As often tends to happen, this blog post started as a reply to some other website elsewhere. I’m putting it here so I can expand upon it and so that it will still exist somewhere on the internet indefinitely whether the place i originally posted it chooses to keep my words there or not. I will try to link to the original article that inspired what is below, but the link doesn’t look like a permanent one. I’m not sure if it will work indefinitely. Some web designers don’t design for posterity, but that’s a discussion for another time. Roger Hart linked to this on Twitter. That’s how I saw it. Rashid Abdi wrote an opinion piece for a periodical called The Sunday Nation for print on August 5th 2012. It was entitled, “Why Faith Matters in a Secular Age.” In the piece, Abdi starts by invoking Friedrich Nietzsche like he himself were a demigod, then elucidates on world history and the expansion of Christianity through evangelical outreach and missionary work during the colonial expansion of European states even as the roman catholic church began losing political power back in Europe. He makes a good argument for belief as a detriment to humanity, but claims its good outweighs the bad if kept in check. Then he points out that secularism reared its head in Europe as Christianity and Islam found footholds elsewhere in the world, but questions whether or not secularism is beginning to fade today in the face of a new oppressive nature of faith-based governments both in the civilized world and third world nations throughout mankind. He ends by mentioning Al-Shabaab who returned to faith with a vengeance, and the end result has led to a powerful oppression of his own people.
Rashid Abdi argues that “belief in a deity is an innate existential imperative and a quest natural and common to all of humankind.” If this is truly the case, and mankind is incapable of resisting this subjective idea of an omniscient benevolent overseer in the face of absolutely no good reason to believe in it, then we are in fact facing our own extinction right here and right now. At best, the “Creationist Theory” is one of many theories, and more to the point it is a theory that holds no water under objective scrutiny. There is absolutely no evidence supporting the hypothesis, and while Believers in this theory are quick to say there’s also no evidence not supporting the hypothesis, the truth is ALL evidence currently held viable by scientific methodology does not support the hypothesis. Some evidence may be interpreted as allowing the possibility to remain open. This is known as “The God Of The Gaps.” Because what we don’t know still allows the possibility. However, that’s like looking at a crossword puzzle and insisting the word FAITH must be the answer to 12 down, even though 12 down is seven letters and starts with a Q. Even if there’s a synonym of FAITH that has seven letters and starts with a Q, it still wouldn’t be FAITH. You could write in “QUFAITH” in felt tip pen, and you would still be wrong.
I had an argument with a Believer just this morning regarding the Judeo-Christian Creation Myth. She insisted that woman was made from man’s rib. I explained that was just as likely as man having been made from woman’s dorsal fin. She countered, “but women don’t have a dorsal fin,” and I said, “of course you don’t anymore, cuz your god took off your dorsal fin and made me with it.” I then pointed out both men and women still have ribs, so my explanation was even more likely than hers. She then called me crazy and stormed off. If I actually believed in the dorsal fin theory, I’d be just as crazy as she actually is with her unbelievable Adam’s Rib theory.
Anyway. Here’s what I posted over there, probably verbatim, mostly cuz I’m too lazy to proofread it again:
The only reason why faith still matters is cuz so many insist on using it. Like we still cling to a qwerty keyboard tho it’s no longer necessary. The problem is not what you believe, but the fact you use belief at all.
If you cannot prove something objectively, there’s no reason to believe in it. If you can prove something objectively, you don’t need to believe it subjectively. You can prove it.
As for secular beliefs, history shows many examples of why belief outside religion is just as bad if not worse. Oftentimes when Believers argue with me about atheism they are quick to point out that Lenin was an atheist. I am quick to retort that he believed in “The State” which was just as, if not MORE dangerous, than believing in a nonexistent god. The State was his “god” which does not place me in his company. It places him in theirs.
Secular beliefs can be just as dangerous and foolhardy. For example, there’s belief in one individual’s choices overriding that of others (dictatorship, despotism) or one group of people overriding the masses which allegedly believe in them (oligarchies and aristocracies) or a mindless prideful and arrogant embrace of a government “state” presumably making choices to benefit all individuals (socialism or communism or other annoying isms). In all cases, it is BELIEF that is at the heart of the dilemma. Not just people. Not just a government. Belief.
People believing in something or someone over their own individual rights is foolhardy, dangerous, and self-defeating. People believing solely in their own individual rights over the rights of others is selfish, heartless, cruel, and ultimately again self-defeating since no man is an island. People in power should make choices that benefit the rights of the individual, and individuals should make choices that help (or at least don’t harm) the people around them. We’re not gonna do this, for the same reason we prefer qwerty over Dvorak. No one wants to relearn how to type, even if there’s a more efficient way to do so. One could say mankind “believes” in qwerty keyboards over Dvorak or other styles. It’s silly, but we don’t want to change.
There is no ‘ism’ that represents what mankind must do in order to survive its own arrogance and ignorance, cuz once you make an ism out of it, people start believing in it, and the problem rears its ugly head once again. So again. The problem is not what you believe. The problem is that you believe subjectively in the face of objective reality. All of you. All of us. All of mankind.
I don’t know how we’ll ever fix this, but when mankind finally figures out how to govern itself without belief, it will be the greatest leap in our evolution since we first crawled on land.
And no. I don’t believe in that last statement. Cuz now that I think about it, the greatest step in our evolution since we first crawled on land is Snickerdoodle flavored ice cream.