The Real Danger of Religion
By Art Z
Summed up in one word: complacency.
Yes, you've got your zealots; your terrorists who kill in the name of God. You've got those fiery missionaries who risk life and limb to spread the "truth" to the poor savages in the pagan lands. And there is certainly no shortage of the whistling, content converts who enjoy each breath of every day because of the light God has poured into his/her soul (no matter how hellish their existence is, objectively).
The complacency I speak of, however, is the kind that causes one to bask in the light of metaphysical certainty which negates proper regard for and duty to this life. It results in the arrogance of people attributing divine will to their lives. This, ironically, is quite often mistaken for meekness and faith and humility. How strange that one who walks with head held so high--certain that the creator of the universe smiles on them in particular, protecting them from all forms of affliction that haunt the rest of mankind--is called "humble", "faithful", and "meek".
There is no greater vanity than to believe that you are important enough to command the constant attention of an all-powerful deity, who listens to your prayers, answers them, and at the end of your life, rewards you for your singular understanding of his/her/its truth. This is complacency, religious style. It breeds the idea that one is "right with God", that "all things will be taken care of", and that whatever happens, happens because God wills it.
Those of us who grew up in the cult know how hard it is now to undo this sort of thinking that became imbedded in our brains. For many of us, it resulted in lack of accomplishment in life. For, why accomplish anything when God will take care of everything in the end (since the next life is the one that really matters anyway)? Besides, why bother when the end was indeed so near? What this amounted to was us giving up our futures for the sake of the present. An illusory present which was supposed to have been filled with horror beyond words, then glory beyond imagination.
Here we are, now, many years later, trying to put our lives back together, wondering what things would've been like had we not been so "complacent" in those years. I might be the great filmmaker I once dreamed of being. Others might have become engineers, scientists, architects, doctors... whatever their dream was. The truth is, religion more often than not breeds the "I don't care" attitude rather than the opposite which it claims to promote. We should all work hard to kill the complacency we learned so well way back when. And maybe, just maybe, some of us can find it within ourselves to go after our dreams still.
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