The last episode of Battlestar Galactica just aired a little while ago. I'm a little sad. I mean, I'm happy that I was able to get into this show even late in the game and I'm glad I was able to bear witness to a great show. It's probably the most well-written show I've ever watched. But, of course, once you have an emotional attachment to a character or show and suddenly "THE END" rolls around, it's bound to make a person sad. I am not exempt from this.
When something that I'm attached to comes to an end, I like to reflect on it. I'll mostly keep to myself and ruminate about what the event meant to me and how I can learn from it. I don't usually get to jostled or riled up during that time because it always seems too distracting and almost rude to the memory and happy thoughts involved with being a part of something, even something as passive as a television show (and by "passive" I mean that literally all I did is watch; I had no hand in the actual show).
A big part of BSG is the will of man wrestling with the path of destiny; the whim of a higher being, if you will. Are we pulled toward our final destination? Are our choices already pre-ordained even when we think we're being clever and unpredictable? Or is the destiny of each and every person directed solely by their actions, their choices? Is it a mix of both, like a Choose Your Own Adventure book?
The show dealt a great deal with angels and gods. I like the idea of angels; spiritual beings meant to provide guidance in times of great upheaval and peril. I'd like to think that when I'm at my lowest an angel might come and lighten the load off of my shoulders and nudge me toward my destiny, toward the right decision, toward God's path. That's the kind of thing that I wish I could put my faith in to make me sleep a little easier at night and clear my head.
But religion's a steaming pile of lies.
I firmly believe that these days, religion is more responsible for the decaying status of this planet than a lot of other ills. Religion is outdated; it may have been necessary back when people didn't have the tools to predict tornadoes, or when there was no real justification for peasants NOT rising up and killing their lords. But now religion does more harm than good, and that is across the board.
There's this constant struggle among human beings to show superiority over one another; religion is just one of the oldest tools of that alpha-male bullshit. This faith hates that faith; one claims their holy land on another's soil; one believes in aliens from millions of years ago, claiming that you can be cleansed of their ghosts...as long as you pay for it.
The rules may be different but the results are the same: do as we tell you and you'll be fine; disobey and you'll end up living the worst existence possible forever and ever. Killing yourself is either a mortal sin or the work of a martyr. Eating pork is either verboten or a key ingredient to the perfect hamburger. Cows are either sacred...or yet another key ingredient to the perfect hamburger.
There are so many religions and so many rules, it's impossible to keep them all straight. Not only that, but most religions feel it's their duty to spread their dogmas into the realms of science, medicine, and politics, further polluting our ability as a society to explore, discover, and grow.
Did you know a Texas state representative introduced a bill allowing the Institute for Creation Research to be able to grant Masters of Science degrees? No, I'm not fucking kidding. The group that believes that Earth was created only 6,000 years ago and that carbon dating is "misunderstood by scientists" wants to give out fucking GRADUATE degrees for science. Of course, those who don't believe in creationism are simply out to "get" religion and those who believe in it. It couldn't be that 99% of the evidence out there completely craps on creationism's enormous gaps in logic. Nope, it's all about revenge, obviously.
You see, that's how religion pulls you in, by always making it an "us vs. them" issue. THEY'RE doing the work of God/Allah/Xenu so therefore those who AREN'T doing God/Allah/Xenu's work are obviously hellbent on stamping the true believers out. So rise to the occasion, take up arms, and fight for what you believe in! Or just send us money and go around convincing people that they're wrong and you're right!
Religion naturally calls to the more unstable among us in society. People are looking for an escape from their problems. They aren't sure where to turn for guidance. Suddenly, a group comes along that says "all of your answers are in this easy-to-carry book! Just follow the teachings of people we've designated as experts and they'll lead you to peace of mind!" OF COURSE THAT WORKS; there are a ton of people out there who would love to hand over control of their conflicted beliefs to a group promising all of the answers. Those people aren't necessarily stupid, they're just unable to cope with their problems. Some turn to drugs, others turn to religion.
Recently, the Pope made some comments that perpetuated the Catholic church's stance on birth control and in the process made himself look like a backward-thinking buffoon who simply regurgitates doctrine without forethought. He not only opposed the spread of contraception in Africa (where in some places 50% of a given region's population has AIDS) but actually said (and I shit you not) that condoms may actually make the AIDS problem worse.
Digest that for a minute. The Pope, the spiritual leader of hundreds of millions of people across the world, shits on EVERY. SINGLE. TRUTH. that people know about contraception and the spread of AIDS by suggesting that using a condom to protect oneself or someone else from getting AIDS might actually make the problem WORSE. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
Listen, I understand why Christians frown on contraception. As stupid as the reason is, as idiotic an idea as "life begins at conception" is, I understand that they feel that way. And maybe, maybe, you could make the argument that contraception makes people more susceptible to the temptation of sex (you know, if that made any sense to use that logic for a continent where women are already being raped left and right). LEAVE IT AT THAT, YOU SENILE FUCKING IDIOT. There was no need to expound on that idea by inferring that the LAST thing the African people need on a continent that is simply being ravaged by AIDS is PROTECTION FROM AIDS. FUCK.
Here's what kills me the most about religion: people who follow it pick and choose what they want to believe. You either believe that Jonah was swallowed by a whale or you don't. You either believe that being a martyr is a worthy achievement or you don't. But here's the thing: you can't believe in your book of choice as the written testament and "proof" that your religion is valid and then cherry pick which parts of it you want to believe.
If you want to tell me that the Bible says it's wrong to be gay in Leviticus and therefore being gay is wrong, PERIOD, then fine. Just know that the punishment according to the same passage is death. And while we're doing the Lord's bidding with the killing and the smiting, let's not forget all of the other grave sins that are punishable by death in Leviticus:
Cursing at your mother or father!
Cheating on a spouse!
Having sex with your wife while she's on her period!
Wow, I'm sure that no one who believes in the Bible has ever done any of those things or else they'd be lining up at churches all over the world to be killed. Right? Hey, at least the Bible doesn't say you can beat your wife if you see fit! Nope, that's reserved for the Koran!
You either believe in the tenets of your religion or you don't. If you use birth control, you're not Christian. If you eat pork, you're not Jewish. If you don't wear long underwear, you're not Mormon. That's it; being a selective member of a religion makes you a non-member of that religion. Well, unless you want to use the handy reset button known as confession. Over and over and over again. Another phenomenal cop-out to keep people coming back and donating money.
The idea of unseen forces looking out for you seems nice, it really does. But it's bullshit, all of it, and all religion does is hold people back from learning things about themselves and the world. Religion is making the world dumber: curbing vital stem-cell research, teaching children creationism, spreading hatred toward people of different sexual orientation (or in some cases, race...hi Mormons!), and stifling the desire to explore the world because of the belief that if God wanted us to know it we'd know it already.
Think for yourselves. Explore for yourselves. Understand that the fairytale was put in place to keep you from having to think too hard. And remember kids, only you can prevent ethnic and religious cleansing.
And forest fires.