Faith or Evidence?

Faith or Evidence?

What has toothpaste got to do with religion? Toothpaste is an inexpensive and ubiquitous product found in every home. One of the claims made for it is that it will make your teeth whiter. The big brands spend vast sums trying to convince us that theirs is best and we consumers respond by buying them. But is it really credible that our teeth are actually and verifiably whiter after using toothpaste, I think not.

We humans have in inexhaustible supply of gullibility; we are so easily persuaded that something we wish to be true, really is true. For centuries religion has exploited human credulity knowing that rather than seek evidence for a claim many of us are simply content to believe it. But like the owner of any popular brand, religion insists that we buy the product in order to receive the benefits and like a mobile phone contract it offers many inducements to keep us signed up.

Each religion has its own CEO who unlike their earthly counterparts never needs to seek re-election to the board. Through his managers, the bishops, imams and rabbis, he (and it always is he) keeps a tight rein on the business. When one of his rivals tries to set up shop on his patch the turf wars begin.

Confronting religious privilege

However there is one thing guaranteed to unite these fellows and that is the arrival of someone who doesn’t want to buy into any of their products. They start to call in all the debts from all who have benefited from their past patronage, from the politicians to the community leaders. When the privileges that they have enjoyed are threatened they attempt to stifle all criticism and will resort to any tactic in order to protect the brand.

Our tasks is a difficult one and that is to keep chipping away at that monolith that is religion, we must undermine its authority so that at some time in the future it topples and the hollowness of its claims are clear for all to see.