I’m trying to get back to blogging. I really love it — I love writing, I love getting feedback from my readers, I love participating in what I feel are important discussions for humanity to be having — but sometimes it frustrates me to no end. Lately, I’ve been sitting down to write a post and just getting too angry to see it through. The more I think about religion and the wildly disproportionate influence it has on society, the huge drain it is on our resources, and the terrible things it convinces people to do … the more I’d rather just curl up under some blankets and read a novel. I’d rather find some happy feelings than sit here festering in my anger.
(Note to my religious readers: I am not angry at your god. That does not make any sense. How could I be angry at something that I don’t even think exists? I am angry about human stupidity. I am angry at our tendencies toward irrationality and how difficult it is to fight back against these cognitive biases. I believe our world would be so much better if people stopped hanging on to their superstitions, but every day I watch people instead tighten their grip. That’s a tragedy, and I hate to think about it.)
The anger and frustration comes and goes, though, so I’m back again, hopefully for a while this time. What prompted my return was this post on the lovely STFU, Believers tumblr. People have been writing in to share their stories of religious folks’ outrageous behavior in real life (as opposed to just on the internet), and this bit particularly caught my eye.
The people at the church told me that men with long hair and earrings were going to hell. At the time, my dad wore his hair back in a pony tail and had an earring, so I started being skeptical.
The person goes on to describe child abuse in the name of the Christian god, and says that prompted her to become “vehemently against religion,” so I’m going to assume she is now an atheist. I wanted to quote this here to show that it’s certainly not just religious people who are irrational, and that everyone’s irrationality frustrates me. This is why I have trouble piecing together the energy to enter this conversation sometimes. Virtually no one is making decisions about their beliefs based on what is factually true, so why bother presenting logical arguments and evidence? (Okay, this story clearly happened when she was a young child. But she apparently has no problem explaining her thought process this way even now.)
I don’t mean to downplay the importance of objecting to child abuse, although even there I think there is some fallacious reasoning. (If an all-powerful, perfect being who issues rules about what’s right and wrong ordained or even commanded it, wouldn’t that make it right?) My bigger problem is with the sentences I quoted. Essentially: “Religious people told me that a certain type of person is bad. I know and love a person who falls into that category, so I doubted their judgment.” It’s totally understandable that the human brain works this way, but seriously?! Your allegiance to a particular (fallible human) individual just flat-out trumped your belief in the supposedly divine message of a supreme being? Religion can only be worth believing as true to the extent that it agrees with your initial impulses, and it only becomes worth questioning once it presents some immediate conflict?
Ugh. Right answer, but the wrong path to get there.