A Fish Without a Bicycle
2012 April 2, Monday

     There seems to be a division between people who gravitate towards religion and people who do not. Just as 95% of our population is right handed, 95% of the human population seems to believe in some kind of diety, god, or supreme being. This is more than respect for the vastness of the universe or the fundamentality of the laws of physics and chemistry. It's a personification (or anthromorphism) of all that into something with personal emotion and human frailty.

     It's also about faith. Somehow it's considered a virtue to believe something truly far-out without evidence. If I had physical evidence for a god, then it wouldn't be a test of my character to believe.

     I'm among the 5% who have no inclination to believe in any god. It doesn't fulfill me or complete me to believe in it. I have the same commitment toward morality as the religious types for the simple reason that moral people live better and people around moral people (including people I care about) also live better. I just don't need to visualize an old man with a beard, or any other version, to convince me to be a good person.

     So 95% have the God Gene. One so-affected person said, "Well, I have to believe in something." That's the God Gene talking. To those of us born without it (Samuel Clemens comes to mind), "a man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle."

     Those who manage the big religions are happy about it. If I'm doing my arithmetic-statistics estimation correctly (and I'm open to correction), there are about 1800 million Christians, 1500 million Islam, 1500 million Hindi, 1200 million Buddhists, and 1000 million left over for everything else. (Jews constitute just 13 million, 0.2% of the world's population.) Nothing gives leadership more control over people than having control of their spiritual lives, especially when the afterlife is part of the equation. While right-handed people have pretty-much stopped converting left-handed children to their way of thinking, there are still many prosletyzers out there actively working to convert the religiously-unconverted, or differently-believing, to their way of thinking.

     I'm almost as afraid of religion than politics. The control it gives is absolute and terrible and so is the abuse. The last 200 years has shown us that politics can also do terrible things, but religion is still a threat to world freedom. Crusades and jihads should frighten all of us.



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