Posted by: cochinblogger | December 7, 2009

Atheistic Thoughts on Viewing Dr. Hasan’s PowerPoint Slides

Some time back I watched the PowerPoint presentation given by Dr. Hasan, the Fort Hood killer. It’s available here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2009/11/10/GA2009111000920.html

The following are some atheistic thoughts that crossed my mind after viewing the slides. Theists, please do not be offended. I’m an agnostic, and as such, don both atheistic and theistic hats as my mood dictates. I’m sure I’ll post a theistic rant before many moons. OK, here goes:

After the first few slides my eyes glazed over and a mental paralysis set in. Religious texts always have this effect on me. I remember going to Sunday School as a child. I was a skeptic from day one. All the sermons about faith, all the threats about the afterlife … all were water off a duck’s back. I’ve read that some people are more resistant to hypnotism than most. Children are usually easily indoctrinated into religion. A combination of stories at the intellectual level of fairy tales and authoritative adults usually secures compliance. Well, I belong to the resistant category. I could never take the religious texts seriously. Word of God? Says who? And why should I take it on trust? I asked to be shown. Nobody could show me. Faith, faith, faith … That’s not good enough for me.

This guy, Hasan, has obviously been mainling religion, overdosing on it. Couple that with a sense of grievance, a rabid Imam, and conflicted loyalties … and he just went over the edge.

OK, I accept that most people need religion. They cannot cope with uncertainty, and need the reassurance of a God above who will tuck them safely into bed every night. Babies have pacifiers; grown-ups have that imaginary friend in the heavens above, who was hyperactive hundreds and thousands of years ago dictating commandments and instructions and what not, only to go into a Rip van Winkle sleep afterward. Sheesh! You’d think He’d have the decency to send periodic updates via a Web site if prophets are in short supply. But no; He prefers to hide behind some cosmic petticoat. You want an imaginary friend? Fine, I have no problems with such people, as long as their religious beliefs are compatible with 21st century science and secular ethics. You want to stone adulterers? Do us a favor: get yourself a time machine and zap yourself back in time.

Fortunately, most people take their religion with a pinch of salt, and go to churches, temples, and mosques only because they want to show their relatives what good boys and girls they are. So, there’s no problem. It’s the literalists and fundamentalist who are the problem. Couple that with political grievances, modern technology, an international network, and we have serious problem on our hands.

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