The Cost of Being Honest

Since I was a kid, probably around nine years old, I have known with absolute certainty that there is no afterlife, there are no gods, and that life is more pain than peace and more sorrow than joy. That dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest that conservatives claim to love so much in economics and social justice is the law of the universe. I know that. Even more to the point, I know that almost every person who pretends to be a true believer of every “faith” invented by human beings knows the same thing. Some of you pretend to believe in your gods because you’re terrified of reality, many pretend to believe because they make money from all of the song and dance that comes with superstition and hoodoo, the rest know that convincing people to tow the line on make-up rituals and superstitions is the cornerstone to creating a servile public that won’t bite back when the elites take their usual over-large “share” of the shrinking pies. The remaining few who actually believe in gods and the Big Rock Candy Mountain are simply crazy. There are, for sure, millions of crazy people, but there are billions of the other sorts.

 Pretending to believe is the easy course to take and the most common path, especially for kids. Getting into that habit early makes faking it easier, even semi-natural, as an adult. One of the things kids learn early is that adults do not like to be called on their bullshit. They dislike it so much that they will abuse, abandon, and disfigure their children in an attempt to squash the natural impulse to ask “why.” Nothing about that response is, of course, convincing, but for most humans ending the questioning is good enough. You don’t have to really believe in the bullshit, you just have to pretend to believe and learn enough of the rituals to avoid attention.

All of that comes with a price tag. The price paid by conservative societies like ours, the Muslim countries, and much of Eastern Europe comes due when any sort of stress gets applied to the social or economic system. Outside challenges to the lies and pretense can cause total meltdown and the end result is often what Arab countries have demonstrated for the past 400 years: total stagnation and cultural decay in the service of maintaining the status quo of the lies and the people who profit from them. 

When “In God We Trust” becomes the national motto, reality has to take a distant back seat in the bus to keep truth quiet.

My father and I got into pissing matches over my resistance to joining the Protestant cult; from when I was an adolescent until right up into the last years of his life. Until recently, I thought he was just trying to make me conform for selfish conservative reasons. I am just now suspecting that  he was trying to teach me how to conform to minimize the difficulties I would experience in a life of being an outsider. Religion, especially cultish and dangerous evangelicals, are a growing portion of “the uneducated” that Trump loves so much. A lot of the western world is losing its religion, especially Germany, the UK, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the rest of the Nordic crowd. I suspect I would be more comfortable there, if I could speak any language other than Midwestern-butchered-English. Too late now.

An upside of Trump is that he has totally discredited any moral claim evangelicals may ever make. It’s pretty obvious that their love affair with a philandering con-artist is 1,000% about the money and 0% about “Christian values;” unless, money is the Christian value. As weird as Americans are about Islam, "While more than nine in 10 Americans would vote for a presidential candidate who is black, a woman, Catholic, Hispanic, or Jewish, significantly normaler percentages would vote for one who is an atheist (54%) or Muslim (58%)." No problem, I suspect most atheists who want to run for office just do what Trump has always done: lie. The rest of us would just as soon not waste our time working for superstitious nitwits. a

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