I’ve made Buddhist friends recently. I’ve been finding what they have to say really interesting.
I think the difference for me between Buddhism and many other religions (which makes me respect it that much more) is that it’s often more of a philosophy – so you have to think about it before you can believe it. It encourages individual thought as opposed to that good old herd mentality we all know and dread.
What I dislike about religion in general is the complete ignorance of it all, the pretentious, self-righteous and completely unswerving devotion to things you know nothing about. Upholding a book that you’ve never completely read, and saying it stands for all of your being, when it includes misogynist, racist and generally bigoted commands. And I’m not just talking about the bible, I mean all of them. They all have bits that people choose to conveniently ignore, in favour of the bits that look pretty and lovely. Religion is essentially dirty – tainted, like everything human, by the most unpure and generally unsavoury aspects of human nature.
And, worse than that, we’re indoctrinated into this God Club soon after childbirth, when we have no choice – no knowledge of the outer world, nothing to say about any of it. Children are then told what are effectively nonsensical fairytales about non-existant entities and big fingers pointing down from the clouds and beautiful lands of milk and honey. Larkin’s right: They fuck you up, you Mum and Dad – they may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had, and add some extra, just for you.
If you want to try and do something against this abbhorence, sign our Jamie’s petition (Dawkins has signed it, even) here:
And, I’d like to add that Jamie’s started something really amazing there. It’s getting quite huge. Go Jamie.
However, the pessimist in me knows that it’s never going to end. Religious fervour is actually a malfunction of the brain (or, at least, the closest scientists will publicly admit to is that it’s down to the abnormal behaviour of a few mis-placed neurons) and, coming from a person who actually has a proper-good malfuction of the same part of the noggin that produces religious visions, I think these people (all million billion of them) are quite frankly wobbly in the head. Yes, like me – except they have such a subtle complaint that it doesn’t present itself in full-blown attacks, it just lurks there in the background.
It’s a human need, a deep requirement, say the psychologists. It’s a bloody malfunction, says I. A genetic abnormality. An in-built equivalent to falling out of the pram whilst young. In some cases, it’s just brainwashing – social conditioning, or a desire to run with the crowd, make friends, that sort of thing. However, the fervent ones – I suspect they’re just mentally unsound. And what scientist’s going to admit they can prove that?