WARNING: This blog entry is bound to piss some of you off. I ain’t apologizing. If we don’t start speaking out, religion will never go away. If you’re a believer, you’ve been brainwashed, honey. But it’s never too late to start thinking again.
Someone on G+ asked me today what keeps me from killing and stealing. She thought me being an atheist meant I had somehow exempted myself from the social contract we all abide by.
My first reaction is always amazement. I mean, my parents raised me right. They taught me what was acceptable behavior and what wasn’t. Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Their teachings were amplified and underscored by the behavior of those around me. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that certain actions are rewarded and approved of while others bring swift retribution in the form of verbal correction and time-outs when you’re a child to harsher punishment like prison when you’re an adult.
I always knew right from wrong. I function within a strong moral and ethical framework. If I don’t kill someone, it’s not because I’m afraid a sky daddy will swoop down and punish me; it’s because I know it’s a bad thing to do.
I continue to be mystified by the power religion still holds over many people. The idea of worshiping something that doesn’t exist continues despite all evidence to the contrary. Not only that, but believers are stridently vocal that you must believe, too. “Let’s all be delusional together.”
Religion was a tool developed by those in power to control the masses, and as such, it’s an effective one. That’s one reason why religion is still around. Do you really think a sane, reasonable man would fly a plane into a building, killing himself and thousands of others, if someone hadn’t used religion to convince him it was the right thing to do? “Do it for Allah. You’ll be rewarded in heaven with a crapload of virgins.”
Religious beliefs make otherwise sane people behave badly. Witness the pastors and assorted Republicans who are calling for the persecution and death of LGBT people in the name of their god.
How about the bigoted nutcase teacher and parents who wanted to ban LGBT students from attending their prom “because it’s offensive to us.” Wanna bet religion is at the bottom of that?
Zeus, Hera, and their like have all vanished; instead of falling to our knees to worship them, we snicker and roll our eyes at their quaintness. Today’s gods are cut from the same cloth and it’s long past time they went away. We don’t need them anymore.
We amuse our children with cute stories about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, but as those kids grow up, they stop believing in them because they eventually realize Santa and the rabbit aren’t real. The only reason they keep believing in a deity is because their parents and society insist they do so.
Think about that: parents and society insist on making kids believe in something that doesn’t exist.
I think this does a great disservice to children, as it is a form of long-term and very effective brainwashing that many never manage to undo. How much farther along would humans be if they stopped believing in fairy tales? How many more things would we have accomplished? How much nicer would we be to those who are different from us if we weren’t taught to fear and hate them?
Maybe some day we’ll find out, but right now, religion is still being wielded by those in power to keep us in line, though to less and less effect. More and more people are waking up to reality and embracing reason and science.
It’s about time.