Dogma and discontent

Our columnist discourses on faith and its stifling effects

Eight a.m. Two jarring coffees into my morning, and the usual routine: stretched and wretched; case the face; rage at age; peruse the news. Began pondering the reality-challenged cases that blame earthquakes on women who dress immodestly, or hurricanes on not having compulsory prayer in schools, and initially dismiss those people as lunatic fringe, if not full-on, prancing, unicorn-chasing, urinal-sniffing headcases.

But, upon reflection, I wonder if they are any more lunatic than people who tell me about global floods, talking snakes, women turned to salt, virgin births and a Being that can do anydamnthing having to send Its offspring to Earth so that we would kill Him and thus, somehow, be redeemed of sins that said Being knew from picosecond one we’d commit thus sparing us punishment it itself devised around rules it knew we’d break. And it struck me that it is all lunatic fringe, and it warrants absolutely no respect. When confronted with such beliefs, a very quiet and sincere ‘Why?’, or a strenuous ‘What??’ are the perfect responses.

An acquaintance of mine briefly (very briefly) joined a Facebook group whose purpose was to enlighten the world as to how very much the all-seeing guiding hand and progenitor of the very Universe hates homos. Her comments taking said group to task (which, at least by my standards, were pretty tame) were met with vitriol and a hilariously defensive diatribe about how – and I am paraphrasing but this is the gist – how, if only she felt better about herself, she’d hate fags, too.

What the Kentucky fried fuck is this shit?

In some ways, it’s about numbers. For instance, if a middle aged man were to take a pair of scissors and use them to cut the genitals off of a six year old girl, he would go to prison for a very long time. But if thousands of men do that to millions of little girls then it is considered to be part of a ‘culture’ and we must respect it, even if our pedestrian understanding cannot grasp the sublime holiness of this loving act.

Raging Thor’s blistered balls. Would a kiss first be ok?

(Frankly, it is even more horrifying that it is women – many, if not all, of whom have undergone the ‘procedure’ themselves – that inflict this upon subsequent generations. It is at the behest of a dogma which treats physical pleasure as something to be feared and confined, usually in the name of keeping the female in line and in the paddock.)

I encounter another article, by a devout and ranking representative of Paul and Peter’s Gilded Funhouse. Turns out, the Roman Catholic Church states that:

“All unnatural sexual acts, including oral, anal, and manual stimulation, whether partial or completed, even if used as so-called foreplay with the sexual act being completed in natural marital relations, even if used after natural marital relations to bring the woman to completion, even if preceded by, combined with, or followed by an act of natural marital relations, are nevertheless intrinsically disordered and always objectively gravely immoral.”

Raging Thor’s blistered balls. Would a kiss first be ok? With the lights off, of course – wouldn’t want to get bloody perverted about it.

This all with the blessing and supposedly infallible approval of a series of men who are successively the flesh and bone representative and strutting mouthpiece of the all powerful Instigator of everysumbtiching thing, ever everywhere. The popes are like Doctor Who, I suppose. Taking time from saving the universe just long enough to regenerate into a new form and decide on which individual tics and quirks this one ought have. And these same right hand men of the Almighty have an elite bodyguard and a bulletproof limo. Not familiar with the Popemobile? They built it after he got shot in an earlier incarnation. That’s right. The Pope can talk to the Creator of the universe and speak on the Big Guy’s behalf to a billion people, but he sure as shit ain’t bulletproof. Y’know, you’d really think that’d be one of the perks.

Are we, homo sapiens sapiens, so very, direly in need of cradle-to-grave guidance? Do so many actually crave a voice (generally filtered through another’s mouth) at every turn, bite, step and stroke?

Extremes are extremes, whatever you call them

When our very understanding of our natures and our planet is corkscrewed, when technology and forward thinking are garroted at the source by presumption, when answers precede the questions which must then be forced to fit, when our personal prejudices can always find support in someone’s mythology, somewhere (odd, is it not, how our gods so often seem to dislike the very same people we already do), then it causes the rational mind to quail and quiver and our society to stagnate and divide.

When the last church, mosque and synagogue have been voluntarily turned into flea markets, our species will have at long last been ennobled. Dogma and superstition have impeded social and scientific progress long enough. And sane, reasoning humans will finally and thankfully finish off these puny and petty gods.

Are we, homo sapiens sapiens, so very, direly in need of cradle-to-grave guidance?

Easy? Not so much. We are modified to accept the dominant dogmas of our region and/or family from birth. The revamping and reassessment of one’s worldview is a trying and confusing experience. But, it can be a way to learn about yourself, as well. We have to be always evolving, or we petrify. Besides, saintliness is far too stressful. I have a pretty rigid code of ethics, and it involves loyalty, honesty and fair play. I cannot be arsed worrying about the petty peccadilloes and rituals of an iron age tribe.

I could offer here a long and dreary list of unpleasant things done in the name of religion. But, it would be beside the point. Unpleasant things have been done in the name of many dogmas – socialism, conscienceless science, patriotism. What must be addressed is the root issue – the urge and instinct to be a follower. We all subscribe to tenets which are agreeable; which fit our moral framework and worldview. But, blind belief and the obfuscation of evidence contrary to those beliefs, the rampaging cognitive dissonance, is what must change. Whether women are being mutilated, or children being intellectually stunted, or freedom of choice getting straitjacketed, in the name of Yahweh, Allah, Freya, Anubis, Zoroaster, Cthulhu or Darwin, I care not. I care that it never be seen as justifiable, and that any philosophy or being that demands it be rejected and excoriated as the obvious fiend it is.

Absurd beliefs open a door to the extremes. Once you accept the concept of faith, once we allow special dispensation and consideration for particular myths and absurdities, what process remains to discern true from false, real from unreal? And you lose the right to say,  ‘Oh, well, those other beliefs are obviously ridiculous. That’s not what I believe.’

I maintain that whatever the fruits of belief outside of reason, as a society and species we will only begin the next forward step in our development once we give evidence supremacy, shed the need for obeisance, and shun vain and tyrannical beings, whether they be celestial or all-too-human.

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