Deconstructing the hard edge of religion



Apparently (having never done it myself) folks who go ‘crabbing’ on various Atlantic beaches, in the moonlight, never have to worry about using lids, to keep track of the crabs being tossed into their buckets. And it’s because crabs in a bucket evince a peculiar dog in the manger attitude towards any of their compatriots, looking to escape by going over the side. They reach up, latch on, and haul them back in. Apparently, it’s a case of “If I’m not getting out of here, then neither are you.”

And while this zero sum game, between crabby rivals, is real handy for the ones gathering them up, it rather assures the crabs all make it onto someone’s dinner plate.

While I have no idea what spurs this response in crabs, I’ve often observed a closely related reaction, among members of extreme political sects, and members of all those other religious factions, as well. And – while I can’t authoritatively put my finger on the source of the response – I think fear has a lot to do with it.

Nowhere is this more evident in the world today, that in the Muslim world. Because, like any fanatical religious organization, where one might be denounced for sins – real or imagined – that routinely lead to loss of life or limb – the safety of those outlying others, can depend on their ability to quickly and automatically fold themselves into the crowd of those calling for the evil-doer’s head. And this response is practically a double-win, for the absolute hypocrites among them. Who are able to effectively pre-deny – as well as ward off – any possible accusations against themselves, by loudly denouncing the actions of those already accused individuals.

I point to the underlying stress of fear, at work here. Because, like certain agents used to produce foam rubber, fear often acts as a sort of giddy catalyst. Inducing this unthinking, crab bucket effect, in otherwise more ‘well-balanced’ people. But which all too often, characteristically manifests itself in sudden and vicious episodes of mob violence and brutality.

Being continually immersed in a particularly repressive culture, individuals can become overly observant – as well as overly sensitive reactionaries – to any perceived threat to the status quo. Religious shriekers.  Quick to hysterically denounce neighbors – or members of their own families – while clamoring for their heads. And at the least infraction of Islamic religious ‘law.’

I suspect it’s really a variation of the Stockholm syndrome. Living under the constant threat of being denounced, or challenged to prove one’s religious commitment – on pain of you know what …

This is something the Christian religion went through, almost 600 years ago. And it fueled the Crusades, Inquisitions, and Witch Hunts of all kind.  But it also represents a period of repressive religious imposition, that has LASTED almost 1500 years, in the Islamic world,

It is living under this continual threat, that seems to elicit this Dog in the Manger – or Crab Bucket – reaction. One of induced, base cowardliness, on the part of those inciting the mobs. Who are often the ones routinely calling for those ad hoc, Kangaroo Courts of Islamic ‘justice.’

Having just looked them over, the current 5 Pillars of Islam are completely boorish, and invite the kind of mindless hypocrisy I’m talking about. So, in the spirit of “Out with the old,” I’d like to suggest 5 NEW Pillars of Faith, for Islam:

  1. Confess that there is no God – except the one that exists within the superstitious vacuum, of that space between your ears. Where, if He exists at all, it’s as a pernicious parasite – of one in possible need of medical attention.
  2. Recognize that we are born individually unique, as human beings. Bound together in our all too brief mortal existence, by our common humanity. Which is best viewed on an evolutionary time scale.
  3. That, again, there is no God, to intercede – and save us from ourselves. It is, rather, for us to accept the responsibility of looking out for each other, and the health of this planet we inhabit.
  4. That any attempts to instill specific acts and patterns of behavior in others – beyond laws protecting Basic Human Rights, lawful commerce, and protecting private property – ultimately leads to the unbridled evil of religious imposition. By those looking to micro-manage and control the private and social lives of free citizens, by inhibiting their rights to free agency.
  5. Seek to arrive at a place of personal humility and good-will, towards your fellow man – AND WOMAN. Practice the Golden Rule. And honor, in your heart, that amazing spark of life, that 1st gave rise to all life as it exists on this planet today. And which we are all but a tenuous expression of.


'14 MAth footer, Bk

17 thoughts on “Deconstructing the hard edge of religion

  1. Nothing really constructive regarding your post. It sounds more of rant by a christian fundamentalist as apposed to an atheist. However, maybe you should answer this universal question, if “beings” should not believe in a high power, then why do they follow “fellow men” who dictate and create laws for them?, this it self negates the very essence of freedom and rights, because both this structures are then defined by those in power. For example, your current proposition is the hate for Islam, due to the contrived opinions created by the power to be and its propagandist machinery the media. Those who know, that what is occurring in the Islamic world, is due to purposely created corruption by other powers, ( once again – human beings ) to enrich their own wealth, while forcing the politariate to extinguish themselves.
    This might help slightly, for current news.


  2. Well made point.
    I like the crab bucket analogy, entirely applicable to humans also.
    I think what you wrote about covers all religions also, not just Islam, however Islam does have a more extremist faction to it than even Christianity. But I believe there are probably more Christian sects and bizarre fundamental offshoots than Muslim ones, its just that the really terrible Muslim ones exact killings often actively seeking the attention of viewers or for a reaction.

    Either way, it’s all mental. It proves how simple the human mind is that children can be programmed to believe a doctrine and even if they realise it may be hogwash later in life I think the underlying seeds become like a weed, difficult to completely remove.


  3. I don’t understand atheists. Assuming you are serious, how is it that you promote the “Golden Rule” which has its foundation in the Bible (Matthew 7:12)? I agree with you, don’t get me wrong, it just seems a bit odd to me, but again, like my original comment, I have never been able to understand how atheists can actually believe there is no God or higher being with all the evidence against that around us every day.


  4. *curses OM so much for bringing her here* I enjoyed this post and agreed to it entirely, up until your ‘pillars of faith’: “That any attempts to instill specific acts and patterns of behavior in others – beyond laws protecting Basic Human Rights, lawful commerce, and protecting private property – ultimately leads to the unbridled evil of religious imposition.” It’s borderline hypocritical that your list asks that people ‘accept there is no God’. Twice. How is that not an imposition in itself? If it isn’t, it kinds sounds like one. The belief in God alone does not create mindless sheep (or crabs, if you will) nor does it solely fuel the evil of religious imposition. Be it in a larger or a smaller scale, the principal remains the same; human arrogance combines with human ignorance to generate intolerance. The concept of God is nowhere in that equation.

    While I do agree that there is no God that will save me from my own actions, or take responsibility for the person I choose to become throughout the course of my life, I can assure you that there are no parasites, nor vacuum, in the space between my ears, kind Sir. And I am a firm believer in the existence of a Higher Power. 😉


    • You – and your questions – are welcome here, Blackbird. I am all too aware of the largely unavoidable ambiguity and confusion of meanings that can occur, when speaking to persons of different backgrounds – and disciplines.

      As I mentioned to Free …, above – Except for the very young and ignorant – who’ve never ‘battled’ the big questions of life for themselves – most atheists arrive at their conclusion (that God doesn’t actually exist), after a long and sometimes arduous personal journey.

      And life is a personal journey, for all of us.

      While I recognize the ‘spiritual nature’ of the human psyche, I also realize how quick most folks are, to automatically attribute it to – and conflate it with – their notions of God. And I reject the notion that any absence of deity, automatically renders this world dark, and hopelessly ugly.

      If anything, it broadens the view – and exposes vistas of wonder – in recognizing our possibly unique position, in the universe.

      However, as a writer – wishing to express a particular point of view – I’ve had to accept that none of us can be all things, to all people. And that time devoted to over qualifying statements, often leads to a tangled mess. Obfuscating, and leaving readers in the dark, as to what you’re feelings really are – and what you’re really trying to say.

      Here’s a 2nd opinion, if that helps:


      • Aw, thanks. I like to feel welcome. Hopefully you won’t regret that. 😉

        I follow Doobster and I’ve read, and reblogged in fact, that article because I genuinely liked it a lot. I’m also not completely unfamiliar with atheism. I’ve lived my own journey, but I have no intention of monologuing about my life on your comment section.

        My issue was, almost entirely with your choice of words there at the end and maybe that can be considered a minor issue in the greater scheme of things, but as a writer I don’t often think so. It’s either a character flaw or a part of my charm, depends on who you ask.


  5. Pingback: The evidence is all around us | Mindful Digressions

  6. Interesting writing and opinions. Not only does the content looks interesting, I must confess I’m going to start following to also see what happens in the comments. I appreciate your ability to openly write about such heated topics and look forward to more!


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