I want to take a moment of your time to expose a serious problem in modern society... the proliferation of RP's. RP's are seemingly everywhere on the face of the planet, but find themselves mostly in the USA and in poor, backwoods countries where people drag things on the ground or carry them on their heads because they haven't yet invented the wheel.
RP's are like Luddites, fearing the man who holds demon fire in his hand. Hey, it's just a flashlight, buddy. Lightbulb and power source in a tube, see? No, don't eat that!
RP's see a public library containing thousands of volumes of the world's knowledge and pass it by, preferring to go to their own library to read. It also has thousands of volumes... but they're all on the same topic.
RP's look like everybody else, on the surface: They smile and say hello when passing you on the street and dress in clothing like we all do, but they have very different thinking processes than non-RP's do: They simply don't use any.
Why not? Because RP's brains have been co-opted by their leaders, and in a most clever way-- they do it from birth using their minions, minions who are also known by another name-- parents. The minions start early on their children, coercing their fictions and allowing no debate, until the young ones are pliable enough to be influenced by the leaders. When they are old enough, the leaders command them to believe entirely and without question whatever it is they are saying. This unlikely mind control is possible, as long as it is done in a very specific way. The leaders identify a regular day and time for a massive group meeting. They insist their followers dress up in costumes, often uncomfortable and binding. Then they harangue them for long periods of time, preaching hearsay from a nonscientific text, demanding their obedience, frightening them with horrid consequences should they disobey. And to top it off, the leaders force the RP's to give money to the organization, as much as they can afford, indemnifying themselves to the cause.
The most indoctrinated few RP's they urge into distasteful or despicable tasks and then praise them, which psychologically cements their attachment to the cause. They are told to go among the non-RP public, spouting all manner of impossibilities and lies, in order to deceive them into becoming RP potentials. Their leaders will only be truly happy when the last non-RP has been dragged in and converted.
And when die-hard non-RP's gather for an event, any event the leaders find loathsome, they command the most loyal RP's to go out among them and 'commit a 2nd Amendment solution on their immortal souls', because a dead non-RP is better than a live non-RP. If society is fortunate and the leader cannot find any such volunteer, he will instead organize a concurrent disruptive gathering in the same location, in order that non-RP's not be allowed to conduct whatever behavior has been deemed repellant, undisturbed.
Although RP's have been described thus far as dangerous, it should be stressed that RP's aren't initially aggressors. They have become a kind of programmed drone, a ticking bomb, victims of a very sophisticated and systematic campaign of misinformation. They have been methodically victimized by proponents of propaganda, usually from their earliest memories. They are not operating with reason when they rise up in uniform waves of obedient robots, following the direction of their leaders. They have been brainwashed not to realize their actions cause enormous steps backwards-- politically, technologically and societally.
Our beef is not with RP's, although we are not happy that they have let themselves get into this position in the first place. We grudgingly allow that they are unable to defend a position of rationality because most of them had been taken as infants and therefore were raised by their captors. It is a difficult thumb from which to extricate themselves, requiring some exposure to rationality... an exposure which is strictly limited until their compliance has been assured.
No, our complaint is with the leaders, the promoters of every false belief system which has sucked in the RP's and hypnotized them into believing that right is left, that good is bad and that wrong is right. We take exception to the shepherd who would feed his flock piles of bullcrap and demand that they swallow it like Porterhouse.
We want to shine that flashlight directly on their bad behaviors, so that their RP's will realize that any explanations and arguments coming from their leaders while combatting proponents of reason serve only to provide diversion and cover, to hide the fact that every component of their pseudoscientific belief system lacks fact.
So what are RP's?
RP's are Catholics.
But to be fair, they're not only Catholics. They are also Protestants, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Evangelicals, Born Agains and Anglicans. But they're not just Christians. RPs are Jewish. They're Rasta and Muslim and Sikh; Zoroastrians, Hindi, Scientologists, Unitarians and Buddhists.
You may begin to notice a theme-- RP's all belong to some kind of a faith. But there's more to being an RP than belonging to one of the world's approximately 200 religions.
You see, many members of these organizations are only 'fringe' players, becoming involved in the religion primarily because of the community interaction and the shared sense of past. Their family and friends and neighbors all gather under the collective banner of religious worship and tend to shun those who reject it outwardly, so many members maintain a visible but minimum interest. They may listen to what is being said in the pews on Sunday morning and smile and nod and say amen with the rest, but inside they are not being filled with the light of the lord-- they are more likely wondering what will be on television later.
Those people are not RP's.
Of all the varying religious groups in modern society, only about ten percent are devout followers of their faith. These are the fundamentalists, the ones who follow their ancient and barbaric texts to the letter. These are the people recognized as being unwilling or unable to digest and accept any facts which run contrary to their belief system. They have no interest in participating in any modern cultural behaviors that run counter to their leanings. They reject the scientific method, reason and logic. They mistrust people of science, or anyone of considered study and intelligence, unless their field of study is the religious text.
These are RP's. These are Religious People.
What can we do about RP's? Should we do anything about them at all, or should we leave them alone?
We must be wary of their goal for all of society. RP's are not interested in science, or in reason, or in fact. Their goal, their one goal is the complete proselytization of the world to their belief system. To make matters worse, RP's have one very simple and effective tool at their disposal which actually helps their goal and renders them very dangerous:
One passage in their text insists they be fruitful and multiply, encouraging families to aim for 8 or 10 or 12 children, all of whom will be indoctrinated into the religion from birth. At the same time, intellectual reasoning shows the planet is already overpopulated, so smart and thoughtful people produce fewer children. Flash forward a few generations, and adults employing reason are vastly overshadowed by people relying on belief, by many orders of magnitude.
We know that politicians and laws are voted in by majority, so in short order our secular nation is voted out and becomes another theocracy. Science is demonized or even made illegal and the dark ages begin anew. Secular nations were retarded by a 500 year period of theocracy in the last millennium; some current theocratic nations still maintain those beliefs and as a result, have been in the dark ages for over a thousand years.
Should you run across one of these RP's, there is only one correct way to deal with them. Do not, as with a band aid, try to rip the fallacy out of them in one fast movement. It will not work and will almost certainly raise an emotional welt. You can be certain the RP will remember you for that and we know their memory for reprisal can be l-o-n-g.
And do not try to fight fire with fire because as we well know from their description of hell that their fire is bigger than yours, and comes from a place of limitless supply, and for all eternity. Now who has a chance against that?
And though it seems counterintuitive, do not try to reason with them. There is no logical argument they have not ignored, no reasonable evidence that they will not dismiss. They are immutable as the history they claim divine knowledge of. And your soft tones and kind eyes and open debating style will have the same effect on them as they would have on a hungry lion you are trying to convince not to eat you.
No, the answer is to handle them with kid gloves. Treat them the same way as you would a sleepwalker-- under no circumstances are you to try and awaken them from their dream! If you do, all manner of misery will most certainly rain down upon you, and you might very well enter a hell from which there is no exit... or at least that is what they will promise you.
How will that help them, you ask? How will that help us lead them back to the path of Wisdom, the path missed way back in the Garden of Eden after eating the apple of Knowledge, the path Eve missed taking because she was too woozy on sugary snacks to realize that she should move forward after gaining knowledge and not backwards?
Leading the sleepwalker back to bed won't help them. We cannot bring them back from their lovely fiction-- they are too far gone. They are the fish that has swallowed the worm; hook, line and sinker, and to pull it out of them would rip up their insides something awful. No... we cannot help them.
But there is a way.
They can help themselves. They can slowly and methodically urge that dangerous barbed hook of despotic lies out of their belly... on their own. They can remove it completely and avoid becoming caught yet again by the lure of the always enticing bait. With help from others like themselves they can resist the hook until it is away from them, completely and forever.
But why ever would they do that? We know they are told and told, and told, that to leave the comfort of the fold is to languish outside, flopping on the hot concrete sidewalk until they die. They are acutely aware that if they leave, they will be shunned by the congregation. Their neighbors and friends and family will probably vanish from their lives, as if the factual information they possess is communicable. Which of course it is, and the leaders know this and that is why they have built that tidy little fail-safe into their dogma. It is a fail-safe coming from mortal fear, the mortal fear of knowledge, because knowledge is the enemy of dogmatic faith.
But if you do it exactly right they will not know that you have 'infected' them! If you implement this method you will, as the tide irrevocably changes the shore, cause them to slowly change their belief system over to ours. Not only that, they will know that they thought up the idea themselves and that you had nothing to do with it.
I can tell you're bursting... you must find out! What information will cause such a magical change? Of what illusion do I speak? What could possibly rip a true believer from their nonsense-believing state and slowly create a world bursting with non-RP's, all rationally discussing and logically defining our universe?
Here it comes...
Take a seat... we don't need any fainting injuries...
The answer is...
Well, ask yourself: How unimpressed are you with the Grand Canyon, the miles-long vast cutout in the ground? Because the two are very related. The Grand Canyon was made over thousands of years by erosion, by water nibbling away at the surface of otherwise immovable, impermeable rock. And that's how doubt works.
The great part is, nobody has to work very hard to create doubt. As a matter of fact, the harder you work, the less of an effect doubt seems to have. Pushing doubt tends to create an opposit, repelling doubt, scraping away all those carefully laid seeds. Going back to the Grand Canyon metaphor, the only way to create such a huge scar in the planet was by slowly scraping away the layers through slow, repeated erosion. I doubt anyone would have much success in creating a similar canyon simply by bashing their head repeatedly against the rock. In effect, that is what happens when you try to force your facts down a believer's throat... you are uselessly bashing your head against their wall of defense, which is miles thick and prepared for exactly that onslaught.
That's what happens when you try to foist your own (non-) belief system onto them. Think about it... isn't that what proselytization all about? Isn't that what they've been trying to do to us for all these many centuries? Ask yourself: In educated countries, how's that been working?
Answer: It hasn't. The scholarly human being prefers to learn by using the scientific method, by being skeptical of anecdotal information without corresponding double-blind testing to prove their validity. Proselytizing simply has no effect on an educated person.
The next time someone accosts you with their religious belief system, why not try this:
Quietly point out one indisputable fact which their bible does not address... and then smile and walk away. Don't even wait for their rebuttal, because there will be a rebuttal as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. If you wish not to be rude, you may listen politely and quietly. Then smile and walk away. DO NOT ENGAGE!
It is a small step, but an important one.
If you wish to become organized and perform this on a mass scale, then get together as a group and walk past some form of religious gathering and, in your own good time, each of you should state your own unique indisputable fact to each of the demonstrators.
And then smile and walk away.
They say: "Jesus died for your sins!"
You say: "Jesus was a jewish carpenter, a man with faults like any of us."
They say: "Find the lord or go to hell!"
You say: "Hell and heaven are here on Earth, and all of us experience both in our lives."
They say: "The Earth was created by god 6000 years ago!"
You say: "Who created god? God's parents? Who created them? God's grandparents? When does it end?"
Like water trickling through a tiny crack, eventually the facts will deposit seeds of doubt, which will inevitably split that crack wide open.
But that's where the Grand Canyon example falls short:
For when RP's come to very painful terms with the fact that they've been wasting their lives on a fairy tale, that crack will become the Grand Canyon...
And who could ask for anything more?
Copyright 2011 Bruce Ian Friedman