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Make Believe

By Carl S ~

There's a song from the musical "Showboat" titled "Make believe." It's a love song that says if we make believe enough, then it will come true. Consider some of the words from that song: "Others find peace of mind in pretending. Couldn't I, couldn't you, couldn't we?"

Others find peace of mind in pretending. Why can't you? Is it because you "lack" faith? "Faith" is merely pretending. The faithful won't see it that way, of course. No one wants to admit that what's held up to be virtuous is only making believe. But how else can we explain the presence of so many contradictory, (even within themselves), faiths? From childhood on, many are raised in faiths to believe what they're told, with the presumption, if you don't, just pretend to believe. To the child, as well as the adult, it is taught, try as you might, you'll never meet the expectations of God. These things make a united front in sects. Now, isn't that lovely?

Dear non-believer: Too bad you're lacking that gift of faith. Too bad you have peace of mind without faith! Even the famous philosopher Pascal recommended pretending in the existence of his God as a bulwark against the damnation his god would inflict for not believing!

Pretending is an easy way out of discussing whether what is pretended to be, exists. Get enough humans together to pretend they believe, and it happens! Pretending is the Gift of the Holy Spirit! Many would argue they're not pretending, since "matters of faith are obvious," ergo, no discussion is needed. Really? Then why have there been, why are even today, good people being tortured and killed because they refuse to pretend? If articles of faith were "obvious," this would not happen.

Obviously, the United States does not trust in God. A quick scan of its massive security forces alone denies this. And what are we to make of the statement that this nation is "indivisible,” or that it recognizes each person is created equal, or that it has, "liberty and justice for all," when it ought to be obvious to most who say those words: they're only pretending they're true? Perhaps the purpose of those words lies in hope that, someday, they will become true. Progress has made some of them come true, but this happens through action, not by passive and docile pretending.

The United States does not trust in GodMake believe has uses. Hell, without fiction and fantasy, most of our entertainments wouldn't exist! The danger comes from taking the fictional and fantastical as serious matters of life and death. Indeed, those who can't tell the differences between fiction/fantasy and reality have something mentally awry. We might wonder if the intensities of religious beliefs are indicators of degrees of mental imbalance. Billions of prayers fail because pretending doesn't work.

Pretending is lying. You can say, "So what?" Most of the time, it's harmless. Every husband lies to his wife, and vice versa. The little white lies keep the peace and bind the relationship. Spouses are aware of this, and don't tell themselves otherwise. The big lies, like those tied to adultery, for example, involve a whole lot of other lies. If some spouses are willing to accept them, well then, that's their choice. Heads of state lie to each other. Without continually lying, religions couldn't continue. It's S.O.P. For most believers, being lied to and lying to oneself brings "peace of mind" and comfort. So, faith is taken for granted because it's just as common and comfortable as the telling of little white lies for the sake of social interaction.

The comfort given from pretending: doesn't it have costs? Is the comfort of faith worth the cost of having children molested by clergy, or having children frightened of a hell that doesn't exist? Must LGBT people suffer discrimination and prejudice, have their human rights denied, so that believers can be comfortable in their creeds? What of all those killed who were and are against the faiths - those who couldn’t or wouldn't pretend? What about those gays, lesbians, the free thinkers, atheists, etc., who are cast out of families, societies, shunned by businesses, rejected by friends, because they "came out" and became non-pretenders? And for those who've come out, don't they feel free of the burdens of having to constantly pretend? And haven't they found who their real friends are? "Real friends don't make their friends pretend" sounds like a good slogan.

Make believe is a bad habit when it chooses the comfort of pretending over the betterment of human lives. Imagine freedom from religious pretending. Couldn't I, couldn't you, couldn’t they?