What I Really Think About Human Beings as a Species: 5
In the previous post of this series, I put forth an idea on what might be the real factor underlying religious zealotry.
They just want an excuse to screw over somebody else while simultaneously feeling righteous about doing it.
I have also hinted at this idea in one of my older standalone post. Note that this rationale is not unique to traditional religions and can be seen among ardent followers of secular religions such as communism and capitalism- well, pretty much every single ideology. Here are a few examples of what I am talking about..
Many devout Christians believe in concepts like heaven and hell, but have you ever met somebody with any evidence of their existence? Isn’t it odd that a drug like DMT provides a far more realistic spiritual experience than a lifetime of studying the bible and praying to an entity nobody in their right mind has ever seen? Why was the belief of people in a christian god almost always rewarded with drudgery, poverty, disease and incessant wars? But far more importantly, was everybody always too stupid to realize that there was no god? And why are evangelicals who claim personal communication with god so preachy about the sexual lives and behaviors of other people while indulging in those very same behaviors themselves? Why are overtly devout Christians not interested in solving problems that might actually improve the lives of their fellow human beings? Why devote so much mental energy to something that has never provided any material benefit?
Now let us turn to Islam. Isn’t it odd that so many of its followers obsess about supposed insults to their prophet even when doing so has no positive material effects on their pathetic lives? Does their beliefs put more (and better) food on their table? What about reducing infant mortality and morbidity? Does their god put indoor plumbing in the houses of believers? Does he provide them with electric power, air conditioners and HDTVs? Does fidelity to that belief system result in the faithful getting free high-end sports cars and SUVS? Did their god or prophet even instruct them to purify drinking water by boiling it? Isn’t it therefore a bit odd that so many of the believers of that belief system are willing defend the “honor” of an entity who has not manifested himself- let alone benefited his vocal followers to the extent of even a single slice of pizza?
Hinduism is no better. Has belief in any part of Hinduism resulted in the spontaneous appearance of even a single morsel of edible food. Has belief in any part of Hinduism improved the quality of drinking water, general sanitation or somehow reduced the spread of any infectious diseases? Has it improved the general health, life expectancy or life quality of its believers? Has belief in any part of the caste system improved the lives of its believers? Is there anything in Hinduism beyond stupid rules about caste, ritual pollution and some bullshit stories. I should point out that other religions are no better in that respect. Isn’t it odd that most followers of this supposedly spiritual religion are among the most greedy, deceptive and selfish assholes you will ever have the misfortune of meeting. Then there is the peculiar problem of how a mostly illiterate people can maintain fidelity to a religion whose texts were and are still mostly unavailable or nonexistent.
Secular religions are no different. How many people who defend capitalism (especially financialism) have actually benefited from it pre-WW2 pure form? Note the choice of words “actually benefited from it” as opposed to “barely managed to survived under it”. What about libertarianism? Have you seen real life examples of the scenarios described in Ayn Rand’s fairy tales? The same holds for state communism- though to a lesser degree as it did actually benefit (at least initially) most of those who lived under it. My point is that followers of secular religions display the same outcome blindness as those who believe in traditional regions.
But why are the vast majority of devout followers of any religion, traditional or secular, so blind to the outcome of their beliefs? Why are they so persistent in their beliefs- especially in the complete absence of validation of those beliefs. Why would they willingly and enthusiastically structure their lives around beliefs that offer no measurable utility? Even a normal 8-year old child understands that people who habitually renege on their end of the deal are untrustworthy. Yet most adults exhibit great certainty about the existence of an invisible all-powerful friend who has never made a single slice of pizza materialize before them. One possibility is that most adults are stupider than an average 8-year old. It is also possible that belief in god, religion and ideology is a defense mechanism against nihilism and the fear of uncertainty. However neither of the previous two explanations account for the central, and most important, feature of all traditional and secular religions.
The one common feature of all religions, traditional or secular, is unrelated to belief. It is about what they seek to rationalize and justify. All religions and popular ideologies are about rationalizing and sanctifying the abuse, robbery, murder and coercion of others. Initially they seek to do that to those who don’t believe in their fairy tales. However sooner or later, they run out of unbelievers and turn on themselves and start persecuting their less-faithful members. That is the real reason why religions that gain followers (such as islam, capitalism) become more extreme as they do so.
Will write more about this connection in the upcoming part of the series.
What do you think? Comments?