Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Toto and thinking critically about religion

One of the thickest walls that defend religious beliefs is the taboo against thinking about them objectively.

I didn’t discard my religious views after a deliberate evaluation in which I came to the conclusion that they were all false. Rather I left them behind one by one in a trail of litter as I found that I no longer believed them.

I want to help people who have difficulties with faith to find a way past the walls that hold them in, to think outside their religious boxes, and to live a life of freedom. It seems likely that in many cases such escapes will be gradual, as mine was.

When I left religion, I began asking myself questions that I would never have dared to ask before. I wondered how I could have failed to consider those issues over the years. I concluded that the inertia of my worldview and my lack of exposure to other ideas simply hid those issues from me. I was so distracted by the vision of Oz the great and terrible that I never even noticed the curtain, and no Toto pulled it down for me.

I want to be a Toto for other people. I want to raise the questions that I had never noticed before, and reveal possibilities that I had never before considered. I want to learn more about how the world really works, and help other people to do the same.

My curtain didn’t fall all at once, and I can understand how traumatic it could be for that to happen to a person. I guess I want to be a Toto who tugs persistently at the curtain, opening it little by little, until the true frailty of Oz finally becomes apparent.

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