Saturday, 22 October 2011

Leonidas on Religion (Pt. VI) - Fear of religion

It's my as yet unverified belief that in every debate there is a subtler debate that goes on in the mind, sometimes subconsciously, and that is of all the things that we would rather not admit in a debate to make us lose face, or to make the other side more credible. At least, that summarises my own experience, so I naturally theorise that other people are similar. And here is the subtext that I don't let on to very many people: I fear religion.

Not exactly a phobia, but nonetheless an uneasiness that gets me on edge with the whole idea of devoting yourself to some mystical man, as Arthur from When God Was a Rabbit puts it: "grading our morals on a scale of one to ten". It's also what religion does to people - note when I say "religion" I'm using the word synonymously with Christianity, purely through habit. I know it's a bad habit - that trips me out. That faith in this improbable deity transforms ordinary men and women to people who would pledge their lives to something that may or may not exist... it's all so ineffable to me.

I would hope the reason I don't often say this is obvious. First of all, admitting that Christianity can freak me out is as if to say that my atheism is an irrational position, based on no more than my unconscious reactions, and it makes it a lot harder for anyone to take you seriously. But the other reasons: it is largely a subconscious thing. I don't notice it very often, but now and then I'll catch myself and realise I'm unconsciously acting in a certain way around Christianity.

The third reason is both the reason for my uncomfortableness and the reason I don't want to make a big deal of it: Christianity is everywhere. All my family and so many of my friends are Christians, that it feels rude to say "The things you believe in are really weird dude." Even though that would be an honest response. I find the whole system completely weird; I just plain don't understand how anyone could believe in something so irrational - in my head, so stupid.

What I meant by it also being cause of my unease is that Christianity in particular is innocuous. I discover so many people are Christian where I had no idea, and it scares me that Christianity is everywhere. It scares me to think that religion is still - even though it's on the decline - ruling the world. And I don't just mean Christianity here; religion really is a supreme force that trumps reason, logic and rationalism all around the world.

That scares me. That religion can suppress the logic it claims humanity was blessed with; that its followers willingly suppress logic in favour of faith.

It's a relief to say all of this; I've never really made a point of my fear of religion with anyone, and so I'd like you to appreciate that everything I've written here is as honest as can be. I'd also like you to realise that that isn't something that stops me interacting with religious people; remember that my family and friends are so largely religious. It doesn't - much - change how I act in debates with Christians, or Muslims, or Jews, or Sikhs, or anyone religious. It just affects my attitude much more than I would like.

Thank you for reading this, if you did indeed take the time to, and I'd realy appreciate a comment :).

~Love Leonidas


  1. I would really consider the assumption you're making when you say 'That religion can suppress the logic it claims humanity was blessed with; that its followers willingly suppress logic in favour of faith.' - As you say, religion is everywhere. Maybe there's a reason for it. What's more likely, that millions of people are illogical, or that faith is logical?

  2. I'm not the least bit convinced by the large numbers of religion, because the very nature of religion, particularly monotheistic religions such as Christianity, owes itself to large numbers and fast spreading. The message of "spreading the word", and the idea of teaching people about Jesus; the messages that discourage you to introspect the finer details of religion such as "God works in mysterious ways" and "Have faith" and "God has a plan" by giving pseudo-explanations.

    Also, religion has a history of spreading through indoctrination. All the people who are vilified, ostracised, for not believing in God. All the people who grow up in communities where God is everywhere, God is law, there is no escape from God and it is drilled into you ab initio.

    All of this scares me a lot.

    And yes, I believe it is more likely that millions of people are illogical. Because the very notion of faith defies every kind of logic there is.

  3. 'Christianity, owes itself to large numbers and fast spreading' - I would gently ask you consider characters from St Paul who toured Greece and Turkey shortly after Jesus' death, to Augustine who brought the message of Jesus to the UK in 597 to lone individuals such as Brother Yun in China in the 21st Century. The message of Jesus has been preached by a large number of lone individuals who have brought the message to millions in societies who don't know Jesus. So I'd question the assumption you made there.

  4. I confess that I don't understand your response there, and how it links in to the claim I made originally. "preached by a large number of lone individuals who have brought the message to millions" seems to just support what I have said. In any case, a clarification would be lovely :).


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