The fundamental problem facing us all (and by that I mean all of of the family of life on our tiny planet) is the great taboo, the immense sacred cow of dogmatic religion. Reasonably intelligent humans can come under its sway and voluntarily, under intense peer pressure, enter a black closet of willful ignorance and close the door behind them, sinking into a static and voluptuous blindness that ultimately may condone unspeakable acts of cruelty and vengeance against everything around them. Religion, it must be said, was created by the mind of man for a number of reasons- to explain a terrifying and confusing world, to provide the comfort of companionship and familiarity, and to give a structured environment in which to raise children. Of course there are others, but these seem to be the basic ones. These grow out of what might be thought of as our species’ psychological evolution.
The essential problem arises when myths that support dogma are taken literally.. poetically, creation stories are fun, but they are factually untrue. A god that creates everything is a pleasant enough notion, but it is superstitious nonsense, and an extremely dangerous ruse when posited against the astonishing fact of evolution. The idea that “morality” is somehow absent without religion is absurd- it comes as a natural result of our altruistic and cooperative nature. And as for war, religion is more often than not the tribal inspiration and emotional excuse.
Wrapped up in all of this is religious extremism’s cover for those dark souls who lust for power, and who are ever waiting in the wings to capitalize on our worst inclinations.
We are alone with our meager intelligence in the solar system, and too far from anything else to do much more than observe from afar. Why should we not greet with enthusiasm and wonder what is our heritage, instead of falling back on ideas that have lost their usefulness to us as a creature among other equally sacred creatures on our most beautiful and fragile world?
Of course, another way to look at it is as the ultimate con, and Americans love cons more than just about anything. Look at the bozo who started Scientology- act in all manner of morally reprehensible ways, amass a spectacular fortune, fleece the unsuspecting and the gullible, gain power and influence and… best of all, no taxes!
Are we ready for the Kool-Aid?