ARCHIVES:

Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

Archived Articles

9/22/2009                                                                                       View Comments

An open letter to Christians

by WizenedSage

I finally figured it out. I’ve wondered for the longest time why you believe the silliest religious nonsense imaginable. And it’s so simple. It’s really not because it makes sense to you. No, you believe because you were told to believe; most of you as children, since we are all hardwired to believe authority figures when we are children.

After all, it’s not like you read the Bible and found it compelling. You know as well as I do that the stories of the Bible are not only NOT compelling, they’re not even plausible. But, from the beginning, you were told to believe these stories. Whether you heard them first from your parents or from Sunday school teachers, you were instructed to take them seriously, as gospel even.

It’s not like you reached a point in life where you thought you ought to check out this religion thing you kept hearing about. It’s not like you sat down with the Bible, the Quoran, the Bhagavad Gita, and a compendium of the Buddha’s greatest aphorisms in order to make a choice. No, you were told what to believe and you believed it. It’s really as simple as that. That’s what kids all over the world do, of course, and that’s why geography has such a strong correlation with religious belief.

No modern, sane human being with a sixth grade education believes in talking snakes, magical fruit trees, or 900 year-old men unless he is told to believe as a tot. Everything he has learned in elementary school and in life at large tells him these things are impossible and that any book with this type of stuff in it is just make-believe. These stories are not compelling. Can a man be dead for three days, really dead, and then just stand up and walk away? Compelling? That’s not even plausible, and you know it. Of all the other possible explanations for this ancient story, you were told that you must believe the absolute least likely hypothesis, and, amazingly, you do!

For the same reason over a billion people believe in Allah; because they were told to believe. If this were a courtroom drama, the defense attorney might suggest that maybe the body was never in that particular cave. Maybe it was put in cave 3 instead of cave 4, so of course cave 4 was empty. He might suggest that someone sneaked the body out of the cave in the middle of the night; that would explain an empty cave. Or, maybe the man wasn’t really dead in the first place, just unconscious with a very slow pulse rate, and he revived in the cave. Or maybe, just maybe, this event was just made up and written down but never even happened. But you? Well, you actually believe a man was dead and then came back to life. Why? Because there is evidence for it? Because there were eyewitnesses, or DNA, or video? Because it’s plausible, or at least possible? No, it’s none of the above. You believe it because you were told to believe it and that is the only reason.

But why would your parents and teachers and pastors tell you to believe all this stuff if it wasn’t true? Well, because they believed it. This nonsense has been passed down from generation to generation for a couple thousand years now. But why would so many people believe it, if it’s not true? For the same reason over a billion people believe in Allah; because they were told to believe. But, doesn’t the fact that people have believed it for so long, since olden days, make it more likely to be true? Actually, it makes it less likely to be true. We have learned about the causes of disease, protecting the environment, electricity, and a thousand other things by examining and overturning older theories.

As a child, no one expected you to put this ancient information to the test of evidence, of reason. As I said, we are hardwired for evolutionary advantage to believe authority figures when we are children. But that doesn’t work as an excuse for you now - not if you’re over, say, fifteen. By now, you know that these people were not always right. You know full well that your parents made mistakes; you saw it with your own eyes. And, when someone these days tells you to just take their word for something, aren’t you suspicious? Shouldn’t you be?

Believing whatever you’re told is a very good idea if you’re four, but it’s pretty stupid to continue to believe when you’re all grown up and it all looks so obviously implausible, or downright impossible. Do you still believe whatever you’re told? Isn’t it time you took responsibility for your beliefs and took control of your own mind by clearing out some of the nonsense?

No comments: