The irreconcilable difference between believers and nonbelievers is in the ability to accept without questioning.
It dawned upon me long ago, as it has to many of you currently reading this article, that the irreconcilable difference between believers and nonbelievers is in the ability to accept without questioning. I came to my conclusion that no omnipotent being ruled over my life through analysis of my life and the world around me, and through this analysis questions propagated that could not simply be ignored. Questions such as, “Why is it that I was simply born into the correct region already inundated with the *only* correct belief? Why is everyone that happened to be born in an area not introduced to this faith system destined to be screwed? Does not such a detail self serve the purpose of both shaming those who do not believe and creating a purpose behind spreading that belief system?” The questions went on and on.
In a believer’s mind these questions are simply null. They are, “because it said so.” So to say, the authoritarian parent put its foot down, and it does not need a reason. The writer wrote an essay, and only needed one source. In my own mind this conclusion is both a quandary and dismayingly perplexing. These same individuals would vehemently question details that did not agree with their built in belief system, but one can not be too confused, as hypocrisy is the plight of humanity. It is hard to deny we are self serving, indulgent individuals whose only wish is to see our own view of the world proven correct. This could be said for both sides of the theist-atheist spectrum. It might be said the humanist struggle is one against our own instinct.
The Topic At Hand
This brings me to the topic at hand -- how has this submissive acceptance of given facts harmed us in the long run? There are the obvious answers, that many of you are now shoving at me through your computer monitor, such as, “We have become a less intelligent, intellectual, and scientific society.” But one might argue that religion has slowed down progress, not completely stopped it at this point.
No, I dare say the true harm it has caused is the built in response of being “okay” with a negative, or unacceptable situation. As a society we have been coaxed into questioning less, accepting more. It is a restrictive form of thinking that does not allow for inquiry nor discovery, only acceptance and moving on.
A Masochistic Tendency
This benign acceptance is both cultural and engraved through belief structures. Parents teach it to their children by taking the easy route and never supplying reasoning for their decisions. Churches, sunday school, and the like brand it into a child by telling them a singular book is all they will ever need to read to have their answers to life.
With the masses generally malleable, horrendous misdeeds may occur with only the slightest public reaction, ranging from concepts as petty as poorly written and malign laws, to the magnitude of mass genocides. The world feels it is okay to turn both eyes blind, as long as the status quo is maintained. This leaves those who question to be branded the, “counter culture.”
The true maleficence of such acceptance becomes clear when explained in such a way. Through the simple act of not acting, of accepting what is as always has been and forever will be, individuals are hurt, not just in singular cases but in many. All one has to do is research genocides where no government intervention occurred, or uprising of the masses to see my point become self evident. In cases such as the Spanish Inquisition, some genocides are even government sanctioned. In such cases one often sees small uprisings by the more attentive or affected individuals, but rarely ever does one see a strong defense put up by an entire population.
Imaginary Systems With Tangible Effects
In the same way we accept what is, we preserve systems that control us, even when we ourselves are the jailers. Every system from religious to economic, that has ever caused harm to individuals subjected to it, has ironically been sustained by the same people it harms. These are human made concepts that hurt humans.
It is in those individuals that refuse to question, and would rather see the world plainly, that this antiquated idea of status quo is preserved, and unfortunately that makes up the majority of humanity. My point, in summation, is that the true harm of being passive, malleable, and accepting of facts regardless of merit, is that you stunt progress. In stunting progress you preserve methods that needlessly hurt others, whether that was your intention or not.
I believe we can move past this age of halted progress, if only to pave a path for our future generations. We must learn to evaluate the world before us as a multidimensional object, and not simply some flat sheet to be seen as we wish it. But I am far more interested to know, what do you think? Is the status quo healthy, or is it far past expiration?