This was posted over on Ex-Christian.net. Thought it was worth spreading it here too.
First a definition: Pathological – deviating from normal, healthy, or efficient
Next some considerations of pathology in the context of evolution and society:
Evolution – The proper purpose of behavior in evolutionary understanding is to maximize the survival likelihood of the individual, the genetic line of the individual, and the species of which the individual is a member. There may be many ways to accomplish these ends but of course the ones to be preferred are those that are most efficient since individuals have limited life spans and resources.
From the definition provided above we can see that an individual who is not acting toward the named purposes in efficient ways is pathological from an evolutionary standpoint.
Society – Generally speaking societal behaviors or norms that are preserved in nearly all societies over nearly all times are evolutionarily favorable (and probably evolutionarily directed). Thus such things as family closeness, clannishness, community cooperation, patriotism, traditions, belief systems, and so on are likely to be positive, evolutionary survival behaviors since they can all provide a measure of security, and support that enhances survivability.
Once again, we can conclude that individuals who go outside these lines would fit the definition of ‘pathological’ since they place themselves not only out of the norms but may imperil their own survival by losing the support of community, family, etc.
If my reasoning is right then, I think we may safely conclude that we deconverts are pathological.
Matt 5:23,24 – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
There’s a nice principle. If you have a problem with someone else, you go and reconcile with them FIRST: THEN you come talk to your god. But honestly is this how it really works? No, we know it isn’t.
The church has this set of teachings that say, “God is the one most offended by your sins…. He’s the one you really must apologize to… Get right with him.” And along with those maxims goes the teaching that if you just confess to god, then you’ll be forgiven, shriven, cleansed. You’ll be back in good graces with your imaginary friend and all will be right. ….. or will it?
Haven’t you forgotten someone? What about the real, flesh and bone person who was truly offended and hurt by what you did? He/She is still there. Did you confess to him/her? How’s that relationship?
It’s so easy, so cheap to confess to the air and imagine that everything’s OK. You imagine your deity smiles on you. You may hear your priest pronounce forgiveness for you. But try going to that person you really hurt. Will he/she smile and forgive so readily? Or will you have to actually DO SOMETHING to earn your forgiveness? Might you actually have to change your ways? (That’s another actual bible concept called repentance.)
Yeah, confession is easy. Pronounced and imagined forgiveness from an imaginary being is cheap. But real repentance is hard, and real forgiveness is earned, and confessing to a real person you’ve actually harmed is scary.
But hey, religion is there to comfort folks, not challenge or change them. Not to make them better, just to make them happy.
So go to your altars; and if you have any real issues with real people, don’t worry; tell it to the air, then imagine all is well.
Unless you’re Orthordox in which case you’re still fasting and waiting for 5 weeks.
I don’t know the gal who wrote this, but I LOVE IT!
Just who the heck am I talking about here?
- Keeps track of who is being good and bad
- Rewards according to the list
- Knows what you are doing at all times
- Is aware of your requests for gifts and such
- Parents teach their children about him
- Has helpers of lesser abilities than himself
- Has supernatural powers
- Is known as loving and kind
- No one ever sees him
- Gets credit for things he doesn’t actually do
- Lots of songs about him
- May have origins in some historical character
- His example may inspire generosity in some people
- Does some rather weird miraculous things
Happy holidays whilst you figure on that.