This post is by Jesse Galef
I just started my day with a dose of outrage. The notion of hell exists in many religions and denominations. If a person believed it to be torture and that his friends or family members would suffer eternally unless they converted, it makes sense for them to evangelize.
What a powerfully successful meme. What a sick, twisted, and fucked up belief system.
I almost blew a blood vessel watching the following bullshit. It’s a hypothetical letter from hell written by a teenager to his Christian friend describing the terrible agony and asking why he didn’t evangelize.
I refuse to watch it again to type up a transcript of any kind.
I used to think that John Stuart Mill was right that when ideas were freely exchanged the marketplace of ideas would eventually expose the truth and that people would come to know it for the truth. But then I started learning more about the flaws and weaknesses in human reasoning and perception. We’re extremely vulnerable to this kind of emotional manipulation, and it threatens to overwhelm our rational faculties. Being true is different from being convincing. I no longer trust that the truth will win out.
Talk about intellectual cowardice. This entire argument is a blatant appeal to emotion which should be dispelled by stopping to think for 10 seconds. But when you’re irrationally terrified, it’s hard to form rational thoughts. Too often, religion uses bad logical arguments slipped in the ’emotional’ side door to our beliefs.
These are the memes we are up against. People believe it because they themselves have been affected by the meme. I give them credit for genuinely believing in the horror of hell and for – understandably – wanting their friends and family to avoid it.
We are not up against the people who believe; we are up against the memes that have infected society and are spreading irrational fear. It’ll be a tough struggle – we can’t overcome the inherent flaws in our evolved brains. But I for one think it’s a struggle worth having.