When is a religious slur humour?

When I’m the one telling the joke.  Finally, a good use for theists – guinea pigs.

Now, I guess I’m going to go the long way ’round, about this whole religion vs. atheism thing. After the cut, more about religion and atheism.  But just think, if it wasn’t for the many sacrifices of religious people, how much worse medicine would be.

Religion and atheism cannot possibly be reconciled, new research in psychology supports that.  We do have a “god receiver” in our brains, at least a substantial proportion of us do, but there switches and defaults and presets… and one switch is whether or not you can feel God’s presence when anyone else is around.  When you have a switch in your brain that only really allows you to feel – really! -God’s presence (as presented by the God Receiver in your brain) with other people, of COURSE you’ll proselytize.  You want company, and your brain is set up so that you CAN’T think anything except “Holy Cow, please have my version of Holy Cow!”  “But what about,” whines a naysayer, “people who switch religions, or get religion late in life, or lose their religion?”

ALL of those scenarios, those takes on the religious experience are real, they happen all around us every day. Fellas, while I have you on the horn, would you consider switching religions if it meant optimal conditions for optimal sex? Sorry, that was a viciously rude aside.  (Downmod this….)

So let us consider the varieties of religious experience, not in terms of what religion it is (your God Receiver doesn’t give a fig which one it is as long as the signal is coming in good and strong) but in terms of how it’s positioned in your life.  I will provide one short example.  I’m going to think about other scenarios later.

1.  You are born into a religion.  You are rarely exposed to and never consider another religion.  You like your religion – it suits your temperament. Your parents and children are in it with you, as are virtually all persons of importance in your family and community.

What people who find this scenario disgusting MUST understand is that it’s not bad to live like that.  In many ways the world is a stabler and safer place, not for everyone around one, but for more people in that community for more of the time; that world certainly doesn’t try to break one with emotional challenges every goddamned day of the week.  I’m speaking of the emotional toll that people who think hard about non-consensus reality must pay every waking moment.  You don’t get fiery thoughts without a lot of effort.  Thinking is work, no matter what anybody says.

Folks with a communal and stable religion apparently feel less in opposition to the world, (their experience of life and events) and that provides a psychological advantage to many many primates.  Is it true? Is the BASIS for that psychological advantage true? Feck, no.  Did Mary ascend bodily into Heaven?  Hell yeah, tell whatever story you like.  The apotheosis of this deity over the theophany of that.  Jesus walks on water; he’s the lifeguard at our pool.  Shiva dancing with the Medicine Wheel as if it was a bean filled hula hoop.  Reach into my candy sack, I have a god just for you.

It never was true.  That’s not the point.  We’ve got a God Receptor, and now we atheists, in the most brutal intellectual punishment, with a side of iron, in history, must needs explain how evolution accounts for the God Receptor without getting laughed outta church. This is the point where I furrow my brow and say, “Can’t we just kill them?” (please note, this is a quote from a movie and does not reflect my true feelings) but NO, I’m a good little atheist and even though your religion makes me barf, your scheming rationalizations make me puke, your attitude towards anything that is not a straight male makes my bowels loosen in horror, your revelatory swill & your self-abasing inanity pull my neck muscles out of true, my bladder sings its longing to void … yeah, I’m not a big fan of big religion and what it does to the brains of people I like.  Any of the big religions. They hurt children and they make of the universe the tiny plaything of a capricious wackdoodle, a.k.a. God or Allah or Krishna.

It is my contention about primate psychology that we’re designed to be as nice as we have to be to live communally (because we raise children communally) and as nasty as feck the rest of the time, ‘specially when we think nobody’s watching, or ‘specially when we think everybody’s watching and we want to put on a really big shoe – breeding plumage, social cohesion, novelty.  Let us say for the sake of argument that communally living a religion provides a kind of psychological immunization against loneliness and uselessness, both of which I consider to be the abiding scourges of the last 75 years of Western history.  Let us further suppose that it could be demonstrated that the psychological immunization pushes the hormonal presets of the human ape to an optimal level – not for particle physics, that would be too much to hope for – but for the successful rearing of generationally successful offspring.

Oh, snap!  Why are many of my favourite atheists childless? They think too much, that upsets their thinkythoughts, that upsets their brainy-wainies, that upsets their hormonie-wonies, and then fewer babby wabbies.  All that thinking leads straight to contraception, even if it doesn’t mess up your hormones. Anyway, despite the loathsome presentation I hope I’ve gotten the main point across.  If you ever want the privilege of hauling out your preprogrammed baby babble on your grandchildren, you gotta do more with your genitalia than coax pleasure from it.  Organized religion is a brain chemistry based response to communal breeding support requirements.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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