Saturday, April 29, 2006

Religious Scams & Other Metaphors

People of faith vulnerable to 'affinity frauds,' 11/17/01: Religious scams may be the most common, lucrative and insidious of all, authorities say.

In a previous post I stated the fact that some people of religious faith are more vulnerable to con artists.

"I thought I had the best of both worlds. Here was an organization that was doing good and was offering investment returns that I couldn't match anywhere else," said the 73-year-old Southern Baptist from Palestine, Texas. Bomar said he was told, '"Your money is protected by the Lord.' They were parading under the guise of a Christian cause, and it turned out to be anything but."

Herein lies the kicker. The more one's religion encourages its participants to ignore rational thought, the more they are going to get smacked in situations that require rational thought.

That's just a fact. But it escapes some people. When one thinks about it, (rationally, of course,) it doesn't make tremendous sense to ignore rational thought in a religious context, either.

Spirituality deals with things that are unseen, but not undemonstrated. Science has reached a point where they can see how "love" and "hate" light up different portions of the brain, but are no closer to sticking these concepts in a petri dish than they ever were. Spirituality helps close this gap by giving us a structure in which to think about huge emotional and philosophic concepts and how they relate to our lives.

It was never meant to be taken literally.

Trying to wrestle these huge concepts into a literal box destroys both the concepts, and the box. When metaphors about life and love and our commitments to our fellow folk turn into literal people striding around the cosmos, personally checking our return rate, things have gone horribly horribly wrong.

It just goes to show what I have always felt: that if one can't expand to fit the divine, one will shrink the divine into something that they can fit into.

Which is an insult to the divine.

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