Sunday, April 30, 2017

A dark truth becomes ever more obvious

As a Baby Boomer, I accepted without question that the human race wanted to last a long time and grow ever more friendly toward each other. How could I have been so blind to the fact that nearly half of all people are outright hostile to such a utopia? I joined vast numbers of others who bought into a vision of a world beyond hatred and divisiveness, unaware that the very concept fostered deeper and more bitter divisions.

The descendants of that world view continue to work toward it in spite of the continuing opposition. We dig through the muck of hostility and greed, thinking we're building a permanent road to higher ground, only to see the mire close behind us and grow deeper in front.

Believers in a higher power have an advantage when it comes to organizing. That's the way in which they will gather and march forth to destroy a secular society created by ethical -- but non-religious -- citizens who may come to outnumber the believers in a specific, narrow version of religious doctrine. The believers in their small groups can plan their campaigns of violence and sabotage in the name of goodness and righteousness. With the stamp of God's approval they can dedicate themselves to destroying the enemies of their belief system. These enemies include religious people who believe that believers in different faiths can and should get along.

Any way you look, you can see a final confrontation brewing. Obstinacy and superstition demand it.

In the Christian tradition, God will whisk the virtuous true believers straight to heaven before the shit hits the fan. It would be interesting if this roster included a lot of people who were not scripture-waving churchgoers.

Meanwhile, in another Abrahamic religion, the self-styled Islamic State is trying to bring about their own version of the final battle, as described in an article from 2016 about the attacks to date in Europe and America.

No religious narrative has to be true for religious warfare to bring about the end of our species. Everything does happen for a reason. Unfortunately, the reason turns out to be that humans are suckers for suicidal delusions.


mike w. said...

i have a theory concerning the Rapture: When that day comes, all the non-believers will be taken up to Heaven and meet Jesus in the air. He will greet each and every one and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, for you have used the Free Will my Father hath given you. Now, Welcome into my Kingdom!"

One can only hope that if there is a god that she has a sense of humour...

cafiend said...

I know people who use their faith as a source of great energy. This strikes me as better than the ones who use their religion as a weapon. I also know ethical atheists who are better people than the ones who rely on "God's forgiveness" to spackle over their habitual transgressions.

As I transitioned out of a religious world view, I went first to the idea of an infinitely forgiving god who would understand my true intentions and judge accordingly. You can't fool an omniscient deity, so you might as well be yourself and hope for the best. And if there is no deity, you might as well be yourself anyway. To do "the right thing" because you fear punishment or hope for reward is insincere. Going further, if it's God's will that you have a miserable life and a wretched, agonizing death, all the prayer in the world will not alter the mysterious plan your misery serves. And if there is no God, no one is listening to your prayers. You're thrown back on your own interpretation of "the right thing."

I have no idea why I adopted the idea that we should take only what we need and live modestly, so that every generation to follow would have the same beautiful place and bountiful resources to enjoy. It certainly was not the majority opinion in my generation, as the devastated environment and fractious human population amply demonstrate. Maybe it's just another evolutionary factor that will win or lose in the long run, based solely on the number of adherents it attracts. I used to think we not only could "save the world," but that we were quite close to doing so. Now I know that it is out of the hands of anyone. Evolution goes on, and the trend appears to lead to a bad end for this bunch of primates that was too smart for its own good. I sentenced no children to life without parole here, so I have no responsibility, yet still I work for a sustainable, civilized lifestyle, as if I might live forever. At the same time, others grab for all they can get, so that they will hold power over the rest of the survivors. Being a greedy asshole may be genetic.