The most protected of species

17Sep09

In this day and age and despite everything we’ve learned through the marvel of science, why is it that people still continue listening to religious figures on matters of…well anything really? What is it they have to say that’s so different and from where do they command such authority on all manner of subjects? Without a shred of evidence they present incredible stores with no basis in reality, much like fairy tales, and people still believe them. They claim to speak for God, which says little for God’s character since most of the rhetoric is either banal, violent or sly. They claim to be the great moral compass of society but regularly preach division, war and intolerance.

Remove the old bollocks of them drawing authority and morality through the ‘good’ book or divine influence and you’re left with very little. I’ve met ministers and priests who are nice people, sure, but the extent of their knowledge usually goes no further than an understanding of the current trendy western religion. It’s like having an encyclopedic knowledge of the Greek pantheon or only researching Grimm’s fairy tales and then using that to guide peoples lives. Science, politics, history, medicine etc fall way, way outside of their understanding or experience (although there are of course exceptions). Their morals come from a book that extols the virtues of killing your neighbour or beating your children to death. Of the 10 ultimate commandments, only 3 of them are of any use as the rest talk about doing as God says or “don’t take stuff that isn’t yours”. I feel a bit sad for the ministers and bishops who have wasted their entire lives studying the ancient version of Goldilocks. Some church leaders are intelligent people who could have done society a lot of good had they not been sucked into the world of wishful thinking and power mongering.

I believe one of the reasons for this is that having figures of authority helps legitimise the self-deception that believers wallow in. Believers want to think that life goes on, that no-one dies, that everything will be taken care of by the ultimate mother figure in the sky and you don’t have to handle all that work and all those burdens like a real grown up. Having someone in a large hat or impressive robe stand up and spout grand words will reinforce those childish, desperate wants and provide a great comfort – because deep down many believers are unsure. Unsure if this collection of ancient stories is true (or relevant), unsure if it’s okay to ignore some of the old laws when they no longer suit, unsure what God is actually doing for them, unsure why they have to talk to themselves all the time, unsure if that prawn they had with their surf and turf has doomed them to eternal damnation.

To question church leaders however is to commit one of societies greatest sins. Everyone gets worked into a frenzy. People ask how you can question the moral authority of this bishop or that deacon. He has a direct line to Jesus, after all. His robes and extensive knowledge of writings from a nomadic tribe several thousand years ago means he knows all. It’s insane! How the hell are we still stuck in that 16th century thinking? The enlightenment came long ago, people have been questioning and breaking down religion for hundreds of years. The stranglehold on peoples lives was broken before the industrial revolution began and many people lost their lives so we didn’t have to be ignorant slaves any longer. Yet here we sit, often reluctant to speak out against a church leader, still happy to offer them seats on important councils as a ‘moral compass’. It’s limp-wristed and needs to stop, so as a world society we can advance and grow beyond such medieval meddling. How can we stop it…well that’s a topic for another day.

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One Response to “The most protected of species”

  1. 1 1minionsopinion

    It mystifies me as well.

    http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com/2009/09/amityville-jackass.html

    This post illustrates the problem pretty well – the pastor is completely clueless about a lot of things, but it doesn’t stop him from offering his perspectives on atheism and the like anyway. The author of the piece lives near the guy’s parish. If it were me, I’d be tempted to wander over to the church with a copy of the pastor’s so-called words of wisdom and poll some parishioners. See if they agree or disagree (and if disagree, would have the gumption to tell their pastor what he got wrong…)


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