Thursday, August 18, 2005

Religion Helps us Cope...with Religion

Dear Internet Diary,

This is a short and simple answer to a somewhat simple person. I felt it might be worth really writing or talking about on the show someday.

Khai says:
Religion or belives, are not made to confuse one, we confuse each other. Religion/belives are a way to cope with the every day struggle that is life. Don't you understand that there are people out there that can't see pass there own exsistance, that can't deal with the fact that we are all going to die no matter what. Or that lifes a struggle with no purpose. From the momment one wakes up to the day you die all the struggle done inbetween those two points is meaningless and alot of people can't deal with it. so what does one do?! delusion. one made up a great excuse/reason some few years ago that

I respond:
The idea that religion "helps people cope with suffering" is a marketing tool, not a truth.

Religions create suffering in order to pretend to jump in and say they can relieve that same suffering. We are not alone. Religion tells us that people, and the things in the world that matter to us are not important--even that they are evil. It tells us that the only thing that is real is what they are selling.

Please reject this nonsense. It's a common tactic in product marketing to "create a need" or a problem in order to make the item necessary. If "the world" and everything in it is trivial or evil, then of course imaginary Happy Land is the answer. If your values and desires are empty, and nothing in the world can "comfort you in your time of need, " then of course the answer is Jesus.

They want you to be weak so you have to join their groups. Being an atheist can peel these things away, and show you that your values ARE meaningful, and you ARE strong enough to handle all kinds of suffering that life really gives you. You no longer have to accept that the world and your values are meaningless.

So what do you think? Is it true that people who "cannot cope" with death and suffering are trained to think they can't cope, by religion? Exactly how are they not coping, anyway? Are christians incapable of going into deep, clinical depressions after the death of a loved one? Are there people who, if convinced that there is no afterlife, will just die of grief or kill themselves? (I guess that would be the definition of "not coping." I'm sure there are, but I seriously doubt they match the actual population of true believers out there.

True Believers who, by the way, couldn't be convinced of no afterlife anyway.

The excuse that "people are too weak to handle suffering without God" is, I think, a smokescreen. Who doesn't have to cope with suffering, in real, tangible ways? Besides--they are coping with suffering without God. There are no Gods.

Are some people, maybe afraid that they can't survive any suffering without their belief? I think so. Don't they see that there is much coping going on by atheists and people who believe in "the wrong gods?"
Are these the kind of people who don't realize that there is existence outside of their own minds?

Thanks for listening, diary.


Skull_Duggery said...

Religion teaches us that we can survive the dark times if we just put our faith in God. The truly beautiful part of this marketing scam is the way they get healthy, rational human beings to abdicate their responsibility to themselves and to their own self-respect by handing over their whole internal support structure to a service industry created out of thin air. Is it any wonder that the current scandals in the Catholic Church have created havoc with the lives of so many? What the hell do you do when the rock you have clung to for your whole life turns out to be made of papier mache'?

Religion is a prime example of the juggernaut you can make out of a long standing family business that thrives on the fear of the masses. Tell them what they need to do to feel safe and they will do it. Get them hooked on the psychological reefer of faith and they will eat out of your hand forever.

If anyone doubts the marketing ploys used, examine, if you will, some of the other monstrously successful marketing scams developed over the years such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, and any religious holiday of your choice. The greeting card industry sells you the solutions to the insecurities and fears raised by the gift-giving occasions of their own creation. If the companies never existed, then there would be no problem. Self-perpetuating vices are perennially popular with those who have no faith in their own judgement, and apparently way too much time on their hands.

Akv said...

Religion as a self help tool i think helps many people deal with their issues as a sort of self psychotherapy. You tell God what your problem is and sooner or later he gives you an answer. If anyone did this without God in mind it would still work. Spirituality, religion, accessing the subconcious. These to me are all ways of dealing with our problems. Just because it works doesn't mean that there is a God. Like those simple optical illusions where you stare at an image and then stare at a white wall and an image appears. Just because it works doesn't mean there is a God.

breakerslion said...

First they give you the disease, then they sell you the cure.

You also nailed it with the "smokescreen" observation. The whole industry of religion is perpetuated by incessantly blowing smoke. It's like a giant Coca-Cola ad campaign, and with similar success. If this were not so, then why doesn't religion follow the old adage, "once you get the message, hang up the phone"? I don't constantly re-read my math or history text books, so why is all this holy-rolling necessary to sell the contents of a book that has not been revised in hundreds of years?