Tag Archives: superstition

Superstition, Insanity and Faith

With Friday the 13th coming up tomorrow…oh, that unlucky day…I thought I’d wax philosophical on superstition vs. faith.

Fearing that bad luck will befall you because you walked under a ladder is superstition. Leaving food out for the fairies so that they won’t do mischief in your house is superstition. Keeping a rabbit’s foot in your pocket is superstition.

Hell, I’ll even grant you (despite my Christian faith) that praying for something and expecting to get what you want is superstition. (God isn’t a cosmic ATM).

Faith in any religion or belief in a god (or God Himself) is not superstition. Maybe it is if you’re looking to explain love as being some god firing an arrow in your ass or the movement of the sun as being due to some dude’s invisible chariot. But a belief in a higher power is not superstition.

In fact, I find it no more ludicrous than believing that the whole universe just spontaneously popped out of nowhere, which is what a lot of people seem to believe. Or that it was a pre-existing compressed ball of matter/energy that suddenly exploded. Because the fact is that believing the universe is some random unguided thing that has always existed in some form is just as wacky as believing there is an entity (or are entities) that shaped it and perhaps guide it on some higher level.

So, with that, I respectfully request that anyone who has been baiting Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or anyone else with the “I can’t believe you buy into that superstitious nonsense” line please stop. You can disagree with faith, but please stop lumping it in with superstition. I wish some of you would stop with the “delusional” tag as well, because I know that I’m well aware of reality, the laws of physics and the need to function in the world around me.

As for the Scientologists, who maintain a huge, cultish church around the writings of a bad science fiction author?

Well, they’re just fucking insane.

Two-fer Tuesday: Imagining God by Miz Pink

pinkhairlongIt freaks me out sometimes how easily people brush off the uniqueness of God and the Judeo-Christian history because people are sometimes really fast on the draw to say the Jews were better “myth makers” than anyone else before or since…and that the whole monotheistic faith that they spearheaded was simply great marketing. But is just doesn’t jive for me.

Why try to create a “better religious mousetrap” especially several thousand years ago? There was nothing “broken” in the multiple gods model that so many other folks were using. It suited humans well. And the early Jews were certainly not so durned brilliant as to foresee that we would unlock most of the secrets of nature and genetics and all that and knew “We just gotta create a God that can handle the new world order coming up in a few thousand years.”

I understand that so many gods were “imagined” by people to explain things we take for granted like rain and emotions and stuff. They were what passed for science before science came along but I don’t see why the kind of God that the Jews and I and even the Muslims worship is something ANYONE would WANT to create.

This wasn’t a God who wasn’t particularly keen on doling out a bunch of favors. He wasn’t easy to get ahold of. He expected a heck of a lot. He set high standards. He was not the kind of God that would appeal to the masses unlike most gods that were pretty much just messed up beings with a lot of power…they were just like humans except with cosmic bad-mama-jamma-ness. Gods that people could relate to. So why create the God known as Yahweh (and other things) Unless of course he was a god that actually existed, showed his power to his first chosen people, and set them on the path to reveal his glory and show the world what they needed to return to…which is his loving embrace and his eternal family.

Men and women didn’t “imagine God.” The did their part to reveal him, though, that’s for sure. And its a shame that so many people are willing to write that off and reduce God to merely being a better made myth.

That Bad Ole Religion

I’m pretty sure I’ve ridiculed the notion of religion being the cause of most of the world’s suffering on this blog at some point. But maybe not. I know I’ve done it elsewhere.

Here’s one of my recent comments at another blog:

The world is full of idiots, and I frankly don’t believe that eliminating religion would put a dent in the idiocy level. Stupid is stupid. Ignorant is ignorant. Remove religion and people will rally behind something else to validate and support their idiocy.

It’s popular to get on the bandwagon that the world would be a so much better place if we just got rid of religion. John Lennon, a dude whose musical and philosophical talents I greatly admire, suggested as much in the lyrics of “Imagine.”

But, it just ain’t so.

Eliminating religion won’t help. Ideologies that lack a god but establish the same programs (or even pogroms, for that matter) would simply fill the void. The world will not become more enlightened by removing religion because the world will still be full of “sheeple” who need and want to be led and who don’t want to think.

Sure, I get that religion is often a tool of repression and restraint. And here is another comment I tossed out recently on that point:

Let’s not blame the basic religion for the millions of idiots who misinterpret, misapply and misunderstand it while purporting to uphold it.

I just don’t get the “religion has been misused so let’s toss it out” argument.

  • Economics are misused and employed in ways to oppress the masses, but that doesn’t make capitalism (or socialism for that matter) inherently evil. Anyone want to throw out all the money and elminate our economies? No? Didn’t think so.
  • Cars are deadly machines and often improperly used. So, is the answer to get rid of cars? Yeah, I hear a lot of silence there, too.
  • Half or more of the marriages in the United States end in divorce. Are we to take away from that figure that monogamy is inherently flawed? Some would argue that, but most would not.

In fact, going back to the first example in my list, I would argue that economics is one of the major sources of evil and persecution and war and assorted other nastiness in the world—moreso, in fact, than is religion.

The desire for power and land and putting ones enemies under one’s feet is a basic human desire, and exists independently of religion. Yes, religion can be used to bolster such desires and justify them, but that almost always requires the tenets of a religion to be twisted to that purpose.

And yes, religion is also used by people who just want to shut the world out and want a spiritual pacifier to suck on. So what? Can’t we say the same about television much of the time? That’s why it’s been called the “glass teat” or the “boob tube.”

And yes, religious differences cause tension and even violence. But so do racial differences and ethnic differences and political differences. And, in the end, they are usually just excuses anyway. And never mind any of the good things religion and spirituality have done; those are insignificant, the naysayers will tell you.

Somehow, when you talk about the positive messages of religion, or the values they can instill, the people who are so down on religion will tell you, Those things can be gotten by just being decent humans. You don’t need religion for that.” Yet if you point out that human nature is what causes most of the problems in the world, independent of religion (since many so-called “religious” people who start wars or destroy lives or cash in workers’ retirement accounts to buy corporate jets rarely are all that faith-filled or church-going),  those same people will cling to the argument that religion has caused more problems than anything else. Suddenly, human nature is something they want to downplay so that they can blame religion for usurping our better nature and making us do nasty things. Instead of “The devil made me do” it becomes “religion makes us do it.”

So, in the end, I’m going to be blunt.

If you’re going to argue that religion just needs to go by the wayside because it causes too much trouble, you’re being an idiot. Because you’re obviously giving a pass to many other things in the world that do way more damage.