Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 16 - The Thorn

The thorn.  It is a painful little object that exists in one of the most unexpected places, the stem of the rose.  An item that symbolizes beauty and love.  It has manifested itself into history and our lives, and yet, the thorn is always overlooked.  It is always there, the possibility of danger and pain, but the beauty and mystique of the rose overshadows it.

So what is the point (pun severely intended)?  During my viewing of last night's #cnndebate , I noticed something very scary, and very real.  There was a question about religion, because of Romney's following of the Mormon faith, it has become somewhat of a controversy.  The question was: "Does it matter what a candidates faith is?".  I thought to myself, does it matter if a candidate has any faith at all?  As I thought about this, I listened to their responses about how faith governs morals and (from Newt) "How can you have morals without faith?" or "How can you be [trusted] with power when you don't pray?".  I listened, in awe, and realized that they were serious.  Then I heard the crowd cheer in approval and agreement, and I thought, they are serious too...

So where does this all tie together?  I've talked about this before, in other posts, but this is a little more specific, because it is becoming more clear and evident.  Religion is like the rose.  On the surface it is supposed to symbolize all that is beautiful in our world/lives and, of course, a strong symbol of love.  This is how it started of course. 

A great many years ago, before Catholics and Buddha, there were some basics.  There were "people" with very limited brain functions.  They had just came out of the jungles and out into the open lands.  They were bare, exposed, with very little real defenses.  They had one very special gift though, the ability to reason, to a degree, and that would prove to be the greatest advantage of all.  Many things were difficult to understand for early man, I would imagine.  My kids still are scared by lightning and thunder and need a simple explanation to help them cope with it.  Could you imagine the first humans trying to understand this?  We only understood basic concepts like power, hunger, thirst, and the desire to procreate.  The idea that molecules at different atmospheric pressures collide and create an immense burst of electrical energy wasn't even feasible at their point in time.  If I, as an early human, could make fire by rubbing sticks or smashing "rocks" together, then something (or someone) must be creating this lightning and thunder, or the wind and rain, etc.  It's simplicity is almost beautiful in a way.  There were so naive (not in a bad way) to the world and physics around them that they applied this logic to these phenomena.  I strongly believe that this simple application is probably what help early man survive, in any fashion.  The idea that something greater than them existed and moved the heavens and earth and was particularly concerned about whether or not the early humans would give it a proper sacrifice is simply beautiful.  I am grateful for their logic because it pushed them to build immense structures, elaborate systems of communal societies, moral structures, and so much more.

Something happened though.  At some point, religion shifted from the rose to the thorn.  Many might say it was the founding of science, but I disagree.  Science has always been there, the desire to reason and discover why something exists.  Our scientific methods have certainly improved over time, but in the beginning, religion stemmed from science.  This isn't the case then, it is something much more sinister.  Somewhere, somehow, somebody realized that religion is a very powerful tool.  They realized that not only did it explain things, but it kept order through fear.  Religion explained the unknown for people and they were addicted to it.  It may have been subtle or occurred over time, but nonetheless, the day came when somebody realized there wasn't actually any God (or gods).  This person, at the time, was one of the more powerful people at the time because they separated themselves from the crowd.  Imagine you're stuck in some 4th dimensional cube with millions of people.  Everyone is content living inside of this small, cramped cube, facing the same direction.  You happen to turn around and there is a door.  You decide to open that door and walk through.  Suddenly, you find yourself standing outside of the cube, which, in comparison, is about the size of a Lego block.  Imagine the amount of control you have in this situation.  But, you're a smart person, you decide not to disturb the block or tell anyone else.  So, you go back inside the cube and you tell everyone that we must do as we have done, we must stay inside this block and face forward or we'll never be able to attain eternal salvation.

Oh yes, there's more... Everyone is petrified, some people see the door but you tell them if they leave through that door they are banished forever from the cube and will never attain salvation.  Now, as time passes, other people call your bluff and go through the door.  So what the hell do you do now?  Let them in on the piece of the pie!  You tell them that you found this exit a long time ago and you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want because we are not restricted by this fictional cube.  However, you tell them that everyone inside the cube is petrified and will essentially stay calm and organized as long as they believe that the cube is real and it's message is clear and true.  So, these people go along with your plan and now you're living the high life, with some friends.

This, my fellow readers, is what religion has become.  It has become a simple thorn, every time we now try to admire beauty and express love, we are pained with this constant fear of being pricked, and hurt.  There are people, many people in fact, in this world that know that religion and God or gods, are not real.  It simply doesn't exist.  I had a "helluva" hard time coming to grips with this, even now, sometimes, it's hard for me to do it, but I do, just like quitting smoking.  The problem is that it is beat into our minds for so long, and it is everywhere we go and have been.  It has become much more subtle over time, but the fear and pain of it still exists.  I mean, me simply typing this article implies that I will never attain eternal salvation, but I am calling bullshit.  I am standing (well sitting) here and simply calling bullshit.  I ask that you do it too. 

We (well the former me) have been oppressed by people that have figured this out a long time ago.  Think about who religion caters to... the poor, the sick, the less fortunate, they will someday inherit a kingdom so much greater than this life or any riches or gold, blah blah blah.  It is crap.  It is a way to keep you humble and secure.  Look at all the successful people in this world.  Yes, some of them have done both, legitimately believed in religion AND had material success.  Overall though, many of these people simply walk over "the little guy" and claim to be religious and follow God.  It's a big screen and a lie.  They have realized, just as I have that religion doesn't actually exists and they are free to do whatever they want without any moral consequences outside of the law (which is why they spend so much money lobbying congress and having political careers, to influence the law).

I don't think it is time to abandon morals and start cut-throating each other, but I think it is time to abandon religion.  We can live wholesome, moral lives without the threat of God.  Hell, you are probably more moral if you do it because you want to, without the fear of some eternal damnation over your head.  The choice is up to you of course, but there simply is no compelling evidence that God, or gods, is real.  Every argument you are going to make defending religion is explainable and refutable by simple logic or lack of any real proof. It is time to take the thorn out of our sides and gaze upon existence's true beauty.  The fact that this is all happenstance and random is even more amazing to me than if some ultimate being crafted it.  I hope you'll join me outside of the cube, because the possibilities are limitless.

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