Thursday, October 2, 2008

Religious zealotry masks insecurity

Here's a good article that my cousin, Alex Frecon, wrote for the Badger Herald. Alex is a junior majoring in English and creative writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also likes mushroom stamps. Just kidding about the mushroom stamps, but he is the little perv who sent me that link earlier because he thought it was so hilarious.


Religious zealotry masks insecurity by Alex Frecon

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a pending crisis on our hands. No, it is not the failing economy, nor is it Sarah Palin. I wish it were Sarah Palin, because then our crisis would be hot. Nope, I’m talking about the most stressing issue on campus here in Madison: the crazy preachers.
You might know who I’m talking about; you see them outside of the Humanities building when the moons align and the weather is right. They bring the kids! An event the whole family can enjoy. They show up with signs like “Homosexuality is Wrong” and “Jesus is the only savior” and preach about how we’re all going to hell.

I’m sorry, but do you guys know something the rest of us don’t? I find that pretty hard to believe, as we all go to college, and you’ve obviously never been there. The first thing that’s wrong with these preachers is their inability to understand that there are multiple ways to live a life, multiple ways to view an issue.

The purpose of their antics, however ambiguous, probably revolves around converting others. Maybe they actually think they’re on a mission to save humanity, but I think they’re doing something else. Human beings have this incredible knack for wanting attention. That’s why we have megaphones and loud speakers. Society has us fixed to gauge our happiness not by how we feel or think about ourselves, but rather by how we are placed against a backdrop of others. In essence, we love to be judged. So, to all the crazy preachers out there, you need to accept the fact that you’re just trying to be heard. Accept the fact that you’re just trying to disguise your lack of certainty in the world with blind faith.

You know what’s really easy? Believing something for no reason. No reason whatsoever. It’s very easy; look, I’ll do it right now. I believe there is a God. See how easy that was? It takes real character to refrain from desperately trying to shove your beliefs down other people’s throats. Nobody likes to be told how to live or what to think of themselves. “We are all sinners.” But what we all lack in piousness we make up for with moral integrity. We pursue knowledge, we create relationships and we try and help each other. We’re all playing on the same team, team human. We know that people like to live their own lives and that we have no right to judge them. I guess somebody didn’t get the memo.
Somebody also didn’t get hugged enough as a kid, because these zealots just reek of insecurity. I understand the appeal of comfort a dogma provides in a world that is at times uncomfortably complex. But insecurity does not justify dragging other people into your own vat of worthlessness. Despite what these crazies say, we don’t need to be preached to. We can think for ourselves, and we can discern morality for ourselves.

The reason I’m so frustrated every time I walk past those preachers is that they remind me how we’re too stubborn to admit that we’re just all afraid. To elaborate, we humans are cursed with a conscience. That conscience drives us to question things. When we realize that we have no answers, we freak out, and in a moment of irrationality we turn to the next best substitute.

Crazy preachers, if any of you read this, know that while I think you’re very annoying, I still love you. I think everybody should treat them in the same regard. Philosopher and American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The power men possess to annoy me, I give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act.” People are going to try and bring their problems to your front door. They do so out of their own weakness. And, as Ralph so readily points out, you must treat them with only a weak curiosity. The same curiosity as you would a fly. Sure they’re annoying, and kind of an eyesore, but in the end they’re just flies. The more you engage them, the more you lose of yourself. At the end of the day, you must use these examples as a somber reminder. Life can be stressful, and it can push people to very sad ends. Trust your own voice, and don’t feel like you need to push that voice upon others. The best faith is one that doesn’t need to be preached to others, a faith that is accepted on its own. Like the Easter Bunny.

Alex Frecon is a junior majoring in English and creative writing. (and my cousin)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent article and I totally agree.

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