Thursday, 25 June 2015

I Do Not Respect Your Religious Beliefs

I really don't. And to pretend otherwise would be a lie. I loathe how religions the world over make otherwise smart people believe abject silliness. I loathe how it can make otherwise loving parents disown and reject non believing children. And I loathe how it is used as a means of control and fear. To ask me to respect your religion is like asking me to look at a dog turd and pretend it's a steak pudding. It really isn't going to happen. But here's what I will do. I acknowledge your religious belief. I can do that, because it requires nothing of me other than to to sit back, raise a solitary eyebrow, and murmur under my breath, "You actually believe that?". That's the limit of my investment in your ridiculous worldview, the absolute closest thing to an olive branch I can extend. I can't respect you for believing bullshit any more than I can respect any example of poor reasoning. It just wouldn't do. And worse, it would tacitly extend a legitimacy to your view that I just don't want to loan out. Now of course you do not require my approval, which is just as well. But you should know that at no point will I take your abject beliefs seriously. And of course I speak of one who was snared by religious delusion for nigh on a decade before the forces of reason tugged me from my stupor. And hindsight always leaves me feeling just a bit embarrassed. A bit twitchy that I allowed myself to be so credulous, that I took so much on so little, that I wasted hour after fucking hour in Church buildings listening to well intentioned buffoons claim to know things that they cannot possibly know. Those days are almost a decade behind me now, and whilst my fondness for those whom remain hasn't dimmed, my sadness for them has sharpened. I know teachers, scientists, medical professionals; so capable in so many ways yet ultimately crippled and encumbered when it comes to knowing how the world really is. Where's this outburst come from, you might be wondering? You've not written about religion for years? To be honest this has been building and building for a while, and I've remained silent whilst the likes of ISIS spread its death cult across the Middle East, whilst the Church continued to oppose gay rights, and as it grapples over absurdities such as ordaining females into the senior clergy. Doesn't it all sound so backwards? So reminiscent of centuries old thinking that really should have gone the way of the Dodo. Now for those of a religious persuasion reading this blog please don't think I dislike you as an individual or wish to see you anything other than happy. It's just occasionally my bullshit detector goes into the red zone, a bit like a Geiger counter pinging to the right of the display, and it just becomes a case of better out than in. All this is to say that I dislike religion more today than ever, and I expect my dislike to deepen and my respect to diminish further. So in closing do not ask me to respect your beliefs, don't expect me to afford them legitimacy or anything even close to intellectual salience. Your religion is brain acid. Total brain acid. To acknowledge it is one thing, but to respect it is a bridge too far.