Fundamentally opposed

“Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth.” — H.L. Mencken

Ay, that quote calls for one of the pompous sermons of mine.

Courage

What are religions but slavery? A man that would bow to no king, a woman that would laugh at the idea of submitting to a man’s will, still mouth the idea that the only happiness is in becoming slavish instruments of the will of the Divine. And a slave of course has no need for courage: he can always call his Master, though the Master may not always come to his rescue. He has no courage: he merely executes the commandments of his Owner in hopes of a happy eternity. His motivation is, fundamentally, not courage but greed.

And why yes, this is called flamebaiting.

Clear thinking

Religion is full of mysteries; full of things that are not meant to be understood by mortals; full of things that are hidden and must remain so; full of Divine Plans that are too big to be understood, too intricate and glorious to be revealed to mere mortals.

Well, screw all that. There may be things too big to be understood, but it’s cowardice of the worst sort and the worst kind of obstinacy to declare something is an unsolvable mystery simply because one can’t justify it otherwise.

There’s no grandeur in me saying there’s a dragon in my garage but you can’t go inside to look at it it’s a mystery. You should rather risk getting bitten than be browbeaten by my threats of imminent dragonfire unless you kneel down right now.

And when I start to say my invisible, intangible, outright ethereal dragon will not be tempted into revealing himself; it is against the Dragon Code for him to bite in half each brazen, bastardous, blasphemous doubter such as thou; well.

Honesty

Religion is a lie, of course, an untruth; but it is also a generator of further lies. It paints such a horrible picture of the world that a devout believer has to lie to endure it. (Lie by omission, if nothing else.)

Where’s granny? Surely in heaven, dear children; we can’t even think of the possibility that she might be in Hell, because Hell only happens to other people.

Who’s to blame for life’s hardness? Religion says nothing happens without a reason, and because it is so very difficult to suppose that reason might be one’s own self, the fires are lit for heretics, for witches, for gays and for those damnedly strident atheists. Religions say there is a reason; God does not do things on a whim, and would not punish us without a reason: and thus there always has to be someone to blame; preferably someone else.

Not that self-flagellation isn’t popular, either; if you suffer even in the absence of anyone else, and there must be a reason — why then the reason is you. Original sin!

What about creationism, too? Either one has to lie, distort and be the world’s cleverest amnesiac to deny the truth of evolution; or then one has to step on the path of your holy scriptures not really meaning what they say; and while saying they are metaphorical and not literal is closer to truth, it is also a further lie, or at least a dishonest dodge: this is the most important and valuable book ever written… but of course it does not mean what it intuitively seems to say.

Fairness

If things aren’t fair, you’re supposed to have an appeal. If all those appeals and courts of law aren’t fair, you’re supposed to campaign for better laws, and enact better laws. If all else fails, you’re supposed to have a revolution, kill all your leaders, and start over. Life may not be fair, but you’re supposed to be enthusiastic for fairness, and always strive for it. (And here “suppose” just means “I think we can broadly agree that”.)

Try doing that when your laws come from a celestial tyrant that will have no appeals; will listen to no votes; and will have no revolutions; indeed, when your supreme ruler is one that rewards all dissension, not with a fair hearing and clemency, but with eternal hellfire. (Though he says his laws are just, always just — and if you ask why, why ’tis because he says they are! And he is not devoid of mercy — he will forgive you if you but grovel and recant.)

If your Lord is someone that can’t be touched by recalls, re-elections or impeachments, his laws ought to be crystal clear, and backed by impeccable logic. With God, well, he clearly condemns gays jews uppity women foreigners atheists condemnation-worthy people for a very good reason which He/She/It/Them can’t be bothered to explain now, and always has and always will.

Love of Truth

Coughcreationistscough.

Truth is the most valuable thing, the most desirable thing, there is. It does not matter whether the truth of things is glorious or horrifying (or both, or neither); what matters is that we honestly and earnestly strive to find out how things really are, and work, and have come to be and will be. We might only asymptotically approach the truth of things; but the thing is, we are getting closer, ever closer.

The antithesis of this of course is faith: “I believe, even without evidence, even against evidence. The girl of my dreams, she stands right behind me; and she will be there as long as I don’t turn to look.” That is not a virtue; it is madness. Often it is a selfish thing, too, a spiteful thing, something that calls ignorance, stupidity, wishful thinking and brazen unfounded certainty better than passion applied as careful thought. “I cannot win a battle of wits, so I declare this war meaningless. In yer face, intellitigitigentchia!” In the beginning faith was a dangerous consolation for our near-universal ignorance; nowadays it’s nothing but sour grapes.

* * *

And that is all for today.

It is nice to vent; nicer still when occasionally you, like a dog returning to its vomit, are yourself impressed by your outpourings.

One Response to “Fundamentally opposed”

  1. Lucia Southerland Says:

    Hi, cool website, just curious what spam blocker software you use for comments since I have been hit by tons on my blog.

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