The Childishness of Religion

TantrumWhile it will come as no surprise to people who have had experience with debating irrational theists, theists can be pretty childish when it comes right down to it.  In a recent discussion, we were discussing the rationality, or lack thereof, of religion and how faith really isn’t a rational process.  I explained that rational people don’t believe things for which there is no good, objective evidence, therefore rational people no more believe in gods than they do in leprechauns or unicorns. It doesn’t mean we automatically reject the possibility that these things exist, only that we will not assent to their existence until it is proven objectively.  This, of course, pissed off the theists.

One guy came back and said that he could believe whatever he wanted and nobody could stop him and if I didn’t like it, I could take a long walk off a short pier.  Sure, I could do that.  Instead I pointed out that this person, ostensibly an adult, was acting like a petulant child, stomping his feet and screaming that he deserved to get his way. Again, this is not how rational, intelligent, mature adults act.  They do not pitch a fit because someone else happens to disagree with them and they certainly do not hold their breath until they turn blue because someone dared to suggest their ideas might be wrong.  That is the stuff of children, not adults.

At least not unless those adults are religious and emotionally attached to their beliefs.

Now not to pick on Roger, who occasionally posts here, but he suffers from this quite dramatically, although certainly not as obnoxiously as many I’ve run into.  I don’t have an irrational hate-on for Roger like a lot of people seem to but when it comes to his religious beliefs, Roger most certainly is not rational and he makes the same childish arguments, that he’s going to believe whether anyone likes it or not, so there, pffffft!  Now sure, he can believe whatever he wants to believe but rational adults don’t work that way, they don’t just pout and act upset because someone dares to question their faith.  Anyone who cannot step back and objectively evaluate what they believe, no matter what it is that they believe, has some issues.

i-believeBut Roger is in good company because most serious theists are exactly the same.  They believe because it makes them feel good to believe, not because they have any good reason to do so.  They are convinced, not by reason, but by emotion.  They are largely incapable of deconstructing their own faith to see if it is something they ought to be believing, they simply cling to it, like a child clings to a security blanket.  It provides emotional comfort, even if it is as pointless as keeping a lucky talisman on your keychain that doesn’t do anything useful, it just makes you feel good.

Note that I am not saying that religion is the only place where supposedly mature adults have taken irrational steps to believe things for emotional reasons.  Believe it or not, I’ve had theists tell me that there are lots of other irrational things that people do, as though that was somehow permission for themselves to do the same thing.  There’s a lot of irrationality in the world and all of it is wrong.  You shouldn’t be proud of any of it.  You ought to be ashamed and doing whatever you can do to rid yourself of that illogical affliction.  That’s how rational people, logical and critical skeptics, operate. We see our intellectual failings, acknowledge that they exist and move to correct the problem.

Theists do not, mostly because they haven’t gained the emotional and intellectual maturity to even see that there’s a problem.

1 thought on “The Childishness of Religion

  1. "That is the stuff of children, not adults."

    Reminds me of a Bible verse that seems appropriate here, though I am sure Christians don't accept what seems to me to be the most obvious meaning of it.

    "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." — 1 Corinthians 13:11, King James Bible.

    Certainly religious belief is one of these childish things.

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