Wielding Religion, or: a God-Shaped Dildo

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For a long time, I was angry at religion for its own sake.

And don’t get me wrong, the thing is full of irrational beliefs and oppressive ideas.

But I’m coming to appreciate over time how, like almost all things, Fundamentalist Religion is really just a tool – a stiff and largely inflexible construct, sort of like a dildo shaped like God – and it all comes down to how you use it:

You can fuck yourself with it, and maybe that gets you off. Personally I’d prefer something a little softer, one that conforms to the shape of my own psyche. But hey, as a consenting adult, you do you.

Or, you can use it as a blunt object and beat others with it like Hatchet Harry in Guy Ritchie’s classic Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Now you’re fucking other people over, and that is not ok.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference:

Rabbi Chaim Kanyevsky spending his entire life in front of a book is fucking himself with religion. Yanky Kanyevsky muttering into his ear and manipulating the masses, is fucking others.

People giving to charity for salvation and a better place in the world to cum, are fucking themselves. People promising this salvation to benefit specific charities and their own pockets, are fucking others.

Telling yourself you are going to heaven by reading the same page from the bible 40 times, is you masturbating vigorously to an idea. Telling little kids they are going to hell if they don’t study that page, is fucking people over.

You deciding to become Ba’al Teshuva woman at the age of 20, to bend over and take it from a patriarchal society, is fucking yourself. Teaching your five year old daughters to cover their elbows, stay in the kitchen, and have nine kids, is fucking other people over.

I have had religion wielded against me. I’ve been told by people close to me, who were supposed to protect me, that the Torah allowed them to “flay me within an inch of death”.

But I realize with time that this was an expression of their own anger, a justifying of their own violence with an archaic belief. Grabbing the nearest blunt object, they seized religion. It was a good choice – coarse, primitive, unyielding, yet malleable to the world view of its perpetrator.

Grabbing the nearest blunt object, they seized religion.

Some of humanity’s worst acts were done in the name of religion – by people who were already unwell. It’s like lighter fluid to the flames of insanity.

This is a useful paradigm to entertain, one that explains why you can have religious people who are still nice people. This typically requires practicing salad bar religion: choosing the good bits and ignoring the rest.

I personally don’t think it’s worth it. Like a gas leak in your house, religion might give you a high, but it could also explode at any moment.

You wouldn’t let your kids play with matches, and you wouldn’t want them finding that God-shaped dildo you keep in your nightstand.

Stay safe out there.

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