Believers Don't Believe
Speculations by Stefan Stenudd
A Sunday brunch conversation with a stranger slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon (paid link).
The Monkees sang that they thought love was only true in fairytales, until:
The same is true for religious people claiming to believe in this or that. They don't claim it to be a fact, they don't say they know it. They believe it, which is really confessing that they shouldn't, if they listened to reason. They reveal that they insist on something, although they can't even convince themselves of it.
So, every statement of belief is a confession to the contrary.
Those who say that they believe God created the world a few thousand years ago thereby admit to its absurdity. They confirm this by saying that they don't believe in evolution, which is a way of admitting that they know better. Those who believe in Heaven and Hell as the next destination after death admit that they really don't expect anything but bodily decay after their last breath.
Mostly, people say they believe in this or that god. Again, that's admitting such an entity to be highly unlikely, to say the least. What else could they say about someone (or something) so elusive?
It would be different if they said that they know this god exists, but that would be preposterous. They could say that the god is possible, which is as hard to deny as the opposite. Or they could be perfectly honest and say that they hope the god exists.
It's all about hope.
Atheists in heated debates with religious fundamentalists insist that they are stupid for believing, but that actually proves they are not. If they claimed knowledge, certainty, they would be. But by using the word belief, they hang on to their own reason and common sense. And they know it.
The true driving force of religious extremists is the fear of admitting to themselves that they have doubts, serious doubts. So, they try to silence what their minds are whispering to them, by taking a fanatic position and committing to it as blatantly as they are able. They hope that by this commitment they will finally convince themselves.
That's nothing but fear, of course. The fear of losing hope. It's the cause of much anguish in the world – and far from only to the ones stuck in this conflict of emotions.
December 20, 2011
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I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.