Forgive my writing style. I don't plan my blogs, and I've only ever written two.
The most recent trend in my religious rants seems to be the comfort of it. The idea that you're "never alone" and you don't actually die. Preposterous. Juvenile. Fucking scary that educated adults buy into this crap to avoid nightmares and homesickness.
Starting with the most parroted piece of bullshit in Christianity: You Are Never Alone.
(Note irony in capitalization)
Of course you are alone sometimes. Part of growing up is learning to accept this and cope with it. This is where the security blanket analogy is easiest to visualize. Imagine all of the most respectable theists you know, carrying not talismans and cross necklaces, but a big fuzzy blanket. Ridiculous, right?
Another of my favorites is the less tangible regression method: imaginary friends. I mean, seriously. It's invisible, it talks to you, it follows you around. It's a damn cool imaginary friend (could YOUR childhood ghost pal create a whole world and kill the people in it like ants?) but still just that. And it's sad that we have yet to pull our thumbs out of our mouths and figure shit out for ourselves.
I am a wannabe psychologist, so I know a thing or two about the necessity of security blankets. But you can just as easily carry a worry stone, or wear a ring from your grandmother, or hide a stuffed animal from childhood under your bed, etc.; all of those things would not only be material objects that you can see and feel and hold when you break down crying, but they come with the knowledge that, as comforting as they can be, they are just objects that you have an emotional attachment to. Problem solved, and no wars waged in the process.
Yes I am dumbing this down a little. I get more incoherent (blonde) the angrier I am.
Heaven? Total denial.
If you've seen the movie The Invention Of Lying, you know what I think of heaven. It's a pretty lullaby we sing ourselves to chase away shadows. There's a reason people say that grief is a process. It takes time, and gradual acceptance and recovery. Saying "oh, it's alright, she's in a better place now" is one of the most unhealthy lies to buy into as a reasoning adult. She's not in a different country. Eventually you will have to let go. It's like the world's worst breakup, and you don't even get closure, but it's not impossible. Excellent article on Pharyngula on this subject: http://bit.ly/5G5e4B
And we're not just lying to ourselves about the loss of people we love. Some people are much more willing to commit suicide or to not fight for life because they think they get to see all those lost loved ones once they die. Others simply don't care about anything that happens in their mortal lives because it pales in comparison to the image in their head of paradise. And not one of them thinks to just live it up while they can, because no matter how amazing Earth is, no matter how many fun, interesting people they encounter, they think none of it will matter once they meet their god.
What a waste..
I have many more examples that fit into these two categories, as well as quite a bit more that don't, and some that fit under a completely different topic. Thus, I end this entry here. But the cycle continues, unfortunately. Someone, somewhere, is praying to their security blanket god right now, because they are lonely or afraid or insecure. Maybe they are asking for something in particular, maybe they just need a hug.
Hug your religious friends and family members. Take them out to dinner. Go on an adventure with them. Remind them that their god is not the only one that cares about them, and that the world is a great place to be. Chances are you can't change their belief system, but you might be able to give them a little less reason to lean on it.