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Faith is the Problem

How do you solve this moral dilemma?

· Religion A says that women must have their clitorises removed shortly after birth. This was revealed to them by God.

· Religion B says that sexual mutilation is a sin against God and must be prohibited. This was revealed to them by God.

How do you decide who is right?

Here’s another moral dilemma:

· “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion.”

· Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one come to the father except through me.”

Once God has told you what to do, you can justify anything. After all, it would be pretty silly to argue against the wisdom of the creator of the universe. The Almighty says it is so; that’s it. Logic and reason play no part here. In fact, they just get in the way.

I have tried to work out how people in twenty-first-century America could believe that, for example, there are politicians who are enslaving children beneath a pizzeria in Washington, DC. JFK, Jr. coming back from the grave? The election was stolen? The earth is flat? If you want something bad enough and “set your intention,” the universe will give it to you? I could not reconcile these ideas with the modern world until I realized that most of the world shows the capacity for such delusion on the daily.

Get this: 2.2 billion people are certain (they’re betting an eternity on it) that a woman who never had sex gave birth to a boy who was the incarnation of the power that created the universe. We don’t even have strong evidence that this boy ever existed, but nations have fallen, kingdoms have been leveled, genocide has been perpetrated by worshipers of this perhaps fictional boy. Makes QAnon look like a bunch of punters.

How about this: 1.2 billion people believe that the universe—in fact, all of reality—was created by a guy who sprang from a lotus flower growing out of the navel of another guy. Oh, and it’s a dream. Hard to argue with that. How could you? None of it can be proven, and hence can’t be disproven. Oh, and you get born again after you die. That, too.

Maybe this is more to your taste (it’s asserted to the point of homicide, torture, and slaughter by another 2 billion): The creator of the universe had a chat with an illiterate man in a cave who relayed all of the creator’s words to another guy who took it all down. The texts fails to imagine any real-world stuff outside of the desert where this all happened. The virgin-born-boy people and the lotus-from-the-navel people think the idea of the guy in the cave is unhinged. Star-bellied Sneetches, all.

Find me a politician or a national leader who does not loudly and publicly belong to one of these groups or assert the “truth” of their unprovable, unobservable, unaccountable beliefs. As a culture, we have made a virtue of the ability to embrace convictions whose only proof is that we want them to be true.

Is the notion that the 2020 election was stolen demonstrably less delusional than the beliefs of the big religions? How can we find QAnon crazy if we reward and support people who propagate ideas that are every bit as lacking in objective truth? We train our children from the cradle to know that some things are true because. To have faith. Because.

Don’t be alarmed, though. We only have to believe that we’re all going to be fine, recite it over and over, and vote for people who say it. That’s what human beings have always understood: “If I believe it, it is fact.” Let’s put it out there, into the universe: there is justice; there is peace and understanding; we are all loved and valued; good things are on the way.

That ought to do it.


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