I've been doing a good bit of thinking recently (scary, I know), and I've realized that rationality is entirely removed from traditional values or ideals when religion is involved. Perfectly reasonable people who value thoughtfulness, logic, and rationality will completely abandon those values if it means their religion is at stake. Faith is unacceptable in all other facets of life besides arguments over the existence of a deity. Credulity is prevalent but still mocked. Most everyone is out to disprove internet hoaxes, fact check opposing political demagogues, and point out falsehoods in any other area, but as soon as you bring up religion it all disappears.
Why is it that a society of information loving people like ours can become so hostile to logic and science the minute it touches their sweet Jesus? Why do half of Americans deny the fact of evolution by natural selection while simultaneously owning designer breed dogs? Why is the Big Bang suddenly bogus but pretty much all the rest of astrophysics is just fine? Why is radiometric dating viewed as hokum when it was discovered using the same scientific method used to discover everything else?
I think I might know why, but I'm sure those more versed in sociology could put it more eloquently than I can. Or more correctly.
For some reason, there comes a great deal of strife with being incorrect in our society. Proving someone wrong is the intellectual equivalent of beating them at arm wrestling. Being wrong is almost shameful. Admitting you're wrong is difficult, because correctness is so strongly linked to the ego. We live in a world where it is easier to persist in delusion than to face reality because of the fear of being perceived as inferior upon admitting defeat.
For this reason, people who know their arguments are illogical or simply incorrect will cling even more tightly to them. The religious know there is no justification for their religiosity perfectly well, but refuse to give it up. After all, it would not just be one person who was wrong, but centuries of people before them. So they persist, endlessly trying to justify their ridiculous beliefs while ignoring the blatantly obvious fact that no justification exists for religion. Every tenet and motif of every religion in history has been demonstrated to be incorrect, unsubstantiated, unnecessary, illogical, ill-conceived, and unbelievable, yet they believe.
Only one thing really stands as a bastion for the ridiculous concepts of any given religion, and that is faith. Faith is irrationality given form. It's completely unjustifiable, it stands against all logic, and it's the bane of rational thought. Faith naturally becomes the closest ally of the religious. Why think when you can believe in spite of thought? Faith perfectly fits the needs of this dilemma because it allows those with any cognitive dissonance to leave it at the door. Rationality and the concept of correctness fade away when faith is involved, because it destroys them both. Faith preserves the ego that would be tarnished by admitting defeat, and every religious founder (read as con artist) knew this perfectly well. Why do you think they all demanded faith from their followers?
Tl;dr: religion only exists because of faith, and faith is the cheat code for intellectual dick measuring contests.
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