Thursday, January 24, 2008

We are all special?

I was thinking about the utter contempt for others that I had and the sense of arrogance and self righteousness that was ingrained in me during the days of my indoctrination into the Christian religion. I believe that this sense of being “special,” taken to the extreme can be a truly devastating thing. Then I realized that my gut instinct was backed by history.

I just finished watching a 6 hour documentary on the Nazis and how they were allowed to come to power and rule. They convinced an entire population of people to accept horrible atrocities not only by claiming that their enemies were sub-human but also by suggestion to the Germans that the German race was super-human, or in other terms special. Now I am not here to break out the Hitler argument as it is most often a fallacy. There is something to this though.

Christians are taught they are special. Christians are taught that they are better than non-Christians and that they have more benefits than non-Christians. The major benefit in their mind is that they believe that when they die they will go to an eternal paradise while non-believers will burn in hell. On the surface it would seem that this belief would encourage them to kindly convert non-believers and in general this is what they appear to attempt to do. It is, of course, only a matter of time before human nature takes over and the feeling of superiority kicks in. If “Christians are special” then why shouldn’t they deserve better than others?

We have seen this throughout history with all different sorts of ideologies that teach a particular group that they are better than another group. This way of thinking certainly serves its purpose in a society. Yet it is another inconsistency in the Christian ideology that for some reason Christians do not seem to be able to see. This is why Christians love to teach the virtues of “Blind Faith. “ Not only is blind faith an effective method for keeping a population in an un-questioning state of mind, but it is much easier for a population to grasp and manage, as opposed to doing their own research and making up their own minds.

The fact of the matter is that none of us are special. If we are, it is a relative issue. I am generally not one to take the stance of moral relativism but playing the devil’s advocate in this situation is hard to do. One of the most popular arguments against a moral relativist is to show him a picture of his family and say that you are going to kill them. Then when the relativist objects you make the argument that he can’t say whether or not it is an evil thing because it is relative. The problem with this argument is that it is evil to him. He believes his family to be special even if no one else in the world does. He believes that it is evil to kill them. So he will have to act to protect them. Show him a picture of a different family and he may not care at all. So this argument seems to support relativism not argue it.

Just think about this for a second. You are driving down the highway and you hit a traffic jam. For whatever reason you believe yourself to be special. For whatever reason you believe yourself to be above all of these other losers on the road. You should not have to sit in this traffic jam. There should be a special lane for you. Why are all of these people so stupid? You have it all figured out. If everyone would just "go" then you wouldn’t have to sit here. You are important! You have things to do. You are getting angry, impatient, flustered.

But what if you were in the same situation and you were not special. Now you are simply stuck in a situation that has no real meaning. You are in the company of hundreds of other people, just like you, stuck in the same situation as you. You might as well relax and wait for things to open up. It is no big deal. There is no entitlement. When you look at the world around you, you realize that you are no better than anyone else. You are just living your life the best you know how and you will eventually cease to be, just like everyone else.

I suppose what I am trying to get across here is that the feeling of superiority, while not found only in religion, is something that does, in fact, make religious organizations dangerous. Of course it is only one of many things.

Treat each other well!

5 comments:

tina said...

Good post.
I'm not sure if my own insecurities are coming out but, since I told my sister I was atheist, I get the feeling that they feel sorry for me...hmmm...it's kind of the other way around though. I get the feeling from some family members that they are "one" up on me" because they have religion.
By reading comments from some religious people, I do get the feeling that they think they "know" something that I don't.
Hope all is well with you.

tina said...

Hi, I hope all is well.

angelsdepart said...

Yup just been really busy!

tina said...

Glad to hear you're still around! :)

tina FCD said...

Just stopped in to say hi.