domingo, febrero 15, 2009

Imagine there's no heaven

Fragmento de "Letters to the Six Billionth World Citizen", de Salman Rushdie, que también se puede encontrar en la recopilación "The Portable Atheist", de Christopher Hitchens. Ayer se cumplieron 20 años desde que el autor de "Los versos satánicos" fuera sentenciado a muerte por (supuestamente) faltar el respeto a los creyentes con su libro.

As human knowledge has grown, it has also become plain that every religious story ever told about how we got here is quite simply wrong. This, finally, is what all religions have in common. They didn't get it right. There was no celestial churning, no maker's dance, no vomiting of galaxies, no snake or kangaroo ancestors, no Valhalla, no Olympus, no six-day conjuring trick followed by a day of rest. Wrong, wrong, wrong. But here's something genuinely odd. The wrongness of the sacred tales hasn't lessened the zeal of the devout in the least. If anything, the sheer out-of-step zaniness of religion leads the religious to insist ever more stridently on the importance of blind faith (...)

And the real wars of religion are also the wars religions unleash against unbelievers, whose unbearable unbelief is re-characterized as an offense, as a sufficient reason for their eradication (...)

To choose unbelief is to choose mind over dogma, to trust in our humanity instead of all these dangerous divinities. So, how did we get here? Don't look for the answer in storybooks. Imperfect human knowledge may be a bumpy, pot-holed street, but it's the only road to wisdom worth taking. Virgil, who believed that the apiarist Aristaeus could spontaneously generate new bees from the rotting carcass of a cow, was closer to a truth about origins than all the revered old books.

The ancient wisdoms are modern nonsenses. Live in your own time, use what we know, and as you grow up, perhaps the human race will finally grow up with you, and put aside childish things. As the song says, "It's easy if you try." (...)

This is the battle Voltaire was fighting, and it's also what all six billion of us could do for ourselves, the revolution in which each of us could play our small, six-billionth part: once and for all we could refuse to allow priests, and the fictions on whose behalf they claim to speak, to be the policemen of our liberties and behaviour. Once and for all we could put the stories back into the books, put the books back on the shelves, and see the world undogmatised and plain.

Imagine there's no heaven, my dear Six Billionth, and at once the sky's the limit.

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