You believe in god, magic, homoeopathy or the half-arsed witterings of Deepak Chopra but most of the time this doesn’t come up between us. Sure, there’s exceptions like the WBC hatemongers , the people actively campaigning against gay marriage or the hardline Christians and Muslims blowing people up for one thing or another but by and large you and we are normal people just trying to get along through our lives.
Everyone has to get along with people they disagree with, friends, family, workmates. If we all agreed on absolutely everything then the world would be a rather boring place. We’re not going to agree on religion though and the idea that you subscribe to religion or faith as an idea while still being a mostly nice human being is as shocking to me as a racist outburst from a loveable grandmother.
Here we are in the 21st Century, communicating over a network made possible by science, engineering, human ingenuity and the skeptical processes of science and yet somehow, deep inside, you still subscribe to the idea that believing something for no reason (faith) is a good and worthwhile thing. I’ll be honest about it, that scares me, deeply. If you’ll believe – and defend – the idea of a magic man in the sky who made everything, or a flying horse carrying a paedophile away to heaven, or that ‘magic water’ can cure disease what is to stop you believing that another race is inherently inferior or that god has ordained the death of your child? What is to stop you, in fact, believing anything?
There are many specific wrongs in many religions and woo beliefs but this idea that faith (faith=(belief-evidence)) is somehow desirable, worthwhile or praiseworthy is the universal danger that such thinking represents. Humanity progresses through doubt, questioning, testing, not through blind belief. Faith holds ideas sacred and unassailable, even if they’re utterly wrong. Faith allows the Catholic Church to ignore its predatory and child-endangering actions. Faith allows Islam to oppress women and to try to impose itself on other cultures. Faith is what leads to prayer over a child who could have been saved with medical science. Faith, to cast the net widely, is what has right wing governments dead set on austerity programmes and free market capitalism even though they do not work.
Most of you avoid talking about these things, but they’re not going away. Our growth is outstripping the resources our planet has to offer and we have a finite time to crack the problem. Faith holds us back. In the USA resistance to climate science, green energy projects, science education, contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage are all rooted in a paranoid, religious, right-wing section of the population running on faith. They hold us back. In the UK, previously thought relatively immune to the lure of such non-thinking the UK Independence Party has recently done well in elections with their mix of acceptable middle-class racism and empty rhetoric.
I want humanity to thrive and continue. I want progress to remain. I want us to grow as a species and to achieve wonderful things but that belief you hold, that faith you think so fine, that threatens everything.
I don’t hate you. I fear what your blind-belief, combined with that of billions of others, will cost us.