Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tripe, anyone...?

Tripe, anyone...?

One of the greatest shortcomings of today's society is its apparently insatiable apatite for second helpings of tripe. "Leg pulling" has never seen better days.

Susan Jacoby's "The Age of American Unreason" offers an insightful vista, from high mountain trickle to sea level ocean front terminus, of just how our society managed to flow its way steadily to its current unintellectual low-brow present. Hers is a wonderful book. Read it.

I imagine it's fair to say Susan might agree with me on the following: Religion, being something one must take entirely on faith, grooms each of us (or at least tries to) as 'believers' for having a willingness to accept as fact whatever we're given and to acquire an apatite of greediness ready to swallow almost everything, hook line and sinker. And I contend that this, as one of religion's greatest priorities and foremost conditionings upon our habit forming and upon our psyche, stands strongly to the detriment of societies best interest. Think Pavlov's dogs here: we want to believe so badly, that even the questions we raise ourselves cause us to drool for an answer - any answer.

Religion has, purposefully or not, made people want to believe...want to be gullible... or want to be stupid, if you'd prefer that level of value.

I'll lift a quick example of the kind of thing I'm talking about, of an any-answer-will-do example, from Charles Pierce's book, "Idiot America". In order to believe the unbelievable stories of the Bible, one must be willing to accept a few fill in-the-blank conjectures. He must invent them himself or be told them by others, but in either case, he must have them and swallow them just as he would any tripe in order to satisfy (and plug up) his reasons to question further.

Pierce visited the creation museum early on in its short history and was fascinated with the ludicrous mixture of dinosaurs and humans - he had a few good laughs over it, I'm sure. At one point he asked about the difficulty Noah must have faced when he realized he not only had a host of common animals to load upon his ark, scores of them by the pair, but he also had a bulky heard of dinosaurs to contend with. Pierce asked Ken Ham, the creator and curator of the museum, just how this dilemma might have been solved. Ham quickly answered, Noah selected only the youngest dinosaurs, the smaller ones. (Never mind that there are some 862 to 1256 variety of them all...) They were little enough to fit.

Any question? Any answer. Done deal.

If you can believe Ken Ham's contrived answer, it's because you want to... but I'm here to tell you - if you believe this you might, and perhaps you will, believe anything. And that is what religion wants of you.

****UPDATE: Willingness to believe is dangerous. Case in point (... and this is happening right now): Sweatbox religion causes deaths

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