Monday, June 13, 2011

Who do you think you are?

I realized something while I wrote that comment on the post below.

"Who do you think you are?" that voice in my head said. "Do you really think you can come to a better answer, that you can come closer to god, than a hundred generations of millions of Christians or Muslims or whatever. Scholars and priests, kings and peasants. Who do you think you are to believe yourself above them?"

I don't know. I've never thought about it that way, and now that I did, it feels a little embarrassing. Who do I think I am? Isn't it true, aren't I trying to be better than every thinking human before me and around me? It makes my humble Swedish upbringing cringe where it's stored in the basic structures of my brain, but the truth, while difficult to admit, is simple. Yes. I do think I can. My world revolves around me. I am my own god, and my world will live and die with me. I do believe to the fullest of my heart that I have as much ability and right to claim I know my god, to claim my own path to faith, as any man or woman who as ever walked on Earth and any that will ever live.

And in the same way, I also believe it is the right and duty of every human to claim their own path to faith, to belief and religion. Which is why, I realize, organized religion infuriates me. And in the same way, the mindlessness with which people treat other's belief infuriates me to the same degree. Of course I don't want to sing psalms in church, that would be lying. Lying at another's place of worship. If there was a corresponding way to desecrate my own faith, I would want to kill the one who did. Someone said "religion lies in the hearts of men", if I don't remember incorrectly. And that is exactly it. Tradition and ceremony might serve other purposes, but faith, actual faith, has it's own shelf. And it is holy, too holy for organizations and institutions.


ShadoWolf said...

Damn right you are!

Who are you? You are the god of your universe!

I don't buy an already nicely wrapped and packed belief either because with it comes a lot of junk I don't need so I rather pick and choose from many different "brands". I think that my own ethics are well able to guide me right. And if I'm wrong? Shit happens.

Riklurt said...

Devil's Advocate Mode Initiated:

If you allow for cherry-picking of beliefs, does that give you any right to criticize the beliefs of another? I don't reckon it does, but on the flip side, that means you don't have any ethical basis for rejecting someone else for being a psychotic murderer, if that synchs up with their own beliefs. That is to say, if you believe your religion is correct for you, you must also believe that any religion, no matter how insane, is correct for another person so long as they chose it for themselves.

Who am I to call Fred Phelps an evil man, if all he's doing is following his own ethical code, which he believes guides him right?

(of course, perhaps you could quote Oliver Wendell Holmes: "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." But then again, that's a belief too. What if the next guy believes it's his moral right - moral duty, even - to walk all over your religion? Is there something morally wrong with that?)

Nallenon said...

This is all very LaVeyan, actually.

Yeonni said...

I'm not pissed at people who try to spread their religion, I'm pissed at people who don't believe in their own proclaimed religion and those who don't make a conscious choice but just follow along like sheep. I would never dream of calling a psychotic murderer "evil", or anyone actually. Not the cannibals, nor the rapists, nor the fanatics. Evil is a silly thing that doesn't exist. Things and people can be bad for you, subjectively. But evil is as real as santa.

There is an underlying problem, i admit. Of course there will be those who want to convert everyone, and if they gain majority, might resort to measures that could even be unethical to themselves, all in the name of faith. While its easy to go with the "the right to swing my fist..." thing, it's a deeper problem than that. Popularity and power through numbers will always be... well, the devil's tools ;) And that's the point with this entire ramble actually. I wish for a world where everyone can believe what they want without it becoming a popularity contest. Which is also a notion as realistic as santa.

Religion might encompass things as ethics and morals, but faith is to me something pure and above that. Is it the fanatic's faith or morals that say he can torture another to make them convert to his religion? His faith is independent of what he does; just like believing in that something is right and actually doing it is two different things.

Everyone should have the right to believe anything they want, and not be ridiculed, abused or shut out. How they act upon that belief however, may or may not provide grounds.

ShadoWolf said...

I agree with Yeonni. Evil does not exist.

No one consider themselves to be evil when they do something most would call evil. The child molestor truly believes he/she is doing it for love of the child, that they're selflessly guiding the child into knowing its own sexuality, and or that they love each other, the kid wants it etc. and the molestor is completely unawares of the pain he/she inflicts. At least most seem to be, as if they have some kind of mental block similar to psychosis. My point being that most people would rationalize their actions into some greater good- in this case liberating the dormant sexuality of a child. I oppose it, I would certainly step in and try to prevent it if I could and I think I have the right to criticize it but I still have to respect that I'm dealing with a person that believes he/she is doing something rightious. As I have to respect it when someone wants to stop me from doing something I think is right but they think is wrong. I would defend myself, of course, and perhaps I won't be prepaired to listen at first but still- I would have to respect the views of another. Simply calling it evil seems to me as the easy way out; it's not just disrespectful, arrogant and condecending - it speaks plainly of your unwillingness to understand what's going thorugh the head of someone else.

(And yes, I know that there are many different kinds of pedophiles and child predators/molestors which doesn't necessarily have to be the same thing)(And no, I'm not an expert ;)

Riklurt said...

I honestly believe that I'm evil a lot of the time. But that's another discussion.

It has been said that religious oppression comes about not of a desire to spread ones' own religion, but out of a belief that "If I don't oppress them, they will oppress me". I find that seems to make a lot of sense. A Sunni muslim doesn't fight because he wants everyone else to be a Sunni - he fights because he is afraid that if he doesn't, someone might force him to be a Shi'a.