Thursday, April 22, 2010

Religion is the best Deception

If you're a thinking person, then you've got to be skeptical of something which demands belief based only on faith. You just have to be. Why? Well, look around. How many religions are there in the world which require blind faith from their followers? How can one choose the "correct" religion from among these many options? One cannot. There is absolutely no way. So, people end up adopting the religious faiths of their family, neighbours, or countrymen. (Thankfully, a growing number of us don't bother choosing at all.)

An alien landing on the earth confronted by its various faiths would have no clue as to which, if any, of the religions were true. The claims are all the same: "I've got an old book! It's got some good stories in it! You need it to live a good life! You need to believe in this one particular god and this one particular prophet! You want proof? No, no, there's none! You must accept everything on faith! And if you don't, you will suffer eternally in a horrible place!" There is absolutely no reason for the alien to choose one over another, and in fact, there is no real reason to make a choice in the first place. (In this scenario, one hopes that the alien has all the answers, and proceeds to enlighten our little planet rather than destroy it.)

Those who have made this choice (or have had the choice made for them) are imprisoned but are unaware of it. It is extremely difficult to break out of this prison because first and foremost, the inmates are content (indeed begging) to stay! Secondly, once their leap of faith is made, the believer is strapped into an almost unescapable philosophical straightjacket. This is why I call the deception in the title the "best" deception. It is so strong, and so unwielding to any argument. The deception can come from anywhere (one's self, one's priest, one's parents) and it's almost never recognized as deception. The only time someone recognizes this kind of deception is regarding the "other": in another culture, country, or religion. If a Christian contemplates someone of a different faith, the Christian is quite ready to say "that poor guy is deceiving himself" or "is being deceived". But it's just inconceivable to the Christian that he himself is in exactly the same situation.

If I were a believer, but could still construct logical arguments, I would have to conclude that religion was created not by a caring god, but by a devil. Faith in something without evidence is not noble or honourable, it's sinister. Why are we so gullible and so willing to be deceived?