It comes in Christian and Buddhist and Animist and…
When I was talking to a friend this weekend about the same stuff I put inyesterday’s post, she mentioned that his Mormonism also put people off. I said, sure it does for the crazy fundamentalists who think that Jesus rode to work on a dinosaur, but most people don’t really care about that; his Daddy Warbucks/sea snake mash-up is much more of a problem.
So then she started talking about just how crazy Mormonism is. Which, don’t get me wrong–it’s nuts. But I don’t see it as any crazier than any other religion. Some years ago, I decided that if your explanation for things requires any magic or supernatural intervention, it has passed a crazy event horizon; past that, all explanations are equally nutty. One you’ve invoked a non-testable, non-natural cause, off you go. Andevery single religion does that.
Here’s the beauty of this way of thinking: I no longer have to spend time categorizing which religions are crazier than the others. Wicca? Mormonism? Islam? All the same. They’re exactly the same, because they’re all past the event horizon. So instead of having to talk about how the revelations of the angel Moroni or whatever are WAY nuttier than the idea that a zombie Judean carpenter will grant you an eternal yet incorporeal existence, I can spend time oh, I don’t know, writing smart-ass things for the Internet.
As noted, I say that religion is poison. I don’t just mean because of all the wars and intolerance; we can find other excuses to engage in those very human behaviors. It’s poison because it is a barrier to understanding why and how things work; when you don’t know why something happens the way it does, you can just throw up your hands and say God/the spirits of our ancestors/Xtapolapocetl did it. Worse yet are the people who do that god-of-the-gaps bullshit–when they come across a phenomenon that we don’t have a good explanation for, they use that as evidence that their particular delusion must be responsible for it. They’re never heard apologizing for getting it wrong when we do come up with an explanation for the phenomenon in question.
I know that some people will tell me that religions can motivate people to do good things, or that there are beautiful stories to be found there; you could say the same about Aesop’s fables. And that also leaves you open to the fact that people can do terrible things and tell horrific stories thanks to religion. And no amount of good works or stories can, in my mind, make up for the existence of Pat Robertson.
So that’s my take. You may commence bitching about me/it, condemning my non-existent soul, attempting to explain how your beyond-the-event-horizon idea is different, and/or whatever else in the comments.