More than any specific religion what I find myself to be against is faith. Faith is a toxic meme.
Faith = (belief – evidence)
Faith is not limited, even in this strict definition, to religious faith. You can find this kind of unquestioning, blind loyalty also held in people, ideologies and just about anything else you care to mention.
Sometimes it can be hard to demonstrate how, exactly, faith is dangerous. It varies according to what is being believed of course but I would argue faith itself, the mere act of believing something for no reason carries with it implicit dangers.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, or rather some of the reactions to it, do however provide a very real and practical opportunity for me to demonstrate the problem of faith because, you see, the people of America have been sold a very dangerous and pernicious faith belief. That faith is the one that the rich only get to be that way through their own virtue and that the poor are only that way because of their own failings.
Is this a harmful faith belief?
Not only is it manifestly untrue but it keeps people oppressed and it even prevents them fighting back against their oppressors, far more effectively than any police state.
Look through We Are the 53% and you’ll see that oh-so-many of these people are in situations as bad, or worse, than many of those protesting as part of the 99%. Yet they have swallowed hook-line-and-sinker the concept that it’s either their fault or that by sheer hard work they can overcome a society that is increasingly unequal and increasingly resistant to social and financial ascent.
These people have been sold, not only on the idea that they can overcome their situation through sheer graft, but that anyone asking for even the most basic consideration by the state, or the richest people in it, has no right to it. Rights to health and a basic social safety net that people in most civilised nations take for granted.
That’s the power and the danger of faith. It can make people work against their own individual and collective interest for the sake of an idea.
Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.