Richard Carnes: Stick with rationality | VailDaily.com

Richard Carnes: Stick with rationality

What is the main difference between a Muslim walking up to an Army-Navy recruiting station and murdering a private in the name of Allah and a Christian walking into a church and murdering an usher in the name of Jesus?

Spelling.

Tragically, both incidents occurred here in the real American world just last week.

Both murderers follow an ancient belief system based upon magical beings as THE excuse for their deadly acts.

Both murderers claim insider knowledge of the supernatural as the logic behind their sadistic destruction of another human being.

Both murderers cling to ancient books written by barely literate goat herders as their sources of this amazing knowledge and, for some barbaric reason, appear proud in admitting that without this amazing knowledge they would undoubtedly have the moral compass of Charles Manson.

Both make me sick, along with all who piously agree with either of them.

With all due respect (quite a loaded statement itself), I have real difficulty separating the two. And while it might be easy to disagree with my brief assessment, I challenge anyone to prove it wrong.

Give it your best shot, please, as the world desperately needs logical dialogue on this subject.

The rationally impaired are easily the most dangerous segment of our species. My single biggest fear in life is that they will not stop until senselessly slaughtering all who oppose whatever their particular brand of indoctrination happens to be at the moment.

It is not that the religious cannot be rational. It’s just that religion itself is irrational. In fact, most who believe in one faith or another lead extremely rational and reasonable lives but most only to the envelope-pushing level known as “questions they cannot yet answer.”

That is when things get sticky.

I sincerely wish they could all understand that the pursuit of knowledge is a never-ending quest. Those who stop pursuing are is like people claiming to have knowledge of the highest number possible, yet all the rest of us ever have to say is, “Dude, just add 1.”

Face it: Believing in something that cannot be seen, touched, smelled, heard, tasted or – most importantly – proven is not the definition of rationality.

Yet here we are, stuck in this ridiculous cycle of non-theists shouting, “There is no proof!” and theists shouting back louder with, “We don’t need no stinkin’ proof cuz we have faith!”

Wash, rinse, repeat.

What began as a tribal survival trait has since evolved into the cultural and shameful mess we sadly have to deal with today. To quote first-century Roman philosopher Seneca, “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful.”

No one, theists and non-theists alike, can claim ownership of absolute truth. Yet to the best of my knowledge, no one is willing to kill another human being for Santa Claus or to prove Jupiter is in alignment with Mars, thus signaling the Age of Aquarius.

But they certainly will for their god.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.