Continuing my never ending adventure to piss off as many people as possible using only my keyboard as a weapon, let’s talk religion today, boys and girls!
All y’all out there that ran away thinking this was a “mine’s better than yours” rant should be ashamed of yourselves. The awesomeness of my religion has nothing to do with anything. No, this post just happens to be about the wonders of religious thinking as related on an inverse scale to cognitive self-discipline.
For those who didn’t follow that, it’s: people using religion as a placeholder for actually thinking about stuff.
For the record, I quite like faith and spirituality. I have several gods and goddesses I chat with on a regular basis. My husband talks to and works with the winds. Our boyfriend is an atheist. My brother has Jesus as a bro, and they hang. His girlfriend and her mom are Wiccan. My sister talks with Gaia. Couple of my friends are Buddhist, and another is neo-Zen.
What chaps me is the way some individuals reflexively use their faith as a justification for the most moronic things. And no, this isn’t an “I hate the Christians” speech. Because, while the majority of instances I get to see of this behavior involve Christians, that’s simply because there is a strong bias in Oklahoma towards Christian thought and morality in media and population. I hear there’s a similar bias all over the friggin country, but I haven’t been there, so I’ll stick to what I can point and laugh at directly in this case.
But yeah, Christians. Sanctity of marriage, the joys of abstinence as birth control, abortion should be illegal under all circumstances, etc,.
What I don’t understand are the justifications for this. “Jesus said,” I hear quite often. You know, he never said anything about homosexuals? No, seriously. Those New Testament quotes either come from the apostles letters, or rely on 15th generation translations of obscure verbiage that still don’t actually have anything to do with homosexuality.
Or, “the Bible says it’s so, and God wrote it, so it must be!” To beat a dead horse for a moment, the Bible says a great many things. Since we don’t stone the infants of our enemies, I would think we could get a break on medically necessary uses of drugs designed for birth control, or an honest recognition of the flaws in abstinence as a widespread method of controlling teen sexuality. But, hey; God says, right?
Let’s take it from the opposite side. Atheists. Atheism may not be a “religion” but the adherence to its principles and defense of its standards and beliefs often do approach religious fervor. But hey, they’re just out to fight to far-right wing-crazies! What’d the atheists ever do to anyone?!
Well, how many atheists does it take to get prayer banned in public schools, or a symbol of faith removed from a public place? Not that many, as it turns out. Usually just a couple with decent lawyers, actually.
The reason for the former is the famous “separation of church and state” clause. Funny story: that doesn’t exist. It’s based on a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. The First Amendment means neither government, nor its proxies and institutions, may make laws regarding religion or regulate religious expression beyond the boundaries of enforcing existing laws (for instance, vandalism of public property doesn’t count as religious expression.)
But when organized prayer went down, the response was to assume it had all been shut down. Which is ridiculous. Kids can still pray in schools if they choose, but that option often isn’t broached. Kids can choose not to participate in “invocations,” on the other hand, but that ain’t broached often either.
Or, to jump a bit, the removal of the “Ten Commandments” statue from public places. There’ve been a few over the years, and they all boil down to the argument that having a statue is an endorsement or sign of favoritism towards a Judeo-Christian morality.
What the heck is the problem? If you don’t like the Bible, don’t read the dang statue. On the other hand, last time I checked, just about every one of the things on that tablet is considered to be common morality. Number one is isn’t widely applicable, but the rest are fairly decent guidelines for good living. And while you’re fighting a ridiculous battle to protect your first amendment rights, you’re happily infringing on those same rights for others, by demanding that your beliefs come first.
Again, I can’t speak to the prejudices inherent in other religions without looking foolish, so I’m gonna stick with these two. And I’ve rambled enough to make a point, I think.
These biases might be created by religious thinking, but they also reinforce both negative and reflexive thinking.
“Freaking superstitious Christian, forcing me to see that archaic monument to a god I don’t believe in!”
“I’m a Christian, and we don’t believe that!”
And it works both ways, and in any other thought system that has a dogma of any kind. Faith without thought is just parroting what someone has told you to believe. God, or gods, or the cold facts of logic and science, are not, and should not be, an excuse for any form of bigotry, prejudice, or close-mindedness.