“There have been about 3,000 gods so far, but only yours actually exists. The others are silly, made-up nonsense; but not yours. Yours is real.”
Movies have inspired many a blog post title for me, and this one is no exception. It’s a line from one of my all-time favourites, Highlander. However, that’s about all that this post and the movie have in common. While my title may have been inspired by a movie, my topic is inspired by an internet meme of the above quote from comedian Ricky Gervais, and the musings of a well-known and sharp-witted atheist, Christopher Hitchens.
“Since it is inconceivable that all religions can be right; the most reasonable conclusion is that they all are wrong.”
These two quotes neatly sum up my feelings about religion in general. Even when I was still swimming in the Christian Science Krazy Sauce pool, I harboured an ironic antipathy towards religion in general (except Christian Science). I always have for most of my adult life. When I was a Christian Scientist, I didn’t view my religion as a religion per se, and many Christian Scientists don’t either, and many thus share a similar antipathy. I viewed it as a ‘way of life’, and I guarantee you that if you ask most Christian Scientists if Christian Science is a religion in the traditional sense, many will answer “no, it’s a way of [life, thinking, being, etc.].” Many would also describe it as a philosophy, and in many ways, that is how I still generally view Christian Science. It was a weird way for me to be religious while still having an antipathy towards religion. I see this as one of may ways in which not only Christian Science, but all religion has a way of twisting and warping the mind in ways that absolutely defy logic. In some extreme cases that twisting can result in the justification of some truly horrific acts–look no further than the unspeakably heinous acts being committed by ISIL/ISIS in the name of their twisted version of Islam.
So, which is the One True Religion? Which is the One True God/Allah/Ra/Zeus/Flying Spaghetti Monster? I don’t think any of them are. Religion and all deities are human constructs designed to fulfil needs for power and control, a sense of security, or an explanation for the unknown. All of it is, as the British so aptly say it, codswallop. I often use the word ‘bullshit’. I think they’re all wrong, and the thousands of deities throughout history, including God, are nothing more than figments of the human imagination. I hope the day comes when we finally evolve beyond the need for imaginary friends and accept the universe in its known and unknown glory.
Your piece reminds me of an observation my orthodontist once made: “The Mormons say THEY are the only ones going to heaven. The Baptists say THEY are the only ones going to heaven. You figure there are different heavens?”
Pretty well nails it.
The same type of beliefs…that of having the “only” truth, “absolute” truth, are quite readily identified by anyone in this religion, or who grew up in it. Very heavily emphasized. Read Science and Health every day. “Stand porter at the door of thought.” Don’t read anything or listen to anything that might lead you into other alternate explorations of thought…pondering. If you do, it can only harm you…because it isn’t Christian Science. So right there you have a form of mind control.
I mentioned that this quote was from my orthodontist. I was in the early period of having my teeth straightened….at age 25. Why? Because as a child, my mother told me I would never need braces…”work it out in Christian Science.” Well, after a childhood, at times having to deal with the comments of other kids about my buck teeth, having them imitate my buck teeth back to me, and facing the prospect of going through the rest of my adult life with buck teeth, I took matters into my own hands, and began the orthodontic process. Not the worst of physical neglect that goes on in this religion. There was no physical harm which was permanent…and I didn’t die from lack of medical attention. I’ve written about this before here.
The thing is, not every Christian Science home is a breeding ground for lunacy. I have been reading about how some C.S. children were never outfitted for glasses, because their parents viewed it as a “challenge from Mortal Mind” to their perfect vision, and were being primed to make a “demonstration” someday, wherein their vision would be sound. Looking back, I only have vague memories of hearing about this sort of thing in Sunday School…
But when you think about it, there are Christian Science parents, who have children who need glasses, and simply have the child outfitted for them, so they won’t have to struggle. (Maybe the child doesn’t wear them to Sunday School, just to avoid any sort of issues with prying Sunday School teachers).
But the child who isn’t as lucky, and doesn’t have as thoughtful C.S. parents, has to struggle, and squint their way through school, trying to read without the benefit of glasses. So, it really depends on what family the child is born into.
I wasn’t as lucky. It’s a long story. But my mother used Christian Science as cover, to work against me, because she resented me. A real recipe for a nightmare.
I guess it depends on how your are raised, and the degree of fanaticism with which you are raised, in this religion. Thankfully, sites like this really help to aid in the recovery.