3/25/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S. ~
Has anybody written on this subject here before? This site is (pleasantly) dangerous because this is where thinkers ask questions, for one thing. If you‘re a believer reading this, you have probably been warned by your religion's reps not to, because you're “endangering” your eternal soul! They want you to avoid anything unapproved by them, which means everything we have to say, and that's a lot! We hope you are not intimidated by them, and take your own initiative to be independent adults, and listen to us who have made the “leap of facts“ already. We are gathered around the water coolers and coffee pots of free speech, interrupting each other in enthusiastic enjoyment of freedom from religious beliefs and freedom to laugh at those prior beliefs, and are not intimidated by such foolish talk of “danger.” In fact, dangers have been the means to the end.
Danger is not always a warning. Much of the time it's a challenge. Ask the Coast Guard members diving into huge waves, firefighters rushing into a burning building, test pilots ﬂying untried planes, new astronauts in uncharted space, etc. Soldiers, policemen, etc., face dangers by profession. So do volcanologists and Doctors Without Borders, as did the ﬁrst civil rights protesters. In life, going into danger is only natural, and often, inevitable. (The sparrows in my backyard, the stray cat, and every animal in the wild is in danger from predators.) But in spite of - or even because of - such circumstances, advances are made, new strategies are created, lessons are learned, and victories are enjoyed.
Danger challenges in other ways: adultery; pedophilia; deceiving innocent people who trust you wholeheartedly; lying; stealing thousands or millions of dollars in funds managed for trusting investors. Can there be any greater thrills for someone in an authority position than to take such advantageous, dangerous risks of being found out and even prosecuted? But notice that of those caught, many are clergy. Are they not, every one of them, the same people who are telling you that you are”endangering your soul” if you yourself commit them? Aren't their “actions speaking louder than their words,” making hypocrites of them in demonstrating that they don't take that “endangering” stuff seriously? Especially since they repeatedly engage in these actions, until they are caught? (And will, unless they are caught.)
As a child you were taught that the ﬁrst humans took the first step into danger by going, as you are, where they were told not to go, and that because of their act, someone else paid for it with his life. What you have not been told is that it's curiosity which is responsible for all human progress; oftentimes, curiosity involving danger. You were not informed that the Dark Ages are the ones when faith dominated, and the very fear of endangering one's soul kept minds in darkness and superstition for over a thousand years. In all those centuries, the danger came from self- crowned agents of God, not from curiosity, or the thrill of discovering that the “danger” warned about is not dangerous after all. Quite the contrary.
In taking the dangerous baby steps of questioning the beliefs you are told are true, you've decided to become an adult, not a gullible child. This is no insult to you, but a challenge worth risking. Those who have taken the risks are here to cheer on your efforts. And, unlike pedophilia committed by clergy, or adultery, or absconding with entrusted funds, no one will be hurt.
Those who would send you into holy wars are telling you not to endanger yourself? Go on, stay in doubt. As Dan Barker says, to get rid of doubt, give in to it. That‘s the thrill in living dangerously free!