Friday, February 14, 2014
Placing Blame in the Wrong Places
There's something about modern humanity that can drive me crazy. Sometimes, I listen to someone complain about something, whether it is religion, politics, etc. but they never realize they don't know what they are truly complaining about. Our current world is so divided that they like to use the same arguments against each other, thinking the other is to blame.
An example is the idea of open-minds. I heard a liberal complain the other day that the problem with religion is, "Religious people are okay with your beliefs as long as they are the same as theirs." Now, those who hang out with conservatives also know that phrase, but they use it against liberals! So the real problem is not a specific group; it's a problem with our modern human nature. This relates to the idea of "things claiming to be opposites really just being the same thing." Republicans and Democrats may have different platforms, but the people who actually get elected pretty much do the same thing: raise taxes, squabble, attack the other party, and say it's the other party's fault they can't do anything even when they are the majority.
Another example is when dealing with religious wars. When the Thirty Years War gets brought up, I just have to roll my eyes. I wrote a paper on that war, trying to figure out how we can refer to it as a war of religion. The answer I got was that you can only call it a religious war if you generalize what the opposing sides had in common. However, when you look at the details of the war, it was very political with little regard towards religion. There were likely some people who fought for their personal beliefs, but the people who started the war, led the armies, and ended the war did not care about religion as much as loss of power. Yes, there are religious fanatics, but when you look closely, they are not truly following their religion, despite their self-proclaimed beliefs.
My last example still has to do with religion. Some people say they hate God because religion is so evil and full of hypocrites. There are two things wrong with this comment. First, you can't blame the idea of a god for the problems with religion. These are two separate things. The purpose of religion is to give praise to a being called God. It's mankind's attempt to "give to God what belongs to God." Now anyone who uses religion for their self-interests in the world cannot truly represent religion in its proper form. The second has to do with another purpose of religion, and that is to instruct the immoral. "Those who are well have no need for a doctor." Religion is there to try and make people better, which it does for quite a few. Just hearing some of the conversion stories of famous saints is proof of that.
In order to be a good atheist, it's my personal belief that you need to study Theology. You cannot say, "God does not exist" without having a good understanding of "What is God?" A common mistake people make concerning religion is thinking everyone believes in the same god. Yes, it's a little more complicated than that, but when you talk to people of the same religion, they don't agree on the idea of what it means to be God. The purpose of theology is to study the idea of God. For example, it's not right to believe that God will never let anything bad happen to you. I can certainly say it's easier to tell someone that their idea of God does not exist than to say there just isn't one.
In today’s world, we are supposed to be civilized, but with our quick misconceptions and rash arguments, we probably look like barbarians. Let us put aside are violent tempers and take time to understand fully what we are arguing against. For me, I find it best to let the rage calm before I finally address the topic. Otherwise people will think I’m attacking them personally and not listen. Sometimes I just have to avoid people I know get too angry over the topic lest I get dragged into anger as well. The best thing we can do is listen and be courteous to each other. Maybe then we can place the blame where it belongs. Let the Truth set us free from strife.