Posted @ 20:48Letter I
14th February, 2007
Well, the year is already a month-and-a-half old and I haven't written for quite a while. I thought it was time I gave you some more of my usual advice — as usual, it's just me trying to pass on some of the things that I think I've learnt in the half-a-century I've been on this planet; take it or leave it, it's up to you. I'm not here to tell you what to think, just to warn you about the strange ways of some of the other inhabitants of the Earth; most of them aren't bad people but they can get caught up in some weird and wacky behaviour.
You might have seen the recent advertisements on TV encouraging you to "talk to Frank" about drugs; in particular the one about the brain shop and the effects of stronger strains of marijuana on that part of the body. What I want to talk to you about is something else which is coming in stronger strains and can affect you brain in a subtly destructive manner. It is everywhere and it is quite legally delivered to children from the earliest age. It is even widely distributed in schools with the explicit financial support of the government. The pushers of this product are welcomed by all levels of society and are encouraged to carry out their indoctrination of minors into the use of this product not only without criticism but with active consent. The pushers prey upon the most defenceless in our society: children; the emotionally scarred; the poor and the weak.
There are some people who would claim that this product is neither harmful nor pernicious; that it is beneficial — and necessary — to a healthy and fulfilling human life. However, this product is behind much of the violence and intolerance inherent in modern society. It supports the exclusion of non-participants and attempts to impose its will on all levels through legislation, political influence and emotional blackmail and bribery. If teachers were found to be promoting specific political ideologies with the same force and support with which they deliver this product, there would be uproar and they would be sacked on the spot. If casinos were to be opened in schools, the country would revolt. If marijuana was forced upon children in the same manner as this product, the promoters would be arrested and pilloried. And yet, if one portrays this product in anything other than a reverent manner one risks censorship, at best, and prosecution, at worst. Making jokes about it is, of course, thoroughly reprehensible; especially if you do not subscribe to the product itself. One is forced to tolerate it, even though it, in itself, is intolerant.
What, I can hear you asking, is this appalling product which is so available and approved within our so-called caring society? What is this thing that is so dangerous and yet so approved of? What could be so harmful and yet so adored that it is considered not only safe but also desirable to be inflicted upon children.
Quite simply, my dear, it is religion. It is illegal to teach a particular set of political beliefs to school children and yet we have schools that are allowed — nay, encouraged — to teach a single religious belief. And this belief is allowed to encourage intolerance and discrimination, divisive manipulation of adherents and promises of reward without quoting the odds. The promoters of religion are allowed to use techniques of persuasion which would be pounced upon by the media if they were used by business; they are legally immune from sane, rational or logical appraisal and can claim special status in the hearts and minds of legislators and administrators; they can question the evidence of science without the necessity of argument but are free to campaign against science using supposed evidence which they refuse to allow to be questioned.
I wouldn't want you to mistake religion for faith. Faith is, quite simply — to quote a source I have been unable to locate — a belief in something you haven't seen yet. My faith in the existence of the Great Pyramid at Giza is like that: one day I'll see it, probably; and there is plenty of non-circumstantial evidence which has no recourse to singular, unverifiable sources that my faith is justified. I can't see any problem, either, in a personal faith in some sort of supreme being. But the sheer audacity, pomposity and arrogance of insisting that this faith is required by anyone else — and inflicted on those without the capacity to assess the evidence — I find as reprehensible and disgusting as the selling of hallucinogenic drugs to minors.
The scariest thing is, of course, that most of the people attempting to deliver religion to the masses think they are doing the right and proper thing and that they are, aside from this flaw, quite nice and decent people. They're not driven by any evil intent but simply seem to have had their brains fried by this strong and dangerous drug. Beware their plausibility and directness, their apparent honesty and certain sincerity — they are out to get you hooked as well.
The world is complex and beautiful enough to excite the mind and the passions without introducing an unprovable mythology to explain it. Your journey through it will be a thrilling roller-coaster without the necessity of the artificial stimulation of religion. Avoid this addiction at all costs.
When you friends and mentors speak glowingly of religion, question it. It is not a path you want to follow; you will become a vegetable spouting the words and messages of others, driven by and ever greater need to fulfil the craving for the righteous way. Don't shout; don't proclaim; don't hate; but do reject.
So, that's my advice for now. Whenever you see those anti-drug advertisements on TV, remember that the same warnings apply to religion, too. And when you've learnt a little more about life and the human body, you'll find that drugs have not inflicted as much pain, suffering and death as religion and they are relatively harmless in comparison.
Take care, love,