Rational Religion

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Why We Believe


Remember this:  Whatever it is that you believe in, you do not believe it because it is true; as you assume. 


You believe it because you want to believe it. 


Why you want to believe it is another matter.


On the very deepest level, you probably believe it because it makes you feel better to do so.  


(Even if what you believe is so terrifying that it scares you witless..  If you are sure there are monsters under the bed, waiting to drag you into their lair, you probably need your monsters.  They may paralyze you and cause you to become ill or psychotic, but in some manner they are preferable to something else that you cannot contemplate at all.  Believing in ghosts is for many people preferable to having to confront the possibility that when people die their "souls" do not go anywhere but out; like the candle)


You may believe as you do because, as a child forming your cranial neuron patterns for the rest of your life, you were dogmatically indoctrinated into one belief system or another; you had very little choice in the matter, except to decide to become a sinner and an outcast.  If, despite all this mental mayhem, you happen to have inherited a particularly strong strain of rationalism, you can be a very sick puppy, indeed. 


Your cure is to back away from all of it; take up residence on that platform at the LaGrange point and look at it all from a different, larger world-view.


Begin to realize that all that stuff that was pounded into you - by fear, by rote, or both - when you were too intellectually puny to defend yourself was a form of fascism.  Somebody; a whole society of somebodies, all trying in their own individual ways; were insisting on an impossibility:  that your personal metaphysics should be just like theirs.


They were not even aware how absurd was their effort; that their personal metaphysics was so individual - despite their conviction that it hewed faithfully to whatever party line - that they could never hope to transplant it into you.  The best they could accomplish was to influence you to construct your own metaphysical take on the Universe as close as possible to what they were sure was "The Truth."


Even though it was ground into you in the crudest and most persistent manner, you don't have to buy it.   Now that you are a sentient intelligence, capable of reading this paragraph and understanding it, you can realize that you can believe any damned thing that makes sense to you.   


If it's too far from what the society you are forced to live in considers ethical or legal, you are liable to get into trouble with the civil authorities.  But in an environment as open as the United States, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and most of Western Europe (at the moment) that still leaves you about as much latitude as any mortal can handle. 


And if you want ethical, theoretical guideposts, and a decent grounding near objective reality, there is always the Rational Religion.  We don't have all the answers; or even many of them.  But we have thought of some of the better questions; enough to keep you busy and out of trouble as long as you are likely to live.


And you might find it a great relief to be freed of the nagging guilt of not being able to believe that what you were taught as a child was immutably true.