Friday, May 10, 2013

Sling-Shot Religion

An interesting piece by Athol Kay about a couple where one of the spouses turned "religious" and was born again after 20 years of being anti-religious.  This caused some stress in the relationship, not just because of the philosophical or religious change in the spouse, but because it now brings on the specter of one person having a higher moral authority over the other.

While the piece is one of advice, it also happens to be a perfect example of what I like to call "Sling Shot Religion."

I have not mentioned this term before (because I literally just came up with it in the shower 3 minutes ago), but I have addressed it amorphously across multiple posts in the past.  Namely, it is my complaint against and disgust with people who abuse a religion, joining one not to praise a god or something altruistic as that, as much as it is an ulterior and self-serving purpose (business connections, finding a spouse, etc.).  But what I could not peg down was a term that would describe people who abuse religion to give them presumed "moral superiority" over others.

I was originally intending "leverage," but I liked the phrase "sling shot" because it references how various satellites and space vehicles use the mass and gravity of a planet to "sling shot" and go faster for its own benefit.  i.e.-Voyager 1 didn't go to Jupiter to visit Jupiter (well, it did) as much as it used Jupiter's gravitational force to fling it out into interstellar space.  And there are people in all religions who are "sling shots" and not genuine practitioners. 

The problem with sling-shot religious people though goes beyond merely joining a church or a mosque to make friends or drum up some business.  They are particularly cowardly people, sometimes outright evil, because they crave power AND are willing to resort to hypocritical means to get it.

The church, for example, has trouble with young men becoming pastors because majoring in "divinity" is not only easy, but you immediately get authority as a pastor (whether you believe in the religion or not).  Many pastors abuse their position, not just reveling in their position, but many times using the bible or the religion to excuse unfair behavior against others or preferential behavior towards themselves.

The born-again christian girl is another example.  I don't have to go into the number of girls I dated that would use "Jesus" for any number of non-religious reasons.  "I can't kiss you until we're engaged."  "I can lay here in your bed in just my skivvies but we're not making out."  "Unless you pray with me and go to church, we can't date."  "We can't have sex, but we can do anything else."  Again, these sling-shoters don't really believe in the religion, but enjoy having the benefit of a rationalization hamster in the form of a holy script to lord power over you and excuse their own immoral behavior.

In short, much like "crusaderism" I wanted to point out "sling-shot" religious folk because these are bad people and are a threat to your happiness and freedom.  It's just that in order to avoid the threats these people pose, the first step is in identifying them, explaining what they're doing and how they think, and explaining why they do such things.

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