The Rapture… or We Gotta Get Outta This Place

So much of our culture depends on some pretty weak fairy tales. What amazing feats we could accomplish if all ridiculous religious tenets would evaporate–if “faith” was understood as an obstacle to comprehension. We could build a society to make all others pale in comparison. Taking the Pyramids as a cue, the vastness of the scope of human projects could stand as monuments to all sentient life for millions of years to come (provided these buildings/monuments/whatever are made of stone). At any rate, there’s no reason we couldn’t have maglev rails over the entire populated core of each continent. For starters…

But no.  We have to live in a culture dominated by what any child (not reared in the tradition) would call horsepucky.  What my cousin Trena would call “a load of shit.”  And because this load of shit informs our calendar, our beliefs, our behaviour, even the limits of shame and belonging, we have an unconscious obligation to act accordingly, and not question or turn our backs on the “holy”.  But at what cost?

Well, a lot of hungry people.  Remember when “world hunger” was the cause du jour of many celebrities and intellectuals?  Did we “fix” it?  Does everyone go to bed with a full stomach now?  Not even close.  If anything, the problem has escalated–and now we have a better understanding that the lack of food for some people is not a logistical problem.  It’s a political problem.  Food control is one of the most effective (and hence, common) means of population control.  People aren’t too keen on fighting a rebellion if they are guaranteed their daily ration.  And besides, you’re already hungry.  Never fight a revolution on an empty stomach.

Is religion to blame for all our problems?  Certainly not.  But just as certainly, it causes problems that would not exist without it.  So, in summary, I pray for The Rapture just as surely as you do.  And without an underlying irrationality forcing conformity in sexual positions and afterschool programs and the seriousness afforded mythological accounts of ancient revolutionaries, we could begin work on a new society of with a higher standard of living for everyone.  It’s possible.

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