“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.”–A. de Mello

This is a topic that has, truly, fascinated me for years and one that I have spent much time, enjoyable and enlightening research on. Over the years, I have had a plethora of people appear at my door trying to convert me to one type of belief or another. The beliefs that people have tried to indoctrinate me with, have ranged from mildly amusing to inane and/or absurd. The one thing they have in common is that all of the proposed holders of these “truths” really, really, want to impart it, onto others—although, they call it, “sharing”. 

These people, believe it so deeply, that they are actually troubled as to how others could not/do not, “see it.”  To this day, I am amazed at how people— so deeply ingrained in their own religious beliefs— actually sit and cackle about the beliefs of others, yet, are unable to see the similarities of the beliefs or how their own beliefs are really…..not that different. 

I have been to churches where the members fellowship, sit and say, “Can you believe THAT religion?  Those people actually believe that an Angel of the Lord appeared and delivered golden tablets!” And, then, wild laughter ensues, followed by head shaking and, then, usually an exclamition of, “Sad…really sad.”  Sometimes I would sit with my mouth agape watching these scenes unfold while thinking, “Gee, have they ever stepped back and looked at their own beliefs with the same critical and rational eye?”  You see, the stories are relatively the same and they all share commanalities: Flying angels, angry god or gods, sacrifice and repentance, rebirth and sometimes a second chance.  These people are so deeply submerged in their own beliefs, yet, are able to easily identify this same behavior with regard to– the beliefs of others.

blind_leading_the_blind

 “Hah, hah, have you heard what those OTHER people believe, why can’t they see the truth, like we can!?”

In College, I took a World Religions Class. The Professor said, “I would like to go around the room and have each person here, briefly, tell us why they chose to take this class. I am assuming—for most of you— that it was not one of your core-requirements.”  Myself, like many others, had versions of the same explanation: To basically learn more about the origins of these beliefs/world mythologies,  and how the myths diversified and then differentiated.  The comment that stands out the most, in my mind, about the responses… was just one response.  A young man said, “I am here to figure out how everyone else has it so wrong and how they could be sooo confused.”  The Professor said, “How so?”  The young man went on to say, “Well, I know my religion is true and I just do not understand how others cannot see it and I want to know where people get their crazy beliefs from.”   A few people in the class giggled while the Professor stood wide-eyed with amazement.  The people who were giggling, like myself, soon realized that he was serious. He really believed he was a member of The, “true religion” and everyone else was somehow… amiss.

propellerbeanie

“I am in this class trying to figure out what others don’t get about the one true religion, which,  just happens to be the one I am a member of!  Strange coincidence, huh?”

I have had people appear at my door-step who try to convert me to their way of thinking. It is interesting how they will often try to talk about subjects that they, literally, know nothing about (such as science) in order to try and validate their points.  They apparently have not read Augustine’s warning on such behaviors.  When absurdities and illogic are verbally demonstrated to them, they sometimes will say, “Well….a lot of people believe this.” Ummmmm, at one time “a lot of people” also believed that the Earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around it.  Because, “A lot of people,” buy into something—gives it no more credence than anything else—especially, when it is non-empirical or non-testable. Under those conditions anything could be possible.  Probable?  No. Under conditions where nothing can be tested nor verified, one belief would be just as legitimate as the next, and is. I have also come to the conclusion that proselytizing is not so much that they really want to “share”—as much as it is—that they do not want to hear dissenting voices, logical objections, or honestly, anything that echoes their own doubts in the inner recesses of their head.  The best way to do this is to get people to bleat the same song.  Many of these people are simply running scared. Is reality, really, that bad?

sheep_racing

“It is going to be baaaaad if people start questioning.”

There are many misconceptions that people have, incorrect statements that they make, and utterly fuzzy logic that they use. I will address a mere few of those here, as I am sure that people will try to use them as a rebuttal, of sorts.

  1. “People have a right to their beliefs!”  You are correct, people do have a right to their beliefs and that means: ALL people, not just the ones that hold certain religious beliefs. You have a right to your religion and the rest-of-us have a right, not to, hear about it. Your belief is not ranked any higher than any other belief, simply because, it is yours, nor, because many people in a certain region, accept it.
  2. No, people who do not share your religious beliefs, are NOT: Sad, hurting, angry, nor, are they miserable, however, all of those feelings can come as a result after being continually assaulted by absurdity. I had one woman once tell me that I must be, “hurting” and that I must have had a, “bad experience with religion”.  I said, “Yes, I have, it was very similar to the one that I am having right now, and the only thing ‘hurting’ is my intellect for having to listen to this, drivel.
  3. No, we do not need to speak in hushed tones when questioning your religion. Your beliefs do not have pole- position, nor, do they deserve any special reverence, simply because they are yours. The notion that you may be offended may be true, however, offense has a “reciprocal” component to it.  If you feel that people need to speak in hushed tones around you, unless, they agree with you or you feel that others are not allowed to highlight the absurdity of your beliefs, please move to a theocracy where your attitudes are commonplace, however, you need to make sure that everyone believes like you, before you move there.
  4. The notion of,  “Just leave them alone and let them do their thing as long as they do not bother you..” is a laughable one.  By the very nature of their beliefs they are systematically brainwashed to tell “it” to everyone, to invade every inch of your personal life, including,  how you worship to whom you sleep with. Honestly, the problem is not leaving “them” alone– it is that, we–of the mind–would like to be left alone and have our minds and thoughts free of flying fairies, magic dust and bi-polar gods who flip-flop between angry and loving, depending on the day.
  5. Religion is just as much of geography as anything else. What people are taught- first, typically sticks. If you are raised in a country that has primarily one main religion and that religion is preached to you since the time you are a child, it would be very rare that you would depart too far from those ideas.
  6. I have respect for anyone that has a religious viewpoint as, THEIR OWN veiwpoint.  I do not mind hearing it–once. People will not see your “truth” simply because you keep-on preaching it. I keep preaching my own: Pink Bunny, to people and I do not understand what is so difficult? What are they just not getting? Pink Bunny is everything…to me. Pink Bunny is the one, the one reason this is all possible.

I hope this sheds a little light on why others just do not see things like you do and why they are not, “Hurting”..”Sad”… “Lost”…”Angry” or “Bitter.” They simply: Do not share your faith.  They are no different than you. Of all the gods out there, they merely believe in one less god than you do.

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”–Stephen H. Roberts 

 As for me,  I just do not see it either, regarding your religion. I guess The Devil must be keeping it from me, huh? I promise I will try to  speak in hushed tones and to nod respectfully, when you speak of your god. 😉

dunce-cap

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5 Responses to ““There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.”–A. de Mello”

  1. Imagine, just for a moment, of life on another planet – in a Galaxy far, far away.

    They have never heard of: God, Jesus, Allah, Geb, Ra, Gaia, Siva, Phoenix or any of the thousands of other Deities on earth, past & present.

    Are they subject to “eternal damnation” for not belieing in a God that they never knew existed? Does God condemn everyone from every other planet in the universe to “Hell”, and reserve “Heaven” for only a few chosen people on Earth?

    As humans, we think (and believe) in such limited, local and self centered terms. And we condemn any others who do not share our belief. Makes one wonder, if we even deserve to inhabit this earth.

  2. Archiminister Says:

    So very true. Some of the things people say, not only, make me question their intellect but also make me question what century we are living in!

    They can see the absurdities in the beliefs of others but not their own. The whole concept is ludicrous. We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing, all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. Not only is that completely illogical but also reveals a very incompetent designer.

  3. Amy Alice Schlitts Says:

    Excellent website. Keep up the great work. I am so happy to hear more and more people speak out against such lack of intellect and compassion. It is about time.

  4. Archiminister Says:

    Thanks So Much! I am glad you enjoy it! Faith is one thing and I do not deny anyone the comfort of, but, it is the stunting of human progress through mythos that is truly frightening. I do not believe that people need to crucify their intellect to be part of a religion. This seems dangerous, on more than one elevel.

  5. marimbamallets Says:

    One of my favorite religious quotes comes from Moby, an electronica musician. Moby said that anyone who operates out of love and goodness is probably on the right track. Past that, I’m not really all that particular.

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