What's so bad about religion?


People are real, their ideas (religious persuasion for example) imaginary, purely contrived notions, extracted from nothing more than the stream of words constantly flowing in the endless dialogue that represents (perhaps more than anything else) the human condition.

Sometimes the imaginary may be transformed into the real, as with the ideas of automobiles and airplanes.

But some ideas are not capable of such transformations, like love, justice and God.

It is unlikely in the extreme that love will ever be seen. Ditto God.

It is equally unlikely that we will ever desist with musing on such cognitive luminescences.

The urge to keep on living, to survive, is inexorable, beyond dispute, and thus very real.

It is also the real reason that we concocted the idea of God in the first place.

We want to keep on living, but know that we will not.

In the absence of technology (before it was ever conceived) we imagined an all-powerful Being, in existence long before us, Who had learned the secret of everlasting life. We called the Being God.

Because we so fervently wished to keep on living, to avoid the unknown horrors of death, we further imagined that we could somehow ingratiate ourselves into the good graces of the mysterious Being, merit Its blessing and gain Its much-desired immortality.

With the advent of science and technology, we became increasingly skeptical of the actual existence of our purely imaginary Entity, our most cherished fantasy (since It was the primary hope of our immortality).

But the desire to live is so strong that many yet cling to the imagined Being. (If the opinion polls are correct, most still do so.)

The simple belief, per se, is fairly harmless. What is not harmless, though, is the code of ethics that is always attached to the belief. We are trying to ingratiate the god, remember. Simple belief is not enough.

We imagine that the god wants something from us, (such as obedience and praise), oblivious to the very likely probability that, if there is indeed such an immortal God as we have imagined, that It would have no desires whatsoever, including the desire that we praise It, or the desire that we obey It.

If nothing else, God is surely a complete being. (Would anyone even consider the notion of an incomplete God?)

Our imagination went askew here. We were not thinking so well. We were too busy desiring immortality. We should forgive ourselves for this error in judgment. Yes, we should be kind to ourselves for making such a (completely understandable) mistake.

And after the forgiveness we should move on. We should leave the world of the imaginary, except for purposes of entertainment, and focus on the real.

What is most real is undeniably the human condition.

The very real human beings inhabiting this planet have equally real needs, and sufficient resources exist to satisfy these needs.

It is important to point out that the reality of disproportionate access to necessary resources is not an indication that resources are scarce so much as the fact that purely imaginary ideals yet maintain the upper hand in the conduct of our affairs.

Resources are available, but the sharing is prevented. (The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.)

Resources are not being adequately shared because of imaginary ideals (fantasies) ultimately rooted in our primitive efforts to please the imagined gods and what we think they might want from us.

July 20, 2008