Thursday, July 29, 2010

Imaginary Enemies

Imagination is the subject of today's article.

Ironically, people with the least imagination are also usually the most narrow-minded religious fundamentalists you could find - something which one would expect to require... imagination.

They can't imagine what it must be like to be a man attracted to another man, or what it must be like to be a man trapped in a woman's body. And what's even worse is that mostly, they won't even try.

They have some very firm opinions on these things, often criticizing such people out of hand, without even entertaining a debate - especially an objective debate - on issues surrounding the legitimacy of other people's needs and feelings about their own lives.

No really, imagine for a moment that you're out there telling people who have a different sexuality or gender identity to yours, that "it's all in their heads" and that they are somehow just "imagining it" - not just because of how you feel about these things - but because of what you believe in.

That's right - you're out there criticizing and chastising people, even opposing their right to be treated like human beings - because of something you have never felt, seen or heard for yourself - and have to use a great deal of imagination to even convince yourself it exists.

If you're bludgeoning people over the head with "the Word" - which strangely enough, is a book written by other people who were supposed to have been "inspired" by God to do so - a feat which must have taken a great deal of imagination to perform - and which must take a great deal of imagination to swallow as 100 percent true and "inerrant".

The whole thing reminds me of little kids who have these imaginary friends - except, as adults they have invented whole elaborate religions around them. Books to tell other people about their imaginary friends, people to do the convincing for them, and to "prove" their tales to other people who obviously need something invisible to believe in - even if they don't know it yet.

Most people go through life seeing imaginary friends, who turn around and do something to prove they aren't real friends. On the other hand, Leviticans and other religious extremists start out by making imaginary enemies out of everybody who doesn't see the world through the blood-tinted glasses they wear.

When it comes to religion and human rights, equality and justice - and imagination, I tend to think of John Lennon's song "Imagine". It says it all for me. Imagine how things could be. Imagine how other people you think are different to you are really not so different after all. Imagine how much better this world would be if we could all just live, and let live.

Imagine that.

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