14/11/2009

Extirpating religion

I have already compared religion to tobacco elsewhere, slightly varying on Marx. Having been slave to both earlier in my life (not to opium or Marx, mind you), I feel entitled to comment and actually think the comparison is quite warranted.


  • They both provide tremendous mental comfort.
I'm not sure whether people who have never smoked realize that lighting up a cigarette everytime one gets upset, tired, annoyed, cold or lonely is just a stupendous support. 5 minutes of distilled pleasure at will. (I personally remember when I quit smoking, the overwhelming feeling was: wait. something's wrong. where's all the daily pleasure gone..where do they find it? Well they don't, and I just went back to walking without crutches)(and took 5 kilos)(and started drinking a little more ^_^).

Well clearly religion works just the same for one's mental discomforts. I believe stress-buffering would be the correct term. Do not fear of being alone, mortal, weak, stupid or wrong -god is with you, has always been and always will be, whatever you do and wherever you go. How 's that for a reassuring thought? (What's that? You don't actually hear or see god, and feel no connection ? Try harder. There, see? This legitimate feeling of awe you have for nature, superimposed with the love you feel for your parents? Well now we will call this His Presence.)
  • There is a strong social component to both
Smokers of all nations have a very easy way to engage in a conversation (asking for a lighter, for a cigarette, an ashtrail), and a good reason to enjoy it -they share the same pleasure at the same time. This makes for a quite privilegiate form of contact which further tends to exclude non-smokers who might be disturbed by the smoke.

Nobody will be surprised to hear that the same holds for religion. Even in its less dangerous forms, religious people develop in communities. At the fundamendalist end, we get dangerously well-organised clubs.
  • They spread and work best on gullible people (young and/or non-educated and/or less intelligent)

There are well documented anti-correlations between religiosity and intelligence, and also between religious fervour and education. Moreover it is deplorably common to see young children and their much more malleable minds enrolled into more or less intrusive religious programs or teachings.

Again, it is no big news that the impact of cigarette on teenagers is just massive -and also not uncommon in younger persons. What I find interesting though, is that teens with high Emotional Quotient are less prone to smoking.




  • Both are damaging for one's health, and for other's.
The link between tobacco and all sorts of cancers, especially lung cancer, is established beyound doubt.

What is striking however is that religion and tobacco are both so addictive that even when aware of the harm they cause, many choose to pursue them to their very deaths. I don't think Marlboro's poor cowboy would have denied that:















And neither would the 9/11 terrorists

8 comments:

  1. i'm in awe of your comparison between cigarette and religion.Much is to be said about addiction...i also know that babies with pacifiers, used to have stg in their mouths at all times, will often grow to be smokers. mind you, i still enjoy smoking and was brought up without pacifiers...and neither were you!
    Well done on kicking the cigarette habit out of your daily routine, keep up the good work.

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  2. IMHO, the arguments you are developing right here are could be applied to any vice.

    In order to be crystal clear, let's take as an example (food) greediness & sexaholism.

    They both provide you:
    - A mental comfort. Just as the cigarette, you are enjoying a quick moment of pleasure far away from your everyday life with both of our 2 vices.
    - They both could be seen as social facilitators. Especially in France, food is may be most common subject of interest. Sex as a social facilitator…clear enough, I do not have to develop deeper ;-)
    - By definition, a vice is talking directly to your instincts and consequently is concerning the weakest first.
    - Are potentially damageable for your health: obvious.
    ...And for others: true for sex. We can consider it true as well for greediness because of the proselytizing.

    Am I saying that religion is a vice? I think so!
    Funny & ironic reasoning for the one which is considering itself as the opposite isn't it?

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  3. Los Crickos I'm afraid this falls somewhat short of being crystal clear -let alone of convincing me! Can you make your argument clearer?

    If you mean to show that religion could have been compared with gluttonery or lust rather than with cigarette, we will probably end up agreeing -for gluttonery much more than for lust- because the bottom line of this post is that religion is an addiction.

    However I think the comparison is more warranted between religion and cigarette, because cigarette is immediately available and immediately comforting, it tends to exclude non-smokers and makes you closer to smokers, and jeoperdizes the life of others around you.

    Now try making the same case with a man having a sudden frenzy of a chocolate bar or something. To my knowledge there is no non-chocolate barer and so this doesn't exclude anyone. At the same time it is not a direct menace to any one's life, whereas second hand smoking really is.

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  4. Thanks generic viagra
    I actually happen to use this analogy a lot in real life, as a first guide for how to react to religious things and behaviours around me..

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  5. Interesting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. By the way, here is a shocking wideo of a smoking kid!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xykDdOiz3zI
    signed spoon

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  6. Very good work. This comparison had occurred to me years ago, but the way you have developed it here is really thorough. I have always thought that credit cards and cigarettes belong in the same pockets. Somehow the appeal of credit, salvation and chemically induced relaxation seem to me to be connected.
    Good work.

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  7. Hi, well be sensible, well-all described

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