Posts Tagged ‘Theism’

What Space Carrots Have to do With Religion

September 22, 2009 3 comments

I will now present you with a hypothetical scenario. Hold on to your pants, my friends. (Unless you don’t want to. They probably will not go anywhere.)

Meet Crazy Harold. Crazy Harold has just moved into a house down the street from you. Crazy Harold enjoys; tether-ball, feeding his nineteen cats, and being crazy.

Now meet Vivian. Vivian has just moved into a house down the street from you on the other side. Vivian is a Catholic. Vivian enjoys lacrosse, book club, and incense.

On a bright and beautiful Saturday morning, you rise early, cook up a scrumptious plate of eggs, and sit down to check your email.

The first email is a mass email from Crazy Harold, who wants to announce that he has had a revelation; the moon is made of playdough, carrots are actually a breed of super-vegetable from space, and everyone is sort of a transcendent demi-god trapped in a worldly body until we can liberate ourselves by realizing that nothing is real.

You have a good laugh and delete it.

The second email is from Vivian, announcing the next book club. Her emails, like those of many people, are automatically signed with a signature line of text; “I believe God put me on this earth to do good.” Cheesy, but really kind of sweet. Well, her belief might not exactly resonate with you, but it’s her belief and who are you to question it?

So, quiz time; what is the difference between Harold’s belief and Vivian’s belief?

A) Bacon

B) Vivian’s belief can be used to reduce swelling in the instance of head trauma

C) Harold’s belief makes a tasty snack

D) Not much, really

If you picked ‘D’, pat yourself on the back!

No, I am not saying religious people are comparable to crazy people and should be mocked. If you know me personally, you will find that I am among the (dwindling) number of atheists that still respect religious people and leave them alone, as long as they afford me the same courtesy.

Although, by the way, if you think mentally ill people should be mocked, then you need to take a long look in the mirror, and then give yourself a head-clearing smack in the face.

So, what’s the difference between Vivian’s belief and Crazy Harold’s belief? Nothing but a shiny stamp of approval from the masses. Crazy Harold believes in things based on personal revelation. So does Vivian. The only difference between Harold and Vivian is that Vivian’s unverifiable belief has somehow come to be viewed both as commonplace (which is is) and highly personal and sacred (which it is not necessarily).

So, Vivian’s unverifiable, revealed ‘truth’ is thought of as noble and sacred, and therefore immune to inquiry, while Harold’s revealed ‘truth’ can be discarded outright?

With my keen senses, I have detected a double standard.