The mocking of religion

IMAGE: The Flying Spaghetti Monster
The Flying Spaghetti Monster – cos if you’re going to believe in anything creating the world, why wouldn’t it be a flying spaghetti monster?

I watched a video this morning on Fox17 today (I know, that was my first mistake… but you gotta give the other side a chance to speak as well… right?) See the link below if you want to. Basically, the video is about how it’s become “cool” to mock religion within the United States (and the tone of the video suggests that perhaps it is more widespread, and it has become “cool” to mock religion worldwide) Mr Mendte then says

“…faith in something greater than ourselves is an important underpinning of a civilised society…”

This really incensed me.

Amongst the readers of this blog, will be those that know of my search to consolidate religion and spirituality (in my own head). For a long time now, I’ve worked within a human rights organisation, and have seen how much pain a religious stance can bring on a massive scale. Yet, I’ve also personally met many deeply religious people, and they were happy, at peace with themselves, and truly loved life in a way that seemed impossible if you didn’t believe that this life was a gift from someone greater than yourselves.

I’ve also met many atheists who think it is ludicrous that there is something out there that is greater than ourselves. That we are such insignificant specks in this vast universe, that is it simply arrogant to think that as a species, our human race has been created…

Amongst all this, I’ve done two post graduate Theology degrees, talked with many people, had two children (and struggled with what to tell them) and yet, remain agnostic. I don’t want to make a choice either way, and I think that to do so is to preclude any possibility of an open mind.

Yet, respect is one thing that I have deeply ingrained within me, I may not believe in your God, but I sure as hellfire (notice what I did there) will fight for YOUR right to believe in your God. This is why the video angered me so. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not the “atheist club” that Mendte seems to assume it is.

As Bobby Henderson said so well:

“we are not anti-religion, we are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels” 

Which is also why Mendte’s statement also angered me. If humankind (in general) had a little more faith in themselves and a little less faith in someone else, then perhaps as a people, we would be in a much better place. We teach this to our children, and yet ignore it en masse when we should remember. We teach our children to trust in themselves, to increase their own self-esteem and know that they can overcome any challenge if they put their mind to it… and yet, as a society we sometimes don’t do this and instead pray to a deity to save us. It is not an important underpinning of civilised society, I propose, that instead, it is a way to control society and reduce us from individuals with free thought to a mass of people who obey and follow.

So, I repeat, I respect you, the religious reader, and I respect your religion. Please respect mine.

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