Snark v. Snark: Religion

I don’t understand why people get so frustrated at the first mention of religion. They cringe at it as if they’ve been stabbed in the side with a spear. But why should a simple subject like personal beliefs in a higher power evoke such an emotional response from people? It’s like religious believers have ever been known to be hostile. And it certainly isn’t the case that people recently have been so bombarded with religiosity, against their will, that they just “don’t want to hear it anymore.”

Perhaps, this topic isn’t acceptable to talk about during a date, but, luckily, I’m not dating you. So, I can just say it like it is; religion is nothing but good for people.

That’s right. Religion brings nothing but good into this world. People that claim that there have been a couple, maybe even a half dozen, instances of harm are greatly exaggerating those cases. The fact is, there has never, in history, been any proof that religious differences have ever caused harm to anyone. Nope. None. Sure, your so-called “history” books can point to a few, little blips in history like the Catholic Crusades, violent Islamic reactionaries or Israeli terrorist attacks, but those are trivial at most. Some argumentative people, or “skeptics” as they like to be called, point to little events like The Holocaust, or Rwandan genocide, or virtually any genocide really, as evidence that religion has the potential to be extremely harmful. But, as Mark Twain once said, “The reports of 12 million deaths is greatly exaggerated,” or something like that.

Other looney tunes, or “Child Development Specialists,” who use some sort of primitive “voodoo” or “statistics” as they call it, point to the difference in mental health religion can have; particularly, that a higher level of religiosity may be correlated to higher rates of depression. Furthermore, that non-religious people have significantly lower rates of suicide. In fact, upwards of 89% of suicides in the United States last year were done by religious people. Now, that may sound shocking, but don’t be fooled by peer-reviewed propaganda. It’s only made by a bunch of university-educated, godless heathens, who worship science and art and peace and other things that could tear at the fabric of our society.

Perhaps, one of the better reasons to be religious is that it helps you in the important areas of your life, like your finances! I prefer to subscribe to the few studies show that religious people give a fraction more to charities than nonreligious people, and just not acknowledge the many more studies that show the that nonreligious people are more giving in general.

Specifically, while religious people may donate slightly more money, nonreligious people are significantly more likely to work directly in helping fields, and more willing to take a pay cut in order to ensure the survival of their job.

And with all that money comes great power and the ability to influence people. And since I choose to ignore the studies that show that nonreligious people are more ethical in their conduct, you can be super excited about your newfound money and power. The great thing about religion is that, with it, you’ll be able to be like one of those awesome, family-loving tell-evangelists, who would certainly never, ever be caught in an underage, gay sex ring.

I, for one, am as religious as they come. And not just one religion either. No. I practice them all. I fast for Ramadan, meditate to find Nirvana and go to church only on Easter and accost strangers in Aldrich Park like the Bible tells me too! I’m even on the mailing list for a few doomsday cults just to practice safe sects. Sure, things get a little confusing, like when I have to choose between saying, “Palestine” or “Israel” for fear of verbal and physical confrontation by a group of militant student activists if I say the wrong thing, but that’s just part of peaceful religious beliefs.

So, go out there and be religious! What can go wrong?

Justin Huft is a fourth-year psychology and social behavior and social ecology double major. He can be reached at jhuft@uci.edu, or through the power of prayer.