Firstly, I'm an atheist. Or Agnostic. Whichever one Richard Dawkins dislikes more than the other, you know, the one where you are pretty sure there isn't an all powerful deity but just in case you keep an open mind. Agnostic, that's the one.
Anyway, I do not have a beef with religion as it stands. What people believe in is entirely up to them and I am the last person in the world to belittle someone's belief system (which is entirely what this blog entry is about, not belittling as opposed to belittling).
What I do have a beef with is the attitude of a lot of the followers of religion that their personal choice of deity is the absolute, singularily correct interpretation and, with no proof other than 'This is my belief system, hence it is right, hence you are wrong and by deduction I am better than you'. And that's the crux of my annoyance.
Normally the 'I am right, you are wrong' attitude comes from two places - ignorance or doubt. Either one is not an excuse for single mindedness. If there is one thing I've learnt to date it is that defending a position of doubt is untenable, and ignorance is by far the most dangerous thing you can embrace.
Which brings me on to my point, finally. Religion is not the opiate of the masses, as that would imply it gives you an unbridled sense of fuzzy happiness. Religion is a way of feeling better than your neighbour, hence the Margo reference. And this comes from an interesting place...
Back when we all lived in caves and actually subscribed and behaved by the laws of natural selection, choosing a sexual partner was pretty much down to hitting the other guy until he wasn't capable of intercourse. The defining concept on what made a good breeding partner was who was biggest, strongest and possibly maddest. With the exception of the deep south of America, this is no longer the case in a 'civilised' society, and we judge 'strength' by different (incorrect in my humble opinion) values.
The insane nature of our society is that we tend to score suitability based on material wealth now, which is something you have to be canny (or simply born into) to acheive. For those who cannot, for some reason, attain a huge material portfolio religion, strangely enough, comes up second. Why? Because you can feel better than someone else with no material proof.
Sounds daft, but deep down the concepts of religion are are powerplay to make the individual seem 'better' when it comes down to the biological imperative.
Please note I am not slagging of religion. If I was doing that I'd be trying to make myself appear better and therefore subscribing to the biological imperative..... Oh dear.