I am reminded of Eugene O’Neil’s play ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night.’ Peoples’ illusions become their very existence. Strip them away, and they die.
As you may have read, I am mainly concerned here with the delusions of religious dogmas. What do you think about them?
More important, how do you strip them away without killing anyone?
It has been 35 years at least since I read this play and I am not sure I understood exactly most of what O’Neil was trying to say but I think that he was trying to show how tough it is to deal with what life throws at you without some sort of personal rudder.
You have asked a tough question here and I think I am going to kind of duck it by saying that I don’t think it is necessary to strip away religious delusions. What I think is a better proposal is to set up a purely secular government that, while allowing individuals their personal religious delusions (I think this was the idea the framers of the U. S. Constitution had), will only use scientifically derived and real world supported data to inform public discourse from which to set policy and rules of behavior for its citizens. I do not think it is necessary to tear individuals away from what they determine to be personally meaningful and worthwhile to achieve this. Government policy and rules (with no religious bias) would be set for minimal restriction and interference of the government in the personal lives of ALL its citizens (believers and non-believers) and for the same minimal interference of the ALL citizens in each other’s lives. Forcing change never works. Getting people to recognize the need to change and allowing them ways to make that change in their own self-interest is, in my opinion, the best way. If this idea survives and thrives along with the secular school system then over time when adolescents go through their period of “finding themselves” and “challenging authority”, in order to form their own world view that will carry them into their future, young people will start to ask themselves; Why is it only in religion that belief is necessary to establish truth? My hope is that in answering this question they will realize what a fraud religious belief is and dismiss it as irrelevant and then look to other social structures for the human support and comfort that many now get from religion. Many of us have already done this. I think that in the U.S. a giant step was taken on this path, established by the framers of the constitution, in the 1960’s and the journey continues today. I also think that in fits and starts it will continue on and after several hundred years humans will look back to these times as the start of the last hurrah of the religion. Religion (and the dogma it espouses) is a firmly established social, political and economic power and those that benefit from it will not give up and go quietly. I think this is why there is such violence and hyperbolic reaction from the religious right (both Christian and Islamic) all over the world today. Religious leaders and powers have a sense that “the end is near” and recognizing the threat are trying to blunt, delay or end it in any way they can. To me the tactics are obvious destroy the secular schools (vouchers cut off the money), promote school prayer, deny evolution, display the ten commandments, insist that the U.S. is a Christian nation founded on Christian principle…... Maybe I am being overly optimistic but I think that given enough time and baring any calamitous natural or man made disaster the days of religious dogma are numbered and all that is left is for those of us that have already transitioned is to tolerate, and endure those who haven’t and hope we can stay out of their line of fire until they come to their senses.