“Love is simply an electrical bug in the human neural circuit.” Now if only we had a forum where we could get together and assure each other that it is the rest of the people in the world who are crazy…
The trigger for this entry came from another absurd question on Quora. This time: Should religious belief be classified as a mental illness?
It is kind of disturbing that people even ask this, but there are in fact a disproportionate number of the mentally ill who manifest their illness in terms of religion. That is perhaps not so strange, since religion is already the domain in which we have the most unusual experiences and traditions, and insanity is pretty unusual for most of us. It is hard to manifest insanity in the form of accounting, for instance.
Science comes somewhere in between, I guess – I see some pseudoscience that looks nothing like sanity to me, but still has some few but vocal supporters. Like “Venus was a comet which passed Earth during historical times before entering its current orbit.” But enough about that. But then again, ten years ago we weren’t a result of interbreeding with Neanderthals, now we are. (That would explain me, to some degree…) So science is pretty crazy even when it is true.
Given that almost everyone is religious, the notion that “religion is insanity” sounds more like a projection if anything. Like people worry in the dark corners of their mind that something may be wrong with them when they are so different from other people; therefore all the other people must be crazy, that would explain it!
The truth is, as I have said before, that almost all modern atheists are really half-a-theist: They tend toward Socialism, which gives them the option to serve a powerful, invisible, mostly benevolent invisible being that already has an established caste of servants dedicated to bettering the world on behalf of the otherwise invisible Greater Power, which in this case is called the State. True, the State does not offer an afterlife, but neither did Moses. Read the Pentateuch – the original Torah – and you will see that the question of the afterlife was left open. God promised them that their cows would have calves and their enemies would flee. Socialism is on that level now.
But atheists don’t know how similar they are to other believers, so they need to fabricate this vast gulf between them, with the believers being crazy. Luckily this is still a minority position among atheists, it seems. But the fact that some seem to really think so, made me think back to another small group of people who were Different.
For many years, I was part of a church (or sect, as pretty much everyone else called us) which was very pious. We took the Bible very seriously, although not always literally. If you think Jesus was literally a door and Christians are literally sheep, I guess some suspicion is in order regarding your mental health. This was not a congregation where you just went to church on Sunday and otherwise went on with your life as if nothing had happened. The founders and early adopters, in particular, were men and women of heroic virtue. They set aside even the usual “harmless” cravings of human nature: Entertainment, tasty food, pretty clothes, sightseeing … stuff that no one else would consider sinful, but they set it aside so they could use their time and money and thoughts to serve God and help their fellow man.
But by generation three and four, most of their descendants were not like that. They were still good people who stayed away from crime, drugs, drunkenness and fornication, by all means. But they had hobbies (much like me), they had tastes and interests and wants and wishes that were their own and not those of God. They were by and large human, although very good humans, loved by employers for their loyalty, honesty and hard work.
The problem was that they were really good people with a doctrine saying that they were far more than that. The chosen ones, the bride of Christ, the saints, the overcomers. They should be exceptional, rather than just good. And so, subtly and softly like the slow falling of night, rumors spread. Not rumors about anyone in particular, friend or foe. But rumors about The World and those who lived there, those who had not been saved. This is indeed a motley crew, as life will show us, but the attention became steadily more selective, until The World was a cesspool of depravity, an ongoing parade of drug abuse, divorce and drunken gay sex. All of which certainly happen in The World and not in the Church, but … you see the point, I hope. Because they could not get better, others had to become worse to keep the distance.
And that, I think, is where the more sectarian atheists are today. Because they aren’t all that different from believers, the believers need to become worse. Crazy, evil, or at the very least amazingly stupid. Because the need to feel superior is very strong, particularly in those who are average.