Have you ever noticed exactly how insecure people of “faith” are? I’m really talking about most theistic belief systems, but my experience is primarily with Christians, so I’ll concentrate on them. Actually, Christians seem like the most insecure people when it comes to their religious beliefs though I guess the same could be said about Muslims, those people who are so secure in their faith that they need to kill those who don’t share it. But I digress.
I’m talking about Faith with a capital “F”, not faith with a small “f”. The former is what most commentators of religion refer to when they talk about People of Faith, the latter is simply a confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. The former describes people who believe in a higher deity that controls their lives, the latter describes an aspect of human reasoning that is primarily based on evidence. For Christians, this Faith is embodied in their Bible, but it is a faith that is subject to constant interpretation, cherry-picking and even downright ignorance, while it ignores the realities of history and science. For the latter, faith is based on the everyday experiences of human existence.
Using a very common, albeit overused but still appropriate, example, I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. Why? Primarily because in all recorded history, along with the direct experience I have gleaned from waking up for more than 19000 consecutive mornings, not once has the sun failed to rise in the morning. I therefore have direct and indirect evidence that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. I also have significant and overwhelming scientific evidence of the workings of celestial bodies obtained from people much smarter, and far more qualified than me, to rely on. So I have a well placed faith in this belief, one supported by somewhat overwhelming evidence.
People of Faith believe in the existence of their god(s). They believe that their god(s) are responsible for their very existence, and control their future. They believe that these god(s) have emotions like their own, such as happiness, anger, and jealousy, and that those emotions must be appeased by their own human actions and thoughts. They have Faith that if they follow certain rules (often revised) from their scriptures, they will be rewarded by these happy, angry, jealous god(s) at a time that they have no ability to experience now, and have no evidence even exists – their own afterlife. They have Faith that all of this is true. Their Faith is predicated on their scripture, but must be constantly reinforced by weekly, sometimes daily, meetings with others of their Faith, meetings that are supervised by a paid religious leader whose specific job is to keep them from losing that Faith.
One would think that if their particular Faith was supportable by commonsense evidence, they would not need daily or weekly meetings to reinforce that Faith. They wouldn’t need a pastor, minister or priest, nor a religious hierarchy setting up rules and commandments designed to keep them in line. The existence of their god(s), and the Faith they placed in them, would be obvious. If their god(s) existed, there would be hard evidence of that fact. They wouldn’t need to be herded as if flocks of sheep, to use a Christian metaphor. Certainly, I have no need to attend weekly meetings of the Sun church to maintain my belief that it will rise tomorrow. The evidence all around me is there for the picking.
Now we have the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission issuing their 2008 top Ten Instances of Christian Insecurity Bashing. What could possibly explain such ludicrous whining from the most powerful, most populous, most popular religion in the world, in the history of mankind? In a word – INSECURITY. Why would a faith, secure in its convictions, care if Bill Maher, or Jack Black are involved in films that criticize religion? Why would they even characterize it as “bashing” unless they were afraid of the inherent truth of the “bash”? (If someone told me the sun would NOT rise tomorrow, I wouldn’t consider him a sun basher. I’d consider him a fruitcake.) Why would they say that Barack Obama is not a True Christian unless they were afraid of anyone that called themselves a Christian while at the same time deviating in small ways from the True Christian dogma? Again, INSECURITY. It’s the only explanation. The so-called War Against Christmas is another overwrought example of this mindset.
Religion is involved in the most prevalant of mass self delusions in the history of mankind. Deep down, religion knows that its Faith is not supportable by anything other than the self delusion of its adherents. It knows that when Faith is questioned in any way, the potential for a mass awakening is very real indeed. This embodies the definition of insecurity, when a popular ideology is based on shaky, if not non-existent premises, it must strike back at any and all attempts to undermine it, for fear of self destruction.
It’s actually pathetic to see Christianity trying to convince the world that it is a minority being discriminated against like blacks, Jews, gays and atheists. Look at their Press Release:
Every day in America serious Christians face increasing hostility at work, school, and in the culture because they stand for their faith and values.
You don’t see adherents of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, (members of which – with tongues firmly planted in cheek - are actually a minority religion), whining about pastafarian bashing, do you? How can one even begin to sympathize with the above complaint? Obviously, it’s a Madison Avenue ploy to distract the Faithful from legitimate questioning of their Faith, in the hopes of staving off a mass exodus from religion. Religion is a Big Business, and without mindless people of Faith whipped into security in their beliefs, the cash cow will die.
So keep that in mind when you see complaints from so-called true Christians that they are being persecuted, even though the days of the lion’s den are a historical artifact. What you are seeing is a manifestation of basic human insecurity in beliefs that have no foundation.