Ignorance and Want
So my beef today is with everyone who blames the worlds problems on incorporeal things, like religion, or politics, or anything along those lines. The very thought is ludicrous. How can an intelligent human being come to the conclusion that the horrible things that have happened in this world are all because of “insert idea here”? Again, the very thought is ludicrous. Now, I will not say that these things are not linked to a majority of the tragic events that have happened in our world. The crusades, ethnic cleansing, racism, the Salem witch trials, the persecution of my very own people in the states during the 1800’s. All because (mostly) someone was of a different thoughtline. So how can I say that these are not to blame for all of these problems? Because it so obviously isn’t. That’s like saying that guns are responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Or that rope is responsible for millions of strangling’s and executions.
All these things have a commonality. They are tools that are used for good and evil. But religion, politics, things such as this reside in the realm of the human mind. They are the product of inspiration, ignorance or drug induced haze. And they have an enormous advantage over those other, mere physical objects. They shape our entire existence. This makes it a much more powerful tool than guns or swords or ropes. An idea is one the most powerful things in the universe. But it is still just a tool, that can be used for good or evil. And religion has an even greater advantage over all other ideas. I think I can safely say, that in the entire history of man, there is only one passion that is stronger than our passion for religion. That is love. Man will lay down his very life to protect those that he holds dear. And religion comes next.
Religion is a universal idea. It has existed since the beginning of time. It is an idea of such magnitude, that love, though stronger, is swallowed in its immensity. But religion is not as black and white as it used to be. Back before the days of science and discovery, I’m pretty sure it was either you believed in this god, or you believed in that god. Now, it is you believe in this god, or you believe in that god, or you don’t believe in any god, or you believe in this person, or you believe in that person, or you believe and so on and so forth. So, I think a good definition of religion for today would be : A specific fundamental set of beliefs agreed upon by a number of persons or groups. This is my own definition, and I use it because I think that you can apply it to all.
At the moment, the generally accepted definitions of the three big ones. Religion, Politics, and Atheism.
What is Religion?
1. God created us, the universe and everything.
2. After we die, we will go to heaven and eventually be resurrected as immortal, glorified beings of great power and wisdom, or be reincarnated as someone or something else.
What is Atheism?
1. That the creation of the universe came about though natural means, in accordance with the laws of the universe.
2. That after we die, that is the end of existence. There is nothing after that. Nill. Nada. Zilch.
What is Politics? (Really this is here because the other two needed definitions, and politics felt left out, because while it is more of a game that you play based on your beliefs rather than a set of beliefs, it is a very powerful force, and it has a powerful influence on our lives.)
1. That everything you have is mine, and that I want it.
2. I don’t like the way this is, so I’m going to fix it.
So, I think you could safely say that atheism and politics are religions as well. So, with this new definition of religion in mind, I say that religion is not to blame for all of our problems. It is man, and his hatred of the “different”. If you were to take away the very existence of “insert idea here”, all of the genocide, crusades, and persecution, it all would still have happened. Because people develop differently, and ideas develop and grow differently, and almost all of those problems stem from our inability or refusal to cope rationally with something different. When we see something different, instead of acting on our emotions, we reacts to our emotions. Instead of trying to find a balance, or accept these people for their beliefs, we takes it upon ourselves to “educate ” these barbaric heathens. We decide to eradicate those infidels and their false gods. Why? IT IS SO BLATANTLY OBVIOUS! Almost every single act of evil that has been committed is because of this. And all the others happened because we wanted something.
In the Roger O. Hirson adaptation of Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”, there is a scene with the Ghost of Christmas past. He is about to leave Scrooge, but before he does, he has a last bit of advice. Opening his robes, he reveals two small, emaciated children, a boy and a girl. Upon seeing them Scrooge asks “Who are they?! Who do they belong to?”. The Ghost replies “They are your children. They are the children of all who walk the earth unseen. Their names are Ignorance and Want. Beware of them, for upon their brow, is written the word “Doom”. They spell the downfall of you and all who deny their existence.” This is a perfect analogy, and it really didn’t hit me how perfect it was until I was preparing for this post.
Ignorance and Want.
Through ignorance, man see’s that which is different from the norm, and because he does not understand it, he goes one of two ways. He will fear it, then hate it. This path usually ends in him doing something tragic. Or he will fear it, but will try to understand it, and, through understanding, he will accept it.
Through want, man see’s that which he wants and will take one of three paths. He will obtain it by force or manipulation. Or he will obtain it by equivalent exchange. Or he will go without it entirely.
Think about that for a while.
So, when you go off on a rant about how religion is the cause of all the worlds problems, you are displaying your own ignorance, your refusal to acknowledge it, and your own hatred for that which is “different”.