Can’t we all just get along?
Posted by honestpoet on December 17, 2006
Oh, I know that article was harsh, and some of it wasn’t even well written. But it certainly expressed my mood after I’d made the mistake of trying to engage a Muslim in rational conversation. I’m only human, after all. Of course I get frustrated after basically banging my head against a brick wall. I don’t know how many times I have to be reminded that the religious wear intellectual blinders, that they operate with a filter that keeps out anything that might make them question their faith.
And you know, I really do value unity in diversity. I’m not trying to get anyone to abandon a faith that helps them get through this difficult life. But religious people have to be willing to admit that their faith IS irrational, that it flies in the face of known fact. And that too many who practice it do it in a way that causes serious problems for their neighbors.
My husband (who found me that article after I’d become so frustrated, as a way to make me feel better, the dear) and I have been talking about why people are like this, why they insist that everyone believe and live the way they do. He’s a total computer geek, a guy who loves coding, fiddling. I’m not (but I sure am glad he is). He came across a 4-page argument this morning between fans of Windows and fans of Linux. Both hurled ugly generalizations at each other. Only two posts in the four pages were by rational people who said, “Hey, you know, maybe Windows works for some people, and Linux works for others, and that’s okay.” I have no problem with people believing in the supernatural, be it an unknowable force or even a daddy in the sky, as long as they don’t try to make me believe the same thing.
I’ve got a hypothesis about the evangelical Christian’s or the Muslim’s insistence that their way is the only way, that everyone must accept their Truth or suffer in hell (or in the case of the jihadist, die an early death and THEN suffer in hell), or the homophobic’s bashing of gays, or even in the conservative’s stance against marijuana: they don’t actually have that much confidence in their belief, in their choices, and they therefore feel the need to make everyone agree with them so they don’t feel confronted by their own doubts.
A homophobe is probably experiencing repressed homosexual feelings. In fact, my psychiatrist friend tells me that it happens often, that a preacher, who is most vehement in his anti-gay rhetoric at the pulpit, comes to his office plagued with guilt over the fact that at night, when everyone’s asleep, he can’t stop watching gay porn.
And my husband, who’s also a doctor, has a nurse who’s an evangelical christian who admits that he knows the Bible better than she does. She confessed recently that she’s never read it, because when she’s tried she’s found it too contradictory, too confusing. So she finds it easier to let the preacher tell her what it means. How is this not mental slavery? She’s abbrogated her responsibility to make up her own mind. And yet she’s convinced that my husband’s going to hell for not accepting Jesus Christ as his personal lord and savior.
This blog is not really intended to be all about atheism or religion bashing. But I feel like I have to get it out of the way. I actually have a lot of other concerns: the impending ecological disaster, human rights, the war on drugs. But I sincerely believe that none of these problems are going to be solved until we arrive at a place where we recognize ourselves as one species among many, all related, all inherently free. And the only way that’s going to happen is if we abandon religion as anything but a personal choice and accept science, not scripture, as the source of knowledge.