you might want to sit down for this one
Typically I don’t find it important to mention my own beliefs when writing because typically it makes no difference to the reader. I’m a blogger, not a writer, so it is assumed I’m just an idiot typing away with no real expertise on whatever poor topic I happen to choose to blog about and an aversion to doing any research to support my propositions.
In this case I’ll make an exception because I want to make clear that, despite my best efforts, I’m biased on the topic and although I’ll be trying my darnedest not to I’m sure some of that will creep in.
I’m an atheist.
There, I said it.
You can discontinue reading this and busy yourself with burning my books and deleting my webpage from your browser.
That’s all I’ll tell you about my beliefs because the truth is I’m not that bright and I don’t want to embarrass other atheists who might be reading this. On the other hand, the feelings I have about religious extremists (i.e. terrorists) are probably shared by many other not-that-bright people and let’s face it, the population is overwhelmingly made up of not-that-bright people so you might want to give these feelings I have a quick looking over.
What feelings are those?
I’m glad you asked.
I wonder why truly religious people of all faiths don’t celebrate suicide bombers and people who fly planes into buildings in the name of their God. Whatever your opinions about the particular brand of God they’re using you can’t argue that they believe. Really believe.
Not like the average “believer” who populates (or, more frequently, doesn’t populate) the pews every Sunday morning. They truly believe.
Now some will argue that this is only because they are taught this stuff from early childhood but that ignores the fact that every religion attempts to indoctrinate youngsters before they can reach their own opinions about reality. You can’t be mad that extremists do a better job of it than your local Sunday school.
Nope, these people believe every word of whatever book/scroll/tome they got their hands on. If religion is to survive the onslaught of science and logic it’s just this kind of commitment that’s going to be needed. Every year you see religion losing its grip on the masses. For the most part it’s now more of a social thing than a belief in heaven and hell as laid out in the “good” book. Stories that would at one time have you roasting on an open fire for questioning are now called parables and sold with the same sincerity as Santa and the Easter Bunny.
For those who still believe I would think it would be refreshing to see people defending their faith. Even at the cost of their life. Especially at the cost of their lives. It shows they believe.
How many people do you know that claim to be religious would actually put up or shut up?
Trying to compare one religion with another is the epitome of ignorance. They are all basically the same and ask the same thing. Willful ignorance. If you choose to believe a particular one then why wouldn’t you embrace others who are doing the same thing just because they happen to root for a different team? Are you really oblivious to the fact that if you believe in an all-powerful deity who will judge your actions on earth, you might actually want to follow his/her commands to the letter of the law? How can you pick and choose amongst the commandments and think your belief system will survive?
Charismatic TV evangelists and political lobbyists will only get you so far. You need people willing to blow themselves up if you’re going to be taken seriously.
This is the shit that goes through my head when I watch TV reports and hear about how someone had the faith to pull the trigger on their TNT-loaded vest in a crowded marketplace. I don’t think about how offensive I find the concept of them expecting virgins waiting for them in heaven because they killed innocents; I think about how they actually believed as they flicked the switch that they would be waiting.
They had faith. Not the kind of faith available for $9.95 a month which will also get you a prayer hanky.
I don’t think I know any one of my friends who would flip that particular switch on behalf of their deity. Not one.
So I guess my point is that if religion really expects to endure in an age where critical thinking skills are now running rampant, then it should be celebrating as heroes those who are dumb enough to actually believe old school instead of limping off into history as a collection of frauds.
Then again, I’m an atheist so what do I know?