Sunday, 13 January 2013

Equality for Religion

The Imperial family

I was reminded on one of religion's main claim the other day when the five of us were locked in a car driving to Sydney for many hours.
One way or another - it's all rather blurry, as the driver I was mostly focused on the music that was there to keep me sharp - the matter of Baby Jesus' story came up. Grandmother asked my son whether he believes in it. My son answered that he doesn't, but as one can expect from a five year old he wasn't particularly decisive in his reply; the grandmother pressed on, while my wife - knowing fully well what was about to happen - reminded me that "religion is the one thing we do not discuss".
Do I really need to tell you what took place next? I expressed my opinion on the authenticity of the Baby Jesus story in as concise and explicit manner as I could (I believe I used the professional term "bullshit"). I was ready to take on challenges and provide detailed examples but that was the end of the story; people do seem afraid to challenge matters of religion.
Which is the exact problem I want to talk about here. Why should that be the case? Why should we take religion out of the discussion board? Why should the raising of matters of religion - or rather, the raising of contradicting opinions on matters of religion - act as an automatic cue for changing the subject? Why is it, exactly, that we give religion such a privilege?
I argue for the exat opposite. The more central and/or important a subject matter is to us, the more we should dissect it, discuss it and analyze it. Religion, as the claimed center of most people's beliefs and moral system, should be on our discussion board day and night.
I can see why it doesn't want to be there. It is as obvious as the sun on a summer day: if society was to allow itself to openly discuss religion, we wouldn't have had religion to discuss. In other words, the social tabboo we have on our hands here is a sophisticated bullshit survival mechanism. We should therefore do society a favor and help dismantle it: we should bring the fallacies of religion to the forefront of discussion at every opportunity.

Image by Kalexanderson, Creative Commons license

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