I’m getting better at posting monthly posts for peace. I believe in peace, though I’m not sure peace will ever be possible until the end of organized religions. Reading another blog recently I read a discussion between an Atheist and a Christian. While the Atheist spoke in scientific terms, the Christian used the Bible as his source of ‘proof’ of his various (erroneous) theories regarding abortion, homosexuality and the subjugation of women. (You could easily replace ‘Christian’ with ‘Muslim,’ or Hasidic Jew) And I’m not talking your run of the mill believer, but those who hide behind their religious text to dictate what others should also believe.
How can you possibly reason with someone who believes the Bible (or Quran or Talmud) is ‘proof’ of anything? A scientific treatise is just that, it doesn’t prove anything, the science behind the treatise is the proof. There is no scientific basis to religious texts. How can you have a logical discussion with someone quoting their bible as proof of the veracity of their claims about god and Jesus? How do you talk to someone who can’t concede even slightly that they might be wrong? Can you convince a Jihadist that the Christians are right? Can you convince the Christians that Allah is the one true god? What about the Protestants? They don’t believe the way Catholics do, though the difference to me is insubstantial. And what about the Jews? They don’t believe in god the way Christians do? Who is right? Because surely, someone must be right, right? They all contend that their god is the only true god and the others are imposters, based on their particular religious book. Similarities between the teachings of Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus are disregarded. When all three propose PEACE as their main idea. To treat each other kindly. They only wanted their followers to be happy, and to be happy, you have to let other people find their happiness as well. You cannot convince someone that your way to happiness is the only way.
And so we have wars, not peace. We have angry words between the pro-lifers and the pro-choicers. We have entities like the Westboro Baptist Church whose followers insist that their way is the right way. The only way to happiness (heaven). I don’t understand why some people feel that they have the right to dictate what others do. Whether Christian or Muslim, the believers must convince the non believers they are right.
It reminds me very much of False Memory Syndrome (FMS). My sister has FMS and believes the most horrific things happened to her growing up. She believes our parents were part of a satanic cult. She believes they forced her to abort my father’s child. She believes there were child sacrifices in the yard. If some of you are old enough, you may recall this phenomenon hit the mainstream awareness in the late 80s and early 90s. It was discovered that those individuals who claimed to have recovered repressed memories were all already under psychiatric care when the memories came up. No one began therapy with memories, only after some time under the care of a therapist did the memories begin to surface. Because the therapists’ methods were flawed. Just like police interrogation techniques can cause a false confession, these therapists asked leading questions, planting the seeds of ‘repressed memories.’
I recall a case where a girl sent her father to prison for life after “remembering” that her father killed her friend 25 years prior. The girl’s friend was indeed killed, but as was later proven, the girl’s father was not the murderer. Yet the girl was sure the memories she had were real and accurate. The key thing behind those who suffer with FMS is that they must convince others to believe in these memories as well. I know. My sister could not deal with the fact that I would refuse to discuss the potential untruth of her 35 years of ‘memories’. She has created a false reality about her past that no one can change, and requires that anyone around her must believe likewise. There is a huge swath of people who believe like my sister and despite any evidence to the contrary are convinced in the veracity of these ‘memories’ and a separate ‘sect’ of therapists which perpetuate the myth. I liken these therapists to people like priests, and imams, and rabbis, who believe the unbelievable despite any evidence.
Just as I will never be able to have a relationship with my sister because of her bizarre memories, we will never have peace. You cannot change what one person believes. Their truth is the only truth. And the problem arises when one group must convince the other which truth they can believe.