Mandatory Conviction

Posted on January 16, 2020

A frequent area of Puzzlement – 'Entrenchment, & 'Mandatory Conviction'

A frequent area of bewilderment for my tiny, groping mind, is what I might loosely term 'entrenchment'.  A (strong) tendency among men and grazing beasts, (and promenading ladies), to double down on what seems to feel good. Or taste good. Or attract a mate. And look no further.
To hell with adventure. Bugger 'challenge'. Spaghetti Bolognaise tastes good. Why trick around with that dish they call… what?

Apart from the generational allegiance of drunk soccer hooligans to their sworn tribe, (go meet Celtic & Rangers fans) few areas generate more of such rabid entrenchment, than the minefield of Mandatory Conviction. 'MC' can be likened to entering a club, where strict unanimity of opinion is not only seen as (oddly) a rather desirable thing, it's bloody well… heck, mandatory. De rigueur. Sine qua non.
This flies quite in the face of logic & human dreaminess.
Or certainly, MY wandering dreaminess.

I should be able to climb any ladder I like, as far as I like, and climb right back down, get off, give my (noisy) opinion, and try a totally different ladder elsewhere, if I so wish. This harmless hobby of mine should not raise eyebrows. None. If I wish to try 'homard', and I discover it's 'lobster', then so be it.
Alas. I can assure you, in many fields of human endeavor, it raises a lot more than eyebrows. Try fists. And hobnail boots. Broken bottles. Machetes.

So, in my perfect world, I should be able to amble in to any church, mosque, or synagogue, temple, meeting house or den, or any football supporters' club house, and cheerfully announce:

“You know, fellows, today I'm not quite sure what I believe. Yesterday, I thought Celtic was my team. But today I'm thinking Rangers play much better football. And I like the color of their jerseys better. I reckon I'm going to be a Rangers' fan for a while.”

If I was to announce that in a packed, and highly inebriated Celtic bar, (after a crushing defeat that same afternoon, 1-6 to Rangers), in my perfect world they should all drink to my health. They won't, I assure you. They'll all take turns stomping furiously on my head.  

Why is this? It's just so common. Why can't I attend a Baptist meeting, a Lutheran church, a Methodist chapel, or a Snake Charmer Church, and say:

“You know, I've been thinking. Maybe God is just a figment of our imagination. I give it fifty-fifty. How about we pass on the hymns today, leave the snakes in their cages, and all go for a beer?”

Or, maybe:

“This last week I was feeling 85% sure that God is real. But today, Sunday, nah, I'm down to maybe 10% of me thinking that way. The rest of me just thinks it's silly, having an invisible friend in the sky. You guys don't mind, do you?”

Oh, they'll mind. They'll mind a lot. You're supposed to play along that everybody is 100% sure, 100% of the time. It's 100% mandatory that you are 100% convinced.

Well, from the peanut gallery, I call cr*p. Cobblers. Piffle. Poppy & cock.

*** My (proudly varying) position is that I strongly suspect there is much more going on around us, than we even begin to realize.

*** I suspect (most days, quite strongly) that there is indeed an amazing, rational, aware, and compassionate Presence, that I've never seen. Never met him. That I know of.
Other than His works.
I honestly think I've seen a demon – once. Long story.

*** But if I climb down off that ladder, and hop up the Atheist ladder, or the Agnostic One, I'm quite interested in who all is climbing away there. And what they have to say.

*** I'm pretty tolerant. In my dreams, anyway. I know, me and the Perfect Pedophile Brigade don't get along. And, true, I have unkind things to say about the #TalmudicMafia. But apart from that transparently bogus lot, (…) I say I'm pretty tolerant.
Come on, don't laugh.
The only people that tick me off are all the truly LOUD shouters, all entrenched in their shallow views, who have climbed maybe three or four rungs, parked their butts there, REFUSE to climb further (or even look up the ladder), and, instead, yell hysterical abuse at everybody going down, or anybody even casting a sideways glance at ANY other ladder. There's just so MANY of these dudes. Shal-low.

I have often said, although I tend strongly towards the 'belief' ladder, I so often get along better with intelligent Atheists & Agnostics, than the plethora of noisy 'saved', cluttering up the bottom few rungs of the ladder, yelling & squawking, and furiously passing judgement on everybody else. “I'm saved, and YOU are NOT.”  Meh. Bollocks.

They are often really boring people. Shallow too. Heavy, heavy into the 'Mandatory Conviction' bit.

The road to Conviction has been a long one, for me. Bumpy, too. But I've come a long way.

I will, however, if I may, point out the implications of the alternative “we are alone” mantra.

It's lonely.

We cannot commit a logical fallacy here, as many do, and reason that there 'must be a God', otherwise there is no point. Circular logic.

Again, I strongly suspect a Creator. But I for one am perfectly prepared to alternatively, look the Darkness of the Universe in the eye.
The Vast Void. I would then still say that Life is a Gift. Not from a Conscious Presence, but from a Chance series of events. It's still beautiful. Still a gift. But how small, finite, short-lived and puny we are.  

The best we can hope for then, in that case, is to leave the world just a tiny bit kinder than when we entered upon our brief little stage.
That's all. In a blink of a mole's eye, we are gone, and quickly forgotten. Embrace the truth, I say.

But when I look at the posing, strutting, grabbing, and massively preening antics of so many of my fellow critters, I see so little Humility. So-much-Pride. So much runaway materialism.

That… I submit is a terrible mistake.
And, indeed, the root cause of much, much Evil.

If we are on our own, well, let's still roll up our sleeves.
If we want to build a better, kinder, more compassionate world?
No God?
Gonna be tough.

We're going to be REAL busy.


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