Our Constitution granted each and every one of us the freedom to believe or not believe as we decide. That protection applies to all of us. When one group has decided by some form of spiritual osmosis that their version of the unverifiable and occasionally insane has been decreed to be the new Law, and thus their political mission is to ensure that is so, then it is up to the rest of us to put that crazy back where it belongs: away from public influence.
MOTIVATED BY FEAR
The act of censoring someone who challenges your belief structure is an unmistakable sign of the fragility of those beliefs.
Is there at least a possibility that a motivating factor in fundamentalists’ insistence on getting others to think and believe as they do is because they need reassurance and validation about the beliefs they harbor? Might there be some doubts about the validity of their fact-free, unverifiable, faith-based approach to life? Are there limits to beliefs based on the imaginings of ancestors from generations long in the past?
Refusal of others to go along with what they proclaim might have the effect of casting doubt on not just their unquestioned beliefs, but on the appropriateness of their decisions to allow the unverifiable to govern what they say and do. How much of a shock to one’s system might it be to realize that everything upon which you’ve based your values, beliefs, thoughts, and principles has no factual foundation whatsoever?
How much unverifiable nonsense should one expect to abide by before it becomes clear that there might actually be a different life path or two to travel? As my book suggests, what if the concept of a Supreme Being by whatever name or description one chooses is actually More? And by extension, what if the possibilities owned are likewise more than one has believed and acted upon?
Among the well-established conservative traits studies have confirmed is an acceptance of hierarchical arrangements: some designated others are deemed to be “superior” in one manner or another, and thus their expectations, knowledge, and perspectives are accorded just enough respect that they are by and large unchallenged. The cognitive disruptions otherwise are too strenuous for those “lesser” followers to consider.
Aren’t established religions nearly-perfect examples of that? In the 21st Century we still have loyal, unquestioning followers accepting the teachings of not only deities of one sort or another who have yet to make their appearance or otherwise established factual evidence of their existence—itself a bit suspect. So too are they all abiding by teachings from thousands of years-old scribes not much more intelligent than a bag of dirt. Upon what rational basis are marching orders offered to cave dwellers deemed even remotely relevant to modern life?
Introspection and progressive thinking aren’t nearly as awful as too many seem to think—and fear.
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, given what they’ve based their lives upon…?
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 them to be the truths—without accompanying evidence, of course—then the anxieties about one’s identity, associations, and actions [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 and validation of your identity, beliefs, and values.
A HOUSE OF CARDS….
What the religious right labels ‘persecution’ is something else entirely: it is the natural pushback that occurs when any one sectarian group goes too far in trying to control the lives of others. Americans are more than happy to allow religious organizations to tend to their own matters and make their own decisions about internal governance. When those religious groups overstep their bounds and demand that people who don’t even subscribe to their beliefs follow their rigid theology, that is another matter entirely.
What is it that the Christian Right is really trying to protect? The narrower-minded focus they adopt to protect their own ignores the fact that their own is only one among many—each and all of whom have their own standards and certainties honored with just as much fervor and conviction as those members of the Christian Right. Who has final say, and upon what basis?
Modern-day challenges are going to affect us all. It is in their best interests to expand their notions and beliefs, for one. They might also acknowledge that others have beliefs and concerns and evidence-based considerations [e.g., climate change] meriting a bit more than unthinking opposition. Fear is an effective barrier to understanding more. Perhaps that is worth pondering as well?
Far too much conflict based on competing beliefs exists as it is. Might a different way be a better option?
As Rob Boston notes in the same article quoted from above:
The great irony here is that what the religious right is trying to do—forge a government that bows to its repressive theology—would result in a great deal of persecution.
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. There haven’t been any winners yet, and that’s not likely to change.
As I noted in the most recent post: What if, instead of seeking to coerce the rest of us to do their narrow-minded bidding, they actually considered the option of expanding their minds instead of trying to close down ours?
~ My Photo: Boston Sunset © 05.11.16
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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.