Religion Is Not the Problem

Here’s an interesting conversation I had this morning over Twitter with an atheist.  The first message was the broadcast one that prompted me to reply.  It links to an un-intriguing story regarding a mother in Italy who pulled her pre-teen son out of Catholic school because she thought the teacher was “too sexy” to teach classes.  It seems that a former model (no nude photos in her past – just fashion) went to college to become a teacher, and after going on to become a superior and well respected teacher at a certain Catholic school, was challenged by a student’s mother that she could not teach and should be fired because student-Mommy doesn’t like that the teacher is supposedly too hot, and that her son is “distracted” by her presence in the classroom (a standard Van-Halen-Hot-For-Teacher scenario).

Note: the teacher is NOT being fired by the school, and humorously… is also being vehemently defended by a group of dads, who have actually formed a support group… L… O… L…!

But beyond that mild chuckle… there’s no real story there.  But our atheist friend tweeted it anyway:

[from @starhunter81] “@religionnews: Former model ‘too sexy to teach’ at Catholic school: http://bit.ly/dwl8vQ – #religion” #atheism

[from @IAMSpirituality] @starhunter81 I agree with some of the hypocrisy of religions, but FYI, spirituality DOES exist. Scienctific explanation is coming: bit.ly/b1KX76

[from @starhunter81] @IAMSpirituality Never denied spirituality. There is a distinct diff between that and worship/warfare over fictional figures. #atheism

[from @IAMSpirituality] @starhunter81 Agreed. Not fully fictional – but def remade in man’s image. Real problem: Attachment of mind. Soccer fans worship & kill too. #truth

[from @starhunter81] @IAMSpirituality false. Soccer fans kill over something tangible, not hypothetical. This is like people killing over Batman. #atheism

[from @IAMSpirituality] @starhunter81 False. Soccer fans kill over something they invented in their heads that doesn’t exist in the sport. Connection to ego. #atheism

It’s tough to have good conversations over Twitter. You can never ensure that someone saw your last post in response. But I think starhunter81 did see the response (given his active replies previously), and although he didn’t reply (and may not agree with my last point because it doesn’t fit with his anti-religion position),  I think he got the gist.

The reality is that most ‘activist’ atheists miss the point: Religion is not the big problem causing most of the conflict within the world. It goes a step deeper than religion. The thing that causes conflict within the world… in fact… the thing that causes ALL conflict within world… not just war, or persecutions, or terrorist acts… but conflict right down to arguments within the home and fistfights in the local bar… the thing that causes conflict in general… is the mind’s attachment to ideas.

It’s a simple fact that people can be attached to a political position too vehemently. People can be attached to a sports team too passionately (as evidenced by soccer fan violence around the globe). People can be attached to a philosophical mindset too fervently (even atheism – ever hear an atheist argue with a religious zealot?  It’s entertaining, but two sides of the same stone.). And yes, of course people can be attached to a religion and its teachings also. But again, that doesn’t make religion the problem.

The problem… the real problem… is the attachment, or more accurately, the depth of attachment an individual has to any one thing, especially when taken to a point where the attachment actually becomes part of that individual’s ego. Would you expect a violent defense of Christianity from someone who says, “I guess I’m a Christian, but I’m open to other religions too.”  This is a weak attachment to Christianity, so it would be nearly impossible to get this person riled up enough to have even a mild argument if you made an attack on Christianity.  But if you made an attack on someone’s faith who was more deeply attached to it?  With someone who spends multiple days a week following their faith?  With someone who’s very sense of self comes from participating in their faith’s traditions?  BOOM!  Stand out of arm’s reach.

When any attachment becomes part of a person’s ego, they will be more prone to defend it violently, because in reality what they are providing a defense for is not just an intellectual position of the mind, but a defense of the definition of their entire existence itself.  Go find the wrong Millwall soccer fan (UK football) who gets a great deal of their identity from their association with the team… say openly to them, “Millwall sucks”… and you’re most probably going to get punched in the mouth… at least… if not shanked as well.  And why?  Attachment of the mind… sometimes to a point where it becomes a portion of a person’s identity.

And in defense of their identity… in “self” defense… people will fight to the death.

I’m going to better explain attachment and how the ego plays in with it in detail shortly, and man… it is going to be cool… stay tuned.

 

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