Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ruben Bolling Explains It All For You

"Tom the Dancing Bug" is definitely my favorite running comic strip. Cartoonist Ruben Bolling is really working on a different level from any other person in the medium right now.

I particularly love these "Super-Fun-Pak" features he does once in a while, consisting of a few high-concept comic strips. This one features such highlights as "Cool White Guys Using 10 Year Old Black Slang" and "Science Facts for the Immature." Check out "Death of a Detective Who Dies" to get a taste for this guy's defiantly cynical, highly warped sense of humor. Then there's always God-Man's classic showdown with Dr. Moral-Relativism.

Anyway, I'm bringing up Mr. Bolling because a recent "Dancing Bug" strip perfectly encapsulates my feelings on this whole atheism/evils of religion debate. (Yes, I'm still going on about all that).

Atheists, as you'd expect, are a philosophically and intellectually diverse bunch, so it's impossible to encapsulate the fullness of the group's ideas into any kind of generality. Still, I think it's safe to say that a lot of the more militant atheists base their hostility towards religion on a belief that a world without religion would be far better than the one in which we live. As John Lennon sings in "Imagine," a very subversive song that vast numbers of religious Americans apparently enjoy without truly comprehending, a world with no religion is an idealistic dream that maybe, one day, we can all bring about in reality.

And I just think this is more utopian crap. Religion, near as I can tell, is an excuse for awful behavior, not a cause. People don't really do the things their religions command them to do; they just pretend to in order to hold on to some absurd notion of moral superiority. I don't actually believe in any of the mythology, but if more Americans actually behaved the way Jesus told them to, turning the other cheek and giving away all their money and respecting the least of God's creatures, it might be a more comfortable, friendly country in which to live. And we certainly wouldn't be pursuing any wrong-headed surges to needlessly prolong any failed wars of occupation...

Surely my fellow atheists have noticed that there's a lot of highly religious people who are also highly strange and/or crazy. (Not that I'm saying all religious people are crazy...just a whole lot of them...) Do we really think these people would stop being crazy if there were no more church services? They'd just channel the crazy into something else.

Who knows what more horrific pursuit might come along to take the place of goofy religious rituals? Better that the nutters spend their Sundays praying to Invisible Sky Man than taking on that second trailer-park meth lab.

Really, what I'm trying to say is that humans are, as a group, a bunch of despicable, greedy fucks, and that religion makes a convenient excuse for all sorts of self-serving behavior. When Muqtada al-Sadr rallies Iraqis to his cause, he's really saying, "Come do exactly what I tell you. know...Allah and stuff. Praise be to his name." That's it. And if there were no Allah, it'd be some other stupid thing, a cheap diversion used to seize greater and greater power and control. Because some people are just sick twisted fucks who need to divide and conquer in order to feel important.

Anyway, Bolling captures the argument perfectly (and far more succinctly) in the comic. Give it a read.

[UPDATE: Compliments of Andrew Sullivan comes this post by Norman Geras, making a similar and excellent point.]

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