The ultra-violent nutcase country known as Canada is in the global news again as more retarded psychopaths have lost their minds and gone on more murderous rampages.
The psychos this time were both recent converts to extreme sects of the Islamic "faith." Both were born in Canada and at some recent point in their lives became obsessed with muslim views.
Quotes from friends/family of the now-deceased crazy men have said of the men in both cases that they were perfectly normal enough guys until they found religion and then they "changed."
Obviously you can't condemn all religious people for a couple of extremists yet if you're anything like me and you are creeped the fuck out by religion...then when things like this happen, don't you start wondering about all those religious friends you have and start to wonder if they are one step away from going totally psychopath crazy?
I think it would be helpful to understand how religious people think and it would also be handy to have a sort of "threat level" go-to guide to identify religious people. So in this essay we shall be looking into (A) how to gauge how crazy your religious friend is, (B) how the religious mind works and why it is difficult to de-religify a human, and (C) how to diminish religion from your life so can be normal and cool.
Religious Threat Levels
The religious mind occurs in a variety of ways, in some cases the religious sentiments are harmless and healthy whilst in other cases the sentiments are extreme and violent. Note that the following threat levels apply to ALL religions and specifically to the religion most common in North America which is Christian/Jewish/Muslim.
Threat Level 0: The person believes in some form of a creator or creators which are formless and in no way can be proven yet due to the perfect clockwork complexity of our non-random universe they feel a creator must have existed or still exists. This is perfectly 100% normal.
Threat Level 1: The person believes that said creator not only exists but also has some sort of direct control over the goings on in the world. In many cases the person believes that they can talk to this creator and in many cases will "pray" to it or exercise some form of communication with an entity they believe exists even though they can't see/hear/touch/taste said entity.
Threat Level 2: The person has read some form of ancient story-book of fables which gives characteristics and back-story to the creator or creators. Many of these texts of fables were written thousands of years ago and are filled with fantastical or mythological story arcs which to a non-believer seem as far fetched as a Marvel Comic book yet to the believer of the religion these books are the absolute "truth" and they live their life in accordance with these story books.
Threat Level 3: The person believes a portion of the story book which deals with heaven/hells and angels/demons or some sort of similar fictitious phenomena. This goes without saying that if they can believe in things of this magical nature, then they can basically believe in anything, and their ability to think rationally about the world around them is compromised. They believe in ghosts, goblins, demons and all sorts of things a child of the mere age of 4 would have difficulty believing really exist. They may display paranoia in regards to "satan" or "demons" or any suchlike a make believe creature.
Threat Level 4: The person not only believes in their story book to the point of absolute truth, and believes in demons (etc.)...but also views the other religions from other story books as being evil. They believe their book to be absolute truth and competing story books to be the work of devils or demons and the followers of these competing texts as being lesser than human.
Threat Level 5: The person not only believes the opposing religions to their own are evil...they also want the people of opposing religions to die in some form of Crusade, Jihad, Zionistic War to cleanse the "promised land" of heathens so they can have the piece of earth which they believe their "god" promised them (tip: it's usually fucking Israel or Mecca or some dumb place for some reason...that's the "promised land" apparently).
Okay, so those are the five levels of danger in the religious thinking mind....they go from 0 being totally normal and healthy...to 5 which is batshit get-outta-town fucking crazy. Most people will fall somewhere in between those lines of religious thinking and usually around the second or third level. Movin' along.
The Religious Mind: Why it is Difficult to Counter
The main benefits normal level 1-2 people get out of religion are the following three things...
1. They don't feel the whole world is a random chaotic mess and that some wise creature in the sky has a plan that they can follow.
2. They don't feel like death is the Game Over screen of life and they will live a second more funner life in some cloud planet or heaven-like arena of some variety.
3. They will see their favorite deceased relatives when they die who are already living that super-fun Life II up in the sky.
That makes them very very happy and it is not my or anyone's right to make them unhappy by telling them otherwise. People who get comfort from believing these things live happier lives and more power to them. Trying to take these beliefs away from a person would be like pulling the carpet they are standing on out from their feet forcing them to lose balance and fall over and struggle to get back on their toes and re-pump themselves up.
I'm not here to pull out any carpets under anyone's feet...I think if people have beliefs that make them happy then good for them. Religious threat levels from 1-2 are a-o-kay and will result in more happy brains than sad ones. There is nothing wrong with you or your friend or family member if they are exhibiting religious levels from the zones of 1 and 2....nothing unusual at all.
Threat level 3 is where things get a little prickly. This is a person, as noted above, who thinks satan is a real thing and makes decisions based on weird paranoid non-rational criteria. It seems like satan lives in all sorts of things if you listen to level threes...from Iron Maiden CDs, to bikini swimsuits, to you name it. People like this might even start tying up their kids and preforming weird "exorcism" rituals on them if they come home with a rock n' roll record or something. This is the threat level where things get a little out of hand. It is almost impossible when they reach this level to ever bring them back because for someone to operate at this level they needed to have tossed any rational behavior patterns out the window. How can you convince someone that something no one can see/hear/taste/smell doesn't exist? It's impossible for you to disprove it because you have nothing to go on. The fact that a person is able to believe something they can't identify does exist is where the problem itself lies and no matter how much you try to convince them otherwise...you're fighting an unwinnable battle. You can't convince an irrational person to be rational.
By the time they go past level 3 it's already over, the person in question, will not ever come back. If they can convince themselves that things they can't identify exist...then they are on the path to believing ANYTHING and sadly most priests, rabbis, and imams are not spewing the most sane of information at these little religious get-togethers these religious people meet up at. All it takes is one whacko to tell them "THESE GUYS ARE DEVILS" and crazy things like "IF WE KILL THEM WE'LL GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN." All it takes is a couple of things like this going into a level 3's ears for them to quickly devolve into a level 4 or even a level 5 religious person....and once they hit level 5, forget, it, they are a danger to themselves and others...big time.
How To Talk to A Person You Think is Level 4 or Level 5 Religicrazy
Okay, first off, if you have a friend or family member who you believe is at level 4 or 5 on the religion scale you can't be dismissive or mean with them. As much as it compels you in your sane and rational brain to just spurt out the words you so long to say...
"...Yo, how stupid are you to believe this bullshit!?"
They will resent you more and go off believing their crazy stuff even more. The next lesser mean style of thing to say is to break down their beliefs into basic and actual terms in the hope they realize how silly they are being in the form of something like...
"...Ok, so, you pray to an imaginary friend in the sky every night to fix your problems for you? Why don't you just try to actually fix your problems instead of putting them on the shoulders of someone who doesn't exist because obviously your problems will never get solved that way..."
That is still mean and they will resent you but it's a step in the right direction. Taking absurd religious statements and just saying them out loud using rational language is a step in the right direction.
Bottom line is, you really can't ever stop a 3+ from being religious...they are literally beyond the point of no return.
What about Yourself?
Statistically, 99% of people on planet earth are somewhere between level 1 and level 5...do you know where you sit? Are you happy with where you sit? Would you like to lower yourself on the threat scale? Would you like to actively de-religify your brain? Here are some simple steps you can take.
1. Mentally Edit the Language you Use both Internally and Externally
No, I'm not talking about english, or german, or french, or chinese, or spanish....I'm talking about conceptual structures of language. Is religion part of your daily vocabulary? Do you hit your thumb with a hammer and yell "Jesus Christ my Thumb!" or see something unusual and say "Oh my God!" ? That's using religion in your vocabulary and it strengthens your religious beliefs every time you say those things.
If you want to de-religify then next time you stub your toe just replace the religious words with onomatopoeias or expletives. Like, next time you stub your toe just yell "OW!" or "SHIT! OUCH!"
That's one simple step to begin taking yourself down a couple notches on the religious threat scale. Anything that makes religions have a lesser impact on your daily routine is a step in the right direction.
2. Don't Pray for Yourself or Others
You can't trouble-shoot a problem or fix a problem of ANY kind by praying to your voodoo gods to solve them. Some religious folks will even pray for a kid with a cut for a god to come and make the cut magically heal instead of stopping the bleeding and getting a bandage on the kid. They will literally pray over the kid and wait for a voodoo god to magically heal them. Cuts are a very basic medical example but it ranges to many many easily treatable medical conditions that people think they can magically pray to heal.
People pray for other people too. There is nothing more offensive to me than when I hear, "I'll pray for you." Personally, I don't want to be in anyone's pre-bedtime communications with their imaginary friends...I really don't. Praying is beyond useless...and if you use prayer INSTEAD of actually trying to solve an easily solvable problem then "prayer" is downright counter-productive and bad. In the case where it results in children dying...prayer is negligent and horrible behavior.
I'm not offended by many words....I don't care if someone says fuck or shit or dick...but "prayer" is one of those words that sits uneasy with me. It offends me.
3. Remind Yourself Ghosts Don't Exist
Most people will go to a child having a nightmare and say something like..."don't worry nothing you saw in those dreams was real...there's no ghosts or skeletons in your mind to kill you". Yet it seems millions of adults, NOT EVEN CHILDREN, believe in a wide variety of supernatural beings. Just tell yourself that there is no such thing as ghosts just like you'd tell a child...tell it to yourself.
4. Leave a Church/Synagogue/Mosque that you feel is getting too Culty-Wulty on You
For me, all of these buildings are cult buildings full of weird behavior, but I'm a level negative-1 so things are always weird for me when I observe religious rituals. If you are in a religious group where you feel the leader is getting a little fucked up...don't just go with it....ask questions or even cancel your membership in this cult. There's many sure-fire signs you are in a cult ranging from the leader asking you not to think for yourself, or ask you to engage in weird rituals... BUT...the big thing is if any leader of the cult you are currently in starts talking about violence against others, if that happens, you know your religion is bad news. If your priest/rabbi/imam is telling you to start hurting other people then get the fuck out of there in a hurry...that place is fucked up.
The positive parts about religions are the rosy beliefs they give you and the nice people you get to meet in your gathering place. Yet, if you feel your cult is getting too culty-wulty on you...then book it out of there in a flash...you don't need crazy cults in your life...you got too much to worry about as it is.
Religion is fine and dandy and good and everything...blah blah blah....let's get that respectful platitude out of the way before we cut into it...
...but if you or a friend are displaying unusual threat levels of religious thinking then it might be time to really start wondering if they or yourself are fucked up. I know it's mean, I know you're not supposed to talk bad about religion....but it really is these magical beliefs and irrational thinking that leads to a lot of folks goin' bonkers...it really is.
Still, you can't just pull the rug out from under them or rip religion off like a band-aid...you really have to make a mental adjustment both internally (how you think) and externally (how you speak/act) to really successfully pull yourself down a few notches on the religion threat scale. It's not easy to give up beliefs you love...yet sometimes it's for the best.