Saturday, May 07, 2005


At the risk of offending my religious friends (which constitutes just about all of them) I'm compelled by recent news events to point out that there's as much evidence that the universe in all its complexity was excreted by a gigantic gopher twenty minutes ago as there is that some vast, omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent being made out of love existing outside of time decided to create a universe of 10 billion galaxies with 100 billion stars each, most of which may have planets of one form or another, just so I could trudge into a large building once a week and recite some inferior prose and poetry some tiny fraction of my species has been mouthing for the last few decades.

Religion is a collection of fairy tales. Slipshod, illogical stories and obvious aphorisms assembled by primitive peoples in hopeless circumstances. Sure, stories have power. Certainly, they affect behavior and therefore help shape the world by shaping humanity, but so does any Big Lie. That doesn't make them true.

I could construct a religion tomorrow based on the notion that people born in Milwaukee are God's Chosen, and it would have exactly the objective, verifiable value of any other set of fanciful notions hallucinated by starving lunatics in the wilderness and elaborated to Byzantine convolusion by generations of thinkers with nothing better to do (cure diseases, measure the earth, rescue the endangered) than to write story after story after story, all made up, about how some Infinite Being gives a tinker's cuss what happens on a tiny, insignificant speck of dust spinning in a backwater galaxy in one corner of infinite emptiness.

We care about us, and that only just.

Fairy tales are for children. They comfort and they teach, and sometimes they inspire some of the the greatest works of art and literature and sacrifice the world has witnessed, but they're a crutch. If you need religion to have some love for your species, or to treat your fellow humans with kindness and empathy, you're a child, and you need to grow up, because there's too many of you now, and you're using your stories to hurt one another too much, and the world can't always coddle you and protect you while it waits for you to start using your senses and your brain instead of your glands.

That big sound in the sky isn't a bigger gorilla beating on a bigger tree than you've ever seen. That's thunder. It happens when electrical charges between the atmosphere and the earth equalize and disturb the atmosphere. All that "guidance" and "destiny" you're noticing? That's coincidence. It happens. Get used to it. Your brain has evolved to optimize pattern recognition, and every now and again you're going to come up with a false positive. See something in the Rorschach blot? That's an inkstain on a piece of carboard.

Wake up. Grow up. See the world for what it is. Your fairy tales are killing us.


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