After a brief hiatus, I returned to check back on the responses my schoolmates were giving me. By this time some of my other friends were also responding in support of me, when one of them gave a small criticism of one of the kid’s personal beliefs (I think it must have been his religion). The kid responded with…
Roy, how DARE you insult my personal beliefs? Where does this bitterness come from? If you believed in hell, I’d tell you to go to it. I’m sorry your life spent on this planet is devoted to bashing faith and being pessimistic. Go find faith in something, somewhere where we can’t hear you.
I can see why they don’t seem to give a damn about the Bill of Rights. That First Amendment is mighty inconvenient right now, what with free speech added to secularism.
But, do you see what I see?
Well, that kid just wished Hell upon my friend.
Hell? Really? Somebody criticises a view which you made publicly and which you even wanted the government to support, and you tell them to go through the worst kind of suffering for all eternity?
Do you understand what eternity is? Eternity. Eternal suffering. He just wished eternal, unending, infinite suffering upon a human being just for exercising his right to criticise a view which you made public.
Even Hitler’s victims only had to live so long.
Let’s say you spent a decade being tortured in a POW camp or something.
Imagine not just the constant pain, but also the humility. Imagine being robbed of whatever dignity you had.
Now multiply that by ten and you’ll get a more than decent human life span. Multiply that by ten and it will take you back to the Dark Ages. Multiply that by ten and you’re beginning to reach the dawn of civilization. That’s an infinitesimal amount of time compared to the time our species has been around, about two million years. The time our species has been around is infinitesimal compared to the age of the Earth, 4.6 billion years. That’s still only a fraction of the time the universe has been around, about 13.8 billion years. And that’s still nothing compared to eternity.
Eternity NEVER ends. It goes on longer than the rise and fall of empires, longer than the birth and death of stars, longer than the collision of galaxies, longer than any cosmic event known to humanity, longer than the universe itself.
So I ask, where does that sort of bitterness come from? Just from a debate sparked by little old me trying to uphold secularism? Can you even be human and give that sort of wish? And, then, why should we listen when somebody that twisted tells me that I should have faith in something? It obviously has done that kid no good if he’s wishing that sort of rotten thing upon people.
I now feel quite sick to my stomach, thank you very much.
Of course, he must have said it without thinking… right?
But, then, that’s the problem I have with faith in the first place.
Unthinking acceptance of fairy tales is one thing. Unthinking belief that people deserve to burn eternally if they don’t have faith, or if they criticise it when you bring it to the public square is an entirely different thing. Unthinking belief that God is going to save you from eternal punishment and give you x number of virgins if you fly an airplane into a building based on what was said in a collection of those fairy tales is definitely a problem.
Am I saying that people who believe in those fairy tales are necessarily going to start killing people? No. That’s completely absurd.
But, if you’re going to say that we should unthinkingly accept something what’s to say we won’t unthinkingly accept racism? There are a lot of beliefs which could lead us to act in ways that won’t make the world a better place. Would you really want me to randomly choose something to have faith in?
We most certainly should not encourage unthought at any level.
Faith is anti-intellectualism in its purest form and the more we’re taught to value it, the worse we react when a belief of ours that ought to be criticised gets criticised. It’s the ultimate dam to a flowing river of ideas. It seals minds shut to exterior influences, yet still allows them to spout out their bollocks, even as it rots from lack of exposure to the changing world.
When a widely held belief needs criticism, it deserves to be criticised. Even if you have faith in it. So do I dare criticise your faith?
I dare. I dare bring reason and enlightenment to the mind of man. So burn me at stake.
I’m sorry, but I don’t need that. I’ve got no faith. I might have once held faith in humanity, but that went hurtling out the window just now at escape velocity and is orbitting the Earth somewhere beyond my reach. Yet, I’m perfectly fine. As shattered as my brain feels after reading all that, I still wouldn’t wish harm upon somebody solely for their beliefs as they would wish harm upon those who would simply support the healthy criticism of their beliefs… much less eternal harm.