Sunday, October 23, 2005

Monotheism Is Not the Enemy

Cenk Uygur has a new entry at Huffington Post arguing that all Jews, Christians, and Muslims are wrong to hold their particular beliefs. Here are some examples of his thoughts on the three faiths.

On Islam:
Osama bin Laden is insane. He believes God whispered in the ear of Mohammed 1,400 years ago about how he should conquer Arabia. Mohammed was a pure charlatan -- and a good one at that. He makes present religious frauds like Pat Robertson look like amateurs.

He [Mohammed] said God told him to have sex with as many of the women he met as possible. I'm sorry, I meant to say "take them as wives." God told him to kill all other tribes that stood in his way or that would not placate him with assurances of loyalty or bribes. God told him, conveniently, that everyone should follow him and never question a word he said.

On Christians:
George W. Bush is the most powerful man alive. He is a class A imbecile. He is far less intelligent than the average Christian. But like most of the others, he believes Jesus died for his sins. That idea is so perverse and devoid of logic it should shock the conscience. Instead, it gets him elected, and earns him the reverence of a great percentage of America. America! The most advanced country in the world -- run by a bunch of villagers who still believe Santa Claus is going to save them.

On Jews:
Did I mention Judaism? The chosen people? Come on, get off it. People walk around in clothes from 18th century Russia, thinking they have been chosen by God when they look like a bunch of jackasses. I'm tired of all the deaths because we did not want to give offense. Orthodox Jews are wrong and ridiculous.

I'm sure there are a lot of others who hold views similar to these, but to do so does not make one intellectually superior. It makes one ignorant.

Monotheistic religion, especially Christianity, shifted the focus of culture from acquisition of power to fear of divine punishment, and with that a concern with individual salvation. As such, it is a necessary stage in human evolution -- it tames the wild ego of the previous developmental level.

Granted, the worldview of monotheistic faiths is still mythically based and adheres to a prerational understanding of the world. Then there's the whole "God is bearded and wears white robes" thing that Uygur is really getting at in his post.

Still, the worldview of monotheistic believers created boundaries to rein in the ego, to focus it on something other than power and prestige. Over time, even those who do not move beyond a literal understanding of the monotheistic faiths (again, this is what Uygur is raging against) will develop rational thinking skills. They may move beyond mythic thinking in most areas, although their beliefs may still be mythically based.

These religions have served and will continue to serve a vital role in human evolution. Hating them is foolish. We should be focused on understanding why rational people can still hold prerational beliefs. We should also be looking for ways to make these faiths more positive in the lives of those who follow, and more appealing to those who haven't yet reached the level of a mythic worldview.

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