I’ve lurked since forever at Pharyngula, and wanted to ask so many questions, but feared ridicule and contempt. I wish there were room for folks like me at FTB.
There is. Plenty of room. Voices can be heard. Oh you may hear about us banning those who speak up but frankly? Only two people on my blog have been banned. One was an anonymous poster who spewed horrific racism and sexism and insults at someone I love and care for deeply.
The other was a man who quoted gigantic walls of highly bigotted text that bashed everyone and anyone who wasn’t white and Christian. Both had that coming to them. I welcome questions because it is by dialogue that we progress as a society.
I’m what you could call an extreme agnostic, and to the bone, a secular humanist. To keep peace in the family, I do not advertise. But here it is…I still find myself, in moments of extreme stress, essentially falling back on the “prayer” release.
You can be a secular humanist and still believe in a god you know. It just means you don’t invoke your religious view when you do humanist things.
I personally think that prayer is a safety blanket. Or like Duck and Cover. Duck and Cover doesn’t really protect you from the awesome power of a nuclear weapon. Your safety blanket only works against the fictional monsters that your mind creates. So when we are losing control we rely on prayer to trick ourselves into believing that there is some control over our lives.
Prayer has always been a method of control of the uncontrollable. It is like trying to convince a thunderstorm to do your bidding.
But it does provide relief mainly because we are told from a young age that it provides relief. Pray for x, y and z! A happened? Pray! You want B to happen? Pray! And that’s a part of how we think.
As in, “Dear God, if you do actually exist, and you are not actually an irrational, misogynist, kill-happy sociopath, could you please do something about X?”
Heh well Hindus like their sociopath gods. Makes em human and more easily relatable when you think that Shiva gets jealous of stuff and Krishna still has a love of sweets and sneaks em when no one’s looking. It also means that their gods are more “likely” to do something. Jesus died for your sins? Krishna died 9 times to save the universe.
Read about other faiths. It may surprise you on how much more there is to religion and indeed by association how much more there is to not believing.
How does a non-believer get past this NEED to do something, anything…when there really is nothing that can be done at all?
By realising that there are things we can do and things we cannot.
And by that sometimes impossible things are merely improbable and often just “difficult”. I am a firm believer of getting your hands dirty. Can’t be a human being without a bit of humanity after all and getting those hands dirty reminds you of the people who don’t have the choice and in some way gets you to think about others.
Sometimes you cannot do anything about the choice. Sometimes the two choices you have are bad. And at such times you can take the path of least damage. You cannot stop an earthquake.
But what you can do as a human is be selfless in that moment and make the lousy world a little bit better for someone with what you can do.
Thank You for your time.