Christianity does an excellent job of converting people to their religion, so long as the individuals don't want to believe that there is no life after death. One doesn't even need to believe that the premises the current version of the church uses are the best, the final, or actual word of their god, because the truth of the premises--note the lowercase 't' in truth--takes a backseat to the Truth of the premises. Thus, doctrines change, Popes change, even basic bible interpretation changes, but Truth doesn't change. Can man know Truth? Nope. He can only succumb to it.
How do we reconcile this? Well, if your intellect is having difficulty understanding exactly what this means and entails, then you're not alone. Orwell points out that even believers experience a sort of cognitive dissonance toward it, in other words, what's immediately present in their lives differs than what is subjectively believed and encouraged. In a letter written in response to a Catholic reader Tribune, a writer said, "The figure of Christ (myth, or man, or god, it does not matter) so transcends all the rest that I only wish that everyone would look, before rejecting that version of life." So here you have someone who is passively bullying others into their spiritual point of view, stating that it's a moot practice to draw out the meaning in spiritual metaphors, to try to view things literally, or to even reconcile the identity of the holy figurehead labelled as their savior. The statement that the form of this deity--and not just the word of the deity itself--so far transcends us that it puts us in a subordinate and inept position that we are eternally compensating for our own internal inadequacies. To paraphrase the late Christopher Hitchens, "They tell us we're naturally bad, but expect us to be good."
Monotheism isn't necessarily a problem until it's directed outward onto those who don't share the compulsion for superstition, and especially when it's slovenly conducted like this Tribune writer describes. Would we allow the medical field avoid clinical trials because we want to believe good medicine will thrive in the end? Absolutely not; we develop paradigms based on principles and apply our intellect toward bringing the body and mind back to a state of balance, aka, health. What this writer was trying to say was "god is objectively true, so no matter what form our belief takes, he's still there." This is problematic because its fundamental orientation operates from the non-debatable want of belief. Our strengths and weaknesses toward medicine have nothing to do with our certainty of medicine's objectivity (in fact many medical treatments are subjective, such as laughter, massage, and pet therapy) but from our drive toward its understanding. The basis of all religion is thus a want, a desire, a feeling, unlike how the basis of a secular orientation is an active intellectual pursuit. This pursuit simply says, 'Yesterday informed what I know today, and tomorrow can teach me more, so long as I use my mind to observe, reason out, and question without pre-condition.' This orientation is wildly different than the Tribune writer's, who merely wishes that "everyone would look, before rejecting that version of life." Do they really want that? Because whenever an intellect looks at church doctrine, they get accused of applying objectivity senselessly and uselessly, and in the past, have been tortured and killed. Suspend your intellect, your judgement, even your own values you hold close, and yes, maybe you'll start to feel monotheism as beneficial, but only because you carved your moral guts out like a human pumpkin.
Many of the Catholic church's doctrines have faded over the years, like the existence of Hell, sinning, and forbidding dancing, because despite all the scripture and threats and heavenly promises, Western civilization has grown more liberal, and thus, away from the oppressive machinations of the church. This process itself hasn't simply cured all the ills created by monotheism (because its still around), and since civilization is still exploitative and fear-monging--hence still oppressive--man has perpetuated the production machine and the distinct ills that it brings, like an addiction to concrete-thinking, eradication of the Humanities, relativism, reliance on money, and destruction of Nature for productive purposes. Despite the decay of Christianity, man still has demons. He simply shifted from one paradigm--which was emotionally fickle, nonsensical and oppressive--to another, which is still oppressive, though lets you work to be oppressed in the least noticeable way.
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