Vaccinated by Religion, Innoculated by Love…

vaccination : Nurse holding syringe isolated on white backgroundAtheists are lucky. They get all the benefits of religion with none of the sacrifice: no long dark nights of the soul, no wrestling with questions of good and evil, or right and wrong, no giving to unnamed charities and the nameless homeless simply because ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I.’ No God = no grace; or not much, anyway. True, some secular humanists have adapted the same play-list without the figure-head, but still: more later on that….

Many an atheist will proudly proclaim the stupidity, ignorance or ‘religulousness’ of religion, while preparing to fly 3000 miles to go hear some half-assed R&R band play some half-assed three-chord comfort-food ‘classic rock’ as perpetrated by some sketchy characters of questionable habits and likely moral turpitude, simply because forty years ago, all that felt good: ‘the Cuervo Gold, the fine Colombian’, etc; yeah, right. Life is more than sensation, I reckon, thank God… 🙂

Vaccinations have been big news lately, and with the latest deadly measles outbreaks, the concept is worth analyzing. The deal is: as long as ninety percent or so of the populace is vaccinated, then everyone is vaccinated, by default. This is not just idle theory or abstract speculation, but can and has been proven many times over graphically and mathematically and in society itself.

So no matter how proud my Christian Scientist parents were of the positive results of their anti-vaccine principles, the fact is that we were vaccinated, by default to the law of large numbers. The problem is that in many areas of anti-vaccine sentiment, the numbers of the vaccinated are dipping so low that society as a whole is now in danger and the non-vaccinated cannot depend on the vaccinated masses to cover their asses. Or so the story goes, but I suspect that it is largely true. Vaccines work, in large part.

And so it is with religion. As long as most of society is religious, then the rest also get the benefits—peace love understanding and all that rap. I think Jerry Garcia even said something about us being Christian whether we like it or not, if you need the voice of authority. And so it is. It is nothing but human igno-arrogance—or fairy tale—to postulate an imaginary time in which all was peachy in the Garden of Eden: before all the apples, and Adam’s fall from grace, and the subsequent role of big bad religion gettin’ in yo’ big fat face; likely story, at best…

Religions have played a crucial role in the civilization (read ‘city-fication’) of the human race, at the point when previous tribal organizations were no longer equipped to provide leadership with belief systems and group efforts. And it has worked rather well, all things considered, up until right about… NOW. We seem to be entering an era of uncertainty and instability unforeseen and unprepared-for, this at the height of our material accomplishments and large-scale well-being, how ironic…

The Internet Era which could have united us ain’t so pretty, after all, and no one seems to care about articulating a sustainable future. The environment is in dire straits, and that ain’t no happy-go-lucky rock band. Why bother with success, after all, when there are so many reasons for failure? Or so the arguments go: why should we bother cutting greenhouse gas emissions unless China does, too, etc., etc? Nyaa nyaa nyaa, we cry like babies instead of acting like adults…

But this is not about politics. This is about beliefs and the systems that they create and are created by them. That’s the starting point; that’s the ending point. It’s time to drop petty squabbles over the minutiae of doctrine and dogma. We’ve got work to do if humanity is to survive, and religion has a role to play: discipline-love-wisdom = Islam-Christianity-Buddhism = youth-adulthood-old age; i.e. by my thinking we should be Muslims as children, Christians as adults, and Buddhists in old age—perfect.

Would that it were so easy. The societal changes that need to be made are not fundamentally political or religious; they are economic—and philosophical. As the human race grows up into middle age—hopefully—it’s time to move beyond the adolescent obsessions with sex/drugs/rock-and-roll or even home/career/family. It’s time to expand previous conceptions into something larger.

So we could drop the historical baggage and frame our future as ‘secular humanism’. But isn’t that just another ‘secular’ religion? Or we could appeal to a higher dimension and create something new in that vein to unite all the previous systems. Applications are now being accepted. ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ In an atmosphere of mutual respect and dignity, I’m betting we can. We have to. There is no Plan C. And you don’t want to know Plan B. You already saw the movie.

p.s. I like Steely Dan btw, and pop music in general, rock-and-roll in particular, BUT: it ain’t religion.

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