I have not been biking this year as much as in past years because I just can’t seem to find the time. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the kids getting older, but now is not the time to slack off! You know, getting older and stuff, it’s important to do whatever you can to stay alive.
So the other day I was going through YouTube looking at all kinds of atheist videos from George Carlin (funny), Richard Dawkins (smart), Chris Hutchins (odd), Bill Mahar (funny and smart), and others. An atheist friend of mine was having a huge discussion/argument with others on their Facebook page regarding this and several atheists had links to these videos. The atheist/freethinkers had a 20 to 1 advantage over the irrationalists. I hate to see people try to defend something that is not defensible. It’s hard enough trying to defend certain facts, let alone defending fiction.
Anyway, the videos really made people of faith seem like idiots, but especially fundamentalists. Not hard, I know. It seems beliefs can cause people to do almost anything, but their most favorite is killing others.
Problem is, humans by nature are compelled to make sense of what they do not understand. It has to make sense to us, it has to fit into our frame of reference, before we can even get to understanding. That is the basis of “faith”. Everyone has faith… whether they are Christian, Buddhist, or Atheist. There are things out there we just don’t know, and yet, they are in our mind. Even if you go purely on science, which is fine, there are still unanswered questions. We have to fit that into our world view in some way or life is threatening to us. Consider this: Say you saw a ghost or something like that. Something you had never seen before, something odd and maybe “spooky”. Immediately, the first thing you would try to do, is to make sense of what you just experienced. You could come up with anything, really. You might even make up some things — possibly quite irrational — to help you explain it. Or maybe you will start researching it, ask experts, visit libraries, whatever. But I think we’d all agree, your first reaction would be to figure out what it was. We just can’t let the unknown go unexplained.
So some people turn to myths, which is fine, I suppose, until the particular question is answered, then they need to turn away from the myths. And some people turn to myths and fully believe in them as fact. And still others never do turn away from the myths, even in light of full physical evidence.
Take lightening for example. At one time, most people thought that it was the anger of the gods (or something like that). But then, we studied it and figured it out. Now, most people don’t think it’s angry gods. It’s lightening. Those who still believe its from the angry gods are that last group I just mentioned (Note: Many fundamentalists still believe that storms, earthquakes, and tsunamis are caused by an angry god as a retribution against whatever makes the god angry).
Some people believe in their myths to such an extent that they are convinced theirs is the only way, and that is the biggest single danger to humanity (well, next to economic inequality). And religion is the single biggest purveyor of this form of danger. It’s group-think belief full of hierarchy, threat of punishment, retribution, false promises, force, etc. Organized mind control… the ultimate cult.
But people make myths of anything, whether it’s god, or things like getting AIDS from standing too close to a person with AIDS. It always comes down to the things we don’t understand.