that compels people to believe it – even though it’s preposterous! What is this force? Easy. Most people are bloody stupid.

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