Sunday, December 11, 2011

Freedom from Religion

Freedom from Religion! I just discovered this foundation, founded in 1978. Its followers are committed to keeping religion out of politics. No problem there, the Constitution provides for that. 

Well, maybe problem.

In spite of the Constitution, religion is endemic in politics. Social psychologists know that no politician could possibly be elected to national office unless he or she were outwardly religious or pretended to be. Religion has always been in bed with governments, officially or unofficially. If it weren't for Constantine thinking that Christianity could help him consolidate his empire, we'd all be Zoroastrians today, and feeling patriotic about it. And Zoroastrian bishop-equivalents would still bless battleships and solemnly proclaim that the gods were on the side of whatever government they served. 

The Freedom from Religionists are right, of course, in promoting science and reason over superstition and mind control.  But when they announce their atheism they lose all influence. Nobody trusts a self-proclaimed atheist, not even other atheists.  A recent study showed that the the trust level among Americans for atheists is identical to that for rapists.  If you want to promote reason and science, demonstrate for independent universities (and note that some of the finest universities in the world started as religious organizations).  Demonstrate for the values of secular humanism, while honoring the choice of people who substitute superstition or twisted scriptures for a superego.

I don't want to be an atheist. It's like defiantly denying something I know nothing about. I spent years studying theology -- long enough to know how little I can ever know.

I want to follow someone or something, to challenge me.  Jesus will do, or the Buddha. I need a teacher in my life.