In a Peanuts cartoon, Linus is looking up in the sky thoughtfully as Lucy walks by.
“Lucy,” he asks earnestly, “Why is the sky blue?””
Lucy says emphatically, “BECAUSE IT ISN’T GREEN!!!” and then walks away.
Linus says, “That just shows how stupid I am. I thought there would have been a more complicated reason.”
I saw this kind of conversation occur regularly in the churches I knew. An innocent asks a question and is chided for doing so.
The biggest grudge I have against religion (particularly conservative religion) is that it urges people to lie even as it touts its message as truth, usually called “The Truth.”
Religion leads us to hide our real flaws even as we show off a false humility. We say to each other the things we think we’re supposed to say rather than what we really think. Preachers stand and speak things with a certainty that they couldn’t possibly have unless they are crazy. The most harmful dishonesty of all is how we force ourselves to believe in something because someone told us we were supposed to. And it’s downright wicked that religions use intimidation, accusation, and fear to control people and then call it love.
When preachers meet, they often discuss how dysfunctional their congregations are, but it’s the unreality of religion that makes everyone dysfunctional. I think that’s why we see so much scandal in our churches. Everything is a cover up, so of course some of what we hide is going to be quite scandalous.
It’s ironic that the ideas of faith, spirituality, and infinity (or eternity) are limitless concepts meant to stir our imagination and inspire us to reach beyond the known to the realm of ideas, dreams, and questions, and yet these are the things that religion tries its damndest to stamp out.
I think religion will always be mortal enemies with science, which teaches to search for what actually is true. It’s also ironic that while science uses metrics, logic, and mathematics to examine, reexamine, ask questions. and adjust itself as needed, it also allows for imagination and dreams.
So is there a point to be made other than offering another reason why I think religion sucks?
How about this? This is for all the people in the churches I once preached to:
The search for truth begins and ends with questions rather than convictions. You know those questions that you’re afraid to even think about? Start with them.
I recommend an easy to read book by David Hayward, entitled, “Questions Are the Answers.”