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Letters from Downunder

Center of creation

Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason
 is like administering medicine to the dead. (Thomas Paine)

(11/2015) I was so pleased to learn that at least some of you believe the sun was put there to keep you warm and give you light. Not just the sun, of course, but the whole universe is there to acknowledge your supreme place in creation. Otherwise who would there be to argue with?

When you hold these views It is impossible to admit you are responsible for your actions or for the actions of your fellows. As the pinnacle of creation you are on earth to show how glorious the creator is for having made you. Everyone who disagrees is stupid, unsaved, and unworthy. I doesnít matter that the majority do not see it your way, for there are enough of the faith to bolster your belief into certainty. Itís a wonderfully blinkered view, for it leaves you immune to critics and numb to the problems that surround you, while at the same time arming you with wonderfully half-baked arguments to support your beliefs. And seeing you have a healthy percentage of the vote, politicians now have to pretend you are important.

After all, your place in heaven is assured, life as you know it will continue on indefinitely, and your faith will be justified. It may leave you short of diversion, argument and stimulation,(although that hardly matters at present), but if heaven is perfect, it means that everything there will have to be to your taste. As one of your likes at present is to complain about the power and ignorance of the unbelievers, that will have to continue there as well, meaning heaven will have them as well; in fact it will not be all that different to life on earth, and this means it could not be heaven. But paradox in not in your lexicon either.

This is speculation, of course, and the whole scenario is silly beyond measure, but then so is your attitude to the present world. How else could you arrive at the following answer to global warming and climate change? From the website of a certain fundamentalist group in the south of your country comes, "Why, we could not have created it, so itís part of Godís plan. Whatever he does has to be right. Bless him."

Notice how this resonates with other fundamentalist groups, including the followers of Mohammed that have come to be known as Isis? They too know they are the only chosen ones, that their god is the only one, that whatever they believe he has decreed is absolute and right - meaning you are all going to have separate heavens to go to - otherwise you will have to either kill each other or live together peaceably, which could not happen in your heaven.

Blind faith is all you have to get to that paradise in the sky, and I hope that you are right in this, because I for one would not wish to be near any of you, and a few billion Ė about 99.9% of the world population - would agree. But the rub is that your 0.1% of the world is holding a gun the the head of the rest of us. You may not agree that you are anything like Isis, but the delusion that you are the only chosen ones says otherwise. You are both intolerant, ignorant, and subversive, and you both have achieved some power over governments and communication. The other side of the coin is that we allow you to continue spouting your inane drivel and ideas, whereas you would ban any dissent if you were in power. May I point out that your power derives from developments made by the rest of the world, the life style that you hold to be so sacred comes courtesy of non-fundamentalists, and that the only thing that sustains your beliefs is denial?

So please Ė get real and admit that you are not the centre of the universe, that the sun does not orbit the earth, that you are not a special creation, but have evolved along with all of nature. Accept that science is not there to make pronouncements based on hope, but that scientists try to disprove their suppositions and ideas at every turn. Living with reality does not take faith, it takes repeatable and often lengthy argument, trial and error.

We are also happy in a world of diversity, discovery, and responsibility. Unlike all you fundamentalists and fanatics, we are not afraid of the future, we believe in the rule of law, and that life is inherently chancy. Some of us die early, some suffer terribly, have the worst kind of luck, remain poor and needy, but we all like getting and giving care and pleasure; we need the love and respect of our fellows, and wish to pursue learning as much as we can. Our world is not closed, our minds are open to new ideas and experiences. Armageddon is not our aim as we contemplate our genome, which is 98% identical with the apes.

And most of us have a degree of humility as we marvel at the diversity we encounter all around us. We find this present world incredible even when it is painful. We have not been bound to creeds that promises us pleasure in the hereafter in return for all the tribulation below, but accept that our life is finite.

And the really odd thing is that the more you disagree with that statement the more you want to preserve the old beliefs of heaven - but not hell Ė and of being the chosen. Indeed, the more we are afraid of the future the more conservative we are. Letís stop trying to administer medication to the dead; letís instead ensure the living are better equipped to do so.

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker