Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Salvation, Damnation, Tomayto, Tomahto

Religion is the art of turning fear and superstition into the commodity of Jesus Christ in order to bottle God like Coca Cola. This divinely patented process ensures that the more you drink either one, the thirstier you will surely become. Indeed, that's the hook that keeps customers continually coming back for more of both.

 All those who peddle such sugary spirits benefit greatly from God's absence, of course, as his presence would instantly satisfy the deep desire that religion both preys upon and helps to exacerbate. The reason God's impromptu return would be so ruinous for religion is because it is only with the desire for God that people can be controlled. Having God, on the other hand, would be like trying to control a lion with the promise of a gyro sandwich after it had already gorged itself on a gazelle. As Zizek has pointed out, satisfying a desire completely only serves to destroy the desire itself, and if God were in the world, religion would be out of business. Like cancer, the money to made is not in a cure, but in the treatment.

What is the spiritual cancer that Christianity seeks to treat in humanity? For most people, it's that gaunt faced fellow we call death. Religion provides humanity with an antidote to its mortality, in other words, although it is one that is purely psychological, not physical. Eternal life in paradise can be purchased for the price of filling the collection plate every Sunday, and emptying our heads of any suspicions of those who sell us such spiritual snake oil. And by doing so, religion helps to anesthetize our anxiety over our own terminal condition.

Believe, so the story goes, and you will rise again from the dead and never die. And like Adam and Eve, you'll also purchase a divine knowledge of all good and evil, which you'll be inspired to share with all those who you believe lack as Godly an understanding of the difference as yourself. This idea does not only give people God and a messiah, in this sense, it actually turns people into gods and messiahs! Anyone who believes in God becomes "their own personal Jesus," as they then feel empowered to save others with their opinions just as they see themselves as saved by Christ and the opinions of Bill O'Reilly, and Fox News. Such a spiritual psychosis leads many to then register with the Republican party, join the NRA, and arm themselves to the teeth! All of this is done for the Prince of Peace, of course, and out of a stark raving fear of all those who refuse to do the exact same thing. 

Religion also allows the believer to see all forms of suffering, no matter how long and excruciating, as ultimately serving the will of God. From wars to witch burnings, and from genocide to humanicide,  every pain ever suffered throughout history - both physical and psychological - have all been part of God's divine plan. And all of it designed, much like the brutal murder of Jesus himself, to save humanity from itself be crucifying all those who refuse to pick up their cross and be crucified.

In other words, for Christians, we can either pick up our cross like Jesus did, and prove ourselves worthy of Christ by allowing ourselves to be crucified, like Christ, for Christ, or we can refuse to do so and be crucified - like Christ and for Christ - by Christians. Hence, we can either die for religion, or be killed by it. As Jigsaw put it, "make your choice."  Either way, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't, and the only difference between salvation and damnation is simply the difference between a tomayto and a tomahto.        

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