Thursday, August 25, 2016

Free Parking

For the longest time as a kid, I thought you were supposed to put a $500 bill in the middle of the monopoly board (along with any other money paid to the bank) to be collected by whoever happens to land on Free Parking. One day I decided to read all of the rules and discovered that Free Parking is only supposed to be what the name implies - a spot where bad shit can't happen to you. After pointing it out a few times to others they would invariably respond with "house rules". Freelance away but just admit that you aren't playing Monopoly anymore. Unfortunately this is what nearly all people, particularly the religious, do when they try to assert their truth on the world. 

I have a huge issue with people who claim to follow a religion but have never read the entire "rule book" or even significant portions for that matter. There is shit in the bible that most "Christians" wouldn't believe unless you showed it to them at which point they will have to confront the fact that their religion is insane, or simply dismiss it with "well that was a different time and has to be taken in context". You're playing what you think is Monopoly but really is just a bastardized version that suits you. 

This morning I was considering the moral ramifications of eating animals. If you predicate your belief system on "God" putting humans above all the other creatures on this earth, then it allows you to feel no regrets as you do what makes you comfortable. The problem with this is that it's the same kind of logic that has been used against other humans such as blacks or Pygmies. I'm not saying that it is wrong to eat meat, because that's not my choice to make for you (as well as the fact that I haven't worked it out for myself yet). There are clearly numerous animals with intelligence and consciousness that parallels humans (elephants and dolphins just to list a couple) so what gives us any right to take their life because their flesh tastes "good"? Would you go shoot your neighbor and roast one of their legs for a BBQ? Maybe if you had been raised to believe that they were a lesser being than you say for having a darker complexion. What is the operating system of your life centered on?  

"My people perish for a lack of knowledge" is a direct quote from the bible but it's only partially accurate. We lack a lot of understanding and accurate knowledge in the world simply because most people stay in their bubble. If you don't have an innate curiosity and remain unchallenged in your beliefs, you will likely never change and grow. However, just knowing more information doesn't help if you choose to hold onto your current perspective, dismissing evidence because you comfortable living in your current belief system. Growth means change and change can be scary because it is an unknown. My life would be significantly different if I chose to quit eating meat or using disposable plastic to name a couple small things. Health issues with fast food aside, you can't really patronize any franchise in the US and not contribute to the immense waste and pollution caused by all the disposables like cups, straws, condiment packets, etc. Opening your mind requires a willingness to change but most people sadly just want to call "house rules" when the truth is laid out in front of them. 

If you want to know the truth, it's not that hard, you just have to look for it and be ready and willing to adjust your heart and mind. Check out this wonderful article by Carl Sagan on The Fine Art of Baloney Detection of you want to read further on this topic. 

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