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April 15, 2013

scape goat

This is something that crops up time and again. We have an emotional problem. A weakness. A guilt that we feel inside, but don’t want to acknowledge it. So we look to create a scapegoat as it is easier to externalize and blame, than it is to internalize and accept imperfections in ourselves.

I think this is one of the sad facts in the history of human psychology. It is a big part of the reason for the need to have religions. Jesus on the cross was the ultimate scapegoat. I think through self-reflection we can learn to accept ourselves more and not feel the need to create scapegoats for our own weaknesses as a diversionary tactic.

For many Atheists the current scapegoats are certain religions. For it comforts them to think that the source of bad and evil in this world is some arbitrary social group or institution, rather than to look in themselves and accept that evil and badness are written into human nature, due to the conflict between our basic impulses and drives and the fact that we must live in society with each other, whilst underneath the surface we are really competing to attract mates, friends and to get hold of more resources for ourselves.

It is too easy to point blame in this way, and it ignores the core problems in our inner humanity that we need to work through. People don’t have faith or religious beliefs because of some grand conspiracy that needs to be exploded by atheist insight. They have them for intricate historical and social reasons tied up with a sense of meaning and belonging in their lives. They have them because of the way they have come to grips with the inner imperfections of their humanity and their place in this difficult and troubled world.

To scapegoat them won’t deter them, it will only make them more determined, and it will only create a polarisation in society that will lead to conflict in the future. Because being a scapegoat and the need to point out a scapegoat, seems to be the recurring story of humanities deep attachment to religion.

  1. I agree with you most of the problems humanity has are derived from itself. I, however, see all this atheist ranting against organized religion (which has some pretty good points) as the way a minority has to self-affirm in a society that views them in a negative light.

    • That is an interesting thought. I never really thought of atheists as a group in society. Just more as individuals with a chip on their shoulder. You could be right about that to some extent. But I do feel there is an awful lot of negativity in the way atheists promote themselves at times, as negating other options. When you would like to see them focus more on their own positive notions and views. The problem is the very view itself, atheism, is defined by a negation, a negation of belief in god. For me to affirm such a negation when god is such a nebulous concept and belief is such a complicated social thing, is quite a dubious commitment to make. Then from this dogmatic assertion they then feel the need to displace any uncertainty they feel on to other groups. It all seems a bit mindless to me, and it would be good to see people stop and think things through here a bit more.

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