I have a song stuck in my head right now, it relates very much to the title! Remember how it goes friends? Now that I’ve given you the music virus I’d like to address something else that religion needs to answer for. For anyone that may be new to reading my posts it’s no secret that I’ve been taking a hammer and chisel to what I used to believe. I’m not doing this out of malice or a desire to misrepresent, I’m stating the truth about what I once held dear and I’m being honest about the harmful effects that it had on me and that it inevitably has on others as we speak.
One example of unhealthy thinking that I’ve seen over and over again in various faith based authoritative systems is the vast disconnect between an understanding of goodness and justice. When I was a Christian I was told that god is supremely good, kind, merciful, loving, fair and just. Holding this picture in one hand is a very pleasant and comforting thing. On the other hand we have the anger and wrath of almighty god. The kind of anger that sends humans to hell eternally, inflicts pain, torture, disease and famine on his enemies, and allows a devil to be used as a pawn in all of this. He goes about like a roaring lion remember? I’m more concerned about who’s holding the leash if you ask me!
The divisive and cruel nature of the bible is apparent to anyone who reads it but there’s something that has been blinding believers for thousands of years. It’s the endeavor of the theologian. This tradition alone has been justifying and rationalizing the bible’s most unsavory bits of knowledge (or the lack of it) from it’s very inception. I’ll call this blind mouse number one.
This blind mouse needs to be honest about the disconnect between the vague nature of the bible’s ideas and the false knowledge that is being filled into these gaps. How else would ideologies like Calvinism and Arminianism be drawn from the same texts? There’s a disconnect, an agnosticism that underlies these texts when they are left alone. The pervading temptation of any person with half a brain is not to let these difficult passages stand alone. They must be justified and harmonized so as to redeem god and man from further scrutiny. Theology stakes a false knowledge claim on ideas that are otherwise contradictory and perhaps even harmful.
As we move along and set up mouse trap number two. I encourage you to grab your torch because we’ll be walking into another dark cave right about now. Two of the three mice in this story are blind and need to be put down, rather exposed to the light of reason. The third one however is not actually blind. It was just left in the dark for a little too long. We’ll get into that a little later.
The trap is set, the spring is loaded and what have we found here? Blind mouse number two has been found and it’s trying to climb a rather slippery wall. As I bring the torch a little closer I can read some red graffiti against the grey surface. It says FAITH in all capital letters. The bible has to be taken on faith. You know why? It’s the only way to set up the kind of blanketed authority that it is said to have over the believers mind. You must trust in the good nature of Jesus and his Apostles. You must trust in the good nature of god. Apparently, for no other reason than the virtue of faith itself? Is anyone else a little skeptical right about now? Why is faith such a commendable state of mind within religion? This idea of trusting what is unseen? It wouldn’t have anything to do with setting up authority would it?
Within this authority structure the primacy of truth and knowledge itself is said to be displayed in holy scripture. The very act of reasoning itself must serve a master. That master is the god of the bible. The intent is to live and do everything to the glory of god. Where is the concern for acquiring actual truth and knowledge? Where is the scrutiny? The criticism? The testing? It’s done on some measure among biblical scholars but the most rigorous and commendable work seems to be taken on by those who do not ascribe to the authority of the bible for the most part. It is these folks that have been honest about how pervasive the words of man really are in this book.
Finally, as I turn the corner and see light shining in from the entrance I see blind mouse number three making his way to freedom. Remember what I said? He wasn’t actually blind in the first place, he’s just been roaming around in the dark for too long! His eyes are beginning to adjust. He understands the nature of his surroundings. The supernatural realm, though fascinating to think about, is not a part of reality for this third mouse. He’s honest about it. He’s never heard a voice from heaven, never sensed a relationship with an unseen being and has realized how weak the arguments really are in favor of biblical Christianity and Theism itself.
Alright, I fess up! I’m that third mouse. All I have is the air I breathe, the world I live in and the universe in which I dwell. I don’t know if I’ll ever know with certainty if there is anything beyond Big Bang Cosmology or not? If the most commendable and disciplined seekers of knowledge are content with not knowing, then I am too. The sciences are willing to be right or wrong. When former theories are questioned and debunked, people are all the more grateful because we seem to be getting closer and closer to the most coherent and consistent way of understanding reality itself.