It’s spooky to think of the worlds other people live in.
Like those people who scream at Justin Bieber.
Or the ice cream man who smiles too big.
Or the weirdo who wrote this shit.
Or the psychotic.
Your autistic cousin.
Usually they scare me because they deny reason. They refuse to believe things demonstrated for them.
It’s easier to believe in unbelievable things when other people do. Or when an authority tells you to.
How else could we believe that a former professor of constitutional law could pass the NDAA?
Sometimes it’s nice to read a very old book. Because if it’s old enough and the authors are dead enough, then they got to be right!
Some Muslims believe that they need to kill everyone else in order to go to heaven and take 72 of their chosen ones with them. It’s even more spooky, at least one more unit of spook, to think that they think I’m crazy for not thinking that. Anyone we could talk to would agree that it’s just absurd to think that you can go to heaven and take 72 people with you if you murder a bunch of people and yourself.
For you and me this is absurd because there is zero reason to believe in that myth.
Just like Zeus in the clouds chucking lightning bolts at motherf@!*#$*s, it’s just silly, fanciful.
Most people will agree with this.
But then when you ask them what happens to them when they die you will get tales of cloudy eternal happiness. There will no doubt be conversations of Jesus using wizardry to fix eyeballs and ears and legs. Then maybe they will say,“Well this is all just a metaphor, just be nice and loving and you can go to heaven.”
Well they aren’t going to go suicide bomb something. But they are apologizing for that kind of belief. There are a lot more Muslims in the world that say, “Hey, martyrdom is the tits!” than actually become martyrs. And it’s just because they’re weak. They aren’t doing it right.
“No! You stupid-faced idiot-head! Obviously violence is wrong!” If a belief that includes killing people for no reason other than not sharing your belief is respected then the breeding ground leading up to violence is okay.
The Ku Klux Klan’s violence isn’t tolerated. That’s obvious. The only beatings we willingly take are from Big Brother. The important thing is that it is politically correct to hate the Klan.
If you reject someone’s religious beliefs, however, you’re in for a s***storm. It’s even okay to rag on Scientology—which, as far as I can tell, is one of the more reality-respecting religions out there. (At least at the lower levels, I don’t know about the craziness on the insides.)
Islam is not a peaceful religion just because most of its followers don’t bomb things. Same thing with Christianity. A really good Christian would stone his wife if she cheated on him. A Christian who didn’t ignore the dark side of the Bible would never have quit the inquisition.
I’m not saying people who believe these things are stupid.
Most religious folk I meet are way smarter than me. I’m a dunce. Stupid Kyle. They use reason in every other part of their lives. They respect a balance sheet or the scientific method or a sound argument. But not when it comes to what we consider “sacred.”
We don’t have to forfeit the importance of direct experience when seeking spirituality.
Various tribes use different hallucinogens as a rite of passage. Drum circles have a spiritual place in other tribes. An extended meditation retreat can do it for some people.
If you believe in something because someone told you to, then you must forgive others who believe things for the same reason.
Reason and spirituality are not mutually exclusive.
Religion is an obvious way to fill our spiritual needs, but the price is too high. We need to fill that void in a kinder more productive way. Direct experience of the mysterious, mystical, spiritual is readily available to anyone seeking it.
Outsourcing your religious experience is like outsourcing push ups.
You’ll get fat and constipated. But more metaphorically.
Kyle Eschenroeder has recently lost his mind. He once found it in Chipotle. Sometimes it is hanging around www.kyleschen.com
Editor: Elysha Anderson