Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Religion breeds hypocrisy

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I'm back in the Philippines. Walking around the neighbourhood yesterday a curious gentleman asked me where am I from. Suddenly another neighbour zeroed in on the conversation. Where are you from? Are you staying in the village? Who are you staying with? Are you married? Do you have any children?
One gets the impression these people are victims of the Spanish Inquisition. Such problem solving skills? So purposeful. It might make you ponder exactly what purpose they are intent on solving. Well no problem per se, except the sins of the world. But is that really their intent. Well no. But either is it to be a good Christian since there really is no such thing. There are only Christians with fewer contradictions. These are the most hypocritical Christians you will ever find. Severely crippled, conflicted minds. Never have you passed across such judgemental people.....and to what end?
I personally engage in a great deal of judgement. Nothing wrong with judgement. The problem is with judges who don't self-reflect. Their purpose is not so much seeking a truth, but running away from one. Fine I say, judge me. There are just two problems with the existence of such people:
1. They have the vote - which means they have some level of power, though in a 'modern' democracy the vote really means very little. In fact, never did it really mean much, so I don't know why people talk it up, like we have freedom. We have the pretense of it.
2. They have the power to initiate force. Far be it for me to incite violence, but the reality is that these people are reproached by a mind like mine for several reasons. (i) I'm educated. (ii) I'm a symbol of the West, (iii) I'm wealthier than them, (iv) I'm consistent in my ideas, (v) I'm courageous, and finally (vi) I am confident.
I am a repudiation of everything they believe in, except their most basic premises (which no one can refute), so they are forced to hate me, to castigate me, to judge. But they will never reflect on the reasons. They are not that honest. In fact they don't even appraise me on a conceptual level. Instead they are motivated by fearings. There are several things they look for: (i) A desire to forge relationships by finding common ground, (ii) An interest in their lives, because they want to talk about themselves, (iii) Finding an excuse to engratiate themselves into your life.
Just because they see more evidence that I am not their type. Don't think that this would repell them. On the contrary, it would be a basis for rationalising or justifying their ultimate purpose, to use me in some way. Being a foreigner, they think I have money to share with them, visa assistance to grant them, or a daughter whom I can marry. In the Philippines I am often offered a prospective wife. I am less surprised to see women do that since they support their children's best interests. Be wary when siblings are setting you up. They are hoping for the day when you will support their alcohol or drug habit.
This is of course the seedier side of the Philippines, whether its the pretentious 'no class' landed class or the uneducated, desperate poor living on hopes. Fortunately I am a diamond-hunter, and as a diamond hunter I am only interested in understanding 'dirt' as long as it helps me find diamonds.
Slightly less painful as dealing with these religious hypocrites is dealing with people who give weight to the assertions or judgements of these people. The victims and fence sitters need to assert their views if such arguments are to be overcome. They are cowards only emboldened by the belief that they embody the social conscience. That is why they hate me so much. I am only accepted by pluralistic thinkers. They too might be conflicted, but they are at the very least (i) Not threatening, (ii) Open to alternative ideas.
The problem of course is that their capacity to know the truth is limited by their lack of conceptual skills. They have been sabotaged by the same Christian dogma as the neighbourhood snakes. The problem is that they are not for me, they are just not against me. They do judge, but its sting is benign because they have effectively desexed themselves, removing the last vestiges of moral pride. They have decided that ethics is subjective. "What is right for you, is right for you, and what is right for me is right for me'. This of course does not prevent coercion, though it tends to be subtler than the snakes in the neighbourhood. They will tend to not repay loans rather than steal money. But they also don't share the same ambition, and they might be safe enough to be beyond even such pettiness. Such souls have long been attractive to protective men who like to be taken care of. So long as you allow such people to believe that, you will pose no threat to them, and them no threat to you.
This dichotomy is the basis for the perpetrator-victim culture we find in the Church. We need to look at organised religion as a business system. Its a place where people come not for religious salvation but business connections. The price of admission is a paltry some. If you pay more you get to network with a higher 'class' of people. i.e. More money which means more influence, that assumes you can connect or resonate in the minds of these people. Money is power in the Church as well. But its not enough. You need to be influential. You need to make people feel good. Not by setting new standards, but by dropping them. By making every person you connect with feel that you have a special bond with them, and then having the diplomacy to drop them like a sack of potatoes as you move on to the next person. This is the realm of modern diplomacy as it is practiced in the Church, politics and business. Some business is different because it demands some level of standards, i.e. We have higher standards for engineers, architects, doctors, and sometimes accountants and CEOs, depending on the stage of the economic cycle.
Andrew Sheldon
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Attention all atheists!!
In fact anyone who has had an interesting encounter with a Christian which involved manipulation, deception or blatant rationalisation. This is research or material for a forthcoming book. I am not suggesting that all Christians are criminals, dangerous or threats to society, but I am suggesting that Christianity is a basis for moral inefficacy. There is a reason why Christian nations are always at war. There is a reason why former Christians (or children of Christians) have a tendency to drift into cults and extreme religious groups. Thank you for any life experiences you can recall. ----------------------------------------------- Andrew Sheldon