Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Cartoon
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Bless us every one
I was engaged in a discussion on another blog with a man who professes, as I do, to be atheist. We differed on our outlook on the need and purpose of religion. I have been officially atheist since I was 13. That year, I "came out" in an English class in response to a question from the teacher. My friends already knew this about me but I had not announced it before.
Seems this person, the one I was in a discussion with, was quite hostile toward religion. He sees religious leaders, of all sects and types, as purveyors of lies and worse. He sees religion as a source of evil with little, if any, redemptive value. We went off on a tangent about religion because the original discussion was not about the value of religion, just about an act of blasphemy a member of one religion as seen by the members of another.
In the course of the discussion, I offered he might have a prejudice regarding religions. And that's when we went off on our tangent.
I offered, at one point, that religion was the source of moral values and rules of civil conduct. That religion had a hand in creating civilization. That it was basically a force for good and that much of the evils attributed to it had much more to do with the distortion by man for the purpose of gaining or expanding personal power. Needless to say, he disagreed.
My hypothesis is that religion was the first form of government. It set rules of behavior so that people could form communities. But it learned that it had only a tenuous ability to enforce those rules. It needed physical power. Especially against those who sought control over the tribes. It eventually learned that cooperation would work. By bestowing the blessings of the gods on the strongest of those seeking power, it created an alliance that has lasted to the present day.
Priests ordained kings throughout history. They preside over coronations. They lend legitimacy to the political structure. The political and religious factions shared power.
Have we moved beyond this? Not yet. Will we? I suspect not.
I do not resent or dislike religion. I have no problem with it. I have never been angry about it or resentful toward it. I see no point in that. On the other hand, I have never been threatened directly by a member of any religion. At least, not in a physical sense, just the usual threats to my immortal soul.