Religion is basically a combination of three things: 1) ideas about morality, 2) a completely unverifiable story of a "superman" who bears a message from a "God" (sometimes "gods") about how we can win the lottery of eternal life and 3) an elaborate mix of historical events, ideas, and philosophies. The third component is always interpreted and used for the single purpose of convincing people that they must believe in that 'completely unverifiable story' (and indeed force others to believe it as well) in order to be "truly moral," and thereby get into heaven for all time. (Many of them feel a disdainful "fuck em!" for anyone who, out of their own "ignorance," ends up burning in hell for all time. "Praise Jesus!")
Hence, the only thing that is unique to any one religion is just the story. But even the stories are simply adaptations of other stories that came before, like Horus, Buddha, Mithra, Krishna and Osiris.
But religion has traded its "morality" for it's story in Christ. And by doing so, has confused it's ideas about what it means to act like a mythological man-God, with being "moral." As if anything that you do in pursuit of the former is defined as the latter. But it isn't.
In this same way, religion has yoked our minds to it's narratives and beliefs, like a cow to a plowshare. And like that plowshare, we struggle to move through life by dragging it along with us, milling and scaring the soil behind as we go, and justify it by believing we are sowing seeds. But those seeds come from the apple that Adam and Eve are said to have eaten in the Garden of Eden. The lie that came from that apple is that religion is a kind of Rumpelstiltskin, that can turn "beliefs" into "absolute truth." And that by accepting this, and "believing" whatever the religion or "church" says thereafter, a person will live in paradise forever and ever.
By deliberately and continually misleading people by conflating it's narrative based "beliefs" as representing the necessary foundation stone to all "absolute moral truth" - even though these two are so often complete opposites to each other - religions first lies to us, and then convince us that everything else they are saying is "absolutely true, and must be accepted as such to have any hope of living forever"( Even though such willingness to simply "believe this" alone does not guarantee a person will make it to heaven; it's only the first step.See Footnote below.)
A "belief," in simplest terms, is not necessarily the same as "the truth," and in fact are often quite in conflict. The debate between a heliocentric solar system and a geocentric "belief system" is just one example, with slavery and ideas about sexuality being others. So what's the difference regarding religion? We can find the answer to that in religion itself.
The story of Adam and Eve being seduced into eating from the tree of knowledge by a serpent in the Garden of Eden, and by doing so thus disobeying God's command not to eat from that tree alone, can actually be used to explain what religion actually is. Religion is the apple that serpent tricked them into eating. It is the "belief" that they obtained when they ate that apple (the apple being simply a seductive story that they swallowed hook, line and sinker), which lead some of them to think their own "beliefs" are actually spoken eternal absolute "truths" whispered unmistakably to all, but only those with special kinds of "sacred souls," which operate like a finely tuned tuning-fork for truth, (the soul being another "invention" of religion that can not be proved or disproved) can hear it better than others.
This sacredly tuned soul allows such "believers" to determine 2+2=5, or whatever else their sacred "book" tells them they must believe, or thrown into an eternal hell. They reject reality for what it is, untamed and beyond all comprehension as to its "meaning" - for giving things "meaning" may be a singularly human exercise, developed more for survival and forming liaisons than for discerning the radio signal of an alien yet immaterial "super being" who created the universe as a high school science project - and instead anchor their ideas and their sanity to a "belief" that makes life so much more "meaningful" by accepting it.
Like Vanilla Sky, with Tom Cruise, it is "The Lucid Dream," which is why we bow our heads and close our eyes to interact with it. In that dream, all of the problems in the world simply come down to "beliefs," because that is what their entire world boils down to, at the bottom of everything else. They "need" quite desperately for their ideas to be "true," for them to have any meaning in their life, and to alleviate the pure "hell" of feeling like life is just lonely brutish and short, and then it's over.
And even though the atheist may simply "believe" that nothing comes after we die (at least in any conscious sense, anyway) they cannot prove that any more than the Christian or Muslim can prove their own stories are the absolute truth of what happens after we die, or any infinite number of other guesses that are impossible to imagine.
What we do know, however, is that Christians need their "belief" to be accepted by everyone else, for them to feel better about everything in the world. In their mind, if everyone was Christian, there's be less wars and other problems in the world in general, even though Christian nations have probably been more warlike and engaged in more war that any other "nations" that have ever existed (certainly this is true, if we are just going by pure numbers, given our population explosion and the relatively short time for different religious beliefs).
Yet no evidence based in reality, or biology, or astrophysics like the higgs-boson, or any of the pedophiles or horrors committed by the church, could ever dislodge this most essential and absolute necessity for how they understand anything and everything at all - and that boils down to insisting that their "belief" is the same thing as "truth."
And in this way, the garden of truths around us, for which we have only ever been tasked with the single mission of understanding it on its terms alone, not our own, according to its design, not the meanings we design for it, is lost to the apple of a belief that only hides "truth" by claiming it alone defines what is true.
FOOTNOTE: A person may still need to be willing to die for the idea that
his "belief" is absolutely and undeniably "true," to get any kind of
"guarantee" of getting into Heaven (and the worse the ordeal for such a
believer, the more likely they are to believe it all the more,
ironically enough). But this is simply placating their delusion, for
the guarantees of martyrdom to the "true believer" is often a sirens
song, one that lures a person to sacrifice them self for the love of
their "god" (which, ironically enough is exactly how the Charles Manson
family member who engaged in the brutal murders of the Tates and
LaBiancas in 1969, Patricia Krenwinkle, described her own experience with Manson),
that always proves too seductive to resist to those who "will do
anything for love."
Saturday, February 11, 2017
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