The inability or unwillingness to prevent atrocities indicates a god who doesn’t care or who’s caring is of a quality or level that it gives no meaningful comfort or care taking or it indicates that there’s simply no such god and it really is just how terrible that some of us can be – especially when so disconnected to natural reality to actually beleive the justifications for their chosen evil actions.
I think that it’s time that we started considering belief not as an on or off setting, but as being a matter of degree – a ratio of belief to socially capable functioning. Mental wellness, a measure of delusion. There are some ratios at which, people need to be disqualified for public office or any position where they have power over others – especially vulnerable others.
People who beleive that their beliefs are one of many possible answers, but we don’t know or maybe can’t know – agnosticism has a high socially capable functioning.
But people who cannot tolerate that other people are different and have different beliefs – who are claiming or attempting that everyone should adhere to rigid gender roles, disdain for the body of human knowledge, history, other cultures, other possibilities – these people are not socially capable – they live in their own reality bubbles where their religion is real and their energies are directed at squabbling over the details of their religion with people of other versions of the same religion – when both or all versions are predicated on the same unproven claims – so the details don’t matter except to those who have bought into the premise.
Discussing details with people who haven’t bought into the premise, is the wrong discussion for skeptics. We need to stay focussed on the premise, and connect the religion back through it’s cultural evolution and reconnect the beleivers back to the full range of human thinking – pit the religion in the context of history, literature and show how clinging to these outdated and unproven premises are what’s driving much of the conflict and inability to get along with each other now.
If we chose, not to live as if any religion is true but only a possibility, then coexistence is possible.
Because then believers can beleive and non-believers do not have to live their lives dancing on egg shells and having to act as if religions could be true, when we really only have to allow others to have the possibility.
There was a time in Canada and the US that retail stores were not open on Sundays. This was because most people were religious and they beleived that this should be a day of rest and family.
But to people who have not accepted the religion, it’s just another day of the week and our freedoms are being impeded because of other people’s religions.
So the laws were changed and retail could operate 7 days a week – and with the advent of the internet, 24/7.
The problem for believers then, is a battle between the religious beliefs of nomadic tribes with stone age technology and primitive societies where slavery was the norm and women and children where chattel – and the modern secular world that is based not in religion, but in humanism – human rational and the technology we’ve invented to make the quality of our life better.
Because religion is not about the quality of your life – it’s about the quality of your worship and that means your obedience as demonstrated by the time consuming rituals, adherence to rigid gender roles and you aren’t rewarded with your real life, until you reach the after life. Because actual life is a dress rehearsal in religious reality.
People who want to live as if their religion is real, will not be able to do so indefinately while living in a modern world of interconnectivity.
Because exposure to the modern world is what’s causing there to be fewer and fewer bums in pews or knees on floors.
In earlier and harsher times, these old time fire and brimstone religions made some cultural sense – but they do not now. Not with everything that we have learned about ourselves and each other.
In order to maintain belief, you have to work very hard to ignore a lot of reality.
And people like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain – who want to be president on the basis of being simple plain folk you can have a beer with – let’s be very real.
These people are not qualified to be mayor of dogtown, never mind president of one of the most powerful nations that this world has ever seen so far.
That tone of simple folk common sense homespun plays well to that crowd because there’s a lot of that crowd – but part of being in that mentality is an undertone of anti-establishment, anti-education, anti-anyone who’s different.
You can have that kind of leadership in small closed communities, like Jonestown.
But that kind of leadership is wholly inadequate when it’s the leader of a complex society within and with complexities on a global scale.
That the Palins and Cains and Bushes and Perries lack the self awareness to have genuine humility in the face of understanding the entire scope of what being a President of a large nation with a huge economy and a bigger arsenel means.
The entire GOP field of candidates seem like a bunch of slaw jawed yokels who can’t wait to go see the sights of a big city and get to push buttons and pull levers. Golly Gee. Country Cousins, you need to learn some reading and writing and arithmetic first. Specifically, reading about world history, writing down a comprehensive platform of how we’re going to coexist in the world we share, and subtract your personal beleifs from your public life.
Because until a person can demonstrate an understanding of the difference between public and private spheres of influence – nothing can change for the better – and we’re doomed until either a leader steps forward to drag the population into the last century or the religious people make their religious reality an actual end of days reality for all of us.
But more than that, until a person who would lead people has an understanding of what it’s like to be lead by someone like they are – whether it’s a manager or a president – without a sense of the worst that’s possible under your leadership – then you aren’t a leader in any meaningful way. Because no true leader should want anyone worse off than any other person.