Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Killing for Myths

Cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker has shown that people can go to any length and expose themselves to any risk merely to prove that the myths they live by are actually true.  The Brussels bombing is the latest episode in man’s quest for converting myths into truths.

Myths are necessary for making life bearable.  How miserable would life be without the consolations offered by the pie that is awaiting us in the sky after death?  How can we survive without those gods at whose feet we can unload the burdens in our hearts?

As long as gods remain painkillers and shock absorbers, they are harmless.  But the problem is when their worshippers want to impose their painkillers and shock absorbers as the only entities of the kind on everybody in the world.  Christianity did this for a whole five centuries from about 1050 to 1550 CE in the name of crusades.  Did the world become any better place for all those killings and brutality and conversions and what not?

Today we have people belonging to other religions repeating that history.  Imposing their god(s) and canons on others.  They are very active in our own country (Bharat Mata) too.

Perhaps, all this mindless violence and cruelty have nothing to do with god(s) and truth(s).  Perhaps, it arises from frustration.  Frustration of all sorts.  For example, having been left behind by the flight of scientific and technological progress, by the accumulation of wealth by a few, by feeling of rootlessness, by sheer neglect... The reasons could be endless. 

Whatever the reasons, whether they arise from personal frustrations or from the need to impose one’s gods upon others and thus establish sovereignty over the others, religious militancy has done no good so far in human history.  When will our devout warriors of god(s) realise this?  Never, I’m sure.  Because religion has had little to do with realisations!  It’s all about myths.

PSAn Ode to Atheism

Atheism rises above creeds and puts Humanity upon one plane.
There can be no 'chosen people' in the Atheist philosophy.
There are no bended knees in Atheism;
No supplications, no prayers;
No sacrificial redemptions;
No 'divine' revelations;
No washing in the blood of the lamb;
No crusades, no massacres, no holy wars;
No heaven, no hell, no purgatory;
No silly rewards and no vindictive punishments;
No christs, and no saviors;
No devils, no ghosts and no gods.
                                                                By Joseph Lewis


  1. Establishing dominance is the real motto behind any of actions like this.

    1. I am also of the same opinion. But personal frustrations may also play a role since they tend to make people destructive and religion becomes a good mask for concealing the negativity.

  2. I sometimes don't know what to say. I wonder why people resort to such drastic measures. Frustrations play a huge role, you are right to point that out. People who are satisfied in their lives would not take such steps perhaps. Frustration and rage turn them blind.

    1. I think religion also makes people blind. The blindness may act as a palliative in many cases. But coupled with frustration, it becomes deadly. There are other factors too, of course.

  3. Matheikal, until and unless power hungry lords and their brokers stop using religion as their pawn, this state of affairs will never end. Recent reports, however, give me hope that the tide is turning with more and more people, including those in Saudi Arabia, reporting that they are atheists. The sense that I get is that the dog is beginning to bite its masters with people sick-at-heart with the religious strife around them and the havoc its causing

    1. Yes, Lata, all through human history religion and political power have been interrelated. They relied on each other for mutual support. In fact, both are tools made by clever people to manipulate the fools.

      I share your hope that the sensible people begin to understand this and start "biting back".

  4. Religion is such an immensely personal thing that it's astonishing that anyone thinks they can force someone else to do things their way. And of course, there is that 'otherness' where fanatics believe that there is only one god, only one religion. Sad state of affairs. Well written Matheikal.

    1. If religion remains a personal affair I will be converted to it :) - seriously, in fact.


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