Very early on in life we are taught about right and wrong. Various means to this end all seem to have one underlying theme – we all have within us the ability to discern between the two. For everyone, this is influenced by unique factors but for all the voice is still there – the one that weighs everything we know against a situation and allows us to make decisions. Sometimes this is the right decision, sometimes it’s not-so-right. Fox News knows all about the second one.
We are taught that Situation A + Action B = Result C. We are taught, through consequences, that we have the ability to evaluate this system. Break the rules, you’ll be punished. Help an old lady across the street in Russia and someone with a dash cam will make you feel good about yourself. Make top grades in your class and you’ll get a gold star…whatever. I believe in this system of cause and effect. It’s how I live my life and I know that, at the end of every day, my actions will be evaluated by my most scrupulous critic: Me.
The problem I have with Religion (I have capitalized the letter R, as Religion is an entity which holds so much power over the human race that it deserves a proper name) is faith. I know of no Religion which doesn’t require one to have faith. Webster says faith is “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”. No proof? In other words, with faith, what you see and feel and touch is trumped by what someone else tells you – whether it be from a book, a pulpit, or a bible verse written on a bathroom stall at Speedway.
I see it constantly. Under the veil of religion, people look Situation A, Action B and Result C in the eye and tell them to go shove off – that they’ve got a uniquely true version of reality supported by nothing definitive and screw anyone who says otherwise. Obviously this issue is as infinitely complex as the flaws in our understanding which allow it to continue but the simple truth is this: We all have, built into our bodies and minds, the capacity to evaluate the world around us objectively. It is, absolutely, how we stay alive.
Forget the countless conflict that has arisen. Forget the families that have been torn apart. Forget that some of the most heinous acts in human history have been committed in the name of Religion. This is the reason that I just can’t do Religion, and it has to do with that essential capacity which makes us human: Religion allows us to ignore it.