Religion is humanity's most pressing problem. It is the great evil in our midst, sucking minds and energy into into a meaningless void. Religion is indeed what's wrong with the world. If this sounds simple it's because it is. Here's how it works.
If you don't know the difference between reality and nonsense, you have no common sense. This means you have a complete inability to think things through in a logical manner. You lack judgment and this has dire consequences. You can't tell right from wrong when you don't know what's real. You're impaired.
Letting mush preside in the center of your brain like a creamy chocolate filling is not a sensible way to go through life. How can you see the world clearly if you have to monitor and control your thoughts so they remain consistent with the fairytales you believe? Before you begin the race, you have already given away the car. You can't judge anything. You tossed that all away. To beat the analogy into the ground, if your brain was a car we would be forced to take away your license. I repeat: you are impaired.
(And of course, you can't tell religious folks about this and expect them to understand what you're saying. They're like Appleby in Catch-22, when he can't see the flies in his eyes because he has flies in his eyes. Oy.)
This is the primary reason for America's current know-nothing, ignorant-git state of affairs. Too many Americans believe in gods, devils, angels, demons and other assorted voodoo -- to the exclusion of believing in each other. We control our lives, not some invisible being in the sky. But religious people will never see the obvious truth. They're happy (joyful, even) to abandon all intellectual integrity in pursuit of absolutely nothing. And the dissonance! Let us consider the dissonance.
There are allegedly intelligent people in this country who call themselves religious. Well, I'm sorry but I can't believe a word they say. If you're smart then you know there's no god. It's far too ridiculous an idea to maintain in your brain if you can actually think. And smart people are generally good thinkers. This is where the dissonance sets in.
These are the ones who have fallen the farthest. They know there is no god yet they tell themselves (and any damn fool who will listen) that they believe in a god, and fervently no less. But holding two mortally-opposed concepts in one brain creates dissonance, and dealing with dissonance is a frightening, all-consuming task. As a result they become unable to think about anything in a rational manner. Just turn on Fox news if you don't believe me. There you'll see a host of insane, ignorant people of this variety. They literally have no idea which way is up.
Religion erodes minds. Estimates range, but somewhere between 50% - 80% of Americans believe in angels -- and this in the year 2010! Until this changes, until Americans put their angels away in the toy closet where they belong, we will remain a country where no one makes sense and no one succeeds. (And they'll kill us all in the process.)
PS: I see the pope finally stumbled into a seemingly sensible position on AIDS and condoms. He seems to arrive at "good" positions by railing against them for months or years, and then saying something else only when the world reacts with disgust and horror to what he's already said. Then he takes the next position, saying dreadful things along the way to offend everyone he can. And when he finally arrives at the right position through a process of elimination, everyone cheers and conveniently forgets all that went before. Really, you've got to give the little feller high marks for infallibility. When this guy does infallibility, it can even go in two opposite directions! Wattaguy!
PPS: Oh, wait, he's screwed it up already. AP reports the latest version of the story: "Condom use less evil than spreading HIV." Way to go, popey. Protecting yourself against HIV infection with a condom is evil. You can do it, see, to protect someone, see, but it's evil. Does this guy know how to frame the issues or what? But again, you must commend him on his infallibility. He's confused the world on this issue how many times in just the last week? Yup, infallible. That's our popey.