As I suggested in last week’s post—despite the apparent evidence to the contrary—there are not just a select few who have been deemed by an external Supreme Being or by Fate to be blessed, while the rest of us, for whatever puzzling reason, have been doomed to just endure the drudgery of living every day. It is nonsense to think that the vast majority of us are so doomed because, for whatever other odd reasons, that is some God’s/Allah’s/Whoever’s Will for us. It’s just as nuts and destructive to believe we just have to trust that all we are enduring is for some higher and better reason in the Next Life.
KEEPING THE FAITHFUL FEARFUL
That those on the Religious Right here in the US, and extremists elsewhere, are so damned insistent that all must follow their stated beliefs and Orders From On High has obviously been quite effective in keeping the masses suitably fearful, anxious, and obedient. Maintaining control over what is and what is not believed is part of that process.
Questioning those convictions is almost always entirely out of bounds–all the better to keep followers in line and leaders in the lead. Likewise, challenges from outside the group are to be given no consideration whatsoever. Those heathens are to be fought with great vigor, because one side’s Deity has apparently decreed that beliefs of the other side’s followers and/or the commands of the other Deities are not to be respected. That, or those other Deities are lesser by the standards of Cosmic Deity-ness.
Curiously enough, the other side’s followers and their Deities of Choice are apparently saying exactly the same things about the first group! Imagine that [literally]! Seems kinda mean-spirited that all of these Deities are letting Their decidedly inferior group members fight the Holy Wars on Their behalves.
But there is at least one other assessment about such efforts.
The act of censoring someone who challenges your belief structure is an unmistakable sign of the fragility of those beliefs.
Is it even a bit reasonable to consider that the fierceness of efforts to establish one group’s beliefs, principles, and commands as The One and Only Set of Rules is not so much because they are Right, but because if they aren’t, they have much more to lose?
Imagine what would happen if the very foundations you built your entire life upon are not at all the sole Truths, and so just about every major undertaking of your life to date has been based on falsehoods and inaccuracies? A bit unsettling, isn’t it?
And if those foundational beliefs have no viable way of being verified save for Blind Faith [great rock band; but only rarely useful as a strategy all by itself], and thus are entirely dependent on what others have persuaded you are the truths—without accompanying evidence, of course—then the anxieties about who you are and what you’ve been doing [and why], are that much more confounding and disturbing. The alternative seems wiser [loosely defined, very loosely] in those circumstances: push that much harder to insist your beliefs and the principles you abide by are absolute Truths. The “duty” to impose those commands on others is thus all the more imperative because it provides further support for you are and what you stand for.
A house of cards….
Is that accurate? There’s every reason to believe this observation is as valid as the one which apparently guides the fundamentalists. Why should one be accorded unquestioned acceptance no matter what—without challenge or thought—while the other is to be dismissed outright?
As my book suggests, we are each and all free to adopt whatever beliefs we decide serve our best interests. Each and all of us have those freedoms. That means no one set of edicts is more valid than any other, simply because they do not originate from some Deity or unidentifiable Existence roaming around the Universe. We choose, and Life Will Answer.
That is both an awe-inspiring gift, and a daunting responsibility. Which one predominates in our lives is entirely up to us. Choose wisely. It matters to all of us.
~ ~ ~
Note to readers: In addition to my other blogs and writings here [see the Tabs above] and at Peak Oil Matters, I invite you to enjoy some brief excepts from my eBook political thriller:
The Tretiak Agenda
They began [here] on June 15 and will continue weekly throughout the summer
NOTE: no post next week; enjoy the holiday weekend!
~ My Photo: sunrise at Long Beach, Rockport, MA – 08.22.05
~ ~ ~
In 2014, I published an eBook entitled Life Will Answer. It’s an exploration of life, religion, and the tenuous connection one has with the other—at least as has been defined to date by the various theologies of past and present-day believers.
I don’t pretend to be a religious scholar. I am at best a casual observer of some religion-based behaviors, but given that I have also authored a book discussing those matters, perhaps that makes me more than a casual observer.
A fundamental point of the book is that Life has been established to honor and answer the choices each and all of us make—whatever they are and however they may be judged by the standards and guidelines we as a society have established. I do not accept the notion that there is a God or another Deity of choice offering wildly arbitrary thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs, or that this Deity has edicts we’re free to abide by or not (although if we don’t there will be hell to pay).
I wrote that book on the premise that there is more to this life than the narrow-minded, conflicting, and occasionally dangerous notions various religions offer. Given the large number of them each claiming passionate followers, it’s absurd for any collection of humans to insist that their Deity assures them It is the One and Only. Countless Peers and their own loyal adherents take issue with that.
Every day we are witness to the absurdities—and too often, the atrocities—committed in the name of some Deity or another by adherents convinced that they and they alone are privy to the guidance and dictates of that One and Only. There is little room, if any, for reason, logic, or rational thought. The absence of an intelligent component guiding their beliefs and conduct—replaced as it as by fears and justifications untethered from reality—carries its own set of consequences.
Are we really to believe that we’re all commanded or obliged to above all else obey and honor and worship one Supreme Being [among many]? How stultifying! This Magnificence is so needy and weak that It needs us to do things to satisfy It? Hello!? How did It manage to survive all those billions of years without us?!
Magical thinking is not a shield to the inevitable harm which results when irrational and mindless behaviors collide with reason and fact. We have some choices to make, and a future to concern ourselves with.
Re-establishing this blog is my own contribution to wiser problem-solving than what seems to be the norm. Too many are in position where their delusions carry heavy and needless consequences to all of us.