Belief in Belief
You are probably a good person. Most people are. And doing good for others makes you happy. Humans evolved this reciprocal social attribute over millions of years.
But religion subverts this good heartedness for its own ends by using the Faith Trick.
How the Faith Trick Works
A Knife Becomes a Spoon
This example is a little silly, but its simplicity helps to make the demonstration easier to follow:
Consider a simple butter knife resting on a table in front of you.
Next, a person of some authority approaches you and claims it is good to believe the knife is actually a spoon. This authority insists people’s lives will be saved and made much happier (for some reason only he knows about) as long as you agree to see the knife as a spoon. The authority may even admit this relies on pretending – but once you have crossed that line you are participating in a good cause.
He adds one more thing. Bad things are certain to happen if you don’t play along.
You will not actually be able to believe the knife is a spoon. You cannot.
But for the good of others, you will tentatively accept the the goodness of the belief. You will tell others the knife is a spoon as you have been told to do. You might even be slightly awed and grateful you have been given this mysterious magic which will so easily spread goodness to others!
In this way, the knife can be thought of as a spoon. Pretending becomes the virtuous thing to do.
It only takes a moment to think of the many ways in which religion uses this trick to get you to do all sorts of things:
A wafer turns into Jesus? Blessed water is better than other water? Giving money to the church brings supernatural blessings? Yes – if you have been told it is good to believe in these beliefs.
The doubter is shunned despite having true virtues of honesty, integrity and courage to question authority. Meanwhile, a ‘person of faith’ has been sold on the idea that believing in belief is good. To remain good, he simply must maintain loyalty to these claims.
Faith is the Belief in The Goodness of a Belief.
Once you have decided “to believe in belief” it changes everything – it introduces a fresh concept. It enables you to connect (to leap) otherwise impossible ideas together with ease. As long as you have been assured it is very good to do so.
“Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe”
– JESUS (John 20:29)
This character knows you cannot believe in the resurrection, so he recommends a better idea. Jesus is saying: “Belief in the Belief is even better than really knowing. Lucky you for missing out on what really happened!”
It is a con job – like turning the knife into a spoon.
Not only is it a command to bear false witness to something you never saw, it claims the lie is virtuous.
In this way, Faith destroys and punishes truth and critical thought.
Whoever wrote these legends of Jesus, they were very good – at playing the trick of faith.