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…But I’m Not That Crazy…

by Noah Lugeons

It never fails to amaze me the way one religious person can look at the beliefs of an alternate faith and say, “well, that’s just silly” without realizing that the same is true of their own sacred cow.

I’m reminded of my freshman anthropology class. The professor was talking about the early signs of religion in human history and he spoke at length about the tribal magic of ancient cultures. A girl who was in the process of learning that college was for smart people looked puzzled and asked, “how could they believe in magic if it didn’t work?”

I glanced back at the crucifix hanging around her neck and then back to the prof to see how he would handle the question. I could see him biting the words “why do you pray?” back as they tried to escape. He was nicer than me. So I said it.

“People still believe in prayer and that doesn’t work,” I offered, much to the disgust of the inquisitor.

But somehow people can switch to a different set of eyes when they are looking at what is considered holy by the other guy. They can see how untenable and silly any religion is but their own. Even within their faith they can point to one belief of another and say, “well, I don’t believe in that, but I believe in this”. They offer it up as though clearly believing that a talking snake is silly, but a man sacrificing himself to himself to appease himself is quite defensible.

Poor Mitt Romney is finding this out the hard way. As he desperately seeks the republican presidential nomination he finds himself constantly butting up against the common prejudice that Christians have against other Christians. Of course, his liberal history as Massachusetts governor isn’t helping him either, but a number of reports overlook his support of jesus-ish policies like universal healthcare and go straight for his faith.

He’s a Mormon, of course, and those people are just weird. They believe that a magical space man came to America to teach people the ways of heaven. Of course, all the thinking folks understand that magical space men only go to the Middle East to reveal such things. Mormons think that God lives on some planet out in space when all the critical minds know that he lives in a different dimension paved in streets of gold. Mormons believe that special underwear can protect them from harm when smart people know that it takes water blessed by an ancient incantation to truly keep you safe.

It always strikes me odd that we atheists are often the only defense that small religions have against big ones. The general rule is that everyone is in favor of separation of church and state except the nation’s largest church. When the “ground zero mosque” was in the news it was largely the secular institutions (and, at the very least the secular community) that stood up and said, “hey, their stupidity is no more stupid than your stupidity.”

Evangelical journalist and general fucktard Warren Cole Smith was recently quoted as saying:

“You can’t say that his religious beliefs don’t matter but his ‘values’ do. If beliefs are false, then behavior will eventually–but inevitably–be warped.”

Smith, of course, would not tolerate this type of blatant and inexcusable bigotry if it was directed at his sacred cow. Interestingly enough, he accidentally pinpoints the source of his hypocrisy within that brief statements. His beliefs are false and his behavior is warped.

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