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I respect you and your right to your Faith, although I may question or even lampoon your beliefs and mine as well, as you reject the strange beliefs of others. I oppose religious persecution, a pursuit mainly of the religious. The ludicrous cries of persecution from the ruling Christian Majority continue despite their victory. Good must have its Evil…
An almighty God certainly warrants unquestioning faith and complete devotion. Such a faith in any earthly self-proclaimed spokesperson for God would be misguided. All are mere mortals, fallible human sinners. Many claim to speak for God. A few, at least, are lying. Beware false prophets.
I cannot imagine that an Intelligent Designer would require that I forsake Reason.
Reason: God’s greatest tangible gift to mankind. (Tool use alone does not distinguish man from animals. Certain birds use sticks as flatware for an insect buffet.) Man alone (among land mammals, at least) possesses the conscious ability to accept or reject the Almighty’s best evidence that we are not monkeys. (We are actually mutant chimpanzees.) Everlasting life, the ultimate gift, remains intangible, relying upon Faith.
What is faith? One of several meanings is “belief that does not rely upon logical proof or physical evidence”. Faith requires me to forsake reason.
In this sense, Faith is the critical mass for the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. I shall now illustrate as follows-
Faith: Belief independent of reason.
Insanity: Belief independent of reason.
I have established that Faith (with a capital F) is by definition unreasonable.
Faith is not a sound basis for governmental policy.
Faith is powerful. Faith can inspire great deeds. The goodness of great deeds is viewed through the lens of one’s Faith. Many great deeds are not good.
Faith is prerequisite for suicide pilots, drivers, and pedestrians. Faith inspires uncounted missionaries and others to volunteer, contribute funds, and otherwise aid their fellow man. Faith inspired (or at least permitted) Inquisitions and Crusades and lynchings. Faith-based stonings continue to this day.
I have established that Faith inspires greatness, both good and evil. Faith can produce immense and potentially disastrous energies. Faith is powerful. Faith is plutonium.
If Faith is plutonium, how is its awesome energy harnessed, whether for good or evil?
Reactor or bomb, Faith weaponized is “Organized Religion”.
The fellowship of Faith is a wonderful experience. The love is evident and genuine. The power of many as one is evoked in song, prayer, and chant; and demonstrated historically in a multitude of holy wars and massacres.
Who wields this awesome energy? Who harnesses the Faith of the unreasoning Believer, and to what purpose?
Organized Religion positions itself as a crucial middleman for the faithful to find God, thereby reaping power and wealth. Some would mold their nation, or the world, in their own image of God.
Radical Islam succeeds by sublimating anger into devotion, devotion into martyrdom. Wayward Christian soldiers sublimate fear of death into life everlasting, sin into forgiveness, blind faith into the superiority of the Saved. Misguided Zionist zealots sublimate a history of persecution and genocide into a futile and self-diminishing quest for retribution. Hardcore Hindis harbor historical hatreds. Kurds see things their way. Buddhists, Baptists, Baalists- a Babeling rabble of mutually exclusive Faiths exists, from Anglican to Zoroastrian.
Even the most optimistic best-case scenario cannot possibly allow for more than a handful of these mostly mutually exclusive religions to be essentially “correct”. All others await the fate accorded to non-believers by the “correct” religion(s), if any. Failure to win God’s good graces manifests itself in myriad ways, none particularly pleasant.
I would wish that, until such a time as One True Faith proves evident to all, Reason would govern our earthly affairs. I should wish as well that it should be so simple.
Commonly reasoned goals shall remain elusive so long as the Accepted Facts remain in dispute. Some people believe that space aliens are living under the ocean. Some people continue to believe that the oil companies quashed the one hundred mile per gallon carburetor. Many believe that God wants you dead. Reason requires reasonable people acting reasonably. Reason faces an uphill battle.
If you think spiritual Truth is elusive, try finding objective truth.
Do you doubt me? Have faith. Just kidding! I offer reason, and doubt…
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
- Ralph 'Where's Waldo' Emerson
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like. And I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
- Bilbo Baggins