6/15/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S. ~
It has to be difficult to raise children to be serious believers of one‘s own religion. To raise yet another generation to carry the baggage of traditional, sectarian, unresolved problems into a world which is becoming increasingly accepting of diversity and the myriad beliefs of other religions.
It must be difficult to accept a “personal relationship “ with a universally available, 24/7, father god who can neither be seen nor heard, when you have a cell phone to reach real people: friends, family, lover, husband, wife, at any time, from any place on earth.
It must be hard to preach or believe that gay people are immoral and worthy of punishment just for being true to their natures when you personally know gays who are friends or relatives, or other people you admire.
It has to be difficult (or should be) to tell your children that there were times in history when cities were destroyed by incineration because most of their inhabitants were gay. Or that the human race was universally evil to the point that everyone and their animals had to be drowned everywhere on earth - when the evidence all around you tells you that such a state of humanity never existed.
It has be increasingly difficult to maintain that supernatural forces, in reaction to human actions, are responsible for tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other catastrophic events, when the evidence tells us that these are caused by random and indifferent Nature.
It has to be repulsive for believers to even consider that religion's “answers” are fabrications.
It will be difficult for one believing in an unalterable soul to have research and tests reveal that the mind is a product of a material organ, and not separate from the body. And, that the visions of saints, gurus, and prophets can be accounted for as being hallucinations produced by the mind-body connection which are experienced as just as “real” as reality.
It must be extremely difficult to reject someone you intensely love, just because the other person does not believe what you were taught to believe.
It ought to be difficult to feel sorry for a man who died two thousand years ago as you watch TV news reports, or read in media, reports of genocide, ﬂeeing refugees in camps, or of the starving and persecuted throughout this world. And it must be hard to give your money for the “glory” of yet another god while so many people are suffering, starving, and dying of preventable diseases, or who need opportunities or loans to become financially liberated, and who are all going without the help of that god.
It must be uncomfortable to continually forgive and make excuses for pedophile clergy who work to deny women control over their reproductive freedom. It must be a contradiction to be a member of a faith that preaches a heaven as the goal of life, yet denies a believer the right to die and immediately acquire that goal.
It has to be uncomfortable to send one's child to a Sunday school where the child is taught to believe, as authoritative, things even the parent rejects; or to know that the children they play with are being taught to be close-minded.
It has to be difficult in the 21st century to have to keep telling oneself some things are true, when evidence keeps accumulating in the real world that they are not. Having a medieval mind in these times is an enigma wrapped in willful ignorance, however reinforced by religion it may be.
It will become ever more uncomfortable for those who believe the universe is all about “us” to confront the ever accumulating knowledge of a mind-bogglingly vast, infinitely complex and chaotic universe, with billions of stars and planets, which cares not one iota about mankind or its cares.
It has to be a struggle to ignore the facts of evolution when tons of evidence have been accumulated for them and shown in museums, on television, in magazines, books, and videos; when modem medicine itself is based on evolutionary principles.
It is hard to maintain the established doctrine that a proof of the existence of “God” is that man has a conscience, in light of evidence that psychopathic killers have no conscience and feel no remorse.
It must be hard for a true believer or a believer‘s spiritual guide to admit, let's face it, that a good roll in the hay is better than any “relationship” with a, yet again, invisible god.
It must be not only difficult but well nigh impossible to confront that one has been conned by religious authorities who sell their products without proof of any value to them. It’s uncommon enough just to accept that one has been willingly deceived, even in small matters, let alone that this has come about through one's own propensity to self deception. One does not want to admit being trapped in a system which raises self-deception to the level of being virtuous.
It has to be a challenging unease for righteous men to hide their caches of pornography.
One does not want to think of how difficult it can be for a believer to make the choice between theology and morality, between obeying and acting as a morally responsible individual. Too often, with belief systems, one contradicts the other.
Surely the habit of secrets-keeping must grate on the consciences of clerics eventually. Holding hypocrisy inside oneself has to be hard on the organism; unless one enjoys deceiving, that is.
It is astounding how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible.It has to be very difficult for individual believers to deal with differences of beliefs/opinions, because they avoid, like the plague, questions about their core beliefs, often by turning on the questioner. It must be rough to go through life avoiding and depending on other believers who parrot the propaganda they’ve absorbed without thinking. (It is difficult enough for those who must “walk on eggshells” to accommodate them.)
It must be fearful for those on the inside to contemplate stepping outside the cage religions provide, or to even consider actually thinking about what one has gotten oneself into. Yet, reality, which speaks with a “soft but persistent voice,” keeps butting up against the superstitions which are called religions. (Why does nature contradict scriptures?)
All of these realities I have mentioned present mind problems for true believers. Therefore, they keep trying to protect their children from them. They don’t want the kids associating with gays, nor taught evolution, etc. They want them home-schooled, unexposed to sex education or other beliefs, other points of view, and anyone else who doesn't believe as they do. But, what happens to those kids when they have to go out into the real world? Raised in a bubble of ignorance, they are unprepared.
Contemporary life makes it difficult for members of religion-cults to maintain beliefs with so much factual information available all day, every day, describing how the world really works, not the way humans would prefer it did, for their own interpretations.
Reality is persistent, and blocking out reality requires much needless effort. As one psychiatrist stated, “People come to therapy when their behavior patterns aren’t working anymore.” And yet the true believers keep repeating the same patterns even when they don’t work, thereby perpetuating denials of all evidence to the contrary and never learning the way out. To quote the philosopher Eric Hoffer:
“It is astounding how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible.”