Exporting Belief

Exporting Belief March 31, 2021

I haven’t written anything in awhile. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been inspired. The events of the presidential election and the pandemic have been, frankly, life-sapping.

But I’m a writer and, even though I don’t feel like it, I need to write. Not only does it allow me to see my thoughts, it’s also therapeutic. To borrow from the late, great, former coach and owner of the Las Vegas (Oakland, Los Angeles, ???) Raiders:

Just write, baby!

As many of you who either know me, know of me, or watch this space may know, I absolutely detest religion. Personally, I believe religion is at the root of most of humanity’s problems.

Before I go any further, let me clarify something: I am not an atheist. I’m not even an agnostic. I believe in the God who created everything while eschewing the biblical narrative of that God. I also believe that God is ubiquitous — that is, God is in me and God is in you. I believe, too, that God is you and God is me.

I just shared the thumbnail-sketch of my belief here. When you’re finished wincing, please hear me out. You may not like what I believe. And I could respond in kind. One thing about me is that I have no desire to influence your belief. Though I shared my belief here, I have no desire to have you believe as I do.

Evangelism is no longer part of my belief paradigm.

I know a lot of people reading this will say this is heretical and, as a proud cohost of The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast, I’m quite comfortable with that.

Think of yourself as a nation. As a nation, you produce products — some for domestic consumption and some for export. In either case, there should be a natural market for your product. You may possess a thought or idea that fills a need for someone. This is how imagination becomes invention that becomes industry. Unfortunately, many people apply the über-capitalist model and attempt to create a market where none exists.

Case in point, the “fidget spinner.” I don’t know about you but I hate those things. I hate them because I believe idle hands could do more productive things. I also hate them because they are something that’s totally unnecessary but has reached a point of annoying ubiquity.

Let me stop here and say that I love watches. I love expensive, complicated, watches. The more intricate the engineering, the more it appeals to me. There are people who would say that markets have to be created for these things. At the risk of admitting to a bit of snobbery, I would claim that the aforementioned watches border on art and, thus, appeal to connoisseurs. That said, the market for these timepieces had to be created because it didn’t occur organically. This is one of the rare cases where I believe “market making” makes sense.

But I digress — the question is, do fidget spinners have a place? Sure. In the comfort of your own private space. But definitely not in public, where they can annoy others.

Belief is like the fidget spinner — best enjoyed by yourself, where it cannot annoy anyone else. And, in order for your nation of one to successfully disseminate your beliefs, you must create a market for them, as no market exists organically.

Now, your M1-A1 (rank-and-file) evangelical will disagree with this premise, saying that everyone needs Jesus. I for one, would disagree with this premise but, even if everyone needs Jesus, I would venture that not everyone wants Jesus. And, when you try to offer someone something unwanted, there’s always pushback. This is the reason most multi-level marketing plans are not universally successful — not everyone wants what you’re selling.

This is the reason evangelistic (especially American) christianity gets a well-deserved bad rap.

Here’s where it gets interesting: religion happens when exported beliefs are aggregated. A bible verse says that believers are not to forsake gathering together. I wholeheartedly disagree. I think the world would be a better place if people simply kept their beliefs to themselves.

Imagine if people would not only liberate themselves to believe as they please and allow others to believe as they please…with no need to compel others to believe as we do.

There would be no need to create a market to spread an export no one wants to impoort…

…or needs to.

Derrick Day is the author of Deconstructing Religion. He is also one of the co-hosts of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast and the host of The Forward Podcast.

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