The Awful Power of Superstition

The title is actually the full extent of my contribution. Religion is mythology and we have no problem calling it what it is if we’re talking about someone else’s religion. But may all the gods help you, which they won’t, if you identify a bunch of Baptists in this country as myth believers. And in an election year the threats will become physical.

For years I’ve clung to the belief that the great majority of this country’s population understands this but are so conditioned by fear of dealing, yet again, with the old saved or newly converted that they’ll confess to believing anything to avoid the suffering. We have a common problem with police extracting false confessions that simply preys on a cultural history of professing belief in whatever bizarre bullshit our family and neighbors lay on us. The difference is, as people figure out, that the mythology doesn’t mean anything so, if agreeing to it makes them shut up or go away, no problem. But that’s wrong fast thinking. We have created a society that is caught by its own defining lies. Good people are people who believe the mythology and we are all good people so we all must believe the absurd lies. For a long time it didn’t really matter but increasingly it does because we’ve allowed acceptance of these mythologies to, again, be publicly politicized. Throughout most of our history our comforting and defining mythologies provided answers to questions that really didn’t matter. But now we need people to work with the correct answers as these evolve. And we are increasingly screwed because we now have to actively attack the cherished beliefs of our aging relatives and neighbors who think they have no justification for their lives than some vague mythology that they don’t really understand.

The irony is that one of the most important principles in the American experiment was the nearly complete removal of mythology from the public sphere. Despite the understanding that this was a pretense for the masses two hundred fifty years ago they allowed the camel’s nose under the edge of the tent with vague references to the Judaeo-Christian divinity. Even that wasn’t too big an issue until this century when we had to start dealing with the implications of hundreds of years of exploiting natural resources and other people. We are already past the point of avoiding major climate disaster for our grandchildren if the ideal of greed that we have exemplified doesn’t cause some of the people, who we screwed out of their natural resources, to nuke the shit out of us before that. The irony is just incredibly richer that a billion of those people are playing with the same set of mythologies to justify it all. I’ve giving India a break here. . .

Now we have to bite the bullet and lance the suppurating wound that has resulted from failing to clean out the myth based infection earlier. This is no small thing. In fact it makes Donald Trump look like a small hiccup. I don’t really no any other way to do this than to start attacking it head on. It’s going to hurt. In the worst case it will become the mother of all religious wars. The alternative is continuing disaster and the likely collapse of human civilization on this planet. May all of the gods and their mythic offspring help us.

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Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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