Of all people, it was Albert Einstein whom inspired this post on Why I Despise Organized Religion. Today, a letter of his went up for sale on ebay, and while the amount it’s selling for is impressive, (opening bid of $3M) it’s what’s in the letter that really grabbed me:
I’ve always like Einstein’s cool rationalism, especially given the timeframe in which he was expressing himself. Here’s a guy who did not come from the privileged and favoured classes that existed in the scientific and academic worlds of that time. He was essentially a working-class Swiss tinkerer/fix-it guy who was utterly unafraid to totally go for it; Damn! the torpedos and the hidebound rules of academia with its hoary intellectual paralysis called “tenure”. Proud secularism isn’t quite so revolutionary today, given the evolved state of Europe, Japan and bits of Oceania. However, there’s always America and the Middle East to drag rational thought backwards, kicking and screaming, into its dripping, stinking Fundamentalist maw.
Fundamentalism has become the chief scourge upon rational humanity, and a powerful source of devolution everywhere. Judaism started it all with the idea of Yahweh as a supreme being who existed in a nebulous form somewhere up in the skies, divorced entirely from all humanity and Nature. We should have seen that one coming. I mean, how unbalanced must one be to decide that there is only One God, and he has nothing at all to do with the funkiness of Being Human and the chaotic beauty of Nature. Then, the Christians took it one further, giving him a son who had to be borne of a virgin to get the stink of Woman and sexuality/Nature off of him. The Christians practically invented Don’t Look Behind the Curtain, with the “awww cute” image of a Baby Jesus and winged white angels on Heavenly clouds that would later inspire an entire aesthetic of cutesy big-eyed babies and angel porcelain doll series for overweight, crazy lady greedy hoarders in the flyover states who then get to feel that much better than everyone around them. That’s what Christianity really wrought: the I’m Better Than Youism that sprouted from the idea of a xenophobic heaven, no Others allowed. Muslims came along 800 years later and upped the intolerance and violent militancy. They also gave the men unlimited power over the women, a move that guaranteed the evolution of a particularly hateful, power-mad group of assholes that would really run with it.
So what all happened to those boastful sky god conquerors, who took the name of Nature in vain and made a big chunk of cheddar in the process? (And we’re referring to the Fundamentalists among them.) First we have the Fundie Jews in their Israeli catbird seat, whom after 2000+ years of some admittedly horrid treatment, not just decided they’re over it, but then opted to go All In, acting like the supreme asshole bullies that handed it to them for so long; not a very spiritual improvement, if you ask me. Then you have Fundie Islam, inspiring the male half of its population to incredibly nasty violence on a global scale by making them King Shit locally of everything that moves; chiefly, “their” women and children. And lastly, we have Fundie Christianity, the World Champions of taking intolerance and greed and insisting to the everyone else that they are the most pious of little lambs. Sure, they’ll bomb a few abortion clinics or Federal buildings and snipe a few OB/GYNs, and there’s that wonderful millenia of pogroms, Inquisitions, and Prod v Cath in any number of iterations. But what Christians are really good at, in the Free World they supposedly created, is slowly poisoning and killing people from the inside, a la the Westboro Church’s irrational and kinda perverse obsession with “The Gays”, or hating and fearing human sexuality so much that they make their priests celibate and unmarried, and then try to sweep the resulting sickness and abuse under the rug. (I think that covers Fundie Prods and Caths pretty evenly.)
If I’m ever to become a devotedly spiritual type, it will be through some return to the Nature-based animistic tradiTIons of past, a la Wiccans, Druids, Wotanism, or some slice of modern Buddhism. Those guys told all kinds of what seem to be ridiculous stories in order to “explain’ natural phenomena, something that seems to put them at odds with rationalism. But look a bit closer. Those stories are highly metaphoric, and were always understood to be that way. Just look at the often humorous trials and tribulations the gods and goddesses of that world get up to, and the pie-in-the-sky “fantastic-ness” of so many of their creation myths. They knew that their traditions weren’t the literal “TRUTH”, but rather a compelling manner of passing on an oral tradition that gets the listener to really think about what is being said. Contrast that intellectual and spiritual freedom to the trio of Sky God Assholes who sternly insist that only their way is correct, and that you’d better damn well write your shit down and then toe the line EXACTLY as written, no deviations or original thought allowed. Every time a form of spirituality gets entrenched and starts down the road of power-mad intolerance and greed, we need to put our collective foot down and shout, “KNOCK IT OFF!!”
Until then, “SCIENCE!“