We do not know if God exists. Our minds and senses are too limited. If we experience some kind of religious moment it is hard to say if we really saw God, or our mind just fucked us around on some God-trip. And religion? What is the value of religion?
I believe that any form of religion is an organized system of belief with a closed system of manipulation that is designed to expand by adding as many new believers as possible. In many religions there is one main story and a cluster of mindfucks to try to keep you in. To me the main difference between different religions and cults within these religions is the level of aggression. The story they have to share is usually a load of fantasy nonsense backed up by systems of fear and indoctrination.
With systems of manipulation, it works something like this: to make you believe, I first need to break down any other form of competing belief system. To do this I will start with things that seem to make sense to you. Values, beliefs and morale-systems that feels good, that you will say “Yeah” to. When we have built a level of trust I will start to feed your insecurities and fears. I will narrow your worldview and show you my version of the “truth”. I will gently use systems of exclusion and peer pressure to draw you out of your circles of non-believers and slowly help you to change your mind if you do not completely buy my story. I will help you see that the people you knew and that what you held to believe in the past are bad influences, very wrong and maybe even evil.
Depending on how aggressive my method is I might even resort to different methods of brainwashing to break your resistance.
If I truly believe in what I am doing, I am actually convinced that I am doing you a favor. Otherwise I am just playing power games with you, with me on top and you as my devotee. And sure I will offer you stuff that works. Otherwise my system will be unmasked as a “take all, give nothing” scam.
I will use your longings for something better and I will promise you things you like to hear to soothe you, things to believe in, things that will improve your life. I will help you see that my way is the best and even only way to reach those things. When our viewpoints differ I will keep on using your insecurities and keep showing you where you are wrong and where I am right. I will use closed systems of beliefs and arguments to reshape your view on reality. I will induce new systems of fear in your system to undermine your freedom of movement. When you ask me why you should fear, I will tell you “because it is so” and offer you more proof from my closed system.
To spread my influence I will motivate you to have a lot of kids and to invite others to join us. When enough people follow my fear induced dogmatic system I can extend my power by power of exclusion. This could mean that you will never get a decent job, that you will never be part of a community if you do not follow my belief system. If my system is more agressive, followers of my belief might even turn against you, use lies and force to intimidate you, hurt you, create an hostile or unsafe environment around you or even destroy what you hold dear or precious.
In many if not all cases religion is hardly about the “truth”. It will not offer you a system for spiritual liberation. It does not help you to understand anything as it is a closed system showing only a limited view of “reality”. The promises of a better world, the ideas that my way will bring order and peace is nothing more than a sham. You will never get it, because it will not serve me when you reach personal freedom or liberation and my personal agenda has never been about these things I promised you.
Religion very often promotes faith. When mentioning faith many people automatically connect it to religion. I believe faith is wonderful but certainly not the ownership of religion. Here we go, from the dictionary:
- complete trust or confidence in someone or something
- strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
When people are in a gnarly situation: losing something dear, faith can be the one thing that pulls them through. “It will be allright. Today was terrible, but tomorrow will be better. And if tomorrow will not, the day after will be. I know it will.” “I just know that someone is watching over me.” The dark side of faith is that you will not questions things. Even when they can be harmful to others. When the circumstances are right, I can use my dogma’s, your faith and your religion to make you believe it is right to kill another human being.
Faith is a wonderful tool we learned to use, based on our capacity to invent and tell ourselves beautiful stories. And it works if you get into that state. It is our way to deliver ourselves to the unknown and leave it up to the universe or some other external power. It is another way of saying: “I actually know fuck all but I am totally OK with it.”
The thing about faith is that it has no grounds in reality. It is part of the realm of dreams.
When looking at rationality, the world gets a bit more sober. Pure rationalism leaves no room for faith. There is the stuff you can proof and the things you can not prove. The stuff you can prove is based on reproducible facts. For instance, the statement: “a glass holds water when held in the right position” is reproducible. The stuff you can not prove is not necessarily “untrue” but at least an assumption: “unknown until we know more”. Pure rationalism deals with the world of logics. The light side of rationalism is where you can acknowledge that there are many things you do not know and can not control. The dark side of rationality is where it gets you into states of fatalism.
Where faith just assumes, rationality (unless abused for other means) searches for tools to get down. For instance to cut away all the assumptions and fluff until until the most plausible explanation remains (Occams razor). It tries to cut it down to parts where reproducible facts remains. To get a completer picture you need to be willing to step out of boxes, move out of closed systems, park your old belief systems, open your mind.
To close this blog:
A Dutch comedian called Freek de Jonge was criticized last week in “HP / de Tijd”. One part struck me most. Apparently – according to the article – Freek de Jonge holds the belief that religion is one of the greatest inventions of man and humanism is a pipe dream. According to the article Freek de Jonge has said that the fear or awe for something greater keeps us from falling into chaos. I think that idea is a load of fatalistic nonsensical crap held by people with a creepy tunnel vision.
Things are never simple.