Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A long shot

The department of stating the bleedin' obvious have demonstrated that a belief in God can relieve pain. They gave electric shocks to 12 Roman Catholics and 12 atheists as they studied a painting of the Virgin Mary. It was found that the Catholics seemed able to block out much of the pain, whereas the atheists had no such luck.

They discovered that in contemplating the Madonna, the religious were able to activate an area of the brain associated with conditioning the experience of pain.

What else is religion for, if not the amelioration of pain? I would also like to point out that an inflated balloon up the arse can induce similar effects.

Religion is the (ig)noble lie that diverts the masses' attention from the cold, faceless specter of chance. It is Marx's "heart of a heartless world" and provides meaning to meaningless suffering and hope to the hopeless.

What better way to make sense of random, tragic occurrences than to give them a place in the Grand Plan? In the midst of them, rather than doing anything of use, repeated messages of complaint can be made to God's technical support line.

It's little wonder then, that faith induces the placebo effect. Perhaps they're two and the same. Religion being the "opium of the people" and all that.

Not that these mental gymnastics are peculiar to the religious. Only yesterday I had this conversation with a colleague presiding over a minor disaster;
"Well, I guess everything happens for a reason"

"I didn't realise you were religious?" I asked.

"Not at all, it's just that what goes around comes around. Karma and all that..."
"So, in God's absence you think that the universe picks up its tally card and keeps count of our insignificant fuck ups and indiscretions? A cosmic balance sheet? Utter bollocks..."
In truth, I didn't actually say that. A single Spock eyebrow took care of it quite nicely.

Mind, it pays not to think too hard about our arbitrary universe, atheist or not. Well, it does for me anyway. I choose to concentrate on that which I find beautiful to ameliorate my existential pain.

That, and reminding myself that I'm perched on top of a food chain with a full belly, in a wealthy country, spinning on a habitable planet, poking away at a Sony Vaio keyboard for fuck sake.

And what are the odds on that?

10 comments:

The Grocer said...

It can be difficult not to slip into the language of belief and faith. I note the sayings of my parents and grandparents coming out of my mouth on a regular basis.

jamon said...

I do the same. I bless people, thank God and cry Jeesus Christ frequently ;)

stuart said...

There is some truth (actually quite a lot I suspect) in the "what goes around comes around" statement, but it has nothing to do with a cosmic tally sheet, more to do with society and the fact that we are social creatures. If we act badly in a society, then the society will react badly to us, and vice versa.

It is with out doubt that in modern society this effect is (here i tried to think of a nice word that means the opposite of "ameliorated", but cant...) screwed up by the imposition placed upon the society by religion, thereby causing religion to have the opposite effect for which it is often lauded, ie a fairer society.

This of course may be bollocks, i have been drinking.

jamon said...

You're right of course Stu - there is some societal truth in what comes around will bite you on the ass.

Perhaps I should have given this particular example some context, as it was genuinely one of those random occurrences.

And there's never a better time to spout bolloxs than when under the influence. Have one fer me!

Christy Lenzi said...

Ha--nice post.

jamon said...

Thanks Christy!

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