Ah, religion and politics, the two things you shouldn’t talk about among friends. So why is it that we seem so drawn to do just that? If we know that our views may butt heads and risk tarnishing our relationships, why are we so adamant about being heard? The simple answer is because we all would like to believe our opinions are the good and just ones. The harder answer to accept is that we all know, at our base levels, that we might be wrong. I will be going over factual information as I see it. In other words, my opinion. Your thoughts should go into the comment section below. I listen. I read every comment I receive and respond 99% of the time. If you’re comment is nothing more than, “Great post, E,” or “You’re a darn fool, E.,” don’t expect a reply because all I can say is either “Thanks,” or “I told you so.” Give me something to respond to; I beggah’ya!
We’ll start with religious text because this is where I’m going to lose you as a reader if you’re easily offended by beliefs and views that do not coincide with your own. Pick your text of choice; be it Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, whatever, just pick one. They’re all the same to me. That is, they are all the word of your chosen deity as perceived by man. Assuming your god, or gods, are the real and true thing, they are not the ones who wrote the book that guides you. Man did. “But, E., my god(s) directed Man to do so!” Okay, once again, let’s say that is true. But who translated it? I have a King James Version of the bible sitting in front of me. There is actually a disclaimer within the first few pages that states those who transcribed this version may or may not share your own personal beliefs. The publisher did this for the same reason television networks add the statement, “The views of this “so and so” may not be the views of this “blah de blah.” to all infomercials. They’re covering their own rear-ends in case something hits the fan legally, or, in most cases, someone does something the viewers will not agree with. Now, if you’re text is thousands of years old, you certainly do not hold the original document in your hand. If the original text even still exists somewhere, its probably in a museum, out of your reach. Sure, your god(s) may be infallible, but Man is not. We are creatures of error. This is why, no matter what religion you believe in (but especially with the Christian bible) there are so many different ways of viewing the same stanzas. Because of this, thoughts are based on allegorical writings that may not have meant anything, much less the concrete belief structure you have set into place surrounding metaphors and similes. Could a burning bush be a copse of red and orange Fall vegetation? Yes. Could someone have lit their pubic hair on fire? Maybe not, but you can always assume. I know if I caught my crotch ablaze, I’d hear the voice of God, too. Here comes the argument that I’ve been building to. The Bible is the greatest selling book of all time because it inspires hope, teaches of a hereafter, of meaning. That’s all religion is, my friends, a comfortable place in which to reside before you take your final breath. As far back as Man can be traced, we’ve believed in something bigger than ourselves, because in not believing we see our existence as minimal, or completely useless. Religion spurs hostile debate because no one knows the real answers and nobody wants to believe we all just simply turn to dust. Christians argue with Christians all the time. You have many extremes (The Westboro Baptist Church is one that comes to mind) that believe God can’t stand us hairless apes, yet they’re reading the same bible as the ones that preach love and kindness and forgiveness. How can one God be all these things? Because people choose to believe He can. And nothing stirs a good debate like belief. One last thing about religion. Ever play the game of Telephone. You stand in a line and a person at one end whispers into the ear of the person beside them, then that person passes the message along to the next, and so on until it reaches the other end. The last time I played this game, the starter message was, “A man in a car drove to Toledo.” There were seven of us in line. By the time the message reached the last person it had become, “A mantra drove a torpedo.” That is the best possible analogy for religion that I have found. By the time the message reaches the end, it will be far different and will make much less sense because human beings were involved.
If any of you are left, we’ll now turn to politics. Who created politics and why? Once again, Man, Man, Man, and also, Man, ad infinitum or nauseum if you have a weak constitution. But why? Why does Man seem to need a government body? Ah-ha! Because, once again, we need to believe in something greater than ourselves. In a way, politics might have been created to bring us all together. Of course we all know that’s far from the case nine times out of ten, but I firmly believe whoever created the idea of government had the best of human intentions in mind. Politics is just as touchy a subject as religion for many of the same reasons. Beliefs and fallibility. Everyone wants to believe that their views are correct, when in fact they’re just blind to what makes them wrong. We humans have an insane talent for looking the other direction when someone challenges our beliefs. We don’t want to hear any clear, concise debates proving us to be in error. What would happen if we all just thought for ourselves, kept to ourselves and minded our own business! We will never find out because of politics. All politics boils down to is this: The crowd feels that their throng is not being treated right and would like change, so they put someone in place to enact said change. Well, there’s always a group that will disagree. Because we’re humans, and that’s what humans do. We. Fucking. Argue. We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that if our belief structure and our governing bodies were to just disappear (see reference: Anarchy) that society would just fall apart. Why? Are we all a bunch of rapey, murdery, robbing thugs that can’t act civilized without some sort of theological reason for living or some set of court mandated rules? Because that’s what we’re assuming. We theorize that, without religion and politics, our better judgment would vanish overnight and all would fall to chaos. I, for one, have a stronger faith in humanity. We’re all frightened of change and revolution and being only just ourselves. I know we’ll always look to religion and politics for answers – I’m not so jaded that I believe we should all just throw away our indoctrination – but maybe, if we could stop being so terrified of proving ourselves wrong, we could find the change we all want.
Belief in yourself is strong; it builds passion and new ideas and creativity and lust for life. Religion is what we seek because this all ends. Politics is what we hold onto while we’re still alive to save us from ourselves. One another is what we reach for when times get bad. Mistakes are how we learn. Being wrong is a splendid thing because we chose to take a chance. Never stop questioning. Never settle. Don’t believe everything you read. And more importantly, don’t share your politics or your religion unless you’re ready to be challenged.
In summation: I don’t want less government or religion because people seem to need both equally. I would only like for you all to see that you’re going to be wrong, on both accounts, because in either matter, facts rarely come into play.